APA Style 7th Edition: Citing Your Sources
- Basics of APA Formatting
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Formatting rules, various examples.
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Adapted from American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000
- Italicize the title
- Identify whether source is doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis in parentheses after the title
See Ch. 10 pp. 313-352 of APA Manual for more examples and formatting rules
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APA 7th Edition Citation Examples
- Volume and Issue Numbers
- Page Numbers
- Undated Sources
- Citing a Source Within a Source
- In-Text Citations
- Academic Journals
- Encyclopedia Articles
- Book, Film, and Product Reviews
- Online Classroom Materials
- Conference Papers
- Technical + Research Reports
- Court Decisions
- Treaties and Other International Agreements
- Federal Regulations: I. The Code of Federal Regulations
- Federal Regulations: II. The Federal Register
- Executive Orders
- Charter of the United Nations
- Federal Statutes
Format for dissertations and theses
Dissertations and theses database.
- Interviews, E-mail Messages + Other Personal Communications
- Social Media
- Business Sources
Author last name, first initial. (Year). T itle of dissertation/thesis (Publication No.) [Doctoral dissertation/Master's thesis, University]. Database. URL
- Author: List the last name, followed by the first initial (and second initial). See Authors for more information.
- Year: List the year between parentheses, followed by a period.
- Title of dissertation/thesis: In italics. Capitalize the first word of the title, subtitle, and proper nouns.
- Publication number: Can be found in Dissertations and Theses database, listed in the item record as “Dissertation/thesis number.”
- Doctoral dissertation/Master's thesis: List whether it is a dissertation or a thesis.
- University: List the university associated with the dissertation/thesis.
- Database: List database the dissertation/thesis was found in, if found in a database.
- URL: List URL if found on the free Web rather than in a database.
See specific examples below.
Pecore, J. T. (2004). Sounding the spirit of Cambodia: The living tradition of Khmer music and dance-drama in a Washington, DC community (Publication No. 3114720) [Doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.
Hollander, M. M. (2017). Resitance to authority: Methodological innovations and new lessons from the Milgram experiment (Publication No. 10289373) [Master's thesis, University of Wisconsin - Madison]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.
APA calls for the citation to include a unique identifying number for the dissertation, labeling it “Publication No.” That number can be found in Dissertations and Theses database, listed in the item record as “Dissertation/thesis number.”
Karamanos, X. (2020). The influence of professional development models on student mathematics performance in New Jersey public elementary schools [Doctoral dissertation, Seton Hall University]. Seton Hall University Dissertations and Theses (ETDs). https://scholarship.shu.edu/dissertations/2732
Bordo, V. C. (2011). Making a case for the use of foreign language in the educational activities of nonprofit arts organizations [Master's thesis, University of Akron]. OhioLINK Electronic Theses & Dissertations Center. http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=akron1311135640
Caprette, C. L. (2005). Conquering the cold shudder: The origin and evolution of snake eyes [Doctoral dissertation, Ohio State University].
Angelova, A. N. (2004). Data pruning [Master's thesis, California Institute of Technology].
See Publication Manual , 10.6.
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APA (7th Edition) Referencing Guide
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- Theses and Dissertations
Theses and dissertations
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A thesis is an unpublished document produced by student as part of the requirements for the degree. They come at various levels (e.g. Honours, Masters, PhD, etc). Check with your lecturer before using a thesis for your assignment.
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APA 7th referencing style
- About APA 7th
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- Television program
Thesis - from website
Thesis - from database.
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APA Citation Style, 7th Edition: Dissertations & Thesis
- APA 6/7 Comparison Guide
- New & Notable Changes
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- Journal Article with One Author
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- One Author/Editor
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- Legislative (US & State House & Senate) Bills
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- Dissertations & Thesis
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Citing Dissertations & Theses in APA Format
Dissertations & Theses
Dissertations and theses are formatted the same way in APA 7th edition. Theses are generally the culminating work for a master's or undergraduate degree and dissertations are often original research completed by doctoral students. Here are examples of a dissertation & a thesis, and how they would be formatted:
Dissertation found in Proquest Dissertations and Theses Global:
Banks, B. (2020). Addressing institutional racism in healthcare: A case study (Publication No. 28154307) [Doctoral dissertation, University of Minnesota]. Proquest Dissertations and Theses Global.
In-Text Citation (Paraphrase):
In-Text Citation (Direct Quote):
(Banks, 2020, p. 157).
Master's thesis from a University scholarship database:
Sears, L. B. (2017). The public voice and sustainable food systems: Community engagement in food action plans [Unpublished master's thesis]. University of Kansas. https://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/handle/1808/26899
In-Text Citation (Paraphrase):
(Sears, 2017, p. 24).
