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MEC APA 7th Edition Guide

Guide to the formatting, citation, and reference using APA 7th ed. format

The Generic Reference

If you are trying to cite a source that is not listed here, and you cannot find guidelines from APA elsewhere, you can create a generic reference. The Publication Manual lists certain elements that should be included in a generic reference:

  • Who / Author - Who is responsible for this work? This can be a person (author or editor) or an organization. If there is no author or editor, follow the guidelines discussed in No Author.
  • When / Date - When was this work published? A year (Year) is usually acceptable, although you may need to include a month and day (Year, Month Day). If there is no date, use n.d.: (n.d.).
  • What / Title - What is this work called? This is the title of the actual work you are using, not necessarily a larger 'container' like a website. If there is no title, you must create one, and enclose it in square brackets [ ]. You may also wish to clarify the format of the item in square brackets, after the title. Examples could be [Painting], [App], or [Video].
  • Where / Source - Where can I retrieve this work? This can be a book, website (with URL), journal, publication information, or something else.

Make sure to be familiar with what other APA citations look like and with the formatting rules.


Author. (Date). Title [Format]. Source.

Source: APA Publication Manual or Concise Guide, 9.4

Personal Communication

Personal communication can mean letters, memos, emails, interviews, telephone conversations, etc. that your readers will not be able to access. Since these items are not recoverable, it is not necessary to include in a reference list. Use parenthetical citations in the text only.


(D. J. Sibanda, personal communication, July 10, 2019)

Source: APA Publication Manual or Concise Guide, 8.9

Secondary or Indirect Sources

A secondary or indirect source is a source that is cited in another source. APA strongly suggests that you always track down the original source to use and cite. However, if that is not possible, use the following guidelines.

In your references list, list the source you have in hand. In your in-text citation, use the name/date of the original source, plus the words as cited in and then the source you used.

For example, you are using an article by Akerstedt et al., and they cite information from a study by Wing et al.

Text found in Akerstedt et al: "This issue has not been addressed before, but weekend compensatory sleep seems to counteract obesity in children who have short sleep duration during weekdays (Wing, Li, Li, Zhang, & Kong, 2009)."

Akerstedt, T., Ghilotti, F., Grotta, A., Zhao, H., Adami, H.-O., Trolle-Lagerros, Y., & Bellocco, R. (2019). Sleep duration and mortality – Does weekend sleep matter? Journal of Sleep Research, 28(1), e12712.

(Wing et al, 2009, as cited in Akerstedt et al., 2019)

Source: APA Publication Manual or Concise Guide, 8.6; Secondary Sources [APA Style]


For information retrieved from a mobile app (such as an iPhone or Android app), cite as follows:


Author/Creator, A. A. (Year of last update). Title: Subtitle of mobile app (Version #.#) [Mobile app]. Source Name. https://xxxxx

Note: Source will most often be Apple App Store or Google Play Store. 


Podcast Media LLC. (2020). Pocket Cast (Version 7.9) [Mobile app]. Apple App Store.

(Podcast Media LLC, 2020)

Entry in an app

Epocrates. (2019). Interaction check: Asprin + sertraline. In Epocrates medical references (Version 18.12) [Mobile app]. Google Play Store

Source: APA Publication Manual or Concise Guide, 10.10 (example 79)

Online Lecture Notes or PowerPoint Slides

Only include a full reference to lecture notes or class materials that are behind a login screen (such as Canvas) if you are writing for an audience that will be able to retrieve them. Otherwise, cite it as a personal communication.


Author, A. A. (Year). Title of presentation [Lecture notes or PowerPoint slides]. Website. http://xxxxx


Bell, A, Grimson, E., & Guttag, J. (2016). Python classes and inheritance [Lecture notes]. MIT OpenCourseWare.

(Bell et al., 2016)

Harding, A. M. (2020). Quality: NSG230 [PowerPoint Slides]. Canvas at Northern Virginia Community College.

(Harding, 2020)

Source: APA Publication Manual or Concise Guide, 10.14 (example 102); Classroom or Intranet ResourcesPowerPoint Slide or Lecture Note References [APA Style]

Poster Sessions


Author, A. A. (Year, Month Days of Conference). Title of poster session [Poster presentation]. Conference Name, location. http://xxxxx


Rusk, F. (2019, April 10–13). Beyond the research paper: Engaging faculty in alternative information literacy activities and assignments [Poster presentation]. Academic Colleges & Research Libraries, Cleveland, OH, United States.

