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APA Style

Your guide to citing and referencing in APA Style (7th edition)

Citation Basics

When you use someone else's words or ideas in an assignment, you must cite them. By citing them, you are acknowledging that the words/ideas are not your own.

This will make it clear to your instructor what ideas are your own, and what ideas belong to someone else.

It's perfectly okay to use someone else's ideas, as long as you cite them!

There are TWO elements to a citation:

In-text citation: These appear in your paper, and indicate to your reader that the information immediately preceding the citation came from another source.

References: This is the list of sources at the end of your paper that list all of the sources you used in your assignment.

A citation is not complete unless both elements -- an in-text citation, and corresponding References entry -- are present.

Note: You only have to cite sources that you used in your assignment. If you read an article and it was helpful, but you did not use it in your assignment, do not include it in your References.

General Format for References

Creator's name and initials. (Date). Title of source. Publication information or where the source came from.

Your References entry will depend on the source you used -- for example, a book, article, etc. Consult the examples in the left side menu of the Guide to see specific examples for your References entries.

General Format for In-Text Citations

When you quote from other sources in your paper, you can use a Direct Quote (take the author's words exactly) or Paraphrase (when you take the author's ideas and put them in your own words).

Direct Quote example

"Canada is a multicultural country" (Author lastname, Year, p. 2).


If the quote extends across multiple pages:

"Canada is a multicultural country" (Author lastname, Year, pp. 2-3).


No Page Numbers
If no page number is available (as is the case with websites), include the paragraph number.

"Canada is a multicultural country" (Author lastname, Year, para. #).

If there are many paragraphs that are too difficult to count, add a section/heading (if available).

"Canada is a multicultural country" (Author lastname, Year, Present Day Canada section, para. #).


If the quote extends across multiple paragraphs:

"Canada is a multicultural country" (Author lastname, Year, paras. 2-3).


Paraphrase example
Do not include quotation marks if you are paraphrasing.

Canada is a multicultural country (Author lastname, Year).


Number of Authors

1 Author

(Webster, 2018, p. 15).

2 Authors
For sources with 1-2 authors, list the last names of both authors in your in-text citation:

(Jones & Smith, 2010, p. 15).

3 or More Authors
For sources with 3 or more authors, list the first author only and replace the remaining authors with "et al.":

(Jones et al., 2015, p. 47).

Corporate Author

When a corporate entity is the author of a source, use the corporate name.

Public Health Agency of Canada. (2012). Curbing childhood obesity: A federal, provincial and territorial framework for action to promote healthy weights.

Same Author, Same Year

There may come a time when you have multiple sources that are published by the same author and in the same year. 

In these cases, you will add a References entry for each source. Assign lower case letters in the date field to distinguish them, starting with a. The letters are assigned alphabetically, by title.


Public Health Agency of Canada. (2012a). Biosafety and biosecurity.

Public Health Agency of Canada. (2012b). Food safety.

Include the letters in your in-text citation:

(Public Health Agency of Canada, 2012a, p. 2).

Block Quotes

Quotations longer than 40 words are formatted as block quotations:

  • Start on a new line
  • Omit double quotation marks
  • Indent the entire quotation about half an inch from the left margin
  • Double space the entire quote
  • Place citation after the final punctuation mark in the quotation

Blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah, blah blah blah:

This is a block quotation, longer than 40 words. Notice how there are no quotation marks and the entire quote is double-spaced and indented from the left margin. The citation comes after the closing punctuation. (Jones & Smith, 2010, p. 121)

Video: Citing Books

Parts of a Reference

Wondering how to tell the parts of a Reference? Download this handout, which features the elements of a Reference colour-coded.

Formatting Quotations

For more information on how to format quotations, download this handout!

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