Carrie Forbes, MLS
Citation information has been adapted from the APA Manual (7th Edition). Please refer to page 333 of the APA Manual (7th Edition) for more information.
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APA 7th Referencing Style Guide
- Theses and dissertations
- Referencing & APA style
- In-text citation
- Elements of a reference
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- Reports & grey literature
- Figures (graphs and images)
Terminology - Thesis, dissertation or exegesis?
Published theses and dissertations, unpublished theses and dissertations.
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- Computer software, games & apps
- Lecture notes & Intranet resources
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- Specific health examples
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- Frequently asked questions
Thesis and dissertation can mean different things depending on where the degree is awarded. Always check the title page, or subsequent pages, to determine exactly what the work is and use the information for your reference.
Auckland University of Technology (and other NZ universities)
- Thesis is either for a doctoral or a master's degree.
- Dissertation is either for a master's or a bachelor's degree with honours.
- Exegesis is the written component of a practice-based thesis where the major output is a creative work; e.g., a film, artwork, novel.
Other parts of the world
- In North America and some other countries, dissertation is used for a doctoral degree and thesis for a master's degree.
Theses available in a database, a university archive or from a personal website.
Theses published online (e.g. in institutional repositories), theses from proquest dissertations and theses global.
Find how to cite in text on the In-text citation page.
Unpublished thesis or dissertations are usually sourced directly from the university in print form.
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APA Citations (7th ed.)
- General Formatting
- Professional Paper Elements - Title Page
- Student Paper Elements - Title Page
- In-text Citation Basics
- In-text Citation Author Rules
- Citing Multiple Works
- Personal Communications
- Classroom or Intranet Resources
- Secondary Sources
- Books and Reference Works
- Edited Book Chapters and Entries in Reference Works
- Reports and Gray Literature
- Conference Sessions and Presentations
- Dissertations and Theses
- Data Sets and Software
- Tests, Scales, & Inventories
- Audiovisual Works
- Audio Works
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- Basics & Formatting
- Avoiding Plagiarism
Disserations & Theses
Reference for doctoral dissertations and master's and undergraduate theses are divided by whether they are unpublished or published. This guide will focus on published dissertations and theses.
Published works may be available from a database, a university archive, or a personal website.
Unpublished Dissertation or Thesis
If you wish to cite an unpublished dissertation or theses, please check with your instructor to make sure this source would be appropriate for your assignment.
To learn how to cite unpublished dissertations or theses, see pp. 333-334 of the manual.
Dissertations & Theses Template
Dissertation or Thesis From a Database
Solomon, M. (2017). Social media and self-evaluation: The examination of social media use on identity, social comparison, and self-esteem in young female adults [Doctoral dissertation, William James College]. ProQuest Dissertations and These Global.
Parenthetical citation: (Solomon, 2017)
Narrative citation: Solomon (2017)
Dissertation or Thesis Published Online (Not in a Database)
Lui, T. T. F. (2013). Experiences in the bubble: Assimilation and acculturative stress of Chinese heritage students in Silicon Valley [Master's thesis, Stanford University]. Graduate School of Education International Comparative Education Master's Monographs Digital Collection. https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/10325276
Parenthetical citation: (Lui, 2013)
Narrative citation: Lui (2013)
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APA Formatting and Style (7th ed.) for Student Papers
- What's New in the 7th ed.?
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- Basic Paper Formatting
- Basic Paper Elements
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- Periodicals (Journals, Magazines, Newspapers)
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- Dissertations or Theses
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- Missing Information
- Two Authors
- Three or More Authors
- Group Authors
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- Block Quotations
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Reference Page Examples - Dissertations or Theses
- Published Dissertation or Thesis
- Unpublished Dissertation or Thesis
A dissertation or thesis is considered published when it is available from a database such as ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.
If the database or archive requires users to log in before they can view the dissertation or thesis, meaning the url will not work for readers, end the reference with the database name., author, a. a. (year). title of dissertation (publication no. xxxxxxxxx). [doctoral dissertation or masters thesis, name of, institution that awarded the degree]. name of source i.e. proquest dissertations and theses global. url for, the dissertation or thesis., d'arcangelis, g. s. (2009). the bio scare: anthrax, smallpox, sars, flu and post-9/11 u.s. empire (order no., 3388146). [doctoral dissertation, university of california los angeles]. proquest dissertations and theses, global. , * ** remember: each source listed on the reference page must correspond to at least one in-text citation in the body of the paper; each in-text citation must correspond to a source listed on the reference page., when a dissertation or thesis is unpublished, include the description “[unpublished doctoral dissertation]” or “[unpublished master’s thesis]” in square brackets after the dissertation or thesis title., in the source element of the reference, provide the name of the institution that awarded the degree., author, a. a. (year). title of dissertation [unpublished doctoral dissertation or unpublished, masters thesis], name of institution that awarded the degree. , johnson, b. (2005). balanced scorecard applications [unpublished master's thesis]. worthington university..
