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Citing: APA style

Introduction to the style of the American Psychological Association (APA style)

The citation style of the American Psychological Association (APA style) is frequently used in many disciplines, among which Psychology and Social Sciences.

The 7th edition has been released in October 2019 together with a new website and blog.

APA: in-text references

  • If you do not specifically mention the name of the author, then name(s) and year, separated by a comma, are put in brackets. For instance: Research in the ideal number of students in class (Glass & Smith, 2011) shows that...
  • If you mention the name of the quoted author itself in the text, the year of publication between brackets is enough. For instance: Glass (2010) compared 34 studies into the influence of...
  • If you mention both year and name(s) of the author(s) in the text, then the reference in the reading list will do. Example: In 2010 Glass compared 34 studies into the influence on...
  • In a reference to a specific part of a publication page numbers or chapter number are given. Pages is abbreviated by 'p.' (page) or 'pp.' (pages). Chapter is not abbreviated. Examples:  (Ellemers, 2019, p. 25); (Bakker, 2018, pp. 302-311); (Wu, 2016, Chapter 22)
  • In the 7th edition you have 3 or more authors it is enough to mention the first followed by et al. (Janssen et al., 2019). With 2 authors: (Janssen & de Boer, 2020). In the 6th edition you had to name up to 6.

APA: references to images/graphs


Figure 1: Maslow's pyramid. Taken from P. Buddenberg, 2017 ( File: Piramide_van_Maslow_kleur.png). CC0 2017, P. Buddenberg.

In the text: 

... In Figure 1 (Buddenberg, 2017) we see Maslow's pyramid of needs in its original phrasing.

In the reading list:

Buddenberg, P. (2017). Maslow's pyramid [Graph]. Wikimedia. File: Piramide_van_Maslow_kleur.png.

NB:  When you publish a picture, always check if it is copyrighted!

More information about copyright: Utrecht University Copyright Information Office

APA: How to cite AI generated content

Quoting a text that was generated by AI (for example ChatGPT) can be compared to sharing the output of an algorithm. Therefore you should mention the source, both in the text and in your reference list.
The maker of the AI tool is considered the author, the date is the year in which the version of the AI tool you used has been released and as title you mention the name of the AI tool:

Name of Company/creator of generative AI Tool. (Year). Name of the generative AI tool (version release date) [Large language model]. URL.

In the bibliography:

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model].

In-text citation:

When given a follow-up prompt of “What is a more accurate representation?” the ChatGPT-generated text indicated that “different brain regions work together to support various cognitive processes” and “the functional specialization of different regions can change in response to experience and environmental factors” (OpenAI, 2023; see Appendix A for the full transcript).

Source, incl more information: 

Note to students: teachers may request additional information from you when using GenAI, such as an explanation of what you did and why or even your specific prompts. Check with your teacher if, how and where you need to add this information.

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (April 20 version) [Large language model].
I used Chat GPT to ...

Examples of references in APA style

Below you can find a few examples of how to refer to sources in your bibliography in APA style.

For a complete overview of the APA style please use the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition. 

APA reading list: books

Last namefirst initial(s) of first name(year of publidation). Title. Subtitle (edition if not the first)Publisher. DOI
NB only online books have a doi
NB Only the first word of a title or subtitle starts with a capital​

Jameson, F. (1998). The cultural turn. Writings on postmodernism 1983-1988 (3rd ed.). Verso.

  • Book by one author: Author, A. A.

Robben, T. (2018). Argentina betrayed: Memory, mourning, and accountability. University of Pennsylvania Press.

  • Book by two authors: Author, A. A., & Author, B. B.

Moerbeek, M. & Teerenstra, S. (2016). Power analysis of trials with multilevel data. CRC Press.

  • Book by three or more authors: Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C.

In the references list up to 20 authors are mentioned. Names are separated with a comma and only the last name with an ampersand (&). If you have a reference containing more than 20 authors, please list the first 19 add three dots (...) and add the last author.

Jameson, F., Holloway, N.L., Kernis, M. H., Cornell, D. P., Sun, C. R., Berry, A., &  Bach, J. S. (1998). The cultural turn. Writings on postmodernism 1983-1988 (3rd ed.). Verso.

