How to Reference Journal Articles in APA Format

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Do you know how to create references for journal articles in APA format? If you write a psychology paper, then you are going to probably need to reference a number of different journal articles. Such articles summarize the results of studies and experiments conducted by researchers. In most cases, you will need to create references for at least five or more journal articles for every APA format paper you write.

APA format details a set of clear rules for referencing articles that appear in academic journals and other periodicals. These vary somewhat based on where the article appears and who the authors are. While many articles you will use in your references appear in academic and professional journals, you might also find articles in magazines, newspapers, and online publications.

The reference section is one of the easiest places to lose points due to incorrect APA format, so always check your references before you hand in your psychology papers. Learning to reference articles in proper APA style can help you throughout your study of psychology.

Basic Structure for Journal Article References

Start by listing the author's last name and first initials, followed by the date of publication in parentheses. Provide the title of the article, but only capitalize the first letter of the title. Next, list the journal or periodical and volume number in italics, followed by the issue number in parentheses. Finally, provide the page numbers where the article can be found.

Examples

Author, I. N. (Year). Title of the article. Title of the Journal or Periodical, volume number(issue number), page numbers.

or

Smith, L. V. (2000). Referencing articles in APA format. APA Format Weekly, 34(1), 4-10.

If possible, include the DOI (digital object identifier) number at the end of your reference. If a DOI number is not available and you accessed the article online, give the URL of the journal's home page.

Formatting Rules

  • Capitalize the first word in the title, subtitle, and proper nouns.
  • References should be double-spaced.
  • The first line of each reference should be flush left and any remaining lines should be indented.

Be sure to check your references using the official Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. See an example of different types of references and learn more about APA format.

Magazine Articles

The structure for an article appearing in a magazine is similar to that of a journal article. However, the publication date should also include the month and day of publication.

Example

James, S. A. (2001, June 7). Magazine articles in APA format. Newsweek, 20, 48-52.

Newspaper Articles

References for newspaper articles follow the basic structure as magazines, but you should list each individual page the article appears on rather than recording a page range.

Example

Tensky, J. A. (2004, January 5). How to cite newspaper articles. The New York Times, 4D, 5D.

Articles With Two Authors

If an article has two authors, follow the basic format for a journal reference. Place a comma after the first initial of the first author followed by an ampersand (&). Then include the last name and first initial of the second author.

Example

Mischel, W., & Baker, N. (1975). Cognitive transformations of reward objects through instructions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 254-261.

Articles With Three to Twenty Authors

 For journal articles with three to 20 authors, follow a similar format as you would with two authors, but separate each author and initials with a comma. The final author should be preceded by an ampersand. Follow this same format for each additional author up to 20 authors.

Examples

Hart, D., Keller, M., Edelstein, W., & Hofmann, V. (1998). Childhood personality influences on social-cognitive development: A longitudinal study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1288-1289. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.74.5.1278

and

Keller, J. L., Smithfield, K. B., Ellis, M., Michelina, R., & Bels, S. (1987). The limitations of anchoring bias. Journal of Market Research, 17, 115-119.

Articles With More Than Twenty Authors

The rules for referencing both single and multiple authors apply to all sources, whether the material came from books, magazine articles, newspaper articles, journal articles, or online sources. Include the last name and first initials of each author, with each individual separated by a comma. The last author should be preceded with an ampersand.

If the article includes 20 or fewer authors, list each author separately. If there are more than 20, include the first 19 and then include an ellipses (. . . ) in place of the author names before listing the final author.

Example

Arlo, A., Black, B., Clark, C., Davidson, D., Emerson, E., Fischer, F., Grahmann, G., Habib, H., Ianelli, I., Juarez, J., Kobayashi, K., Lee, L., Martin, M., Naim, N., Odelsson, O., Pierce, P., Qiang, Q., Reed, R., Scofield, S., . . . Thatcher, T. (2011). Even more references. APA Format Today, 11(4), 30-38.

Articles With No Author

If an article does not cite any authors, then start by giving the title of the article, followed by the publication date, source, and URL if you accessed the article electronically.

Example

Scientists seek source of creativity. (2012, March, 6). Dayton County News. http://www.daytoncountynews.com/news/39756_39275.html

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  • American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). The American Psychological Association, 2019.