Referencing Guides

APA Referencing (7th edition)  | Guide

How to Cite

This citation guide summarizes the most pertinent citation guidelines from the 7th edition APA Publication Manual (2020).

in-text citations

An APA in-text citation consists of the author’s last name and the year of publication. To avoid plagiarism, you include them whenever you quote or paraphrase someone else’s ideas or words.

There are two types of in-text citations: parenthetical and narrative. When using referencing tool (e.g., Mendeley, Zotero, endnote, etc) APA Citation Generator to cite a source, both types are generated automatically.

Parenthetical citation:

After labour, land, and capital, knowledge is the … (Juma, 2017).

Narrative citation:

Juma (2020) states that …

Multiple authors and organization as an authors

When a source has multiple authors or an organization as an author, the in-text citation changes slightly. Take note of punctuation and the use of the ampersand (&).

Author type Parenthetical citation Narrative citation
One author (Juma, 2020) Juma (2020)
Two authors (Juma & Nkirote, 2020) Juma and Nkirote (2020)
Three or more authors (Juma et al., 2020) Juma et al. (2020)
Organization (Safaricom, 2020) Safaricom (2020)

Abbreviated group author

·         First citation


·         Subsequent citations



(Teachers Service Commission [TSC], 2020)


(TSC, 2020)



Teachers Service Commission (TSC, 2020)


TSC (2020)


Incomplete information

When the author, date of publication, or locator are missing

Missing element What to do Parenthetical citation
Author Use the source title. * (Source Title, 2020)
Date Write “n.d.” for “no date”. (Juma, n.d.)
Page number

Either use an alternative locator

or omit the page number.

(Juma, 2020, Chapter 3) or

(Juma, 2020)


In-Text Citation Ambiguity

When in-text citations are ambiguous because they correspond to multiple reference entries, use the alternatives articulated in the following table.

Situation Solution In-text citation
Multiple works by the same author in the same year. Add a lowercase letter after the year.

(Juma, 2018a)

(Jumar, 2018b)

Different authors with the same last name. Include the authors’ initials.

(J. Maina, 2019)

(S. N. Maina, 2016)

Multiple works with 3+ authors that shorten to the same form (i.e., same first author(s) and date). Include as many names as needed to distinguish the citations.

(Juma, Lewis, et al., 2015)

(Juma, Ross, et al., 2015)

Citing indirect sources (“as cited in”)

Use the original or primary source.

Or cite it through the secondary source that led you to it, using the phrase “as cited in”.

(Juma, 1978, as cited in Otieno et al., 2017)

Ngiga (as cited in Gibendi, 2017) states that…

General mentions of websites and software incorporate relevant information into the running text.

The Reuben Marambii Library website ( contains various useful resources.

Statistical software SPSS (version 25) was used to analyze the data.


Reference Entries/ List

This guide summarizes the APA 7th edition guidelines of the APA Publication Manual.

APA reference entry/ list can be auto generated by referencing tool (e.g., Mendeley Zotero, endnote, etc) as from the in-text citations from the document.

Even though the reference structure varies depending on the source (e.g., a book, a website, or a video), they all share the same four components as outlined below:

  1. Author: who is responsible for creating the work?
  2. Date: when was the work published?
  3. Title: what is the work called?
  4. Source: where can the work be retrieved?


Author Entry

The author is in charge of creating the work. This can be an individual, a set of people, a corporation, a government entity, or a professional group. The author can be the author of a writing, the host of a conversation, or the director of a motion picture.

Begin with the last/sur-name, followed by a comma (,) and the initials, separated by a period (.) and space ( ).

N/B     Infixes like “Van” as well as “De” are treated as part of the surname. Individual titles, like Ph.D. or Dr., should be avoided, but suffixes should be included.

Where there are several authors:

  • Use commas to separate the names of multiple authors. I nclude an ampersand (&) preceding the final author’s name.
  • Up to 20 authors can be listed in a reference entry. If there are over 20, list the first 19 authors, followed by an ellipsis (…) and the name of the last author.