  • Organisation as author

Central Bureau of Statistics. (2012). Employment monitor. CBS.

Publisher name:

The publisher name is mentioned (also with ebooks). Use the name on the title page of the book. Place of publication is no longer mentioned in the 7the edition. If you have more than one publisher, name them all, separates with a ; . If the name of the author organisation is the same as the publisher you can omit the publisher name.

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association: The official guide to APA Style (7th edition).

APA reading list: edited volume and chapter from a book

The edited volume itself:

Last namefirst initial(s) of first name & Last namefirst initial(s) of first name (eds.)(year of publidation)Title. Subtitle.  Publisher. DOI
NB doi only with online publications
NB Only the first word of the title or subtitle of the edited volume starts with a capital

Torino, G. C., Rivera, D. P., Capodilupo, C. M., Nadal, K. L., & Sue, D. W. (Eds.). (2019). Microaggression theory: Influence and implications. John Wiley & Sons.

Article from the edited volume or book chapter:

Last namefirst initial(s) of first name & Last namefirst initial(s) of first name (Year of publication). Title of the article. In first initial(s) of first nameLast name,  &  first initial(s) of first nameLast name(Eds.)Title of the edited volume (pp. pages).  Publisher.

Kirschner, P.A. & Kester, L. (2016). Towards a research agenda for educational technology research. In N. Rushby & D.W. Surry (Eds.), The Wiley handbook of learning technology (pp. 523-541). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NB Only the first word of chapter title or subtitle starts with a capital

APA reading list: Article from an (online) scholarly journal

Last namefirst initial(s)(year of publication)Title. Journal Title, volume number (number of issue), pages.

NB Only the first word of an article title or subtitle starts with a capital​

N.B. If it is a online journal, you add the DOI (if available and written as a url) after the page numbers. Otherwise you give the URL of the website on which you found the journal.

Ünlüsoy, A., & de Haan, M. (2020). Expanding the notion of global learning: Turkish-Dutch teens’ networked configurations for learning. Frontline Learning Research8(2), 109 - 130.

Wang, Y., Zhou, F., Zhang, D., Zhao, J., Du, R., Hu, Y., Cheng, Z., Gao, L., Jin, Y., Luo, G., Fu, S., Lu, Q., Du, G., Wang, K., Lu, Y., Fan, G., Zhang, Y., Liu, Y., Ruan, S., . . . Fu, S. (2020). Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of intravenous remdesivir in adult patients with severe COVID-19: study protocol for a phase 3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial. Trials, 21(1), 1-11.

Organisation as author:
The Royal Marsden Hospital Bone-Marrow Transplantation Team (1977). Failure of syngenetic bone-marrow graft without preconditioning in post-hepatitis marrow aplasia. Lancet, 2, 242-244.

NB All words of a journal title start with a capital

APA reading list: article from a newspaper

Last namefirst initial(s). (yeardate). Title newspaper. Name of the newspaper. pages.

Orsman, B., & Vaughan, G. (2005, June 21). Rat blamed for latest Telecom blackout. The New Zealand Herald. p. A3.

If you have found the newspaper article online, you add the URL of the website of the newspaper.
Carey, B. (2019, March 22). Can we get better at forgetting? The New York Times.

If you found the article on an online news site that is not associated with a daily or weekly newspaper (for example the Huffington Post), use the format for a webpage.
Bologna, C. (2019, October 31). Why some people with anxiety love watching horror movies. HuffPost.

APA reading list: page from a website

Last name, initial(s). (year, month day) Title webpage. Website. url website
Gather as much information as you can get.

Walker, A. (2019, November 14). Germany avoids recession but growth remains weak. BBC News.

Giovanetti, F. (2019, November 16). Why we are so obsessed with personality types. Medium.

