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MEC APA 7th Edition Guide

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

Paper Setup

  • APA now has different title page requirements for student papers. This title page does not require a running head and has a different set of information to include. See APA Style: Student Title Page Guide.
  • Titles of papers are now bolded, with a blank line before the author's name.
  • There is no font requirement as long as the font is legible and consistent.
  • The heading for the References list is now bolded.
  • There are now guidelines for annotated bibliographies.
  • Handy comparison guide (PDF) by Carrie Forbes, MLS, East Carolina University.

Formatting Author Names - In-Text Citations

APA has simplified in-text citations in regards to multiple authors. If there is one or two authors, list their names:

(Hattery, 2018); (Hattery & Smith, 2018)

For three or more authors, list only the first author's name and then et al.

(Hattery et al., 2019)

Formatting Author Names - Reference List

In the opposite direction, APA now requires listing up to 20 authors for a source in the references list. This is a change from 8 in the 6th edition. For works with more than 20 authors, list the first 19, insert an ellipsis point, and then list the last author's name.

Smith, J., Jones, B. E., Brown, K. E., Doe, J., Chan, L., Garcia, S. M., White, C-G., Fernández, J., Ahmed, A. J., Zhào, L., Cohen, D., Watanabe, K.,  Kim, K., Del Rosario, J., Yilmaz, P. K., Nguyễn, T., Wilson, T. H., Wang, W., Kahale, A. ... Zhang, Z. Z. (Date). Title. Source.


For books, no longer list the publication location.

George, M. W. (2008). The elements of library research: What every student needs to know. Princeton University Press.

If a book has a DOI assigned to it, even a print book, add it to the end of the reference. The formatting of the DOI should now follow the format

Hays, P. A. (2008). Addressing cultural complexities in practice: assessment, diagnosis, and therapy (3rd ed.). American Psychological Association. 

eBooks in a database should be cited exactly as print books. Include the DOI if available. Do not include a database name.

Keating, D. P. (Ed.). (2010). Nature and nurture in early child development. Cambridge University Press.

Sacred texts should now be included in the references list (the 6th edition only required an in-text citation).

The Bhagavad Gita. (E. Easwaran, Trans.; 2nd ed.). (2007). The Blue Mountain Center of Meditation.

King James Bible. (2017). King James Bible Online. (Original work published 1769)

Journal Articles

Always include the issue number. Previously if the issues were paginated continuously you did not need to include it. The formatting of the DOI should now follow the format

Zhao, W., Garcia-Oscos, F., Dinh, D., & Roberts, T. F. (2019). Inception of memories that guide vocal learning in the songbird. Science, 366(6461), 83–89.

If a journal article does not have a DOI, you may end the citation after the page numbers. There is no longer a requirement to include the URL of the journal's homepage. However, if an article is open access, you may choose to link directly to the article's full text.

Kerlis, B. (2013). Sacred spaces in virtual places: Locating religion in the financial market. Journal for the Study of Religion, 26(1), 23–44.

If an article is from an online-only journal and has an article number, use that in place of the page numbers. Do not use page numbers from the PDF format.

Derry, K. (2018). Myth and monstrosity: Teaching indigenous films. Journal of Religion & Film, 22(3), Article 7.

You may use a shortened DOI if desired.

Grasset, L., Glymour, M. M., Elfassy, T., Swift, S. L., Yaffe, K., Singh-Manoux, A., & Al Hazzouri, A. Z. (2019). Relation between 20-year income volatility and brain health in midlife: The CARDIA study. Neurology.

Magazine/Newspaper Articles

Include a URL if it will take the reader to the full text without logging in. The article title is formatted in "sentence case," and the newspaper or magazine title is italicized and Title Case.

Editorial Board. (2020, April 26). These D.C. students are using their down time to 3-D print face shields for hospitals and clinics. The Washington Post.

If a magazine or news site does not have an associated regular print publication, use the guidelines for a webpage. Examples include CNN and the Huffington Post.

Database Content

If a library database contains its own, periodically updated and proprietary information that cannot be retrieved elsewhere (like Dynamed, Nursing Reference Center, Rehabilitation Reference Center, the AtoZ databases, CQ Researcher, etc.), include the name of the database and a permalink in the reference. Note: some databases (inc. Opposing Viewpoints, ERIC, Health & Wellness) have a mix of journal/magazine articles and proprietary information. Name the database only if you are using the proprietary articles. If you need assistance determining if the article is proprietary, ask your librarian.

Ornes, S. (2019, September 20). Extreme weather. CQ Researcher.

Richman, S. (2018, August 17). Abdominal wall strain. Rehabilitation Reference Center.


Cochrane Library's Database of Systematic Reviews has its own specific reference format including its DOI.

Aziz, A. & Ohlssohn, A. (2020). Surfactant for pulmonary haemorrhage in neonates. Cochrane Database of  Systematic Reviews.


Omit the words 'Retrieved from' before the URL. Include the name of the website unless it is the same as the author. Italicize the name of the webpage.

Huhman, H. (2018, July 5). 5 rules of salary negotiation. Glassdoor.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2010, February 1). Facing down PTSD, vet is now soaring high.

You may use a URL shortener like tinyurl or if you wish.

Northern Virginia Community College. (n.d.). Pathway orientation. 

Class Materials

APA now clarifies that if the audience for the paper being written can access materials that may be in an LMS or intranet, these can be included in the references list. Previously, these were considered non-retrievable sources and were to be cited as personal communication.

Matthews, D. (2019). [Lecture notes on evaluating Internet resources]. Canvas at Northern Virginia Community College.

Annotated Bibliographies

APA now has guidelines for an annotated bibliography. Annotations will be a new paragraph, completely indented 0.5" from the left.

Delmas, P. M. (2017). Using VoiceThread to create community in online learning. TechTrends, 61, 595–602.

This study investigated how VoiceThread could impact online student persistence. It used the Community of Inquiry framework as a guidepost for applying the technology, most specifically by leveraging social presence. The study sought to answer the question “does VoiceThread help create community for online learners?” Researchers surveyed 39 participants in master’s and doctoral programs that were either fully online or blended. Based on the data, the researchers concluded that VoiceThread, as perceived by students who have used it, can promote social presence in online learning communities by making students feel more connected to other students and the instructor. Three positive themes for VoiceThread related to student to student interaction included hearing a voice, hearing voice inflection versus text, and learning about peers’ professional/educational experience. While positive trends were highlighted succinctly, there was little discussion of negative trends, which challenged validity, and a small sample size (N=39) makes it difficult to generalize.