Author Basic format
One author

Juma, P. W. (2020)

Van der Edwin, R. (2022)


Two authors

Juma, P. W., & Nkirote, S. (2020)


Three or more authors

Juma, P. W., Wekesa, J., & Maina, J. (2020)


Twenty (20) authors Juma, P. W., Wekesa, J., Maina, J., Gibendi, R., Diki, M. P., Mutuma, M., Kinoti, S., Ntuchiu, L., Barasa, J., Muthamia, J., Musungu, M., Ngiga, E., Muriithi, F., Mutua, F., Kibos, J., Moraa, D., Kiogora, A., Makena, S., Nkirote, J., & Otieno, L. (2022)
More than Twenty (20+) authors

Njorege, G., Odunga, M., Juma, P. W., Wekesa, J., Maina, J., Gibendi, R., Diki, M. P., Mutuma, M., Kinoti, S., Ntuchiu, L., Barasa, J., Muthamia, J., Musungu, M., Ngiga, E., Muriithi, F., Mutua, F., Kibos, J., Moraa, D., Kiogora, A., Makena, S., Nkirote, J., … Otieno, L. (2022)



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020)

Safaricom (2020)

Microsoft & Apple (2022)


Unknown Author King James Bible. (2017)

N/B: legal citations (e.g., court cases, laws) generally don’t have an author element.


Role recognition

If a contributor has a role apart from “author,” a description of that role is sometimes (sometimes not) included within parentheses. See the table below.

Source Role Reference entry




Ngiga, E.

Gibendi, R. N. (Ed.)




Ngina, W. M. (Director)
TV Series

Executive producer


Hassan, S. (Executive producer)



Ngugi, L. (Host)



Too, S.



Hassan, S.
Photograph Photographer Barasa, E.



The “author” is followed by the “date.”

To determine the date of publication, use the guidelines below:

·         Books – use the copyright date.

·         Journal articles – use the year in which the volume was published.

·         Web pages – use the “Last updated” date if it applies to the content you’re citing. Don’t take the copyright date from the footer of a website.






Only provide the retrieval date (i.e., the date you consulted the information) if a work is designed to change over time. Examples include:

·         Online dictionary entries

·         Social media profiles (not posts)

·         Dashboards with statistics (like this world population counter)

The retrieval date appears after the source title and before the URL. Write the word “Retrieved” followed by the month, day, and year.

Example:         Worldometer. (n.d.). World population clock. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from




Book (stand-alone work)

Voss, C., & Raz, T. (2017). Never split the difference: Negotiating as if your life depended on it. Harper Business.



Journal article (part of a larger whole)

Lou, C., & Yuan, S. (2019). Influencer marketing: How message value and credibility affect consumer trust of branded content on social media. Journal of Interactive Advertising

19(1), 58–73.



Webpage (changing over time)

Worldometer. (n.d.). World population clock

Retrieved October 20, 2020, from



YouTube videoBloomberg QuickTake. (2020, July 1). How to build a city around bikes, fast [Video]. YouTube.


Unknown title

PaintingVan Gogh, V. (1878–1882). [Portrait of a woman] [Painting]. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.




Books can have different editions, while periodicals (such as journals and magazines) usually have volume and issue numbers. This information appears after the title.

Put edition information in parentheses, but unlike the title, don’t italicize it.


Coghlan, D. (2019). Doing action research in your own organization (5th ed.). SAGE Publications.


Chapter in an edited book

Belsey, C. (2006). Poststructuralism. In S. Malpas & P. Wake (Reds.), The Routledge companion to critical theory (3rd ed., pp. 51–61). Routledge.

Gaffney, D., & Puschmann, C. (2014). Data collection on Twitter. In K. Weller, A. Bruns, J. Burgess, M. Mahrt, & C. Puschmann (Eds.), Twitter and society (pp. 55–67). Peter Lang Publishing.


Journal article

Italicize the volume number and place it after the periodical title. The issue number appears after the volume number in parentheses (not italicized). Do not add a space between the volume and issue number.


Evans, N. J., Phua, J., Lim, J., & Jun, H. (2017). Disclosing Instagram influencer advertising: The effects of disclosure language on advertising recognition, attitudes, and behavioral intent. Journal of Interactive Advertising17(2), 138–149.

Blog post (website)

McCombes, S. (2020, June 19). How to write a problem statement. Scribbr.


YouTube video (platform)

Vox. (2018, October 17). How IKEA gets you to impulsively buy more [Video]. YouTube.



Works that can be accessed online usually have a URL or DOI (digital object identifier). A DOI is often used for scientific publications and books, while a URL is more common for other online publications.

Online newspaper article

Wakabayashi, D. (2020, October 21). Google antitrust fight thrusts low-key C.E.O. into the line of fire. The New York Times.


Journal article

Cheung, C. M. K., & Thadani, D. R. (2012). The impact of electronic word-of-mouth communication: A literature analysis and integrative model. Decision Support Systems, 54(1), 461–470.

Streefkerk, R. (2022, December 5). Creating APA reference entries. