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Nursing Intro to the Library: Tips on APA Style

The Publication Manual of the APA

Refer to the Publication Manual of the APA for detailed information on how to cite your sources.

The library's copies of the Manual are held on the Reference and Ready Reference shelves.  The call number is REF. BF76.7 .P83 2020

Reference Examples

Here's how the following types of articles should appear in a References list within your paper or other assignment (note that double spacing and hanging indent should also be applied, but are not shown here due to LibGuide constraints).:

Journal article from a print publication:

Paul, S.P. (2011). An infant with intussusception.  Nursing Times, 104(46), 28-29.

The elements of this citation are:  Author, Publication Year, Article Title, Journal Title, Volume, Issue, Pages. 

Note the following:

  • The author's name is listed last name first, with initials following.  The publication year is in parentheses.
  • The title of the article is not capitalized, excepting the first word of the title, the first word after a colon, and proper names.
  • The title of the journal is italicized, as is the volume number.  The issue number is in parentheses. (If no issue number is given, you may omit it.)
  • The page numbers have a hyphen between them, with no abbreviations such as p., pp. or pg.

Journal article from a database (with DOI):

Zavorsky, G.S. & Longo, L.D. (2011). Exercise guidelines in pregnancy: New perspectives. Sports Medicine, 41(5), 345-360.

This citation has the same elements as the one above it, plus a DOI (digital object identifier) after the page numbers. You will often see the DOI listed under the article entry in a database.  It also may appear on the first page of the article PDF.  See the box on the right for more tips on finding DOIs.


Journal article from a database (when DOI is NOT available):

Glazener, C.M.A. (2005). Parental perceptions and adaptations to parenthood. British Journal of Midwivery, 13(9), 578-585. 

If no DOI is available, and the article was retrieved from a research database, you may end the reference after the page numbers. If the article was retrieved from the web, provide the URL starting with http:// or https://


Examples by Type - In-text Citations

To cite a journal article within your paper, the general rule is to use the author's last name(s), the year of publication, and the page numbers.


One research study found that "exposure to violent TV programs increased fear and worry in young children" (van der Molen & Bushman, 2008, p. 424).

Note the following:

The author's initials are not used - only last names are used in an in-text citation.

The year of publication follows the author name(s).

The page number(s) containing the information you cited is included in the citation, after the abbreviation "p.".  

If you use the author's name(s) in the words of your paper, your citation may consist of just the publication year and page number:


A study by Ward (2011) found that most nursing students preferred small group activities and interactive methods "in particular to encourage less confident students to participate more" (p. 823).

In this example, a direct quote from the article is used.  Quotation marks indicate that the text is taken word-for-word from the article.  The page number is then given so that the reader can verify the information quoted.

You may use et al. when a work has more than two authors.


Vermet et al. (2010) found that....

What is a DOI and how do I find it?

A DOI (digital object identifier) is a numerical identification given to a journal article or any other type of scholarly content found on the Internet.  DOIs are used to provide current information about articles, including where they (or information about them) can be found on the Internet.

If you can't locate a DOI in the article itself or in the database where you found the article, here's something else to try:

The website allows researchers to enter an article author and title, and determine whether a DOI has been assigned to it..

If you can't locate a DOI in this way, you may wish to contact a librarian to help determine whether the article has an assigned DOI.  If no DOI can be located, you may omit it from the APA 7 reference for the article.

More Help With APA Style

Take a look at the library's Quick Reference Guide on the library website.

For a more in-depth look at APA style, see the library's online APA Citation Style guide.

Although there are many online tools for creating APA citations, as well as a References tool in Microsoft Word, these may often produce incorrect citations.  It's actually easier to learn APA style before using these tools, since you'll need to know the right way to cite before you can check the accuracy of citations created by Word or other citation generators.