How to Cite a Journal in APA

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APA Journal Citation

This guide will help you create journal citations in APA format. Check out this hyperlink if you are  looking to create APA books citation. Check out this hyperlink if you are looking to create citations in MLA format or more styles.

What is a Journal Article?

Journals are a type of literature that are released periodically, peer-reviewed, and provide some of the most up-to-date studies — basically, a great source for research. They typically focus on a particular topic and contain peer-reviewed articles written by experts in order to educate and inform other experts on the subject. They may contain several articles, similar to chapters in a book or articles in a magazine. Articles usually have an abstract, or a short summary of the article, at the beginning, and a bibliography of sources at the end.

 

What is a “scholarly” article?

A “scholarly” article is an article that comes from an academic, peer-reviewed source. Because academic journals and non-academic magazines have a lot of structural similarities, the term “scholarly” differentiates this type of article from magazine articles. A scholarly article is typically written by experts, for experts, and is peer-reviewed by other experts.

 

What does “peer-reviewed” mean?

A “peer-reviewed” article is one that has been reviewed by a board of experts in the field for quality and accuracy of the information before publishing. A “peer-reviewed” article is a more trustworthy source because it has been checked and approved by experts and is not based on opinion, low-quality research, or obsolete data.

 

 Where are journal articles found?

Articles exist both in print and online and can be found at most academic libraries. Online articles can be found using databases, which are structured sets of data or information. Many databases charge a fee to use the database and/or to access full articles.


In-Text APA Citation for Journal Articles

This section will help you create in-text APA citations for journal articles. Check out this link if you are looking to create MLA in-text & parenthetical citations. 

In-text citations of articles refer to the crediting of articles within the body of a work, separately from the bibliography or works cited page at the end of a document. An in-text citation comes after a paraphrase of a passage or idea, or after a short or long quote. For any APA in-text citation in your own paper, you must include a full citation in your bibliography or works cited page as well. 

Paraphrasing

For an in-text APA journal citation that is not a direct quote, or an APA parenthetical citation, all you need to provide is the author’s last name and the year of publication.

You may provide a page number (preceded by “p.” for one page or “pp.” for multiple pages) as well if the passage or idea you are paraphrasing is on a certain page or set of pages, but this is not necessary for APA journal citations.

Example:

According to Currie (2001), there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that early intervention programs can be effective.

Research suggests that the absence of behavior problems is just as important to future success as the development of cognitive skills (Currie, 2001, p. 215).

Short quote

A short quote in APA style must be fewer than 40 words. When using a direct short quote for APA citation of journal articles, you must list the author, the year of publication, the page number(s), and use quotation marks. You can embed this information within the sentence or cite it at the end of the sentence, or use a mixture of both as long as all the components are used in your APA journal citation.

Example:

 According to Currie (2001), “the difficulty of overcoming poor endowments later in life—through job training programs for high school dropouts, for example—makes early intervention appear attractive as well” (p. 216).

Long quote

A long quote in APA citation style has 40 words or more. Like short quotes, for APA citation of journal articles you must also cite the author, year of publication and the page number(s) for long quotes, and this information can be embedded within the sentence surrounding the quote, cited at the end of the sentence, or a mixture of both.

Unlike short quotes, long quotes in an APA citation of journal article require you to start the quote on a new line with a ½ inch indent from the left margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout the quote, and if you haven’t already embedded all the citation information in the sentence preceding the quote include it at the end of the quote in parentheses after the closing punctuation mark. Do not use any quotation marks around a long quote for journal APA citation.

Example:

Currie’s (2001) study found the following:

Equalizing early endowments through early childhood intervention programs may be a superior approach to the problem of unequal allocations, both because it avoids many of the moral hazard problems that arise when society attempts to compensate those with poor outcomes and because early intervention to equalize allocations may be a more cost-effective way of promoting equity than compensating for unequal outcomes. (pp. 215-216)

Multiple Authors

For 2 authors in an APA citation of journal, first give the information for the first author followed by a comma, then use an ampersand (&) and list the information for the second author.

For 3 to 20 authors, separate the author names with commas and again use an ampersand (&) before the final author name. In APA citation of journal articles never list more than 20 authors.

If there are 21+ authors, list the first 19 names separated by commas. After the 19th author add a comma, then an ellipsis (…) followed by the final author name. 

 

Group/Corporate Authors

For a corporate author in APA citation of journal, use the publishing company in place of the author name in the citation. Place the name of the publishing company at the beginning of the citation just as you would the author’s name with proper capitalization.

 

No Authors

If no author is given, to create the APA citation of journal use the title of the article in place of the author information. Then provide the publication date and publication name without repeating the article title.


Reference Page APA Citation for Journal Articles

This section will help you create an APA works cited page or an APA bibliography. Check out these hyperlinks if you are looking to create an MLA works cited page.

