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Citation Help for APA, 7th Edition: Reference Formats

Help with common issues and questions with APA 7th edition

Reference Formats

 Person reading a book on a stack of booksPlease use the pull-down menu on the "Reference Formats" tab to see examples and explanations for a variety of resources.

See the APA FAQs tab for some frequently asked questions; however, please consult the APA Manual 7th edition for more complex resources or ones that do not follow the standard pattern. Copies of this manual are available on reserve at the Library or else you can purchase copies at a bookstore near you.


Disclaimer: The Librarians make no claims to be experts in APA style. However, we are frequently asked questions about how to do it. If you disagree with our interpretations of the style manuals, or if we are flat-out wrong, please email the Library.


What is a reference?

When writing in APA style, there are two parts needed to alert readers of the sources used in the paper. The first part is the in-text citation, which includes the author and date of the source. This alerts the reader what sources influenced your writing, gives credit to the sources, helps you to avoid plagiarism, and demonstrates your integrity as a future professional. 

The second part is the reference list. The reference list provides the reader with the information needed to identify and track down sources used in the paper. This allows the reader to learn more about the subject matter if the reader would like to learn more. 

When creating references for the reference list, there are 4 parts or elements to the reference that answers 4 questions. Looking for these 4 parts or elements and answering these 4 questions will help you create a reference for just about any source you use in a paper. 

The 4 parts to the reference and the 4 questions are as follows:

  1. Author - Who is responsible for the source?
  2. Publication date - When was the work published?
  3. Title of the source - What is the title of the work, or what is it called?
  4. Source - Where can I find or retrieve the work? 

​Additionally, all sources will fall into 4 major source type categories. These 4 categories are as follows:

  1. Textual works - these types of sources include books, book chapters, articles, reports, blogs, and more.
  2. Data sets, software, and test groups - these types of sources include software, mobile apps, data sets, tests, scales, and inventories.
  3. Audiovisual media group -  these types of sources include movies, music, streaming videos, podcasts, images, photographs, and more. 
  4. Online media group - these types of sources include social media, webpages, and websites. 

How do I create references?

The CSS librarians have created examples and step-by-step instructions for creating some of the most common references used in course papers at CSS. Click on the pull-down menu on the Reference tab to locate these examples and instructions. 

Additional Resources

More Information

For more information about references, see Chapters 9 and 10 of the APA Manual, 7th edition.