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APA Style

A quick overview of how to use the APA Style and examples of in-text citations and references for a variety of different sources.

APA Style Structure of a Reference and In-text Citation

We use in-text citations and reference lists to guide the reader/viewer/audience member to the sources used to write, present, or create the paper, speech, or other creative piece.

It is common for individuals who want to learn more about a topic to find and use the sources in a reference list. The source format and type impacts what is and isn't included in the in-text citation and reference. Here are general example or look at the specific examples on this guide.

In Text Citation: Basic Structure

  • Only includes the author's (authors) last name followed by publication year and is in is parentheses e.g., (Adams, 2018).
  • Placed at the end of the sentence
  • Individual elements are separated by commas
  • If author (or authors) name is used in the sentence, only publication year is placed in parentheses and next to the author's name
    • e.g. - Adams and Brown (2018) highlight the use of...
Examples of APA Style in-text citations
Author Type Parenthetical citation Narrative citation
One author (McCord, 2012) McCord (2012)
Two authors (Green & Brown, 2017) Green and Brown (2017)
Three or more authors (Fisher et al., 2003) Fisher et al. (2003)

Group author with abbreviation


First citation*

(National Park Service [NPS], 2023) National Park Service (NPS, 2023)

Subsequent citations

(NPS, 2023) NPS (2023)
Group author without abbreviation (Illinois State University, 2024) Illinois State University (2024)

*Indicate the abbreviation for a group author only once in the text, choosing either the parenthetical or narrative format. Then use the abbreviation in the text for any additional mentions of the group. More information in Section 8.21 of the APA Publication Manual.

References: Basic Structure

  • Second line of a reference is indented .5 inches (Hanging indent)
  • Each author's name is listed last name, first initial - e.g., Adams, S.
  • Individual elements are separated by periods
Examples of APA Style references
Author Type Reference
One author McCord, E. L. (2012). The value of species. Yale University Press.
Two authors

Green, L. C., & Brown, P. B. (2017). The entrepreneur’s playbook: More than 100 proven strategies, tips, and techniques to build a radically successful business. AMACOM.

Three to twenty authors

Fisher, D., Frey, N., Quaglia, R. J., Smith, D., & Lande, L. L. (2018). Engagement by design: Creating learning environments where students thrive. Corwin Literacy.

Group author

National Park Service. (n.d.). Milkweed and monarchs.

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