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PSY-1205 Nature of Work - Mental Health


The 4 Elements of an APA Reference:


Author / Creator

  • Each author/creator is listed last name first, followed by a comma and their initials.
  • Use an ampersand (&) in front of the final author's name. All other authors' names are separated by commas.
  • Some articles have a lot of authors - APA 7 requires you to list the first 20 authors, if there are that many.
  • In some cases no individual author(s) are listed. There is most likely a group author - e.g., an organization or government agency. List the full name of the organization in the author portion of your reference, as it appears on the source.
  • By default the author section credits writers. Some creators play other roles, though, and in those cases, you should note that role in parentheses following the creator's name, initials, and the period. E.g. Jones, E. K. (Editor). or Barrett, J. M. (Director).


  • The publication date should be placed in parentheses, followed by a period.
  • For most source types, including books and journal articles, only the year of publication is necessary.
  • For frequently published source types, like newspaper articles, blog posts, and social media posts, use the full date - (year, month day).


  • This is where it gets a little confusing. In APA there are two distinct conventions for titles, depending on whether the source referenced is a work that stands on its own, or is a part of a larger work.

    Those works that stand alone should appear in your citation in italics
    • Examples include: books, reports, webpages and websites

    Those works that are part of a greater whole should not be italicized in the title. In these cases the larger work appears in the Source section, in italics
    • Examples include: journal articles, edited book chapters

  • For more on these two distinct title categories, see the APA Style Blog's post entitled, "A Tale of Two Reference Formats," or see pages 291-293 in the Publication Manual.

  • APA requires the use of sentence case for the title. The first letter of the first word in the title and subtitle (the part that usually appears after a colon, or sometimes a question mark) should be capitalized. All other words, unless they are proper nouns or names, should not be capitalized, as they would appear in a sentence.

  • The standard forms of academic publishing - books, articles, reports - do not require any bracketed description following the title.
  • For other source types you will need to include a brief description in brackets, denoting the format of the source.
    • Examples include: dissertations and theses, social media, including YouTube videos, films, TV series episodes, songs, software and mobile apps, conference sessions, data sets, webinars, press releases, radio broadcasts, photographs, etc. E.g. [Film]. or [Data set].


  • The purpose of the Source section within a reference is to give readers a path to locating that source.
  • As with Titles, the two distinct source types impact the format patterns of the Source section:

    • For those works that stand alone (books, reports, websites), the Source is the publisher, a specific database or archive name (if that is the only place it can be found), the social media site, or the name of the website. Additionally, the Source should include the appropriate access point (DOI or URL), if applicable.

    • For those works that are part of a larger entity (journal articles, edited book chapters), the Source is that larger entity - the journal name, magazine name, newspaper name, or the title of the edited book. Additionally, the Source should include the appropriate access point (DOI or URL), if applicable.

  • When the name of the publisher or website is the same as the author name (in the case of a group or organizational author), APA advises against repetition, so in that scenario you should leave the publisher / website section out of your reference.

  • Generally, you should NOT include the name of the library research database (e.g. Academic Search Complete, Education Source, PsycINFO, etc.), that you used to access a source.
  • The exceptions to this general rule are sources that are unique and only available from a particular provider - e.g. dissertations from ProQuest, documents in an Archive, texts in an institutional or subject-based repository or preprint archive, and primary sources from JSTOR.

  • DOIs and URLs
    • Most recently published academic literature will have a DOI, or digital object identifier. This unique ID distinguishes similarly sounding titles from one another and provides a durable access point to a publisher listing of that source.
    • If there is a DOI, you should always include it.
    • For an online source that has both a DOI and a URL, use the DOI in your reference. (Do not include the URL).
    • For an online source that does not have a DOI, you should use the URL - unless it is from an academic research database like Ebsco or ProQuest. APA's 7th edition guidelines advise that since sources found in library research databases are widely available, you do NOT need to list the database name or include a URL. In this scenario the reference would look exactly the same as if it were a print version of the work.

    • DOIs and URLs should show as clickable hyperlinks in your reference.
    • If the DOI is not presented as a link (with http or https:) in your source, you can prepend in front of the actual DOI number (begins with 10).
    • Do not add 'retrieved from' or 'accessed from' before the DOI or URL.
    • Do not put a period after the DOI or URL. This could interfere with the link.