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Reference & Citation Guidelines

The following guidelines are based on the Concordia University Libraries' APA Citation Style Guide, on the APA Style Guide to Electronic References (2007) and on the 5th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2001).
Further resources can be found at the end of this page.

  1. Direct Quotation of Sources
  2. Reference Citations in the Text
  3. Reference List
  4. Resources and Further Reading

  • Quotations with less than 40 words are incorporated in the text and enclosed with double quotation marks (" "). The reference to the source must list the author, year of publication and the number of the page where the quoted information is to be found.
    In this case one can see that "the measured transformation rate reflects an increase of 15% in the mean value of the alloy k-property stiffness" (Volker, 2004, p. 300)
  • Quotations of more than 40 words can be made using a "block quotation" on a new line, indented five spaces and with no quotation marks.
    According to Katz and Padilla (1975):
    Greater effects on muscle hypertrophy where achieved by exposing the B control group to an average volume of 10 ton. performed above 75% of Zone II. Further increase of intensity above Zone III drops positive transfer effect when pushed over 20 ton. A 5-ton constraint is therefore advised for V-averages of 80%. (p. 147)
  • When quoting electronic sources (web pages, .PDF documents etc...), the reference must provide the author, the year of publication and the page number / paragraph number (if visible) / heading followed by the paragraph number (depending on the kind of document being quoted).
    The split-system currently in use "allows for more effective splitting of m-groups regarding classical weekly distributions; splitting factors of 2 or 3 appear to be most efficient" (Columbu Foundation Manual, 1992, Splitting Factors, §2)


  • For single-author sources, standard procedure is: (author's last name, publication year).
    This behaviour is evident in C-specimens of 5th order (Alvorssen, 2000)...
    Alvorssen (2000) found this behaviour to be evident in C-specimens of 5th order...
  • For two-author resources: (first author's last name & second author's last name, publication year).
    As proven by Adams and Johnson (1965), the manifold structure follows directly from...
    The manifold structure follows directly from...(Adams and Johnson, 1965)
  • For three to five authors, cite all authors the first time; thereafter, include only the first author's last name followed by "et al." and the publication year.
    Samuelsson, Karlsen, Johansson, Sigmarsson and Magnusson (1995) showed that...
    [further down in the text] Following the result by Samuelsson et al. (1995)
    Mean resistivity is thus measured to be...(Samuelsson et al., 1995)
  • For groups such as associations of various kinds, government bodies etc..., the name of the group is spelled out at least the first time it is referred to in the text. Should no confusion arise, subsequent references to the same source can use an abbreviated form for the group's name.
    Shotput records have, according to official data from the International Association of Athletics Federations [IAAF](2008),...
    [subsequent citation] Furthermore, women's results in this specialty have increased over the last 12 years (IAAF, 2008)
  • Citing a specific part of a source explicitly, one should provide, added to the usual author and publication year information, the page, chapter, paragraph, figure, table, equation number or any other markers which point to the specific location of the quoted material within the source.
    (Ferrigno & Zane, 1977, p. 100)
    (Tanaka et al., 1991, chap. 8)
  • Electronic sources without page numbers should be cited using a paragraph number, if available, preceded by the ¶ symbol or "para." abbreviation. If neither is visible, the heading and the paragraph number which follows it should be given instead.
    (Peierls and Kapitza, 1954, ¶ 20)
    (Tamm & Fomenko, 1982, 'Method' section, para. 8)
  • If citing a work cited in another work, we refer first to the original author and then to the source we actually used.
    Müller has shown that...(as cited in Rühl and Pfaff, 2006)



Entries in a reference list are usually arranged alphabetically, preferably by author's last name; if no author information is available, the title is used instead. Titles are italicized.
Several examples follow:

Book: one author

Fujimoto, Y. T. (1984). Sword Techniques in Medieval Japan (6th ed.). Tokyo: Wiley.

Book: two to five authors

Bergmanis, R. and Savickas, Z. (2005). Review of Factors affecting Squat Performance (2nd ed.). Moscow: IFSA Press.

