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How to Cite a Journal Article in APA Style | Format & Example
Published on November 5, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 21, 2023.
An APA Style citation for a journal article includes the author name(s), publication year, article title, journal name, volume and issue number, page range of the article, and a DOI (if available). Use the buttons below to explore the format.
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Table of contents, basic format for an apa journal citation, citing an article with an elocator or article number, citing unpublished journal articles, special issue of a journal, frequently asked questions about apa style citations.
The article title appears in plain text and sentence case, while the journal name is italicized and in title case (all major words capitalized).
When viewing a journal article online, the required information can usually be found on the access page.
Linking to online journal articles
A DOI should always be used where available. Some databases do not list one, but you may still find one by looking for the same article on another database. You don’t need to include the name of the database in your citation.
If no DOI is available and the article was accessed through a database, do not include a URL.
If the article is not from a database, but from another website (e.g. the journal’s own website), you should ideally use a stable URL: this is often provided under a “share” button. Otherwise, copy the URL from your browser’s address bar.
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Articles published only in PDF form may provide an article number or “eLocator” instead of a page range; in this case, include the number in your citation, preceded by the word “Article.”
When citing from an article that has not yet been formally published, the format varies depending on whether or not it has already been submitted to a journal. Note that different formats are used for unpublished dissertations and raw data .
The text of an article which has not yet appeared online or in publication (i.e. which is only available directly from the author) should be cited as an “Unpublished manuscript.” The title is italicized and information about the author’s university is included if available:
Article submitted for publication
An article that has been submitted to a journal but not yet accepted is cited as a “Manuscript submitted for publication.” The title is italicized, and the name of the journal to which it was submitted is not included:
Article in press
An article that has been submitted and accepted for publication in a journal is cited as “in press.” Here, the name of the journal is included, university information is omitted, and “in press” is written in place of the year (both in the reference list and the in-text citation):
If you want to cite a special issue of a journal rather than a regular article, the name(s) of the editor(s) and the title of the issue appear in place of the author’s name and article title:
Note that if you want to cite an individual article from the special issue, it can just be cited in the basic format for journal articles.
In an APA journal citation , if a DOI (digital object identifier) is available for an article, always include it.
If an article has no DOI, and you accessed it through a database or in print, just omit the DOI.
If an article has no DOI, and you accessed it through a website other than a database (for example, the journal’s own website), include a URL linking to the article.
Include the DOI at the very end of the APA reference entry . If you’re using the 6th edition APA guidelines, the DOI is preceded by the label “doi:”. In the 7th edition , the DOI is preceded by ‘https://doi.org/’.
- 6th edition: doi: 10.1177/0894439316660340
- 7th edition: https://doi.org/ 10.1177/0894439316660340
APA citation example (7th edition)
Hawi, N. S., & Samaha, M. (2016). The relations among social media addiction, self-esteem, and life satisfaction in university students. Social Science Computer Review , 35 (5), 576–586. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894439316660340
The abbreviation “ et al. ” (meaning “and others”) is used to shorten APA in-text citations with three or more authors . Here’s how it works:
Only include the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.”, a comma and the year of publication, for example (Taylor et al., 2018).
You may include up to 20 authors in a reference list entry .
When an article has more than 20 authors, replace the names prior to the final listed author with an ellipsis, but do not omit the final author:
Davis, Y., Smith, J., Caulfield, F., Pullman, H., Carlisle, J., Donahue, S. D., James, F., O’Donnell, K., Singh, J., Johnson, L., Streefkerk, R., McCombes, S., Corrieri, L., Valck, X., Baldwin, F. M., Lorde, J., Wardell, K., Lao, W., Yang, P., . . . O’Brien, T. (2012).
In an APA reference list , journal article citations include only the year of publication, not the exact date, month, or season.
The inclusion of volume and issue numbers makes a more specific date unnecessary.
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Caulfield, J. (2023, June 21). How to Cite a Journal Article in APA Style | Format & Example. Scribbr. Retrieved August 30, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-examples/journal-article/
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In-Text Citations: The Basics
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Note: This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style can be found here .
Reference citations in text are covered on pages 261-268 of the Publication Manual. What follows are some general guidelines for referring to the works of others in your essay.
Note: On pages 117-118, the Publication Manual suggests that authors of research papers should use the past tense or present perfect tense for signal phrases that occur in the literature review and procedure descriptions (for example, Jones (1998) found or Jones (1998) has found ...). Contexts other than traditionally-structured research writing may permit the simple present tense (for example, Jones (1998) finds ).
APA Citation Basics
When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, like, for example, (Jones, 1998). One complete reference for each source should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.
If you are referring to an idea from another work but NOT directly quoting the material, or making reference to an entire book, article or other work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication and not the page number in your in-text reference.
On the other hand, if you are directly quoting or borrowing from another work, you should include the page number at the end of the parenthetical citation. Use the abbreviation “p.” (for one page) or “pp.” (for multiple pages) before listing the page number(s). Use an en dash for page ranges. For example, you might write (Jones, 1998, p. 199) or (Jones, 1998, pp. 199–201). This information is reiterated below.
Regardless of how they are referenced, all sources that are cited in the text must appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.
In-text citation capitalization, quotes, and italics/underlining
- Always capitalize proper nouns, including author names and initials: D. Jones.
- If you refer to the title of a source within your paper, capitalize all words that are four letters long or greater within the title of a source: Permanence and Change . Exceptions apply to short words that are verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs: Writing New Media , There Is Nothing Left to Lose .
( Note: in your References list, only the first word of a title will be capitalized: Writing new media .)
- When capitalizing titles, capitalize both words in a hyphenated compound word: Natural-Born Cyborgs .
- Capitalize the first word after a dash or colon: "Defining Film Rhetoric: The Case of Hitchcock's Vertigo ."
- If the title of the work is italicized in your reference list, italicize it and use title case capitalization in the text: The Closing of the American Mind ; The Wizard of Oz ; Friends .
- If the title of the work is not italicized in your reference list, use double quotation marks and title case capitalization (even though the reference list uses sentence case): "Multimedia Narration: Constructing Possible Worlds;" "The One Where Chandler Can't Cry."
If you are directly quoting from a work, you will need to include the author, year of publication, and page number for the reference (preceded by "p." for a single page and “pp.” for a span of multiple pages, with the page numbers separated by an en dash).
You can introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author's last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.
If you do not include the author’s name in the text of the sentence, place the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation.
Place direct quotations that are 40 words or longer in a free-standing block of typewritten lines and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented 1/2 inch from the left margin, i.e., in the same place you would begin a new paragraph. Type the entire quotation on the new margin, and indent the first line of any subsequent paragraph within the quotation 1/2 inch from the new margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout, but do not add an extra blank line before or after it. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.
Because block quotation formatting is difficult for us to replicate in the OWL's content management system, we have simply provided a screenshot of a generic example below.
Formatting example for block quotations in APA 7 style.
Quotations from sources without pages
Direct quotations from sources that do not contain pages should not reference a page number. Instead, you may reference another logical identifying element: a paragraph, a chapter number, a section number, a table number, or something else. Older works (like religious texts) can also incorporate special location identifiers like verse numbers. In short: pick a substitute for page numbers that makes sense for your source.
Summary or paraphrase
If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference and may omit the page numbers. APA guidelines, however, do encourage including a page range for a summary or paraphrase when it will help the reader find the information in a longer work.