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American Psychological Association (APA) Style Guide

This page is intended to be used as a guide. Please refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) as a definitive source.

The Reference Librarians at the Health Sciences Library are available to help you interpret correct APA style.

Throughout this guide:
a pale blue box is used for in-text examples
and a pink box is used for examples from the reference list.

Formatting Your Paper

Groups as Authors  

Authors with the Same Surname
Works with No Authors Listed   Citing More Than One Work at a Time
Using Quotations  Works with No Date Listed   Reference Examples 
Paraphrasing   Works with Multiple Authors     Further Resources

Formatting Your Paper

  • Set margins at least 1” all around.

  •  Use 12 point font size (Courier or Times New Roman).

  •  All text should be double spaced.

  •  Page numbers should be in the upper right hand corner of the page, beginning with the title page.

  •  Each page should be identified with a header containing the first two or three words of the title of the paper. The header should be placed in the upper right-hand corner, above or five spaces      to the left of the page number.

  •  Indent the first line of every paragraph 5-7 spaces.

Using Numbers

Refer to the APA Publication Manual for a complete list of exceptions to the following rules.

  • Use figures to express numbers 10 and above.

32 exposures

the final 25%

10 miles long

 Use figures to express numbers that represent time, date, age, population or sample size.

a 2 week period

4-year olds

3 participants


  • Use figures to express numbers that represent mathematical or statistical functions.

about 7% of children

divided by 5

a ratio of 4:1


  • Use words to express numbers below 10.

the third test

seven cities


  • Use words to express any number that begins a sentence.

Fifty-four percent of the respondents were retired.

Ten participants from each community were asked to complete a survey.

Using Quotations

  • When quoting provide the author, year and page number. Enclose all quotations, except those of 40 or more words, in double quotation marks.

According to Mulvey (2010), “Any discussion about the prospects of retirement security for the baby boomers must take

into account the potentially devastating costs of future long term care services” (p. 54).

Mulvey (2010) points out “the potentially devastating costs of future long term care services” (p. 54) must be taken into


The “potentially devastating costs of future long term care services” (Mulvey, 2010, p. 54) affect the retirement outlook

for baby boomers.

  • Quotations of 40 or more words are indented five spaces and blocked.

Mulvey (2010) explains:

        Any discussion about the prospects of retirement

        security for the baby boomers must take into account

        the potentially devastating costs of future long term care services.

        The reality is individual savings is not going to

        be sufficient to pay for long term care services for middle income

        Americans, and the government will face ever increasing

        fiscal pressures as the baby boomers age

        and become eligible for Social Security and Medicare. (p. 54)

Omissions in Quotations

  • Use an ellipsis (three dots) to indicate omitted words in a sentence. Use a period and an ellipsis (four dots) to indicate an omission between two sentences. 

Mulvey (2010) notes, “Any discussion . . . must take into account the potentially devastating costs of future long term care

services” (p. 54).


Mulvey (2010) notes, “Individual savings is not going to be sufficient to pay for long term care services. . . . and employers

should consider carefully how they could help to motivate workers to purchase long term care insurance at younger ages

when it is more affordable" (p.54).


  • When paraphrasing you must credit the source, as you would when quoting.

Phillips (2006) explains how increasing knowledge of the genetic basis of disease is changing the landscape of health


Increasing knowledge of the genetic basis of disease is changing the landscape of health care (Phillips, 2006).

Groups as Authors

  • Groups, such as government agencies, corporations and associations, are spelled out in the reference list and the first time they appear cited in the text (followed by the abbreviation).     Subsequent text citations are abbreviated only.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). MMWR weekly: Summary of notifiable diseases. Retrieved from

First Citing in Text:

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2010)

Subsequent Citings in Text:

(CDC, 2010)

Works with No Authors Listed

  •  When a work, such as an article or web page, has no author (not even a corporate body), use the first few words of the title in quotation marks to substitute for the name of the author. If the work is a book, brochure or report, use italics instead of quotation marks. Before you assume that a web page has no author, use these tips to identify one:

 •Remember that an author can be an organization. It does not have to be an individual.
 •Look for any credits, copyright or contact information.  Click on links like “About Us” or “Contact Us”.
 •If you are citing a report or other document, look at the title page, introductory pages and final pages.
 •Google the title of a report or document to see if it is mentioned elsewhere. For example, an announcement or commentary on a report may also mention the author or provide a clue to its origin.
 •Look at the root of the url (the first part of the url that ends in .org .edu .com, etc.) and go to that web page.
 •Use a service like to locate the owner of a website.

  If you are certain there is no identifiable author:

An article or web site entitled Building Healthy Futures for All Children would appear cited in the text as

(“Building Healthy Futures,” 2011)

  A book or report with the same title would appear as

(Building Healthy Futures, 2011)

  •  If a work’s author is presented as Anonymous, cite the work as though Anonymous were the author’s name.

(Anonymous, 2011)

Works with no Date Listed

  •  Use n.d. for no date.

