APA Style Basics

The American Psychological Association (APA) Style is used for formatting and documenting essays in Psychology and other social sciences. In 2010, the system was updated to reflect new standards. Using APA style correctly increases your credibility as a writer and avoids accidental incidents of plagiarism.
These are basic APA Guidelines. For complete information, consult the APA Handbook (2010) and visit the Writing Center.


  1. Double-space the entire paper. Unless otherwise instructed, use 12-point Times New Roman font.

  2. APA style requires a title page that includes a running head, the essay’s full title, the writer’s name, school name, and author note, but many professors prefer a simplified version of these requirements.

  3. Numbers one through nine should usually be spelled out, but every number above nine should be expressed in figures.

  4. The title page should be numbered “1” in the upper right corner with “Running head:” followed by the title of the document in all capital letters in the upper left corner, shortened to fewer than 50 characters. Include page numbers for the rest of the document in the same position as on the title page. Remove the words “Running head” on following pages and shorten the title. For example, for a paper titled “The Moon and Transformation in the 21st Century: How Lunar Influences Drive Lycanthropic Narratives”

  1. Cite all quotations and borrowed ideas. Limit your use of quotations to instances in which the author’s wording is unique or powerful, exact working is necessary for accuracy, or the original wording adds proof to the argument.

  2. Summaries and paraphrases must be written in your own words.

  3. The author-date method of citation requires that the last name of the author and the year of publication be inserted in the text. Page numbers are only required for direct quotations. Example: Summers (2003) found . . . or (Summers, 2003) can be placed after the summary or paraphrase.

  4. Indent quotations longer than forty words one-half inch (or five spaces) from the left margin and omit the quotations marks. Double-space the entire quotation.

Parenthetical Citation

The werewolf’s savage appetites are reflective of the 19th century middle-class search

for identity (Du Coudray, 2002).

Citation in a Signal Phrase

According to Durante (2006), one definition of lycanthropy is “a clinical psychopathology

in which a psychiatric patient believes him/herself to be an animal—again most

commonly a wolf” (p. 22).

Indirect Source Citation

Rice mentions that “SS officers—called ‘werewolves’—attacked coalition forces and

engaged in sabotage” (as cited in Von Hodenberg, 2008, p. 72).

Multiple Author Citations

Two authors: (Levitt & Dubner, 2009) or Levitt and Dubner (2009) explained . . .
Three to five authors:em According to Beers, Probst, and Rief (2007) [shorten subsequent citations: (Beers et al., 2007)]
Six or more authors: Smith et al. (2013) assert that . . . .


  1. Double space and alphabetize reference entries.

  2. Use hanging indentation.

  3. Make sure to include a reference for every work cited in the body of your paper. Do not include works you have not cited.

  4. Use authors’ first and middle initials only. This helps in reducing gender bias.

  5. Capitalize the first letter of all major words in titles of journals. For other titles, capitalize only the first letter of the first word, proper nouns, and the first letter of the first word following a colon.



Summers, M. (2003). The werewolf in lore and legend. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications,


Article in a Magazine

Gagliani, W. D. (2011, October). Make way for the new monster in town. Writer, 124(10),


Article in a Journal Paginated by Volume

Carter, K. E. (2005). Werewolves, witches, and wandering, spirits: Traditional belief

and folklore in early modern Europe. Catholic Historical Review, 91(3), 523-


Article in a Journal Paginated by Issue

Durante, C. (2006). On the existence of werewolves. Philosophy Now, 57, 22-24.

Article in a Newspaper

McDougall, C. (1996, August 28). Toddler with “werewolf” face gets first surgery. The

Atlanta Journal Constitution. p. E3.


Note: When the publication information for an online source includes a DOI (digital object identifier), include the DOI instead of a URL in reference list entries.

Article from a Database with a DOI

Von Hodenberg, C. (2008). Of German fräuleins, Nazi werewolves, and Iraqi insurgents:

The American fascination with Hitler's last foray. Central European History,

41(1), 71-92. doi:10.1017/S0008938908000046

Article from a Database without a DOI>

Du Coudray, C. B. (2002). Upright citizens on all fours: Nineteenth-century identity and

the image of the werewolf. Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 24(1), 1. Retrieved

from http://www3.nd.edu/~ncc/index.htm

Article in an Online Periodical

Locker, M. (2013, June 13). California prisoner fights for his right to read werewolf

erotica. Time Entertainment. Retrieved from http://entertainment.time.com

Short Work from a Website

Veronese, K. (2011, December 30). The modern day hunt for France’s beast of Gévaudan.

io9: We come from the future. Retrieved from http://www.io9.com

Chapter or Section of a Web Document

Schablotski, I. R. (2006). Talbot timeline: A chronology of Larry Talbot and related

lycanthropes. In Lycanthropedia: Zoo’s who in the Wold Newton universe.

Retrieved from http://pjfarmer.com/woldnewton/Talbot.pdf

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