Skip to Main Content

Citation Style Guides: APA

Random Thoughts

The American Psychological Association has posted several lengthy examples of student and professional papers on their website.  These include changes in the 7th ed. APA Manual of Style.



Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)

APA Style emphasizes DOIs when citing journal articles.  Many modern scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals use DOIs.  Consequently, when you see a DOI in a list of references in a book or article, it is most likely a scholarly source.  It also appears to be more current because older scholarly articles do not have them. 

In-Text Citations (Parenthetical Citations)

APA Style does not prefer parenthetical citations like MLA or Chicago.  They regard in-text citations as part of the narrative.  Therefore, page numbers are not strictly required.  Some students are required to include page numbers and a formal parenthetical citation is necessary. 



1) According to Fontane (2020), APA does not require page numbers.

2) APA does not require page numbers (Fontane, 2020, p. 285).

3) The 7th edition of the APA Manual (2019) allows citations with three or more authors to be abbreviated by listing the first author followed by "et al."  For example: "Smith, Ellenio, & Pruitt (2019)" now can be "Smith et al. (2019)."

If there are two authors with the same last name, start the citation with the first initial of the author's first name.


URLs and DOIs?

APA Style asks for as much information as possible; but Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) are often changing in electronic format.  A small group of publishers organize their content with the Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) system to keep a persistent identifier for scholarly articles.  APA prefers DOIs to URLs.  Sometimes DOIs are difficult to locate.  Some database aggregators, such as Ebscohost and JSTOR, change URLs or do not have DOIs for all of their content.  In such cases, you may cite the database ( instead. 


Double or Single Spacing?

APA strongly indicates double spacing for everything including, text, captions, quotations, and footnotes. 

You may use single spacing or 1.5 spacing for tables and figures.


Spacing after punctuation marks Sec. 4.01:

Use one space after commas, colons, semicolons, periods, parts of a reference citation, and initials in names.

Use one space after the end of each sentence (APA 7th Ed.).

McNeese State University Frazar Memorial Library | Box 91445 | Lake Charles, LA 70609 | 337-475-5725 |

McNeese State University | 4205 Ryan St., Lake Charles, LA 70609 | 800-622-3352
EOE/AA/ADA | A member of the University of Louisiana System | Web Disclaimer | Policy Statements | University Status & Emergency Preparedness