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APA Citation Guide (APA 7th Edition): Getting Started

What is APA?

APA style was created by the American Psychological Association. It is a set of rules for publications, including research papers.

There are two parts to APA: In-text citations and the Reference list.

In APA, you must "cite" sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places:

  1. In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation.
  2. In the Reference list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source.

Top Differences between APA's 6th and 7th Editions

Commonly Used Terms

Access Date: The date you first look at a source. The access date is added to the end of citations for all websites except library databases.

Citation: Details about one cited source.

Citing: The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.

In-Text Citation: A brief note at the point where information is used from a source to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is available in the Reference List.

Paraphrasing: Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words.

Plagiarism: Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another.

Quoting: The copying of words of text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations generally appear in quotation marks and end with a citation.

Reference List: Contains details on ALL the sources cited in a text or essay, and supports your research and/or premise.

Why Cite? (1:42)

Do You Need Citation Help?

Visit the Reference Desk in the library during all open hours for assistance! We can't correct your citations but can give you guidance on specific issues or questions.


This citation guide is based on the Publication Manual of American Psychological Association (7th ed.). The contents are accurate to the best of our knowledge.

Some examples illustrate the OCC Library's recommendations and should be viewed as modifications to the official APA guidelines.