APA Style

APA (American Psychological Association) documentation is used in scientific research papers. Because Internet technology is constantly changing, so is the APA documentation style for information published on the Net. The purpose of this Web page is to provide you with the most up-to-date information about APA style for documenting electronic sources. (To document other sources, please see our handbooks, or check the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.) On this page, you will also find links to the pages of a sample APA research paper.

Important: If you print out the entries listed below, be sure to double-check all spacing against the following guidelines:

  1. Begin each reference-list entry flush with the left margin, and indent additional lines five spaces.
  2. Double-space between all lines on the References page.
  3. All items of a reference-list entry should be separated with a single space.

Elements of On-Line Entry

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APA style prefers a reference to the print form of a source, even if it is available on the Net. If you have read only the electronic form of an article’s print version, add “Electronic version” in brackets after the title of the article. If an on-line article has been changed from the print version or has additional information, follow the same general format for the author, date, and title elements of print sources, but follow it with a “retrieved” statement, citing the date of retrieval and the electronic address.

NOTE: Titles and subtitles of articles are not capitalized (except for the first word) or enclosed in quotation marks. (The names of periodicals are capitalized and italicized.)

Periodical, identical to print version

Author, A., & Author, B. (year, month day). Title
of article [Electronic version]. Title of
eriodical, volume number or other designation,
inclusive page numbers.

Periodical, different than print version

Author, A., & Author, B. (year, month day). Title
of article. Title of Periodical, volume number,
inclusive page numbers. Retrieved Month day,
year, from electronic address

Notes: Include an issue number in parentheses following the volume number if each issue of a journal begins with page 1. Use “p.’ or “pp.” before the page numbers of newspaper articles. Page numbers are often not relevant for Internet-only sources. End the citation with a period unless the final element is an electronic address.

Sample Citations

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Article on a Web Site

Volz, J. (2000, January). Successful aging: The second
50. APA Monitor 31(1). Retrieved January 11, 2000,
from http://www.apa.org/monitor/jan00/cs.html

Article in an Internet-Only Journal

Dellasega, C. (2001, October-November). Mothers who
write: Juliana Baggott. Writers Write, 5(9).
Retrieved January 3, 2002, from http://www.
writerswrite.com/journal/nov01/ baggott.htm

Notes: The title of the article is followed by the name of the journal (italicized), the volume number (italicized), and the issue number (in parentheses, not italicized). If applicable, “Article 000’ (or other designation) is placed after a comma that follows the issue number. The entry ends with the “retrieved” statement, omitting end punctuation. When forced by line length to break an Internet address, always break it after a slash mark or before a period, and never insert a hyphen at the break.

Article or Abstract from an Electronic Database

Belsie, L. (1999). Progress or peril? Christian Science
Monitor, 91(85), 15. Retrieved September 15, 1999,
from DIALOG on-line database (#97, IAC Business
A.R.T.S., Item 07254533).

Notes: If the document cited is an abstract, include “Abstract’ before the “retrieved’ statement. The item or accession numbers may be included, but are not required.

Other Nonperiodical On-Line Document

Boyles, S. (2001, November 14). World diabetes day has
people pondering their risk. Retrieved Nov. 16,
2001, from http://my.webmd.com/content/

Notes: To cite only a chapter or section of an on-line document, follow the title of the chapter with “In Title of document (chap. number).” If the author is not identified, begin with the title of the document. If a publication date is not identified, use “n.d.” in parentheses.

Document or Abstract Available on University Program or Department Web Site

Magill, G. (2001). Ethics of stem cell research.
Retrieved November 23, 2001, from St. Louis
University, Center for Health Care Ethics Web
site: http://www.slu.edu/centers/chce/drummond/

Note: The host organization and the relevant program or department are listed before the URL when a document is contained within a large, complex Web site.

Report from a University, Available on Private Organization Web Site

Kaiser Family Foundation and University of Wisconsin,
Sonderegger Research Center. (2000, July).
Prescription drug trends – a chartbook. Retrieved
November 19, 2001, from http://www.kff.org/content/

Note: If the private organization is not listed as an author, identify it in the “retrieved” statement.

U.S. Government Report Available on Government Agency Web Site

United States Department of Commerce, Office of the
Inspector General. (2001, March). Internal controls
over bankcard program need improvement. Retrieved
July 23, 2001, from http://www.oig.doc.gov/
e-library/reports/recent/ recent.html

Note: If no publication date is indicated, use “n.d.” in the parentheses following the agency name.

Paper Presented at a Symposium or Other Event, Abstract Retrieved from University Web Site

Smale, S. (2001, November 7). Learning and the
evolution of language. Paper presented at Brains
and Machines Seminar Series. Abstract retrieved
November 23, 2001, from http://www.ai.mit.edu/

Sample APA Research Paper

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Select the link below to view a sample research paper in APA style. It is a PDF file, which means you need to use the Adobe Reader (or Adobe Acrobat) to view it. Click the logo on the right if you do not already have the reader. (It is a free download.)

Research Paper in APA style