How to Cite a Journal Entry in APA Format

When writing a paper or article, most writers use a specific editorial style for both consistency and clarity. When writing about a scientific topic, a direct and simple approach is best. The accepted editorial style of writing by social and behavioral scientists is American Psychological Association (APA) style, created more than 80 years ago. The reference book "The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association" contains the guidelines for APA editorial style. References cited in text must be included in a reference list or bibliography for APA style. When citing a journal entry or article from a print or an online publication, include as much information as possible, and use the order outlined in APA format.

List the author or authors of the journal article. Use this format: last name, a comma, the first initial (if only one author) and then a period.

Write the journal's publication date. Continue the entry on the references page by putting the publication year in parenthesis followed by a period.

Put the name of the journal and its volume number--separated with a comma--in italics.

Insert the journal's issue number. Place it in parenthesis, and place a comma after the parenthesis. If the page numbers restart with each issue, use italics for the issue number.

Refer to a specific page number or page numbers using the abbreviation "pp" (without the quotation marks) followed by the page number or page numbers.

Complete the entry with a period. The entry should resemble this example: Author, X. (Year). Name of Article. Name of Journal, Volume(Issue), Page number(s). Italicize elements as indicated previously.

Online Journals

Cite an online journal article in APA style with the same format as for a print journal article and using as much of the information as possible.

Note the date the online article was accessed and its correct web address.

Complete the online journal article citation by adding the retrieval date and web address to the end of the entry. An example is: Retrieved on Month Day, Year from web address of website.

Add a period for punctuation. The entry should resemble the following example: Author, X. (Year). Name of Article. Name of Journal, Volume(Issue), Page Number(s). Retrieved on Month Day, Year from web address of website.

Proofread the entry. Check the format, spelling and punctuation.

Reference Page

Create a list of all references cited within the text for your bibliography or reference list.

Line up each entry with the margins. If an entry uses more than one line, use the tab key or about five blank spaces on the continued line to form a hanging indent.

Alphabetize the sources in the bibliography or reference list from A to Z, using the author's last name.


Reference an online journal publication by including a stable web address or digital object identifier (DOI) if possible. If updates or changes are probable to occur, creating an unstable web address, use the website's homepage address instead.


If the text is final and published, only the date of publication is required. If it is not dated or subject to change, include the retrieval date.