How To Reference A Journal Article In An Essay

In-Text Citations: The Basics

Summary:

APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing).

Contributors: Joshua M. Paiz, Elizabeth Angeli, Jodi Wagner, Elena Lawrick, Kristen Moore, Michael Anderson, Lars Soderlund, Allen Brizee, Russell Keck
Last Edited: 2018-02-21 02:50:04

Reference citations in text are covered on pages 169-179 of the Publication Manual. What follows are some general guidelines for referring to the works of others in your essay.

Note: APA style requires authors to use the past tense or present perfect tense when using signal phrases to describe earlier research, for example, Jones (1998) found or Jones (1998) has found...

APA citation basics

When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, for example, (Jones, 1998), and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

If you are referring to an idea from another work but NOT directly quoting the material, or making reference to an entire book, article or other work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication and not the page number in your in-text reference. All sources that are cited in the text must appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

In-text citation capitalization, quotes, and italics/underlining

  • Always capitalize proper nouns, including author names and initials: D. Jones.
  • If you refer to the title of a source within your paper, capitalize all words that are four letters long or greater within the title of a source: Permanence and Change. Exceptions apply to short words that are verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs: Writing New Media, There Is Nothing Left to Lose.

    (Note: in your References list, only the first word of a title will be capitalized: Writing new media.)

  • When capitalizing titles, capitalize both words in a hyphenated compound word: Natural-Born Cyborgs.
  • Capitalize the first word after a dash or colon: "Defining Film Rhetoric: The Case of Hitchcock's Vertigo."
  • Italicize the titles of longer works such as books, edited collections, movies, television series, documentaries, or albums: The Closing of the American Mind; The Wizard of Oz; Friends.
  • Put quotation marks around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles, articles from edited collections, television series episodes, and song titles: "Multimedia Narration: Constructing Possible Worlds;" "The One Where Chandler Can't Cry."

Short quotations

If you are directly quoting from a work, you will need to include the author, year of publication, and page number for the reference (preceded by "p."). Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author's last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.

According to Jones (1998), "Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time" (p. 199).

Jones (1998) found "students often had difficulty using APA style" (p. 199); what implications does this have for teachers?

If the author is not named in a signal phrase, place the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation.

She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style" (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not offer an explanation as to why.

Long quotations

Place direct quotations that are 40 words or longer in a free-standing block of typewritten lines and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented 1/2 inch from the left margin, i.e., in the same place you would begin a new paragraph. Type the entire quotation on the new margin, and indent the first line of any subsequent paragraph within the quotation 1/2 inch from the new margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.

Jones's (1998) study found the following:

Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citingsources. This difficulty could be attributed to thefact that many students failed to purchase astyle manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p. 199)

Summary or paraphrase

If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference, but APA guidelines encourage you to also provide the page number (although it is not required.)

According to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners.
APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).

Referencing journals in APA

This page outlines the correct format for journal articles in an APA reference list:

New to referencing? See the introduction to referencing.

Order: author(s), year of publication, article title (not in italics), journal name (in italics), volume number (in italics), issue number, and the page number range of the article.

  • The name of the journal goes in italics, but the name of the article does not.
  • The name of the journal has an upper-case letter for all words except trivial ones (‘of’, ‘in’, etc.).
  • The volume number is in italics. The issue number follows it, in brackets but not in italics. The issue number is only included if each issue begins on page 1.
  • The page number range includes the first and last page of the full article, not just the pages you used.
  • Something missing? More than one author? See referencing elements for answers to common issues.

Order: author(s), year of publication, article title (not in italics), journal name (in italics), volume number (in italics), issue number, page number range of the article (if available), URL or journal home page.

The earlier (5th) edition of APA formats this differently. See 5th vs. 6th for details.

Some journals use a DOI (digital object identifier) to uniquely identify the article. If it is available, the DOI should be used instead of a URL:

See DOI for details.

Magazine or newspaper article

Magazine articles and newspaper articles follow the same format as journal articles, with a few alterations. See the section on referencing other material for details.

References and further reading

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. [Massey Library link]

Disclaimer

These pages are provided as a guide to proper referencing. Your course, department, school, or institute may prescribe specific conventions, and their recommendations supersede these instructions. If you have questions not covered here, check in the style guide listed above, ask your course coordinator, or ask at Academic Q+A.

Page authorised by Director, CTL
Last updated on 7 February, 2018

Castles, F. G., Curtin, J. C., & Vowles, J. (2006). Public policy in Australia and New Zealand: The new global context. Australian Journal of Political Science, 41(2), 131–143.

Hsing, Y., Baraya, A., & Budden, M. (2005). Macroeconomic policies and economic growth: The case of Costa Rica. Journal of Applied Business Research, 21(2), 105–112. Retrieved from http://journals.cluteonline.com/index.php/JABR/

Gelkopf, M., Ryan, P., Cotton, S., & Berger, R. (2008). The impact of “training the trainers” for helping tsunami-survivor children on Sri Lankan disaster volunteer workers. International Journal of Stress Management, 15(2), 117–135. https://doi.org/10.1037/1072-5245.15.2.117

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