How to Cite a Journal Article in APA
  • 4-minute read
  • 26th August 2023

How to Cite a Journal Article in APA

Developed by the American Psychological Association, APA referencing is a citation style commonly used in many academic and professional fields, such as psychology, education, and healthcare. If you’re writing an essay or paper using APA style, you’ll likely need to cite one or more journal articles, as they’re frequently used in research. In this post, we’ll cover the basics of how to cite a journal article in APA style, both in the text and on the reference page.

How to Cite a Journal Article on the Reference Page

If you’re citing a journal article in APA style, include the following elements:

Author(s): List the last name and initials of the authors. If there are multiple authors, use an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name.

Year: Provide the publication year of the article in parentheses.

Title of the Article: Capitalize the first letter of the first word and proper nouns. The title of the article should be in sentence case (only the first word and proper nouns capitalized), not in title case.

Title of the Journal: Italicize the title of the journal and capitalize all major words.

Volume and Issue Numbers: Include the volume number in italics, followed by the issue number in parentheses (if applicable).

Page Range: Provide the page numbers of the article. Use the format “pp. xx–xx” for multiple pages.

DOI or URL: If available, include the DOI or URL of the journal article.

Follow this basic format for your reference list entries:

Author(s). (Year). Title of the article. Title of the Journal, Volume(Issue), Page range. DOI or URL

If a journal article has multiple authors, you need to follow a slightly different format depending on the number of authors. For an article with up to 20 authors, list all the names in your reference list entry separated by commas. Here’s an example of a journal article with two authors:

Williams, J. R., & Davis, M. L. (2020). Exploring the impact of mindfulness on stress reduction. Journal of Mindfulness Research, 8(2), 87–104.

And here’s an example of a journal article with five authors:

Johnson, R., Smith, K., Miller, E. F., Doyle, S., & Jones, R. (2019). The role of education in sustainable development: A comparative study. Journal of Sustainable Education, 15(2), 66–94.

For more than 20 authors, include the names of the first 19 followed by an ellipsis, then list the final author:

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Author, A., Author, B., Author, C., Author, D., Author, E., Author F., Author, G., Author, H., Author, I., Author, J., Author, K., Author, L., Author, M., Author, N., Author, O., Author, P., Author, Q., Author, R., Author, S., . . . Author, Z.

Remember to use a hanging indent for each reference list entry and to italicize the journal title and volume number. Use an en dash rather than a hyphen for page ranges.

How to Cite a Journal Article in the Text

Both parenthetical and narrative citations in-text citations in APA use an “author–date” format, so citing a source requires the author’s name and year of publication.

Parenthetical Journal Article Citations

For parenthetical citations, list the author’s name and the year of publication in parentheses after the referenced text:

The study found a significant correlation between mouthwash usage and gum health (Smith, 2022).

For citations with two authors, use an ampersand to separate the names in parentheses, followed by the year of publication:

A comprehensive analysis was conducted on the topic (Smith & Doyle, 2019).

For citations with three or more authors, include the first author’s name followed by et al. and the year of publication:

A previous analysis supported the results of the study (Chester et al., 2006).

Narrative Journal Article Citations

For narrative citations, simply provide the year of publication in parentheses after the author’s name:

According to Quinn (2001), the butterfly and mosquito studies could not be replicated.

For works with two authors, state the names of the author separated by “and,” followed by the publication year in parentheses:

Quinn and Jones (1997) found that the data supported the previous assertion.

For works with three or more authors, state the name of the first author, followed by et al., and then include the publication year in parentheses:

Kingston et al. (1985) emphasized that various factors were present throughout the experiment.

Quoting a Source

When quoting a journal article, make sure to include page numbers in both parenthetical and narrative citations:

Parenthetical: Dust explosions in mines “may or may not be triggered by a gas explosion” (Kissell et al., 1973, p. 891).

Narrative: For Ricoeur (1976), objectification occurs “as soon as life is no longer simply lived, but begins to understand itself” (p. 693).

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