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APA Style & Citation 7th edition

How to format your paper and cite your sources using 7th ed. APA style.

APA Style and Citation Basics

Central Penn uses APA Style & Citation Format. This style is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). A copy of the APA Manual is available for use in the library and the Learning Center.

Why do we cite?

We use citations when referring to the work of others not just because it is required.  Like many things, citation is required for good reasons:

  • it gives credit to author(s) for their work
  • it allows the readers to find the source(s) cited and read those sources for themselves
  • it demonstrates that the writer(s) have done research on the topic, which helps make the arguments stronger

When should I cite?

Whenever you:

  • quote a source
  • summarize a source
  • paraphrase a source (even if it's in your own words)
  • borrow an image, graph, statistics, etc.

Where do I cite?

Always cite the source in two places:

1. An abbreviated citation goes in the text of your paper immediately adjacent to the borrowed material. This is your 'in-text' citation.

2. The full citation should be listed in the References at the end of your paper

Every source cited in the text of your paper should have a matching citation on your Reference page, and vice-versa. The exception to this is if you are citing a 'personal communication' such as emails, texts, interviews you have conducted, lecture notes... basically anything that can not be found by the reader.

When is it OK to skip the citation?

  • When you're stating your own opinion
  • When the information is considered "common knowledge" (meaning it's a non-controversial fact you could find in multiple sources, such as: George Washington was the first president of the United States)
  • When you're using your own original work - such as a study you conducted for your assignment

(See our Academic Integrity guide for more information)