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How to Cite an Online Reference APA Style


While American Psychological Association (APA) style covers a wide range of concerns regarding research papers---from style to structure to punctuation---students and other writers best know it as a guidebook for citing research sources. As use of the Internet for research has proliferated, APA style has expanded to handle electronic sources. Citing online references in APA style is not all that different from how you list traditional, print sources; all that APA requires is additional location information.

List the author or author's names to lead off your citation, just as you do with print sources. All examples follow the guidance of the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL).

Jones, N.

Jones, N. & Craftsman, J.

Include the date of publication after the author or author's name.

Jones, N. (2010).

Insert the title of the article after the date of publication. Do not use special formatting.

Jones, N. (2010). Public transportation in Los Angeles.

Italicize the title of the online periodical. Include the volume and issue number, if applicable.

Jones, N. (2010). Public transportation in Los Angeles. Journal of Transportation

Research, 10(1).

List the full URL of where you accessed the source. Double space all text in your reference list.

Jones, N. (2010). Public transportation in Los Angeles. Journal of Transportation

Research, 10(1). Retrieved from http://www.awebaddress.com/full/url/

Tips
  • If you are using an article you found in an online database, simply cite the information as you would a print source. As Purdue's OWL explains, this allows the reader to locate the print form of the article since they might not have access to the database you used.
  • Newspaper articles are handled the same way as journal articles. If available, include the month and day of publication. For example, (2010, May 1).
  • For complete details on how to cite specific online sources as well as how to deal with entries with multiple authors or no author, refer to the latest edition of the "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association."
About the Author

As a writer since 2002, Rocco Pendola has published numerous academic and popular articles in addition to working as a freelance grant writer and researcher. His work has appeared on SFGate and Planetizen and in the journals "Environment & Behavior" and "Health and Place." Pendola has a Bachelor of Arts in urban studies from San Francisco State University.

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