In the 7th edition url's are no longer preceded with Retrieved from (except when a retrieval date is necessary because the information is not permanent).
U.S. Census Bureau. (n.d.). U.S. and world population clock. U.S. Department of Commerce. Retrieved January 9, 2020, from

APA reading list: social media

Facebook post

Last name, initials or Name of Group. (year, month date). Content of the post up to the first 20 words [Type of post]. Site Name. URL
(indicate information on images, video etc in brackets after the content description)

News From Science. (2019, June 21). Are you a fan of astronomy? Enjoy reading about what scientists have discovered in our solar system—and beyond? This [Image attached] [Status update]. Facebook.

X (Twitter) 

Last name, initials. or Name of Group [@username]. (year, month date). Content of the tweet up to the first 20 words [Tweet]. Site Name. URL
(indicate If the tweet includes images, videos, or links to other sources in brackets after the content description)

Gates, B. [@BillGates]. (2019, September 7). Today, it’s difficult for researchers to diagnose #Alzheimers patients early enough to intervene. A reliable, easy and accurate diagnostic would [Thumbnail with link attached] [Tweet]. Twitter.


Last name, initials. (year, month date). Title of post. Publisher. URL

Ouellette, J. (2019, November 15). Physicists capture first footage of quantum knots unraveling in superfluid. Ars Technica.

APA reading list: online audio, photo or video

When you refer to media such as audio or video, you refer to the web page where they can be found. The title is followed by form-specific information:  [video file] or [photograph].

Last nameinitial(s). [screen name]. (year, month day)Title of the video/audio. [Video]. Website host. url video/audio
Harvard University. (2019, August 28). Soft robotic gripper for jellyfish [Video]. YouTube.

Denali National Park and Preserve. (2013). Lava [Photograph]. Flickr.

Mottram, L. (2020, January 8). Hazard reduction burning is not a panacea to bushfire risk: Expert [Radio broadcast]. ABC.,-expert-says/1185328

APA reading list: Data set, software, mobile app or code

Data set, software, mobile app or code

Author, A. A. (year). Name (Version number) [Data set / Computer software / Mobile app / Source code]. Publisher. https://


  • O’Donohue, W. (2017). Content analysis of undergraduate psychology textbooks (ICPSR 21600; Version V1) [Data set]. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. ICPSR36966.v1
  • Athenahealth (2019). Epocrates (Version 19.10.1) [Mobile app].
  • Psychology Software Tools. (2021). E-Prime (Version 3.0) [Computer software]. Psychology Software Tools.
  • Jones, J. (2021) CitingRight source code (Version 5.0) [Source code].

APA reading list: Examples of openly available sources


Hampton, S., Rabagliati, H., Sorace, A., & Fletcher-Watson, S. (2017). Autism and bilingualism: A qualitative interview study of parents’ perspectives and experiences. PsyArXiv.

Open Educational Resource

Fagan, J. (2019, March 25). Nursing clinical brain. OER Commons. Retrieved January 7, 2020, from

Published dissertation in an institutional repository

Zambrano-Vazquez, L. (2016). The interaction of state and trait worry on response monitoring in those with worry and obsessive-compulsive symptoms [Doctoral dissertation, University of Arizona]. UA Campus Repository.

Characteristics APA citation style

Characteristics of the APA style:

  • It is an author/date style
  • In the running text the source is usually referred to by author and year in brackets
  • The quoted sources are put in alphabetical order in the reading list at the end of the publication

APA guides and websites

APA support from the American Psychological Association:

Older 6th EditionsAPA

APA guides 6th edition :


Using capitalization in source titles can be confusing.

For APA applies:

If you mention a title of a source in the running text, you start every (important) word with a capital letter (title case).

Example: In the article “Turning Frowns (and Smiles) Upside Down: A Multilevel Examination of Surface Acting Positive and Negative Emotions on Well-Being” the author states that ...

In the bibliography you only use capital letters at the beginning of the title or subtitle or for words that would otherwise also be capitalized, such as names or abbreviations (sentence case). In journal names, on the other hand, all important words start with capital letters.

Example: Sanchiz, M., Chevalier, A., & Amadieu, F. (2017). How do older and young adults start searching for information? Impact of age, domain knowledge and problem complexity on the different steps of information searching. Computers in Human Behavior, 72, 67–78.

For more information on title case and sentence case, see the APA 7th edition manual.