(Rusk, 2019)

Source: APA Publication Manual or Concise Guide, 10.5 (example 62)

Theses & Dissertations


Author, A. A. (Year). Title of doctoral dissertation or master's thesis [Type, Institution]. Database/Archive Name. http://xxxxx

Example 1: Doctoral Dissertation

Gomez, J. (2017). El barrio lindo: Chicana/o and Latinx social space in postindustrial Los Angeles [Doctoral dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara]. eScholarship University of California.

(Gomez, 2017)

Example 2: Master's Thesis

Njuguna, S. W. (2002). Gender education and development: Women's quest for higher education in Kenya [Master's thesis, Morgan State University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.

(Njuguna, 2002)

Example 3: Only Available in Print

Saba, D. R. (1987). Segmenting the sports market: A benefit analysis [Unpublished Master's thesis]. Florida State University.

(Saba, 1987)

Sources: APA Publication Manual or Concise Guide, 10.6 (examples 64-66); Published Dissertation or Thesis ReferencesUnpublished Dissertation or Thesis References [APA Style]

Conference Proceedings

Cite conference proceedings based on the format they are published in. If published in a journal, cite as a journal article, if published as a book, cite as a book, etc.

Source: Conference Proceeding References [APA Style]

Court Decision


Name v. Name, Volume Source Page (Court Date). http://xxxxx


Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

(Roe v. Wade, 1973)

Source: APA Publication Manual or Concise Guide, 11.4 (examples 1-7)

Executive Orders

From the Code of Federal Regulations


Exec. Order No. xxxxx, 3 C.F.R. Page (Year). http://xxxxx


Exec. Order No. 13588, 3 C.F.R. 281–282 (2011).

(Exec. Order No. 13588, 2011)

Source: APA Publication Manual or Concise Guide, 11.7 (example 21)



Name, A. A. (Year). Name of patent (Patent Identifier No. xxx). Patent Organization. http://xxxxx


Whitehorn, S. J., & Zehr, G. E. (2006). Electronic media reader (U.S. Patent No. D591,741 S). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

(Whitehorn & Zehr, 2006)

Source: APA Publication Manual or Concise Guide, 11.8 (example 22)



Name of the Statute/Act, Title Number Source § Section number(s) (Year of Code Used). http://xxxx

Example 1: Federal Statute

Mental Health Systems Act, 42 U.S.C. § 9401 (1988).

(Mental Health Systems Act, 1988)

Example 2: State Statute

Code of Virginia, Licensure of Dental Hygienists § 54.1-2722 (1950 & rev. 2019).

(Code of Virginia, Licensure of Dental Hygienists, 1950/2019)

This statute was originally codified in 1950 and was last updated in 2019, so both dates are included.

Source: APA Publication Manual or Concise Guide, 11.5 (examples 8-13)

U.S. Constitution

If you wish to cite the U.S. Constitution as a whole, you may simply mention it in your paper without including a citation in the references list.

However, if you are citing a part of the Constitution, you should use the article, amendment, section, and/or clause numbers.

  • Article = art. [use Roman numerals: I, II, III]
  • Amendment = amend. [use Roman numerals: I, II, III]
  • Section = § [use Arabic numbers: 1, 2, 3]
      (how to create the section symbol in Word)
  • Clause = cl. [use Arabic numbers: 1, 2, 3]
  • Preamble = pmbl


The founding fathers addressed the process by which new states may join the union (U.S. Const. art. I, § 3).

U.S. Const. art. I, § 3.

During prohibition, the sale of liquor was made illegal (U.S. Const. amend. XVIII, repealed 1933).

U.S. Const. amend. XVIII (repealed 1933).

Source: APA Publication Manual or Concise Guide, 11.9 (examples 23-27)

Charter of the United Nations


U.N. Charter art. xx, para. xx.


U.N. Charter art. 1, para. 3.

(U.N. Charter art. 1, para. 3)

Source: APA Publication Manual or Concise Guide, 11.9 (example 28)

Patient Portals (e.g. MedBridge)

This citation format is for use when citing exercises in the educational versions of patient portals, like MedBridge, used in PTH courses. It is based on the generic APA format, and has been approved by PTH faculty. Note: with these type of resources, the corporate author is usually also the source, and they do not need to be listed twice in the reference.

Reference Template

Author. (Date). Title [Format]. Source.


MedBridge. (n.d.). Prone hip extension [Exercise].

In-Text citation template

(Author, date, First 3-4 words of title)


(MedBridge, n.d., Prone hip extension)