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Citing Sources

APA Publication Manual (7th ed.)

APA Style Guide: Overview and Resources

What is APA style?

  • It is the style of the American Psychological Association. The 7th edition of the APA Style Manual is currently in use.
  • The APA Style Manual includes information on how to properly format everything from entire books to how we write numbers to how we write statistical data and how we cite the sources we use when we write.
  • It is the standard format used within psychology (and several other disciplines) for formatting papers, articles, books, citations, and references.
  • It allows anyone reading anything written in APA style to find the same information in the same place no matter who wrote it.
  • It helps to ensure proper citation for all references used.

Note: Your instructor might have specific requirements that vary from this, so always pay attention to your instructor’s directions.


We use APA because we should:

  • Demonstrate our accountability for using others’ research.
  • Acknowledge the work of others.
  • And because learning and using APA style is an important part of understanding and communicating in the field.


There are a number of great ways to learn to use APA style and a few bad ones.

Great ways to learn to use APA style include:

Bad ways to learn to use APA style (because they are often out of date or have many errors) include:

  • Random web searches for APA style.
  • Using software that creates the citations for you (citation generators or managers).
  • Using old editions of the APA manual - The APA Publication Manual updates every few years and a great deal changes each time. The current edition is the 7th.

What are some of the basics of APA style papers?

Depending on the assignment the specific requirements may vary, but at a minimum, in-text citations and references are always needed. In general complete APA style papers have the following components:

  • The entire document should have 1” margins and be double-spaced in Times New Roman 12 pt. font or Calibri 11 pt. font.
  • Each page should contain page numbers and a running head.
  • Page one includes several elements: title, running head, author name, and name of institution.
  • Page two contains an abstract (if required by the instructor).
  • All resources used are cited throughout the writing of the paper.
  • The “References” page is on a separate page at the end of the paper.
  • References are alphabetized and formatted with hanging indentions.

APA Citations Websites

APA Guidelines for Bias-Free Language (5.0)


Using the singular “they” is now preferred. Always use a person’s self-identified pronoun and if it is unknown, use “they”. 

Be specific about age groups when possible, this recognizes that older adults are diverse and not a monolithic group. Use precise language and provide information about age range, mean, and median. “Seniors” and “senior citizens” are not uniformly recognized age groups.


older adults, older people, persons 65 years and older, the older population, older men, women between the ages of 65 and 75, octogenarians, dementia, person with dementia


the elderly, elders, elderly people, the aged, aging dependents, seniors, and senior citizens, old men, senility, senile

Avoid confusing sex and gender. Do not use “man” to refer to all human beings. Use more inclusive terms instead.


people, humanity, human beings, humankind, human species, personnel, workers, human resources


man, mankind, man a project, man-machine interface, manpower, man's search for knowledge

Avoid the use of “homosexual.” Avoid the label “homosexuality,” which has been and continues to be associated with negative stereotypes, pathology, and the reduction of people's identities to their sexual behavior. Use specific descriptors of “gay,” “lesbian,” and so forth only when these are known identifications; sexual orientation may be described by individuals using a multitude of descriptive self-identification labels (lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, queer, and many others). Avoid confusing lesbian orientation with specific sexual behaviors.


200 gay male adolescents, participants were married and living together


200 adolescent homosexuals, participants were married and single

Use person-first or identity-first language as is appropriate for the community or person being discussed. Avoid terms that are condescending or patronizing. Avoid language that uses pictorial metaphors, negativistic terms that imply restriction, and slurs that insult or disparage a particular group.


person with a disability, person who has a disability, disabled person, person with a mental illness, Deaf person, hard-of- hearing person, Deaf-Blind person, blind person, visually impaired person, person who is blind, wheelchair user, person in a wheelchair, person with a mental illness


special needs, physically challenged, mentally challenged, mentally retarded, mentally ill, person with deafness, visually challenged person, brain- damaged, cripple, invalid, defective, nuts, alcoholic, meth addict

Capitalize racial and ethnic terms, do not use hyphens, avoid using the word minorities and use “people of color” or “underrepresented groups” 

A printable version of this guide, which will help you use affirming and inclusive language, is included for your convenience..

APA Style Tutorials

This video describes the purpose and components of APA style.

This video provides examples of in-text citations, references and the overall formatting of an APA style paper.