APA Style (7th ed.) Guide

  1. APA Style (7th ed) Guide
  2. APA Template With Advice (7th ed)

APA Style (7th ed.) Guide

The Basics of Academic Writing, Information Literacy, In-Text Citations, and Reference Formatting

This APA Style 7th edition guide was designed to help introduce the college social science major to best practices on selecting acceptable scholarly references for academic writing and to model examples of the basic requirements of formatting in-text citation and references.

Basic Writing Rules

  1. When in doubt do not guess, simply contact your professor for clarification.
  2. Use Times New Roman 12 font
  3. No underlining.
  4. Double-space your paper, including the reference
  5. 1”.
  6. Indent new paragraphs .5”
  7. Paragraphs need to be at least 3 to 5 sentences in length.
  8. Reference list entries are in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author of each work. If no author, use the first word in the articles title.
  9. Italicize journal titles and volume numbers. Do not italicize issue numbers or page numbers.
  10. Italicize book
  11. Do not use quotes in your analytic papers. Your analysis is the main point of writing the paper. Avoid this mistake and stay away from using any quotes in your criminal justice writing. Paraphrase and cite the source.
  12. References cited in the text must appear in the reference list and vice versa.
  13. Anything that is not common knowledge to the public needs to be cited. You must give credit to the sources that inspired your thinking on a topic.
  14. Give credit to the sources with an in-text citation after each sentence. Do not wait to the end of the paragraph to use in-text citations. Each sentence that needs to be cited should have an in-text citation like this example (Bond, 2020).

General Principles for References

  • Use the most original source possible.
  • Use the most up-to-date and reliable source available.
  • General rule is that references should not be older than five years from date published.
  • Your paper is only as good as its weakest source.

The Following ARE Acceptable Scholarly References

  • Scholarly Periodicals
  • Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
  • Scholarly Books
  • Student Theses or Dissertations
  • Official Government Reports. Example, reports or studies from the DOJ,
  • Court Ruling (Legal Reference) from a credible and reliable source.

Acceptable Scholarly Source

Peer reviewed journal research articles are those that appear in criminal justice or public policy related journals or periodicals that have passed a rigorous peer-review process to validate the research contained in the article. The review process involves forwarding the research study to several researchers, practitioners, and professionals associated with the journal and these researchers review the study for reliability and validity, bias, proper research policies and procedures, ethical treatment of research subjects, ethical practices of the researchers, etc. If all of these and other criteria are met, the study can then be published in that journal.


The Following are NOT Acceptable Scholarly References and will not be used in your academic writing, even if you can locate them in the online library they are not to be used. If you wish to use any of these type of references, just know they are not acceptable college level writing resources and you should contact your class professor for permission before using these sources in any of your academic writing (forums, exam essays, term papers, etc.)

  • Class Lecture Notes
  • Encyclopedias
  • Dictionaries
  • Your Personal Experience (military, police sheriff, corrections, )
  • Popular Books
  • Popular Magazines
  • Radio and TV Broadcasts
  • The Internet (Googling, private websites with no quality peer-review program)
  • Wikipedia
  • Newspapers
  • Textbooks, unless your instructor authorizes the student to use the class text or other textbooks.
  • Professional website such as PoliceOne.com, etc.
  • Blog Articles

Information Literacy

Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to ‘recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information. The first step in locating references for your academic writing is to know where to look. The APUS Online Library academic databases are a great resource to find current peer-reviewed journal articles. Peer-reviewed journal articles are the highest quality and credible sources that can be used in your papers. Use current peer-reviewed journal articles that have been published within the last 5 years. There are other locations to find acceptable and credible peer-reviewed journal articles such as Google Scholar.

Reference List: Basic Rules

Your reference list should appear at the end of your paper and should be the last page after your conclusion on a separate page. The reference list provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any source you cite in the body of the paper. Each source you cite in the paper must appear in your reference list; likewise, each entry in the reference list must be cited in your text. Your references should begin on a new page separate from the text of the essay; label this page References centered at the top of the page. All text is to be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay.

Reference and In-text Citation Examples

The models presented in this guide are from the APA Style 7th Edition Publication Manual. Use these examples to help you format your references. Notice how the references are double spaced and if there is a second line with the references it is indented. This is called the hanging indentation. Notice how references with a DOI web address are active hyperlinks. If your reference does not have a DOI Number assigned from the academic databases, you will need to check if a DOI number has been issued since publication. It is the student responsibility to ensure if a DOI number has been issued, and that it is included with the reference when formatting. To check on the DOI use CrossRef.

crossref logo

Book with a DOI Number

Brown, L. S. (2018). Feminist therapy (2nd ed.) American

Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000092-000

Parenthetical citation: (Brown, 2018).

Narrative citation: Brown (2018) stated…

Book with no DOI Number

Burgess, R. (2019). Rethinking global health: Frameworks of power. Routledge.

Parenthetical citation: (Burgess, 2019).

Narrative citation: Burgess (2019) claimed…

Journal Article (Database or Google Scholar) with a DOI Number

Huestegge, S. M., Raettig, T., & Huestegge, L. (2019). Are face-incongruent

voices harder to process? Effects of face-voice gender incongruency on

basic cognitiveinformation processing. Experimental Psychology, 66(2),

154-164. https://doi.org/10.1027/1618-3169/a000440 

Parenthetical citation: (Huestegge et al., 2019).

Narrative citation: Huestegge et al. (2019) argued…

Journal Article without a DOI Number (Database or Google Scholar)

Ahmann, E., Tuttle, L. J., Savient, M., & Wright, S. D. (2018). A

descriptive review of ADHD coaching research: Implications for college

students. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 31(1), 17-39.

Parenthetical citation: (Ahmann et al., 2018).

Narrative citation: Ahmann et al. (2018) observed….

Government Document Online

National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Clinical training in serious

mental illness (DHHS Publication No. ADM 16-1679). U.S.Government

Printing Office. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

Parenthetical citation: (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016).

Narrative citation: National Institute of Mental Health (2016) created….

Government Web Page (Official Agency Website)

United States Secret Service. (2016). Special agent hiring and

training. http://www.secretservice.gov/

Parenthetical citation: (United States Secret Service, 2016).

Narrative citation: United States Secret Service (2016) discovered….

Legal Reference

U.S. Supreme Court case with a page number

Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).


Parenthetical citation: (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954).

Narrative citation: Brown v. Board of Education (1954) resolved….

Dissertation of Thesis from a Database

Hollander, M. M. (2017). Resistance to authority: Methodological innovations

and new lessons from the Milgram experiment (Publication

No.10289373) [Doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison].

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.

Parenthetical citation: (Hollander, 2017).

Narrative citation: Hollander (2017) articulated….

The Basics of In-Text Citations

Parenthetical citations are always inside the sentence like this example (Bond, 2020).

If there are three or more authors, even for the first use of the reference the in-text citation is formatted in this manner.

(Bond et al., 2020) or Bond et al. (2020) stated……….