APA Style Guide

Writing your PhD dissertation or Master’s thesis in APA style? You’ve landed the style guide with a soul, and a progressive message on how we use language.

 

Here are some APA guidelines to keep you right. Or get in touch about thesis editing support.

Book | Translation | Article | Chapter | News | Website | Thesis

 

Not your style? Switch to Chicago or MLA.

Thesis Editing APA Style Guide.png

APA style – overview

 

Academic styles don’t stand still. These style guides are not meant to be exhaustive; they’re here to ease the pain. Always check in with the publishers to see what’s changed and how it affects your referencing.

 

APA is short for American Psychological Association, and it’s the academic style of choice for the social sciences, as well as many business school programmes.

 

Given its academic context, APA puts great emphasis on use of language that is specific, bias-free and inclusive.  

 

The APA probably has the slickest style website, complete with video tutorials, webinars, and annotated sample papers to download.

 

(Grammar aside: the sentence above demonstrates the value, when used sparingly, of the serial or Oxford comma. Out of the three things listed, it’s only the annotated sample papers that you can download; without the serial comma this point would not be as clear.)

APA style – citation formats

 

APA style goes all-in on author-date citation. Your in-text citations follow the ‘Author, Year, p/p. Page Number/s’ formula, and each citation needs listing in your References. 

 

If you’re using the author’s name already in the respective sentence, follow the name immediately with the year of publication (in parentheses), and then follow the quotation with the page or page range (in parentheses). 

 

If you cite two or more works in-text in the same parentheses, separate them with semicolons.

 

Some quirks of APA include: 

 

  • Page ranges get their own en dash (e.g. Wolfe, 1987, pp. 180–84.)

  • Two authors cited in-text get an ampersand (e.g. Wolfe & Thompson [...])

  • Use initials for all author first and middle names in your References

  • Titles in-text use title-case capitalisation, whereas in the References list only the first word of the title is capitalised (plus the first word after a colon or dash) – these rules change slightly for journals.

Since research in the social sciences is often collaborative, in APA you should also include up to 20 author names per entry in your References.

 

APA is not a fan of endnotes at all. 

 

As for footnotes, their use in APA style is strictly limited to content notes (supplemental points of interest, max one short paragraph) and notes about copyright permissions. Indent the first line of all footnotes.

 

As ever, check and see if your university gives you full access to the APA’s Publication Manual, so you can quickly resolve any referencing idiosyncrasies not covered here.

Thesis Editing APA Style Guide.png
Thesis Editing APA Style Guide.png

APA style – format templates and sample citations

 

Each entry here comes with a template. Plug your source into the formula, remove the pipes ( | ) and you’ll have a correct APA citation. 

 

Jump to a format: Book | Translation | Article | Chapter | News | Website | Thesis

Citing a book in APA style

 

References (with hanging indent)

 

AUTHOR LAST NAME | , | AUTHOR FIRST NAME INITIAL | . | (YEAR) | . | TITLE IN ITALICS | . | PUBLISHER | .

 

Wolfe, T. (1987). The bonfire of the vanities. Macmillan.

 

Don’t forget the sentence-case format for the title.

 

For two authors, reverse both names and use ‘, &’ between them. The same premise applies for between three and 20 authors. More than 20 contributors? List the first 19, then add in ‘, …’, then the last named author.

 

Not the first edition? Include ‘(Xnd/rd/th ed.).’ immediately after the book’s title.

 

No location is needed for the publisher.

Citing a work in translation in APA style

 

References (with hanging indent)

 

AUTHOR LAST NAME | , | AUTHOR FIRST NAME INITIAL | . | (YEAR) | . | TITLE IN ITALICS | (TRANSLATOR FIRST NAME INITIAL. TRANSLATOR LAST NAME, Trans.) | . | PUBLISHER | . | (Original work published YEAR)

 

Carrier, R. (1970). La guerre, yes sir (S. Fischman, Trans.). Anansi. (Original work published 1968) 

 

Note the sentence case for the title, the lack of a final full stop, and the inclusion of the original work’s year of publication. Any in-text citations need to point to both years, e.g. Carrier (1968/1970).


 

Citing a journal article in APA style

 

References (with hanging indent)

 

AUTHOR LAST NAME | , | AUTHOR FIRST NAME INITIAL | . | (YEAR) | . | ARTICLE TITLE | . | JOURNAL TITLE IN ITALICS | , | JOURNAL VOLUME IN ITALICS(JOURNAL ISSUE) | , | ARTICLE PAGE RANGE WITH EN DASH | . | DOI | .

