Learn and Generate Bibliographies, Citations, and Works Cited

APA Citation Guidelines

APA 7 citation follows the author-date style of formatting in-text and reference list entries. In APA author-date style, the last name of the author and the first name initial is the first element. After that, the year of publication is added to the citation, followed by the rest of the source data. A citation is the combination of the in-text citation and the full source citation in the reference list.

Citation generator

In-Text Citation Format

An APA in-text citation quotes, paraphrases, or summarizes research prepared by others. It’s essential to credit sources for many reasons, including avoiding plagiarism.

To create an in-text citation in an APA school paper, follow the author-date style:


Smith (2017) found that among samples taken by college students….

College students took samples of data (Smith, 2017).

Smith argued that “college students tend to be reliable while collecting samples” (2017, p. 54).

The in-text citation points the reader to the full source citation in the reference list. Include a source citation for every in-text citation except:

  • Classical works
  • Personal communications

Reference Source Citation

Students discussing APA Citations for bibliography

At the end of your paper, create a reference list that includes all the sources you’ve listed within the body of your paper. Each APA source citation consists of these elements:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Title
  • Publication data
  • Retrieval data

The reference citation should have enough data to guide the reader to the exact source.


Smith, J. (2017). Understanding research: College students sample data. E-Journal of College Research, 2(2), 38-48. http://www.xxxxxxxxx

Teriant, B. (2018). Data sampling. Research Press.

Note: If a source citation ends in an URL or DOI, do not add a period at the end.


After you’ve completed the reference list, go back through your paper, and make sure you’ve matched every in-text citation to a full source citation.

Arranging APA References

To arrange your APA list, go through your preliminary bibliography or reference list. Delete sources you did not use in your paper. Alphabetize your APA references by using the letter by letter method. Sort by the author’s last name and use initials for first names.

Follow these steps to finalize your references:

  1. Match each source citation against the original publication for accuracy.
  2. Verify the spelling of author names, titles, and publication information.
  3. Check the dates of the publication, especially if you have multiple works by the same author.
  4. Ensure in-text citations match up with reference source citations.

Your reference list will follow the same formatting as the rest of your APA paper.

Learning to create properly formatted in-text and source citations in APA format will make it easier for you to prepare research papers throughout your college years.

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