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APA Citation

This guide covers the basics of APA citation.

Journal Articles Quick Guide


References for journal articles contain four elements: author, date, title, and source. These four elements can usually be found on the first page of the article, but they are also listed in the database where you found the article. Here is an example that contains all four elements:

Sample Journal Article Displaying All Four Required Elements

This is how these four elements would look in a correctly formatted APA journal citation:

Example of Correctly Formatter APA Journal Citation

The following sections provide more detail about each element.


Type the name of the author in inverted (last name first) format.

  • Bosek, M.
  • Buck-Rolland, C.

If an article has 2-20 authors, provide all of the authors' names in inverted format, with an ampersand (&) before the last author's name.

  • Dillard-Wright, J., Walsh, J.H., & Brown, B.B.

If an article has 21 or more authors, provide the first 19 names in inverted format, insert an ellipsis (...), and then provide the last author's name in inverted format. Do not include an ampersand (&) before the last name.

  • Winger, J., 2019 ENA Position Statement Committee, Brim, C. B., Dakin, C. L., Gentry, J. C., Killian, M., Leaver, S. L., Papa, A. R., Proud, M. E., Riwitis, C. L., Salentiny-Wrobleski, D. M., Stone, E. L., Uhlenbrock, J. S., Zaleski, M. E., 2019, ENA Position Statement Committee Board of Directors Liaison, Lee Gillespie, G., 2017-2019 ENA Position Statement Committee Staff Liaison, Kolbuk, M. E., 2019, ENA Institute for Emergency Nursing Advanced Practice (IENAP) Advisory Council, Oliver, N., … Proehl, J.


Type the year the article was published in parentheses, followed by a period and a space.

  • Laurent, J. (2019).

For articles from the UpToDate database, use the year the topic was last updated.

If the year of publication is not available because an article has been accepted, but not published yet, type (in press) in place of the year.



Capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title. If there is a sub-title, which usually appears after a colon, capitalize the first letter of the first word in the sub-title. Type a period at the end.

Do not put the title into italics and do not put quotation marks around it.

  • Garbarino, J.T. & Lewis, L.F. (2020). The impact of a gerontology nursing course with a service-learning component on student attitudes towards working with older adults: A mixed methods study.

Capitalize all proper nouns, e.g. Vermont, if they are in the title regardless of their position.


Articles with DOIs

The source for a journal article includes the following elements:

Journal title - Type out the entire journal title (no abbreviations unless they are a formal part of the title). Place a comma after the title. Capitalize each word of the journal title (excluding prepositions e.g. "of," "and," etc.). Type the entire journal title in italics.

Volume number - Type the volume number in italics.

Issue number - Type the issue number (if available) immediately after the volume number inside parentheses. Place a comma after the issue number. There is no space between the volume number and the issue number. Do not type in italics.

Page range - Type the page number for the first and last pages of the article separated by a hyphen. Place a period at the end of the page range.

DOI (digital object identifier) - Most articles have a DOI. Always include a DOI is one if available. Start all DOIs with followed by the string of letters and numbers. If you see an older DOI format, such as one beginning with "doi" or "DOI" or "" convert it to the format. Do not put a period at the end. Do not type in italics.


Articles without DOIs

If the article does not have a DOI and you found it in a library database such as PubMed, CINAHL, or PsycINFO, the page range will be the last element. Place a period at the end of the page range.

  • Lerman, C., Rimer, B., Blumberg, B., Cristinzio, S., Engstrom, P. F., MacElwee, N., O'Connor, K., & Seay, J. (1990). Effects of coping style and relaxation on cancer chemotherapy side effects and emotional responses. Cancer Nursing, 13(5), 308–315.



If the article does not have a DOI and was found on the open web (i.e. not from a library database), include a URL after the page range. Do not type in italics. Do not put a period at the end. Double check the URL to make sure that it works.

  • Flynn, M.K. (1991). Product-line management: Threat or opportunity for nursing? Nursing Administration Quarterly, 15(2), 21-32.