 

Masters, J. (1999). Race and the infernal city in Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the vanities. Journal of Narrative Theory, 15(3), 208–27. doi:10.1353/jnt.2011.0015.

 

For academic journals, the case of the article title is changed (to sentence-case), but that of the journal title is not.

 

Also note the lack of quotation marks around the article title; they’re only used if the title includes a quotation of its own.

 

In APA style, page numbers are shortened wherever possible, and are always separated with an en dash, e.g. 208–27 not 208–227.

 

More than one author? Book citation rules apply.

Citing a chapter or essay in an edited book in APA style

 

References (with hanging indent)

 

AUTHOR LAST NAME | , | AUTHOR FIRST NAME INITIAL | . | (YEAR) | . | TITLE | . | In EDITOR FIRST NAME INITIAL | EDITOR LAST NAME (Ed/s.) | , | COLLECTION TITLE IN ITALICS | (pp. PAGE RANGE WITH EN DASH) | . | PUBLISHER | .

 

Baumann, P. (1992). An icy dip in the real world. In D. Shomette (Ed.), The Critical Response to Tom Wolfe (pp. 195–98). Greenwood Press.

 

Again, no quotation marks.

 

Any edition information precedes the page range, inside the parentheses and separated with a comma, e.g. (2nd ed., pp.195–98).


 

Citing a publication in APA style (newspaper, magazine, blog)

 

Magazine articles:

 

References (with hanging indent)

 

AUTHOR LAST NAME | , | AUTHOR FIRST NAME INITIAL | . | (YEAR, MONTH DATE) | . | ARTICLE TITLE | . | PUBLICATION IN ITALICS | , | VOLUME NUMBER IN ITALICS(ISSUE NUMBER) | , | ARTICLE PAGE RANGE WITH EN DASH | .

 

Kamp, D. (1998, September). Tom Wolfe in full. Vanity Fair, 457(1), 284–88.

 

Note the lack of ‘pp.’ in the cited page range.

 

Newspaper articles:

 

References (with hanging indent)

 

AUTHOR LAST NAME | , | AUTHOR FIRST NAME INITIAL | . | (YEAR, MONTH DATE) | . | ARTICLE TITLE | . | PUBLICATION IN ITALICS | , | ARTICLE PAGE/S | .

 

Golden, T. (1998, December 20). Depalma takes ‘Bonfire’ into his own hands. The New York Times, 17A.

 

Unlike MLA and Chicago, APA includes ‘The’ before publication titles where applicable (e.g. The New York Times, not New York Times).

Blog posts:

 

References (with hanging indent)

 

AUTHOR LAST NAME | , | AUTHOR FIRST NAME INITIAL | . | (YEAR, MONTH DATE) | . | ARTICLE TITLE | BLOG IN ITALICS | . | PERMALINK | 

 

Bracewell, M. (2001, January 2). The man in the white suit. Frieze. https://www.frieze.com/article/man-white-suit


 

Citing a website in APA style

 

References (with hanging indent)

 

WEBSITE | . | (YEAR, MONTH DATE) | . | PAGE IN ITALICS | . | PERMALINK | .

 

Culture Trip. (2016, December 20). The psychedelic journeys of Tom Wolfe. https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/articles/the-psychedelic-journeys-of-tom-wolfe/

 

Named author on the page? Replace the site name above with Last Name, First Name. Then move the site name after the page title, separated with a full stop.

 

If there’s no date of publication, use ‘n.d.’ instead.


 

Citing another thesis or dissertation in APA style

 

References (with hanging indent)

 

AUTHOR LAST NAME | , | AUTHOR FIRST NAME INITIAL | . | (YEAR) | . | THESIS TITLE IN ITALICS | (Publication No. NUMBER) | [Doctoral dissertation, UNIVERSITY] | . | DATABASE | .

 

Wolfe, T. (1956). The League of American Writers: Communist organizational activity among American writers, 1929-1942 (Publication No. 198487) [Doctoral dissertation, Yale University]. PQDT Open.

 

If the dissertation is unpublished, remove the publication number section altogether and replace what follows with ‘[Unpublished doctoral dissertation]’ then the name of the university, separated with a full stop.

None of the above? Consult the APA Style and Grammar Guidelines online for full clarification.

Thesis Editing APA Style Guide.png