Skip to Main Content

NUTR 225/240: (General) Human Nutrition

What is APA Style?

APA style, developed by the American Psychological Association, is commonly used in the behavioral and social sciences to style in-text references and bibliographies. The complete rules for APA style are found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition). There are multiple copies located in the library that can be used/checked.

APA is an author-date style meaning that author name(s) and publication date are key pieces of information in every citation. A reference list organized according to APA style is put in order by author last name.

Why Cite Sources?

There are many good reasons why scholars and students cite the sources that inform their research and scholarship. Very generally, citing sources is a way to acknowledge when information is not one's own and credit those authors and creators who originated the information being used. Citing is the formal way that the acknowledgement and credit is documented.

In addition to giving credit to others for the work they have done, citing also:

  • lends credibility and authority to scholarly and other writing by providing evidence that the writer utilized relevant sources
  • provides the information that readers can use to access the original source of information or ideas
  • provides context for any original research or argument that the writer is presenting



APA Citation Basics

The OWL (Online Writing Lab) website from Purdue University provides some great examples of citing in APA style and in MLA style (look at the left side menu on the page for the links to examples for various source types).

There are certain basic things you need to cite just about any source, using just about any format:

  • The AUTHOR (or creator) of the work.  This may be one person, many people, or a group or organization.
  • The TITLE OF THE WORK itself.  For example, the article title, the book title, the chapter title, etc.
  • The JOURNAL or the PUBLISHER or the ORGANIZATION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTENT .  For an article, you include the name of the specific magazine or journal.  For a book, the publishing house. For a website/webpage, include individual authors, if they are noted. Otherwise include the organization name.

There are also certain things that must be included for specific types of works.  For example, for an article or a book chapter, you would provide page numbers.  For a website, you would provide the URL.

The moment when you are most likely to have easy access to all of this information?  When you find it in the first place.  Know then what you need to take note of to cite it effectively later.


Journal Article Citation in APA Style: What Info Do I Need?

The basic format for a journal article citation in APA style is as follows (pay attention to capitalization in the article and journal titles and to where italics appear).

In-text Citation:

(AuthorLastName, Year)


Reference List:

basic journal article citation format in apa style



In-text Citation (3-5 authors)

(Bull, Levine, Black, Schmiege, & Santelli, 2012)


Reference List

example journal article citation in apa style


So where do you find this information on the article?  See the image below for one example.

article citation information

APA Website Citation: What Info Do I Need?

The basic format for a website citation in APA style is as follows (please follow the guidance from the APA Style Blog entry about when to use Format Description).

In-text citation:

(Author, Year)


Reference List:

Author, A. (Year, Month Day). Title of document [Format description]. Retrieved from http://URL

Example Citation

In-text Citation:

     (Mayo Clinic, 2014)


Reference List:

example of website citation in apa format