How author names are structured

Author names, if available, will always come first in your reference page for APA citation for journal articles. Start your reference page citation with the last name of the first author followed by a comma, followed by the author’s capitalized first initial and a period. Then list the author’s middle initial if one is provided followed by a period.

Example:

Rowling, J. K.

For an APA citation for a journal article with 2 to 20 authors, use a comma between all of the author names. Place an ampersand (&) before the final author’s name.

For an article with 21 or more authors, list the names of the first 19 authors and use a comma between all of the names. After the 19th name, place an ellipsis (…) and then the final author’s name.  

 

How dates are structured

Dates follow the author in APA citation for journal articles and should be in parentheses. List the year first followed by a comma. Then list the month, fully spelled out (not abbreviated) and properly capitalized. Then, without using a comma after the month, list the numerical date. If any of this information is missing from the reference, simply omit it.

 

How titles of articles are structured

In a journal article APA citation, the article title follows the date. Only capitalize the first letter of the first word of the article, and do not italicize or underline the title of the article. Follow the article title with a period.

 

How journal titles are structured

Follow the rules for article titles in APA citations. Titles are capitalized throughout just as the publication capitalizes the title, and should be italicized and followed by a comma.

 

How volume and issue numbers are structured

The volume and issue numbers follow the publication title. After the comma following the italicized title, put the volume number in italics. Then, omitting the space, put the issue number in parentheses without italics. Place a period after the closing parentheses, again omitting the space after the parentheses.

 

How website addresses (URLs) and DOIs are structured

URLs and DOIs for an online APA citation for journal article come after the volume and issue number. After the period following the issue number, put a space and followed by the full URL or DOI with no period at the end.

  • Since URLs can potentially change and DOIs do not, APA journal citation style recommends using a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) instead of a website URL when possible.
  • A DOI in your reference should be formatted as: https://doi.org/xxxx
  • If a source has a DOI, it should be included; it doesn’t matter if you viewed the print or online version.
  • In previous editions of APA, an APA website citation always included “Retrieved from” or “Accessed from” before a URL. Since APA 7th edition, you no longer need to include this.

Example:

Yu, H., & Leadbetter, J. R. (2020, July 15). Bacterial chemolithoautotrophy via manganese oxidation. Nature, 583(7816), 453–458. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2468-5


How to Cite a Journal in Print in APA

Structure:

Author’s last name, Author’s first initial. Author’s middle initial. (Year, Month Date published). Article title. Journal Name, Volume(Issue), page number(s).

Example:

Jacoby, W. G. (1994). Public attitudes toward government spending. American Journal of Political Science, 38(2), 336-361. https://doi.org/10.2307/2111407

Multiple Authors

Structure:

Author’s last name, Author’s first initial. Author’s middle initial., & Author’s last name, Author’s first initial. Author’s middle initial. (Year published). Article title. Journal Name, Volume(Issue), page number(s).

Example:

Fearon, J. D., & Laitin, D. D. (2003). Ethnicity, insurgency, and civil war. American Political Science Review, 97(01), 75. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055403000534

How to Cite a Journal Online in APA

The following examples show you how to format an online journal citation in APA style. Check out this hyperlink if you are looking to cite websites in MLA format.

With URL

Structure:

Author’s last name, Author’s first initial. Author’s middle initial. (Year, Month Date published). Article title. Online Journal Name, Volume(Issue). URL

Example:

Poiger, U. G. (1996). Rock ‘n’ roll, female sexuality, and the Cold War battle over German identities. The Journal of Modern History, 68(3). https://www.jstor.org/stable/2946768

With DOI 

Structure:

Author’s last name, Author’s first initial. Author’s middle initial. (Year, Month Date published). Article title. Online Journal Name, Volume(Issue). https://doi.org/—–

Example:

Poiger, U. G. (1996). Rock ‘n’ roll, female sexuality, and the Cold War Battle over German Identities. The Journal of Modern History, 68(3), 577. https://doi.org/10.1086/245343

How to Cite a Journal on a Database in APA

For an APA citation journal article from a database, you are not required to include the database information. This is because APA format includes a link to the website or the DOI instead, since database information can change over time. Simply follow the format for an APA citation journal from online as described above.


MLA guide: General RulesBook Chapter | Online database | Dictionary | Encyclopedia |EssayJournalMagazine | Newspaper | PrefaceWebsite

APA guide: General RulesBookChapterDictionaryOnline database | EncyclopediaJournal | MagazineNewspaper | Website

Chicago/Turabian guide: Book | ChapterDictionary | Online databaseEncyclopediaJournalMagazineNewspaperWebsite

Helpful writing links: Plagiarism checker | Adjective | Adverb | Conjunction | Determiner | Interjection | Noun | Preposition | Pronoun | Research paper | Verb

 

Published May 9, 2019. Updated July 16, 2020.

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