Two or more books by the same author
Arrange alphabetically by book title

Hogan, H. (1990). Reinforcement Measures for a-Type Construction. New York: Viking.
Hogan, H. (1994). Theory and Practice of Primary Structure Building. Los Angeles: Pergamon.
If works by the same author have the same publication year, arrange alphabetically by title and add a letter after the year:
Havik, V. (2005a). Modern Chess Strategy. Oslo: UIO Press
Havik, V. (2005b). Virtual Machine Computing for Chess Engines. Oslo: Gudrun.

Anthology or compilation

Bobga, E. & Fohtung, W. (Eds.). (2001). CCC - Cosmological Constant Controversy: Future Perspectives. London: CUP.

Work in an anthology / essay in a book

Hagen, M. (2003). Child Psychology through Puzzle Games. In Minkwitz, R. and Rasmussen, F. (Eds.), New Learning Methods and Applications for Children (pp. 150-170). Aarhus: Oxford.

Book by corporate author
Organizations of various types are considered authors when there is no single author

University of Greenland. (1980). Educational Practices in Extreme Climate Conditions. Nuuk: Ilisimatusarfik.

Article in a reference book or an entry in an encyclopedia
If the article/entry is signed, include the author's name; if unsigned, begin with the title of the entry

Hollands, T. (1942). Nihilism. In Edmunds, D. (Ed.), Viking Compendium of Philosophy (Vol. 20, pp. 12-100). Dublin: Viking.

Article in a printed journal

Bustamante, P. (1969). Attempts on CPT Violation. Acta Physica, 232, 1005-1020.
List only the volume number if the journal uses continuous pagination throughout a particular volume. If each issue begins from page 1, then list the issue number as well
Bustamante, P. (1970). Collision Models for Symmetry Breaking. Tasmanian Journal of Physics A: Letters, 90(7), 15-30.

Article in a newspaper or magazine

Nietzsche, F. (2009, April 1). How to stop copying and start creating. Lissaboner Allgemeine, 25-27.
Kirkegaard, S. (2003, April 1). Optimism and the Meaning of Life. Notícias do Fundão, 100(10), 20-22.

Television or radio program

Walters, B. (Reporter). (1972, January 1). To take or not to take? In Kassar, M. (Producer), Good Morning Japan. Tokyo: Television of Japan.

Film, videorecording or DVD

Oliveira, M. (Director). (2009): Babel Tower [Motion Picture]. Portugal: Oliveira Movie Company.

Article from an electronic source
The reference should provide the same information given for a printed journal article, plus an identifier for the electronic source, such as (choose only one):

  1. DOI - Digital Object Identifier
  2. Database name
  3. URL for an online periodical

a. DOI - Digital Object Identifier
A DOI name is a unique, permanent, alphanumeric string assigned to a digital object, such as an electronic journal, article, report, or thesis. If available, it should always be included instead of the database name or the URL. The DOI can usually be found with the bibliographic information, such as the journal title and volume, or at the top/bottom of the first page of the article. Example:

Tsunetomo, Y. (2005). Lessons from Kanon. Hagakure, 16(5), 1900-1915. doi:10.1109/sj.bjc.6602951
- You can search for the DOI of an article at CrossRef.
- Further information on DOIs:
The DOI System
About DOI names

b. Database name
To cite an article from a database, use the DOI or, if this is not available, include the name of the database.

Kazmaier, W. (1983). Concepts of Force. International Journal of Applied Structures, 55(5), 550-555. Retrieved from Academic Structures Plus Database.

c. URL for an online periodical
Articles on online periodicals which have no DOI are cited using the URL of the article. If the site requires a subscription or if the URL is very long, include only the URL for the journal's homepage.

Alden, M. & Burrows, R. (2006). Basic process maintenance for disaster recovery scenarios. e-Journal of Applied Recovery, 6(1). Retrieved from: hxxp://ejar.journals.ficticious.org/index.php

Non-periodical documents on the Internet
Besides the usual author and title information one should include, whenever possible, the date the cited material was put online or last updated. If the webpage is subject to possible moving or changing, the date of retrieval should be included as well. The reference element is completed by the URL of the document.

Ahola, J. and Uppa, M. (1999). Exploring the countryside in Finland. Retrieved April 1, 2005, from hxxp://finland.countryside.fi/ahola/book.html
If there is no date, replace the date with (n.d.).


- Concordia University Libraries' APA Citation Style Guide
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab's (OWL) APA Formatting and Style Guide
- APA Style Guide to Electronic References
- APA Publication Manual