APA generally uses the (author, date) format for in-text citations. This means that you include the author’s surname followed by the date of publication in parentheses at the end of your, paraphrase or summary. When you are using direct quotes, you include the (author, date, page) at the end of the quote, including the abbreviation p. (for a single page) or pp. (for multiple pages).

If you mention the author by name in your leading phrase, you need to include the (date) after the author’s name and the (page) at the end of the quote or paraphrase. For example:

“Shakespeare could not have chosen a more propitious time to come of age.”(Bryson and Gosney, 2012, p.101)

According to Bryson and Gosney (2012), Shakespeare came into his strength at the best possible time (p.101).

If you are citing resources which do not include a fixed layout or page numbers, you should reference another logical indicator, such as parapgraph, chapter or subheading instead at the end of your quote or paraphrase.

If the resource does not have an author, you include the first item or phrase from the References List. The first item could be the author, article title, website name or film name etc.. For example:

According to “William Shakespeare Biography” (2000), “Shakespeare’s works include 38 plays, 2 narrative poems, 154 sonnets, and a variety of other poems.” (para. 8).

No original manuscripts of Shakespeare’s plays are known to exist today.” (“William Shakespeare Biography”,  2000, para. 8).


APA uses a Reference List which appears at the end of your work, beginning on a new page titled ‘References’ centered and in bold. The items are listed alphabetically by the first item, and if the reference for an item is longer than one line, the rest of the lines for that item are indented. Only include items you have cited in your work.

APA generally includes the following information for a physical book, article, story or poem etc.:

  1. Author (Surname, Initials)
    1. Include other contributers here in the same format, however if there are more than  2 authors, use
  2. (Date of Publication)
  3. Title of source – only the first letter or porper nouns are capitalized
    1. For chapters or smaller parts of a work – do not italicize
  4. In Initials and surname of the author, Title of container – if part of a larger work, journal, magazine etc.
  5. (Edition
  6. Volume and/or Number – for journals and encyclopedias
  7. Location – page numbers etc.)
  8. Publisher

For example:

Bryson, B., & Gosney, J. (2012). Shakespeare : the illustrated edition. Harper Press.

For digital resources, referencing is more difficult as there are so many variables. References for a basic website gernerally include:

  1. Author (Surname, Initials) if  an author is listed
    1. If written by a group or organization, use that name
    2. If the author and site name are the same, omit the name from the citation
    3. If there is no author, use the title instead and list the date after
  2. (Year, Month, Day) of publication
  3. Title of the Article or page
  4. Site name
  5. Date retrieved
  6. URL

This example has no author listed, and the site name is the same as the publishing group:

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. (2000). William Shakespeare Biography.

Citing images, tables, graphs etc. (just the basics to start)

When using pictures and graphs to illustrate your argument, you still need to cite and reference each item. You need to clearly label each item as a Figure. Each item is captioned  Figure 1. etc., in bold above the image or table. On the next line, the caption should include a brief title in italics and title case (each word is capatilized, except for small words such as articles and prepositions). If you have adapted or reproduced the item from another source, you should also acknowledge the original source in a Note directly below the image.

If you are the creator or author of the item, you do not need to include an entry in the Reference List – it is assumed that you created the item unless otherwise indicated. If you adapt or reproduce an image or table from another source, your should include the item in your Reference List.

You captions begin with the Figure Number, then provide enough detail to connect with your in-text citation.  Your in-text citation would then refer directly to the Figure. The information in your Note should refer the reader to the entry in your Reference List.

APA references for images (not including images you have created yourself), graphs, tables etc. generally include:

  1. The creator of the image – Surname, Initials
  2. (The date of the compostion)
  3. The title of the image, or [a brief discription if there is no title]
  4. [Type of material] (photographs, charts, online image
  5. Location
  6. URL

For images you have created yourself:

Figure 1.

Asian Dragon

In-text citation:

As seen in Figure 1, the decorations for Chinese New Year at Emquartier Mall in Bangkok, concided perfectly with Appreciate a Dragon Day, 2021.

Reference List entry:

None needed as the photo was taken by me.

For images you have source online:

Figure 2.

Dragon in Asia

In-text citation:

Figure 2. is an example of the proliferation of dragons found in Asian art.

Reference List entry:

Eng, M. (2015). Dragon in Asia [Photopgraph]. Pixabay.

For more in depth information about APA citations and references, check out these resources:

Purdue Owl - Writing Lab