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Generate accurate APA citations for free
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How to Cite in APA Format (7th edition) | Guide & Generator
This citation guide outlines the most important citation guidelines from the 7th edition APA Publication Manual (2020). Scribbr also offers free guides for the older APA 6th edition , MLA Style , and Chicago Style .
Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr
Table of contents, apa in-text citations, apa references, formatting the apa reference page, free lecture slides, frequently asked questions.
In-text citations are brief references in the running text that direct readers to the reference entry at the end of the paper. You include them every time you quote or paraphrase someone else’s ideas or words to avoid plagiarism .
An APA in-text citation consists of the author’s last name and the year of publication (also known as the author-date system). If you’re citing a specific part of a source, you should also include a locator such as a page number or timestamp. For example: (Smith, 2020, p. 170) .
Parenthetical vs. narrative citation
The in-text citation can take two forms: parenthetical and narrative. Both types are generated automatically when citing a source with Scribbr’s APA Citation Generator.
- Parenthetical citation: According to new research … (Smith, 2020) .
- Narrative citation: Smith (2020) notes that …
Multiple authors and corporate authors
The in-text citation changes slightly when a source has multiple authors or an organization as an author. Pay attention to punctuation and the use of the ampersand (&) symbol.
When the author, publication date or locator is unknown, take the steps outlined below.
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- Missing commas and periods
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APA references generally include information about the author , publication date , title , and source . Depending on the type of source, you may have to include extra information that helps your reader locate the source.
Citing a source starts with choosing the correct reference format. Use Scribbr’s Citation Example Generator to learn more about the format for the most common source types. Pay close attention to punctuation, capitalization, and italicization.
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It is not uncommon for certain information to be unknown or missing, especially with sources found online. In these cases, the reference is slightly adjusted.
On the first line of the page, write the section label “References” (in bold and centered). On the second line, start listing your references in alphabetical order .
Apply these formatting guidelines to the APA reference page:
- Double spacing (within and between references)
- Hanging indent of ½ inch
- Legible font (e.g. Times New Roman 12 or Arial 11)
- Page number in the top right header
Which sources to include
On the reference page, you only include sources that you have cited in the text (with an in-text citation ). You should not include references to personal communications that your reader can’t access (e.g. emails, phone conversations or private online material).
Are you a teacher or professor looking to introduce your students to APA Style? Download our free introductory lecture slides, available for Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint.
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When no individual author name is listed, but the source can clearly be attributed to a specific organization—e.g., a press release by a charity, a report by an agency, or a page from a company’s website—use the organization’s name as the author in the reference entry and APA in-text citations .
When no author at all can be determined—e.g. a collaboratively edited wiki or an online article published anonymously—use the title in place of the author. In the in-text citation, put the title in quotation marks if it appears in plain text in the reference list, and in italics if it appears in italics in the reference list. Shorten it if necessary.
When you quote or paraphrase a specific passage from a source, you need to indicate the location of the passage in your APA in-text citation . If there are no page numbers (e.g. when citing a website ) but the text is long, you can instead use section headings, paragraph numbers, or a combination of the two:
(Caulfield, 2019, Linking section, para. 1).
Section headings can be shortened if necessary. Kindle location numbers should not be used in ebook citations , as they are unreliable.
If you are referring to the source as a whole, it’s not necessary to include a page number or other marker.
The abbreviation “ et al. ” (meaning “and others”) is used to shorten APA in-text citations with three or more authors . Here’s how it works:
Only include the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.”, a comma and the year of publication, for example (Taylor et al., 2018).
APA Style usually does not require an access date. You never need to include one when citing journal articles , e-books , or other stable online sources.
However, if you are citing a website or online article that’s designed to change over time, it’s a good idea to include an access date. In this case, write it in the following format at the end of the reference: Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.uva.nl/en/about-the-uva/about-the-university/about-the-university.html
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Reference List: Other Print Sources
Welcome to the Purdue OWL
This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.
Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.
Note: This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style can be found here .
Important Note: Because the 7 th edition of the APA Publication Manual heavily emphasizes digital and electronic sources, it does not contain explicit instructions for certain less-common print sources that earlier editions covered. For this reason, some of the examples below have been adapted from the instructions for sources with similar attributes (e.g., the conference proceedings example is derived from the instructions the 7 th edition manual gives for citing edited collections). Every example below that has been adapted in this way is accompanied by a note explaining how it was adapted.
Please also note: While this resource contains many examples of citations for uncommon print sources that we think are helpful, it may not account for every possibility. For even more examples of how to cite uncommon print sources, please refer to the 7 th edition of the APA Publication Manual.
