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How Do I Cite That with APA?

Auto-Generated Citations

Some databases will automatically generate a citation for the articles included in your search results.  In CINAHL, for example, you can do this by running a search, finding a citation that looks useful, clicking on the article title in that citation and clicking the Cite button, which looks like this:

Cite Button

When you do, a pop up window will appear with the article cited in a number of different formats, including APA.

BE CAREFUL! - In many cases, these auto-generated citations are incorrect.  You still need to check and make sure that the citation is formatted properly.

General Reference Format for Journal Articles

Journals and other items published on a regular basis, such as magazines, newspapers, newsletters, etc. generally follow this format:

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (year).

Title of article: Subtitle of article. Title of Journal, vol(issue), pg-pg.  doi:xx.xxxxxxxxxx

Online Journal Article With DOI

The following rules apply to any online article.  This includes articles found in a database like CINAHL or PubMed or those out on the open web that you find using something like Google Scholar.

IMPORTANT - please note that this form with the DOI is different from earlier versions of the APA syle manual.  There is no need to put "Retrieved from ...." as required in the past, because the DOI directs the reader to the specific article.

Online Journal Article Without a DOI

The following rules apply to any online article.  This includes articles found in a database like CINAHL or PubMed or those out on the open web that you find using something like Google Scholar.

IMPORANT:  Earlier version of the APA style guide recommeded adding a date and retrieval statement like this - Retrieved November 18, 2003 from the PsycARTICLES database - whenever you cited a journal article from a database.  You no longer have to do this unless you are citing something that may change over time, like a wiki.  Just add the URL of the journal publisher as illustrated above. 

REMEMBER:  A database like CINAHL or a vendor like EBSCO is not the publisher.  Look at the article itself and see who is listed as the publisher and then try to go to that journal's page on the publisher's site.

Print Journal Article with DOI - Single Author

Even if it's a print article, you still need to include the DOI.  The DOI can usually be found on the first page of the article.

NOTE:  The DOI works exactly like the URL of a website so you must copy it down exactly as it appears in the article itself.  Otherwise, the DOI will not work. 

Print Journal Article with DOI - Multiple Authors

See section 7.01 of the APA style manual for for information about multiple authors.

Print Journal Article without a DOI

Research & Instruction Librarian

Gary Atwood's picture
Gary Atwood
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