APA Citing: A Step-by-Step Guide to Cite Sources Properly

Writing guide
Posted on January 21, 2021


Good paper always predetermines the use of citations which, in turn, should be cited properly. APA citing is known to help students with providing clarity of their works, and flow which makes the paper reading easier. Besides, it helps to give credit to sources that have been used in the paper. Learn more about APA citing to submit excellent works.

Understanding the Rules of APA Citing

First off, APA stands for the American Psychology Association, an organization that created this citation style. It helps students with two types of citations including in-text or parenthetical and references. Logically assume that in-text citations cover all the credits inside the text, while references are found at the end of the text where you enlist all the sources.

In-Text Citations

One Author

It may be either direct or paraphrased quotations. In-text references consist of the author’s surname and publication year.

Example: Smith (2010) or (Smith, 2010).

If you use a direct quote, you have to mention the page number from where it was taken – “Quote (Smith, 2010, p.58)”. When using parenthetical which is basically a quote but paraphrased, you do not need to use a page number.

Two Authors

The surnames of two used authors are stated with “and” or &.

Example: Smith and Taylor (2010) or (Smith & Taylor, 2010).

Three to Five Authors

When you mention the citation for the first time in the text, you should enlist all the authors.

Example: Smith, Taylor, Ummer, Volter, Wilson (2010) or (Smith, Taylor, Ummer, Volter, Wilson, 2010)

Further on, you may limit to the following structure – Smith et al. (2010) or (Smith et al., 2010).

Six and More Authors

If there are six and more authors, you may just mention the last name of the first author, and add et al.

No Authors

If you have no clue about the author, use the title of the source which may be a brochure, review, or report, etc.

Example: (A report to a citation, 2010)

In case you cite a web page, use the quotation marks.

Example: (“A Review to Citing”, 2010)

Making Reference List

A reference list is the easiest to do. Your reference list should be at the end of the work, and on a new page. Center it, and enlist citations by structuring the authors’ surnames in alphabetical order. Check the examples:


Smith, A.M., Wilson, K.K. (2010). A Guide to Medicine. Belfast, Northern Ireland: Publisher
Spencer, I.L., Taylor Y.U. (2011). Ultimate Guide to Citations (2nd ed.). London, England: Publisher


Follow the next structure – Author’s surname, and initials -year, month, and day – Retrieved from URL.

Smith, A.M. (2010, May 14). A Guide to Medicine. Retrieved from http://www.aguidetomedicine.com

That’s pretty it for the introduction with the APA citing. You may learn more by checking the designated tutorials on YouTube or by acknowledging your studying booklets provided by your educational establishment where such requirements are mentioned.


APA & MLA Quiz: Check Your Understanding

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