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APA 7th Edition: Elements of the Citation

Using APA 7th edition citation style

Creating the Citation

When creating your "Works Cited" page,

  • Think about the source you are documenting,
  • Select the information about the source that is appropriate to the project you are creating, and
  • Organize the information logically and without complication.

The APA Publication Manual (7th edition) has good sections (pp. 253-312) on finding the facts about publications, and an extensive discussion of each of the citation elements.

Core Elements

These are the core elements of any entry in the :Reference" list, in the order in which they should appear. Omit any element that is not relevant to the source being cited. Use a period after the last element and the punctuation mark shown below for all earlier elements.

Element & Punctuation Contains
1  Author. the name of the person or group primarily responsible for creating the work
2  Date. the date of publication (can be a year, a year and month, a year, month, and day, or year and season)
3  Title. the title of the work being referenced.  This may be the title of a book/report/dissertation or it could be the title of an article or book chapter.
4  Source. For books this would include only the publisher.  For book chapters and articles, it may include book titles, publishers, series information, journal name, volumes, issues, page numbers, and DOIs/URLs.


Optional Elements

Besides the core elements, there are several pieces of information that may be important to your use of the source. These may be added to the end of the entry, or right after the core elements they relate to. This is not an exhaustive list; it includes information based on whether it might help your reader.

Element & Punctuation Contains
Date of Original Publication. if the original date will provide the reader with insight into the work's creation or relation to other works, place it enclosed in parenthesis after the last element of the Source.
Bracketed Descriptions when the source is not a standard work ( i.e. articles, books, reports, dictionaries, etc.), place a description of the type of work in brackets after the title right before the period. 
Information about prior publication of the source. when the source was previously published in a form other than the one you are citing, give that publication information enclosed in parenthesis after the last element of the Source.
Legislative documents information give the number and session of the legislature (e.g. Congress), and the document's type and number
Date of access. include if it is important to show which version you consulted, or when the source itself gives no publication/production date


The APA Publication Manual (7th edition, sections 6.24-6.31) gives approved abbreviations for common terms, chemical names, and references (section 9.50).