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APA 7 referencing style: Introduction

A guide to using the APA 7th edition referencing system for in-text citations and reference lists.

APA Referencing

APA referencing is the author-date style of referencing described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. In this style, each reference consists of an in-text citation of the author and date, with the full details in the reference list at the end of the document.

This Guide provides an introduction to the most commonly used elements in the APA7 style. For further information, refer to the Publication Manual, or the APA Style Blog.

APA6 to APA7

In late 2019, the American Psychological Association published the seventh edition of the Publication Manual. Significant changes from APA6 referencing include:

  • For in-text citations use et al. for 3 or more authors
  • In the reference list, name the first 20 authors. If more than 20, name the first 19, place an ellipsis [...] then the final name. Tip: Using EndNote will make listing all those authors much easier.
  • Use a DOI in the reference list, if present. If not, use a URL that links to the document, otherwise treat as print.
  • Only provide a database name if the content has been produced by that platform, for example, commentaries in Up-To-Date
  • Place of publication and device information is no longer needed (in most instances)

If using EndNote there are multiple versions of the APA style available, you will need to download APA 7th edition as per these instructions.


Two parts to acknowledging references in APA

The 2 parts to acknowledging reference material in the APA style work in partnership, to indicate to your reader where your ideas have come from and how they can locate the original source of these:

  • the citation itself, which appears directly associated with a quote, summary or paraphrase.  In the APA style an in-text citation can be given in
    • parenthesis style as (Author, date) eg (Smith, 2014) or 
    • narrative style as Author (date)
  • the complete description of the source, presented in an alphabetical list of references at the end of the work.  Alphabetising is primarily by the surname of the first author. For detailed instructions on variations see the APA Manual.

How to use this APA Referencing guide: 

  • View our APA guiding principles for an outline of the in-text and end-text construction rules applicable to all formats.
  • View our APA format examples for some of the most common formats, with a link to the APA Style Blog for many more examples. 
  • See our APA sample text for some of the key variations used to acknowledge sources in-text using APA Style. 

APA7 reference format examples - in-text and end-text in works

The overarching principle in referencing or citing is that readers should be able to follow your sources if they are interested in finding out more about a topic.  You should always acknowledge other authors whose ideas or information you have used.

For further examples see the APA Style website, or the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition.

APA All Examples (pdf)