Entry in a Dictionary, Thesaurus, or Encyclopedia with a Group Author
The 7 th edition of the APA manual does not provide specific guidance on how to cite physical reference works such as dictionaries, thesauruses, or encyclopedias. Therefore, this citation, as well as the one for an individual author of an entry in a reference work, is modeled on that of a chapter in an edited book or anthology, both which are similar in format to reference works.
Institution or organization name. (Year). Title of entry. In Title of reference work (edition, page numbers). Publisher name.
Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. (1997). Goat. In Merriam Webster’s collegiate dictionary (10 th ed., pp. 499-500). Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.
Entry in a Dictionary, Thesaurus, or Encyclopedia with an Individual Author
Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of entry. In F. M. Lastname (ed.), Title of reference work (edition, page numbers). Publisher.
Tatum, S. R. (2009). Spirituality and religion in hip hop literature and culture. In T. L. Stanley (ed.), Encyclopedia of hip hop literature (pp. 250-252). Greenwood.
Work Discussed in a Secondary Source
Provide the source in which the original work was referenced:
Nail, T. (2017). What is an assemblage? SubStance , 46 (1), 21-37. http://sub.uwpress.org/lookup/doi/10.3368/ss.46.1.21
Note: Provide the secondary source in the references list; in the text, name the original work, and give a citation for the secondary source. For example, if Deleuze and Guattari’s work is cited in Nail and you did not read the original work, list the Nail reference in the References. In the text, use the following citation:
Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the assemblage (as cited in Nail, 2017)….
The 7 th edition of the APA manual does not provide specific guidance on how to cite dissertation abstracts. Therefore, this citation models that of a journal article, which is similar in format.
Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of dissertation. Dissertation Abstracts International , Vol., Page.
Angeli, E. L. (2012). Networks of communication in emergency medical services. Dissertation Abstracts International, 74 , 03(E).
Dissertation or Master’s Thesis, Published
Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of dissertation/thesis (Publication No.) [Doctoral dissertation/Master’s thesis, Name of Institution Awarding the Degree]. Database or Archive Name.
Angeli, E. L. (2012). Networks of communication in emergency medical services (Publication No. 3544643) [Doctoral dissertation, Purdue University]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.
Note: If the dissertation or thesis is not published in a database, include the URL of the site where the document is located.
Dissertation or Master’s Thesis, Unpublished
Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of dissertation/thesis [Unpublished doctoral dissertation/master’s thesis]. Name of Institution Awarding the Degree.
Samson, J. M. (2016). Human trafficking and globalization [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Federal or State Statute
Name of Act, Public Law No. (Year). URL
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Publ. L. No. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119 (2010). https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/PLAW-111publ148/pdf/PLAW-111publ148.pdf
Report by a Government Agency or Other Organization
Organization Name. (Year). Title of report. URL
United States Government Accountability Office. (2019). Performance and accountability report: Fiscal year 2019 . https://www.gao.gov/assets/710/702715.pdf
Report by Individual Authors at Government Agency or Other Organization
Lastname, F. M., & Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of report . Organization Name. URL
Palanker, D., Volk, J., Lucia, K., & Thomas, K. (2018). Mental health parity at risk: Deregulating the individual market and the impact on mental health coverage . National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/About-NAMI/Publications-Reports/Public-Policy-Reports/Parity-at-Risk/ParityatRisk.pdf
The 7 th edition of the APA manual does not provide guidance on citing conference proceedings. Therefore, this citation models that of an edited collection, which is similar in format.
Lastname, F. M., & Lastname, F. M. (Eds.). (Year). Title of Proceedings . Publisher. URL (if applicable)
Huang, S., Pierce, R., & Stamey, J. (Eds.). (2006). Proceedings of the 24 th annual ACM international conference on the design of communication . ACM Digital Library. https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1166324&picked=prox
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Cite a Dissertation
Don't let plagiarism errors spoil your paper
Consider your source's credibility. ask these questions:, contributor/author.
- Has the author written several articles on the topic, and do they have the credentials to be an expert in their field?
- Can you contact them? Do they have social media profiles?
- Have other credible individuals referenced this source or author?
- Book: What have reviews said about it?
- What do you know about the publisher/sponsor? Are they well-respected?
- Do they take responsibility for the content? Are they selective about what they publish?
- Take a look at their other content. Do these other articles generally appear credible?
- Does the author or the organization have a bias? Does bias make sense in relation to your argument?
- Is the purpose of the content to inform, entertain, or to spread an agenda? Is there commercial intent?
- Are there ads?
- When was the source published or updated? Is there a date shown?
- Does the publication date make sense in relation to the information presented to your argument?
- Does the source even have a date?
- Was it reproduced? If so, from where?
- If it was reproduced, was it done so with permission? Copyright/disclaimer included?
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