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APA Citation Style: How to Build a Citation

This guide provides information on the 6th edition of the APA citation style as used at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

Introduction

Each entry in your References list usually contains the following information, in this order: author(s) or editor(s), date of publication, title of work, and publication information. There are specific rules around the formatting of each part of the citation. The general format is given below:

Surname, First Initial. Second Initial. (Year). Title of the work: Subtitle. Place of Publication: Publisher.

 

For specific examples of References list entries, go to the Your Reference List section of this guide.

Author or Editor Information

  • Individual authors are listed by last name followed by a comma and initials.  Example: Khanna, L.  
  • Corporate or organizational authors are listed in regular order. Example: Government of Canada.
  • For multiple authors, list the names in the order presented in the source.  List all names in reverse order and use an ampersand (&) before the last author. 
  • List up to seven authors.  For more than seven, list the first six authors' names followed by an ellipses (three dots) in place of additional author names. Then list the last author's name.
  • Remember that governments, associations, companies, and organizations can also function as the author or editor of a source.
  • If you can't identify any type of  author (neither a person nor an organization), begin the entry with the title of the work including the appropriate capitalization and italics formatting.

Date Information

  • Give the date that the work was published, in parentheses, followed by a period. If a day or month is provided, list the date as (Year, Month Day).
  • If a publication or creation date cannot be found on a website, use "n.d."
  • If no date is available, write n.d. in parentheses, followed by a period.

Title of Work

  • Capitalize only the first word of the title (and subtitle if given) and any proper nouns.
  • Italicize the title of a book or periodical. Do not italicize the title of a chapter within a book or an article within a periodical.
  • Italicize the title of the website or webpage if the work on the page stands alone. Do not italicize the title of a webpage if it is part of a greater whole.
  • Give edition information directly after the title in parentheses. Do not italicize the edition.

Publication Information

  • For books, give the location of the publisher, followed by a colon(:) and the name of the publisher. See the APA Manual for a list of acceptable abbreviations.
  • For periodicals, give the volume number, issue number, and page range after the periodical title. Italicize the volume number, and place the issue number within parentheses.

For specific examples of formatting publisher information for different types of works, go to the books or articles sections of this guide.

Attribution

Content adapted, with permission, from the Red Deer College Library APA Citation Style 6th Edition LibGuide.

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