(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.)


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Healthy people 2010: What is healthy people? Retrieved


Works with Multiple Authors

Two Authors

  •  Always cite both names. Use an ampersand instead of “and”.

(Doyle & Christie, 2011)


Pagliusi, S. R., & Aguado, M. T. (2004). Efficacy and other milestones for human papillomavirus vaccine introduction.

      Vaccine, 23(5), 569-578.

Three to Five Authors

  •  All authors should be named the first time the reference is used. Afterwards, use only the surname of the first author followed by et al.

First Citing in Text:

(Millin, Jenkins, & Kirsch, 2006)

  Subsequent Citings in Text:

(Millin et al., 2006)


Millin, M. G., Jenkins, J. L., & Kirsch, T. (2006). A comparative analysis of two external health care disaster responses

      following hurricane Katrina. Prehospital Emergency Care, 10(4), 451-456

     Six or More Authors

  •  Cite only the first author followed by et al.  In the reference list, write the names of the first six authors, an ellipsis, and then the final author.

(Sailaja et al., 2006)
Sailaja, N., Chandrasekhar, M., Rekhadevi, P. V., Mahboob, M., Rahman, M. F., & Vuyyuri, S. B., . . . Grover, P. (2006).

     Genotoxic evaluation of workers employed in pesticide production. Mutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and

     Environmental Mutagenesis
, 609(1), 74-80.

Authors with the Same Surname

  •  Include the authors’ initials in all citations.

(W. Smith, 1976)

(D. T. Smith, 2003)

Citing More than One Work at Once

  •  Works should appear within the same parenthesis in the same order as they would in the reference list.

(Harper, 1988; Rodgers, 1941)

Examples of References

 Article from a Print Journal

Goodman, R. M., Yoo, S., & Jack, L. J. (2006). Applying comprehensive community-based approaches in diabetes prevention: Rationale, principles, and

      models. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 12(6), 545-555.

 Article Retreived Electronically

  •  When an article is an exact copy of the original print version you may reference it as print, but if the electronic format differs from the print version add the doi (preferred, if available) or URL.

Levene L.S., Baker R., Bankart M.J., Khunti K. (2010). Association of features of primary health care with coronary heart disease

      mortality. Journal of the American Medical Association, 304(18), 2028-2034. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1636

Keeley, E. C., & Grines, C. L. (2004). Primary coronary intervention for acute myocardial infarction. Journal of the

      American Medical Association
, 291(6), 736-739. Retrieved from

 Web Page

  •  Provide a URL that links directly to what you are citing. However, when an internet document has numerous related sections with different URLs, supply the URL to the entry (home) page. Use your judgment to best lead the reader to the material you are citing.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2006). Pandemic planning assumptions. Retrieved


  Government Report on the Internet

  •  When a government agency has several bureaucratic levels, cite both the umbrella department and the relevant agency evident as the immediate author of the report. If a number is assigned      to the report, give the number in parentheses immediately after the report's title.

White House Council on Environmental Quality, Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. (2010). Progress report of the

Climate Change Adaptation Task Force: Recommended actions in support of a national climate change

      adaptation strategy.
Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. (2010).

      Treatment episode data set: The TEDS report:
Substance abuse treatment admissions involving abuse of pain relievers: 1998 and 2008.

      Retrieved from

 Non Government Report in the Internet

American Lung Association.(2011). Toxic air: The case for cleaning up coal-fired power Plants. Retrieved from

  Presentation Slides

  •  Reference a presentation that is available online as:

New York Medical College, School of Health Sciences and Practice. (2011). Public health careers: The opportunity is yours [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from

  •  For presentation slides that are not online, provide more detailed information about the place of origin:

Taylor, E.S. (2011). Types of statistical tests [PowerPoint slides]. Department of  Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Health Sciences

      and Practice, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY.

 Blog Post

Wainwright, S. (2011, March 8). Cost: How specialists control the reimbursement system [Web log post]. Retrieved from


Omoto, A. M., & Kurtzman, H. S. (2006). Sexual orientation and mental health: Examining identity and development in

      lesbian, gay and bisexual people
. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

  Edited Book

Isaacs, S.L., & Knickman, J.R. (Eds.). (1999). To improve health and health care 2000: The Robert Wood Johnson

      foundation anthology
. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  Book Chapter

Leaning, J. (1993). War and the environment: Human health consequences of the environmental damage of war. In E.

      Chivian, M. McCally, H. Hu, & A. Haines (Eds.), Critical condition: Human health and the environment (pp. 123-137).

      Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


Further Resources to Help You Master APA Style

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC:  American Psychological Association.  WZ345 P976 2010

American Psychological Association. (2010). Concise Rules of APA Style (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological  Association. WZ345 C744 2010

American Psychological Association. (2011). Frequently asked questions about APA style. Retrieved from

 If you need help, contact the Reference Librarians at the Health Sciences Library at (914) 594-4210 or request a consultation.



Updated by D. Crooke 05/9/11

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