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APA 6th Edition Citation Style

APA Citation Help

Need more help with APA citation? 

Visit the APA Frequently Asked Questions or the APA Style Blog. 


What is a DOI?

A noticeable change with APA 6th edition is an expanded section on citing electronic sources – in particular, the inclusion of DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) in the reference list.


What is a DOI?

A DOI (digital object identifier) is a unique and permanent code assigned to many, but not all, electronically published sources. A DOI is a persistent link that will take you straight to a document no matter where it is located on the Internet. DOIs do not change.

When a DOI is used, no further retrieval information is needed to identify or locate the content. Include the DOI as the final component of your source citation.


How do I find DOIs?

In best publishing practices, the DOI should be listed prominently on the first page of an article, whether in print or online.

Typically the DOI is located on the first page of the journal article near the copyright notice.


The DOI can also be found on the database landing page for the article.



Working with DOIs

Use this format for the DOI in references: doi:xxxxxxx

Copy and paste the DOI into your reference list, to avoid transcription errors.

When a DOI is used, no further retrieval information is needed to identify or locate the content.



Works by single and multiple authors

Type of
First citation
in text
Subsequent citations in text Parenthetical format, first citation in text Parenthetical format, subsequent citations in text
One work by one author Walker (2007) Walker (2007) (Walker, 2007) (Walker, 2007)
One work by two authors Walker and Allen (2004) Walker and Allen (2004) (Walker & Allen, 2004) (Walker & Allen, 2004)
One work by three authors Bradley, Ramirez, and Soo (1999) Bradley et al. (1999) Bradley, Ramirez, & Soo, 1999) (Bradley et al., 1999)
One work by four authors Bradley, Ramirez, Soo, and Walsh (2006) Bradley et al. (2006) Bradley, Ramirez, Soo, & Walsh 2006) (Bradley et al., 2006)
One work by five authors Walker, Allen, Bradley, Ramirez, and Soo (2008) Walker et al. (2008) (Walker, Allen, Bradley, Ramirez, & Soo 2008) (Walker et al., 2008)
One work by six or more authors Wasserstein et al. (2005) Wasserstein et al. (2005) (Wasserstein et al., 2005) (Wasserstein et al., 2005)
Groups (readily identified through abbreviation) as authors National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2003) NIMH (2003) (National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 2003) (NIMH, 2003)
Groups (no abbreviation) as authors University of Pittsburgh (2005) University of Pittsburgh (2005) (University of Pittsburgh, 2005) (University of Pittsburgh, 2005)


From the APA Publication Manual 6th ed (p. 177).

Works with an Anonymous Author

When a work's author is designated as "Anonymous," cite in text the word Anonymous followed by a comma and the date:

     (Anonymous, 2010)

In the reference list, an anonymous work is alphabetized by the word Anonymous

     Anonymous, (2010).  Food safety shake-up need in the USA.  The Lancet, 375(9732), 2122.  Retrieved from


Qur'an or Other Classical Religious Works

Reference list entries are not required for major classical religious works such as the Qur'an.  Simply identify the first version you used in the first in-text citation. 

Parts of classical works (such as chapters, verses, lines) are numbered systematically across all editions, so use these numbers instead of page numbers when referring to specific parts of your source.

     (Qur'an 5:3-4)

Arabic Script Titles

In text citation: (Last name of author transliterated, year of publication).

         Example:  (Barādah, 1987)

Reference list citation: Last Name of author transliterated, Author’s first initial. (Year of publication). Arabic title transliterated and italicized [English translation of the title]. Place of publication: Name of Publisher.

         Example:  Barādah, M. (1987). Luʻbat al-nisyān [The game of forgetting]. Al-Ribāṭ: Dār al-Amān

For tips on how to do a transliteration of an Arabic script, please check the Library of Congress Arabic Romanization Table

Secondary Sources

If the text you are reading cites a primary source [to which you do not have access], how do you provide a citation?

The APA Publication Manual provides the following guidelines:

  • Cite the secondary source [the text you are reading] in the reference list.
  • In text, name the original work [to which you do not have access] and give a citation to the secondary source [the text you are reading].


         Allport's diary (as cited in Nicholson, 2003).