APA Style Guide

What is the APA Style?

In 1929, the APA published a manual with instructions for authors on how to prepare manuscripts for publication in psychology journals. Later, it was used for thesis and term papers, etc. This manual is widely used in social sciences. Latest edition of APA manual is 6th in 2010.

General Guidelines:

Paper size should be 8½ X 11 inches with double space, left justify text only. Paper should have one-inch margin on the sides, top, and bottom. Page numbers should be on the top right corner, beginning with the title page. Use a shortened form of the title as a header just before the page number. Times New Roman is the only accepted font style with 12-point size. Indent paragraphs with 5-7 spaces. There must be not more than 27 lines of text per page.


Level 1 headings (used for major sections) should be centered in boldface with all major words capitalized. No punctuation after a Level 1 heading.

Level 2 headings (used for subsections of Level 1 sections) are flush left, in boldface, with all major words capitalized. No punctuation after a Level 2 heading. Text should start on the next line, indented in five spaces.

Level 3 headings (subsections of Level 2 sections) should start indented five spaces, like a new paragraph, in boldface. First word of the heading and proper nouns should be capitalized. Example;

Level One Heading Capitalizes All Words

Level Two Headings Are Subsections of Level One

Level three headings are indented. Paragraph starts immediate after that in regular text


Write numbers from one to nine in words and for 10 and over, use numerals. Dont start a sentence with a numeral.


In-text citation is also called Parental citation which includes Author and Year. The information which should be needed for citation in a reference list is;

. Author or Authoring body

. Date of Publication

. Title of the work

. Publisher of the work & place of publication

. Title of the Source, if work is part of something else, i.e., journal, encyclopedia, website

. Location of information within the source, i.e., Volume, issue #, page or paragraph numbers

. Retrieval date, if electronic format


Author's Name in Sentence

Johne (2008) reports that the solution sat dormant for several months before any of the employees tested it.

Author's Name in Parentheses

Customer dependency on a firm’s goods and services and the high probability of bankruptcy affect the solvency of firms (Titman, 1984)

2 Authors

(Gertler and Gilchrist, 1994)

3-5 Authors

Cite all authors first time; after that use et al. with first author's name. For example: (Wilson et al., 2000)

6 or More Authors

Use et al. with first author's name. For example: (Perez et al., 1992)

Reference List:

In the reference list, capitalize only the first word of the title, the first word after a colon or dash, and proper nouns in titles of books, articles, etc. Capitalize all major words and all words of four letters or more in periodical titles.

Examples: Reference List Order

Baheti, J. R. (2001a). Control....

Baheti, J. R. (2001b). Roles of.....

Kumpfer, K. L. (1999). Factors....

Kumpfer, K. L. (2002). Prevention....

Kumpfer, K. L., Alvarado, R, Smith, P., .....

Yoshikawa, H. (1994). Preventions ......

Citation in Reference List:


Strunk, W., Jr., & White, E. B. (1979). The guide to everything and then some more stuff. New York, NY: Macmillan.

Gregory, G., & Parry, T. (2006). Designing brain-compatible learning (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin

Chapter of a Book:

Bergquist, J. M. (1002). German Americans. In J. D. Buenker & L. A. Ratner (Eds.), Multiculturalism in the United States: A comparative guide to acculturation and ethnicity (pp. 53-76). New York, NY: Greenwood.

Journal Article with DOI:

Paivio, A. (1995). Perceptual comparisons through the mind's eye. Memory & Cognition, 3, 635-647. doi 10.1037/0278-6133.24.2.225

Journal Article without DOI (when DOI is not available):

Becker, L. J., & Seligman, C. (1981). Welcome to the energy crisis. Journal of Social Issues, 37(2), 1-7.

Hamfi, A. G. (1998). The funny nature of dogs. E-journal of Applied Psychology, 2(2), 38-48 Retrieved from http://ojs.lib.swin.edu.au/index.php/fdo

Online Newspaper Articles:

Becker, E. (2001, August 27). Prairie farmers reap conservation's rewards. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

Encyclopedia Articles:

Bislin, R. W. (1984). Cross-cultural psychology. In R. J. Corsini (Ed.), Encyclopedia of psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 329-327). New York, NY: Wiley.

Develpmental genetics. (2005). In Cambridge encyclopedia of child development. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com.library.muhlenberg.edu:80/entry/cupchilddev/developmental_genetics

Technical and Research Reports (often with corporate authors)

Hershey Foods Corporation. (2001, March 15). 2001 Annual Report. Retrieved from http://www.hersheysannualreport.com/2000/index.htm

Book Reviews:

Dent-Read, C., & Zukow-Goldring, P. (2001). Is modeling knowing? [Review of the book Models of cognitive development, by K. Richardson]. American Journal of Psychology, 114, 126-133.

NOTE: For articles that have a DOI, see Journal Article with DOI example.

Data Sets:

Simmons Market Research Bureau. (2000). Simmons national consumer survey [Data file]. New York, NY: Author.

Blog post:

Lincoln, D. S. (2009, January 23). The likeness and sameness of the ones in the middle. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.blogspace.com/lincolnworld/2009/1/23.php

Website with no author or date of publication:

Census data revisited. (n.d.). Retrieved March 9, 2009, from Harvard, Psychology of Population website, http://harvard.edu/data/index.php

Do not include retrieval dates unless the source material may change over time. If no DOI has been assigned to the content, provide the homepage URL.

Reprint from Another Source:

. Citation in the text: (Newton, 1998/1999).

. Reference List Citation:

Newton, W. (1999). Return to Mars. In C. Mari (Ed.), Space Exploration (pp. 32-41). New York, NY: H.W. Wilson. (Reprinted from National Geographic, pp. 2-26, August 1998).

. In this example of a reprinted book review, the author of the book is named first, followed by the editor of the reprinting source, then the reviewer. In your parenthetical citation, it is necessary to name the author of the book, while the reviewer is named to distinguish from other reviews of this book.

Reference: Manual of APA, edition 5th and 6th.