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How to Cite a Journal Article in APA

Journal articles are one of the most important sources of information for research papers. Often times, they will serve as your main source of information, as journal articles contain information that is specific to a topic. This page will show you how to cite journal articles in APA style, updated for the 7th edition.

Guides Overview

Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:

APA Journal Article Citation

In-text apa citation for journal articles, reference page apa citation for journal articles, how to cite a journal article in apa (print), how to cite a journal article with multiple authors in apa, how to cite a journal article on a database in apa, troubleshooting.

This guide will help you create journal citations in APA format. Check out this hyperlink if you are looking to create APA books citation .

This section will help you create in-text APA citations for journal articles.

In-text citations refer to the crediting of articles within the body of a work, separate from the reference page at the end of a document. An in-text citation comes after a paraphrase or a direct quote. For any APA in-text citation in your own paper, you must include a full citation in your reference page as well.

Paraphrasing in APA

For an in-text APA journal citation that is not a direct quote, or an APA parenthetical citation , all you need to provide is the author’s last name and the year of publication.

You may provide a page number (preceded by “p.” for one page or “pp.” for multiple pages) as well if the passage or idea you are paraphrasing is on a certain page or set of pages, but this is not necessary for APA journal citations.

Narrative In-Text Citation Example:

According to Currie (2001), there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that early intervention programs can be effective.

Parenthetical In-Text  Citation Example:

Research suggests that the absence of behavior problems is just as important to future success as the development of cognitive skills (Currie, 2001, p. 215).

Short quotes in APA

A short quote in APA style must be fewer than 40 words. When using a direct short quote for APA citation of journal articles, you must list the author, the year of publication, the page number(s), and use quotation marks. You can embed this information within the sentence or cite it at the end of the sentence, or use a mixture of both as long as all the components are used in your APA journal citation.

According to Currie (2001), “the difficulty of overcoming poor endowments later in life—through job training programs for high school dropouts, for example—makes early intervention appear attractive as well” (p. 216).

Long quotes in APA

A long quote in APA citation style (also called a block quote in APA ) has 40 words or more. Like short quotes, for APA citation of journal articles, you must also cite the author, year of publication and the page number(s) for long quotes, and this information can be embedded within the sentence surrounding the quote, cited at the end of the sentence, or a mixture of both.

Unlike short quotes, long quotes in an APA citation of journal article require you to start the quote on a new line with a ½ inch indent from the left margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout the quote, and if you haven’t already embedded all the citation information in the sentence preceding the quote, include it at the end of the quote in parentheses after the closing punctuation mark. Do not use any quotation marks around a long quote for journal APA citation.

Currie’s (2001) study found the following:

Equalizing early endowments through early childhood intervention programs may be a superior approach to the problem of unequal allocations, both because it avoids many of the moral hazard problems that arise when society attempts to compensate those with poor outcomes and because early intervention to equalize allocations may be a more cost-effective way of promoting equity than compensating for unequal outcomes. (pp. 215-216)

Citing Multiple Authors in APA

  • 2 authors: Give the information for the first author followed by a comma, then use an ampersand (&) and list the information for the second author.
  • 3 to 20 authors: Separate the author names with commas and use an ampersand (&) before the final author’s name. In APA citations of journal articles, never list more than 20 authors.
  • 21+ authors: List the first 19 names separated by commas. After the 19th author, add a comma, then an ellipsis (…), followed by the final author’s name.

Citing Group/Corporate Authors in APA

For a corporate author in an APA citation of a journal, use the publishing company in place of the author’s name in the citation. Place the name of the publishing company at the beginning of the citation just as you would the author’s name with proper capitalization.

Citing a Source with No Authors in APA

If no author is given, to create the APA citation of a journal, use the title of the article in place of the author information. Then, provide the publication date and publication name without repeating the article title.

This section will help you create an APA reference page or an APA bibliography .

How author names are structured in APA

Author names, if available, will always come first in your reference page for APA citation for journal articles. Start your reference page citation with the last name of the first author followed by a comma, followed by the author’s capitalized first initial and a period. Then list the author’s middle initial, if one is provided, followed by a period.

Rowling, J. K.

  • 2 to 20 authors: Use a comma between all of the author names. Place an ampersand (&) before the final author’s name.
  • 21 or more authors: List the names of the first 19 authors and use a comma between all of the names. After the 19th name, place an ellipsis (…) and then the final author’s name.

Structuring dates in APA

  • Dates follow the author in APA citation for journal articles and should be in parentheses.
  • List the year first followed by a comma.
  • Then, list the month, fully spelled out (not abbreviated) and properly capitalized.
  • Then, without using a comma after the month, list the numerical date.
  • If any of this information is missing from the reference, simply omit it.

Structuring journal article titles in APA

  • The article title follows the date.
  • Only capitalize the first letter of the first word of the article.
  • Do not italicize or underline the title of the article.
  • Follow the article title with a period.

Structuring the journal name in APA

Follow the rules for journal article titles in APA citations.

  • The name is capitalized throughout, just as the publication capitalizes the title
  • The name should be italicized and followed by a comma.

Structuring volume and issue numbers in APA

  • The volume and issue numbers follow the publication title.
  • After the comma following the italicized title, put the volume number in italics.
  • Then, omitting the space, put the issue number in parentheses without italics.
  • Place a period after the closing parentheses, again omitting the space after the parentheses.

