Skip to main content
Montana State University - Home Montana State University Library - Home Ask the Library

Citations Style Guide

This guide will provide information on APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian citation styles.

NEW EDITION ALERT

APA has published an updated edition of their Publication Manual as of October 2019.

  • MSU librarians have updated this guide to reflect the new manual (changes indicated by **). 6th edition help will remain available.
  • Academic Writer has also updated their resources.
  • 17 Most Notable Changes - APA 7th edition

Please review the Publication Manual for the American Psychological Association (7th edition) for full and complete citation guidelines.

American Psychological Association (APA) Style Guide

APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, based on the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general formatting of in-text and reference citations.

In-Text Citations

When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, for example, (Jones, 1998), and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

**The in-text citation for works with three or more authors is now shortened right from the first citation. You only include the first author’s name and “et al.”  (Taylor et al., 2018)**

If you are referring to an idea from another work but NOT directly quoting the material, or making reference to an entire book, article or other work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication and not the page number in your in-text reference. All sources that are cited in the text must appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

In-text citation capitalization, quotes, and italics/underlining

  • Always capitalize proper nouns, including author names and initials: D. Jones.
  • If you refer to the title of a source within your paper, capitalize all words that are four letters long or greater within the title of a source: Permanence and Change. Exceptions apply to short words that are verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs: Writing New Media, There Is Nothing Left to Lose.

(Note: in your References list, only the first word of a title will be capitalized: Writing new media.)

  • When capitalizing titles, capitalize both words in a hyphenated compound word: Natural-Born Cyborgs.
  • Capitalize the first word after a dash or colon: "Defining Film Rhetoric: The Case of Hitchcock's Vertigo."
  • Italicize the titles of longer works such as books, edited collections, movies, television series, documentaries, or albums: The Closing of the American Mind; The Wizard of Oz; Friends.
  • Put quotation marks around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles, articles from edited collections, television series episodes, and song titles: "Multimedia Narration: Constructing Possible Worlds;" "The One Where Chandler Can't Cry."

Short quotations

If you are directly quoting from a work, you will need to include the author, year of publication, and page number for the reference (preceded by "p."). Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author's last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.

According to Jones (1998), "Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time" (p. 199).

Jones (1998) found "students often had difficulty using APA style" (p. 199); what implications does this have for teachers?

If the author is not named in a signal phrase, place the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation.

She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style" (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not offer an explanation as to why.

Long quotations

Place direct quotations that are 40 words or longer in a free-standing block of typewritten lines and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented 1/2 inch from the left margin, i.e., in the same place you would begin a new paragraph. Type the entire quotation on the new margin, and indent the first line of any subsequent paragraph within the quotation 1/2 inch from the new margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.

Jones's (1998) study found the following:

Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citing sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p. 199)

Summary or paraphrase

If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference, but APA guidelines encourage you to also provide the page number (although it is not required.)

According to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners.

APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).

Source: APA In-Text Citations: The Basics

Common Parts of Citations

Author, A. B.

  • Begin with the author's last name, followed by a comma and author's initial(s).
  • See  other examples for works with multiple authors.
  • End this entry with a period.

(Year of Publication).

  • ​Include the year of publication in both the reference citation and the in-text citation. 
  • For the reference citation, the year is in parenthesis.
  • End this entry with a period.

Title of work: Subtitle of work.

  • ​Titles of books should be in italics while periodicals, television episodes, and songs should not. 
  • Capitalize only the first world of the title, the first word after a colon, and proper names. 
  • End this entry with a period.

Title of the Larger Work,

  • The container title should be italicized and all important words should be capitalized (unless it is a book title). 
  • If the source is a chapter from book or entry in a larger work then the title of the container is preceded by "In". 
  • End this entry with a comma.

Volume/Version

  • ​If the source is listed as an edition or version of a work, include it in the citation. 
  • For multi-volume books, include the volume number in parentheses. 
  • End the entry with a period. 
  • If noting a journal volume, it should be italicized and followed directly (no space) by issue number in parentheses. 
  • This entry is not followed by any punctuation.

(Number), pages.

  • ​If the source is part of a numbered sequence (multivolume book or journal with both volume and issue numbers), list those numbers. 
  • Do not italicize. 
  • Follow directly by page numbers of article or chapter.
  • End this entry with a period.

Publisher.

  • ​For books and other print resources include ONLY the publishing company's name.**
  • End this entry with a period.

Reference Page Citation Examples

Citations in your reference list should be double spaced.

The second, third, fourth, etc., line of the citation should be indented 1/2 inch.

Book with One Author 
Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Publisher.

Book with Multiple Authors

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Publisher.

Edited Book, No Author

Editor, A. A. (Ed.). (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Publisher.

Edited Book with Author(s)

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. J. K. Editor (Ed.). Publisher.

Entry in an Encyclopedia

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of Entry. In Title of Encyclopedia. (Vol. 3, pp. 2-6). Publisher.

Article from Online Periodical

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume(issue). http://www.aurlgoeshere.com OR https://doi.org/10.1080/02626667.2018.1560449**

Article from a Database

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume(issue), page range.

Web Document or Report

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of document. Website Name. http://aurlgoeshere.com**

Citation Formatting Exceptions

**More Than Twenty Authors

Surnames and initials for up to 20 authors (instead of 7) should be provided in the reference list.

Miller, T. C., Brown, M. J., Wilson, G. L., Evans, B. B., Kelly, R. S., Turner, S. T., Lewis, F., Lee, L. H., Cox, G., Harris, H. L., Martin, P., Gonzalez, W. L., Hughes, W., Carter, D., Campbell, C., Baker, A. B., Flores, T., Gray, W. E., Green, G., … Nelson, T. P. (2018).

No Author

Begin your citation with the title of the work followed by the year.