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APA Style Guide, 7th ed.

This guide provides tips and examples for APA style formatting of papers and citations.

Anatomy of a Citation

APA citations contain the following information:

  • Author name(s)
  • Publication date
  • Title of the work (Only the first word of the title and subtitle should be capitalized, with the exception of proper nouns, e.g. American).
  • Publication data (like name of magazine, volume number, page numbers, etc.)
  • DOI (if available) - DOI stands for digital object identifier and is most often associated with academic journal articles.

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A Note about DOI (Digital Object Identifier)

A DOI is a digital object identifier and it’s associated with electronic content, most often academic journal articles. It is commonly placed in the top header or bottom footer of an article. If no DOI is listed, you can search the CrossRef website to try to find it.

  1. In the search box at the top, select "Search metadata".
  2. Search by title or author to see if you can find a DOI for your source. A DOI is preferred over a URL.

Screen shot showing steps 1-2 described in text

DOI versus URL

The APA Style website explains when to use a DOI versus a website address. Here are some of the basic rules:

For ebooks and online periodical articles found on the web:

  • If the source has a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), include it.
  • If the source does not have a DOI, cite the web address for the source (URL).
  • It is OK to use a shortened DOI or URL as long as it works.

For online periodical articles found through a library subscription database:

  • If the article has a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), include it. If a DOI is not listed on your source, try searching the CrossRef website.
  • If the article has no DOI, do not include a URL or database information. The reference should be the same as the reference for a print version of the work.
  • For works from databases that publish original, proprietary material available only in that database (such as the UpToDate database) or for works of limited circulation in databases (such as monographs in the ERIC database), include the name of the database or archive and the URL of the work. If the URL requires a login or is session-specific (meaning it will not resolve for readers), provide the URL of the database or archive home page or login page instead of the URL for the work. See the page on including database information in references for more information.
  • It is OK to use a shortened URL or DOI as long as it works.