Structuring website addresses (URLs) and DOIs in APA

  • URLs and DOIs for a journal article come after the volume and issue number. After the period following the issue number, put a space followed by the full URL or DOI with no period at the end.
  • Since URLs can potentially change and DOIs cannot, APA journal citation style recommends using a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) instead of a website URL when possible.
  • A DOI in your reference should be formatted like this: https://doi.org/xxxx
  • If a source has a DOI, it should be included; it doesn’t matter if you viewed the print or online version.
  • In previous editions of APA, an  APA website citation always included “Retrieved from” or “Accessed from” before a URL. Since APA 7th edition, you no longer need to include this.

Yu, H., & Leadbetter, J. R. (2020, July 15). Bacterial chemolithoautotrophy via manganese oxidation.  Nature,   583 (7816), 453–458. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2468-5

How to Cite an Online Journal Article in APA

The following examples show you how to format an online journal citation in APA style.

For an APA citation journal article from a database, you are not required to include the database information. This is because APA format includes a link to the website or the DOI instead, since database information can change over time. Simply follow the format for an APA citation journal from online as described above.

Here is a video that covers journal article citations in APA style:

Solution #1: What to do if you cannot find a journal article’s DOI

The DOI can typically be found on the first page of an article. For an online journal, the DOI is usually at the top of the webpage below the article’s title. It is a unique combination of numbers, letters, periods, which might appear in any of the forms below:

10.1353/shq.2012.0007

doi: 10.1353/shq.2012.0007

https://doi.org/10.1353/shq.2012.0007

Sometimes, an article does not have a DOI, particularly if it is an older resource. Articles found on JSTOR may just have a stable URL instead of a DOI. If it cannot be found, use the URL in its place.

Corrigan, P.W. (2000) Mental health stigma as social attribution: Implications for research methods and attitude change. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 7 (1), 28-67. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2000-13942-004

Solution #2: How to cite another text cited within a journal article

If you wish to use a quote or information from an article that is cited as coming from another source, use the reference information provided to find the original source. Find the quote within the source and reference its original author and location. If you cannot locate it, you must still cite both sources, identifying the original author and its location within the secondary source.

Solution #3: How to find the volume and issue number of a journal

The volume and issue number can typically be found on the front cover of a journal. Within the pages of an article, they also might be listed in the top or bottom corners of the page. For an online journal, the volume and issue number are listed after the title of a journal.  

Some other formats it might be found in:

vol. 18, no. 4

vol. 18, iss. 4

Published May 9, 2019. Updated July 16, 2020.

APA Formatting Guide

APA Formatting

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Block Quotes
  • et al Usage
  • In-text Citations
  • Multiple Authors
  • Paraphrasing
  • Page Numbers
  • Parenthetical Citations
  • Reference Page
  • Sample Paper
  • APA 7 Updates
  • View APA Guide

Citation Examples

  • Book Chapter
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Website (no author)
  • View all APA Examples

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Journal articles are the content within journals, which are a type of literature and are released periodically, are peer-reviewed, and provide some of the most up-to-date studies — basically, a great source for research. They typically focus on a particular topic and contain peer-reviewed articles written by experts in order to educate and inform other experts on the subject. Journals may contain several articles, similar to chapters in a book or articles in a magazine. Articles usually have an abstract, or a short summary of the article, at the beginning and a list of references at the end.

A “scholarly” article is an article that comes from an academic, peer-reviewed source. Because academic journals and non-academic magazines have a lot of structural similarities, the term “scholarly” differentiates this type of article from magazine articles. A scholarly article is typically written by experts for experts, and is peer-reviewed by other experts in the field.

A “peer-reviewed” article is one that has been reviewed by a board of experts in the field for quality and accuracy of the information before publishing. A “peer-reviewed” article is a more trustworthy source because it has been checked and approved by experts and is not based on opinion, low-quality research, or obsolete data.

Articles exist both in print and online and can be found at most academic libraries. Online articles can usually be found using academic databases, which contain structured sets of data or information. Many databases charge a fee to use the database and/or to access full articles. Most university library websites will provide information for accessing different academic databases.

Do not include the publisher and place of publication when citing a journal article in APA style. Publisher names are used for book-type references, reports, computer software and mobile apps, and data sets. Do not include the publisher’s location in references. Instead, the name of the journal will be included, which will provide the reader with sufficient information for locating the source.

To format a journal article in APA style, you will need the author name, publication year, title of the article, journal title, volume number, issue number, page range, and/or DOI (digital object identifier) or URL (uniform resource locator). The format for a journal article having just one author is given below:

Author Surname, F. M. (Publication Year). Article title: Subtitle. Journal Title, Volume (issue), page range. URL or DOI

Note that the first name and middle name, following the author’s surname, are abbreviated and separated by a space. The title of the article should be set in sentence case. The first word of the subtitle, if present, should be capitalized. The name of the journal should be set in title case. Set the journal title and the volume number in italics, including the comma that separates them. An example is given below:

Rancière, J. (2016). Un-what? Philosophy & Rhetoric, 49 (4), 589–606. https://doi:10.5325/philrhet.49.4.0589

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Cite a Journal in APA

    3 to 20 authors: Separate the author names with commas and use an ampersand (&) before the final author’s name. In APA citations of journal articles, never list more than 20 authors. 21+ authors: List the first 19 names separated by commas. After the 19th author, add a comma, then an ellipsis (…), followed by the final author’s name.