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APA Style -6th edition

This guide provides resources for learning how to cite your sources using APA Style guidelines.

About the 6th Edition

This guide is for the 6th edition of APA. While some classes are still using this edition, there is a newer edition available. Unless you are instructed to use the 6th edition, please use 7th edition guidelines.


What is APA Style?

APA style decorative image

"When we use an editorial style, we remove the distraction of puzzling over the correct punctuation for a reference or the proper form for numbers in text. Those elements are codified in the rules we follow for clear communication, allowing us to focus our intellectual energy on the substance of our research" (American Psychological Association, 2010, p.xiii).

American Psychological Association (APA) style is commonly used for citing references in student papers in science and social science courses, such as Psychology, Nursing, and Social Work.

 The purpose of documentation is to:

  • Identify (cite) other people’s ideas and information used within your essay or term paper.
  • Indicate the authors or sources of these in a references list at the end of your paper.
American Psychological Association. (2010). APA Manual (Publication manual of the American Psychological Association). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Anatomy of an APA citation

While you will most likely use several different types of materials in your research papers or projects, journal articles will be the most common. Your instructor may even ask you to locate an article by providing you with the citation. The diagram below will help you to better understand the components of a basic APA journal citation and help you to locate an article in the library's Journal Finder or in one of it's several databases.

What's a DOI?

"A DOI name - a digital identifier for any object of intellectual property. A DOI name provides a means of persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related current data in a structured extensible way." From The DOI System

What's New in the 6th Edition

Some of the changes include:

  • the use of Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) in references to print and electronic sources (when available).  See pages 188 to 192 in the APA Manual for more information.
  • expanded coverage of online resources

To learn more about the changes made in the new edition, check out the "What's New" section on the official APA website.

APA Blog

The APA Style Blog is the official companion to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition. It's run by a group of experts who work with APA Style every day.


The template for this libguide came from Franklin University's APA style libguide. Thanks to Franklin University for letting me borrow portions for this guide.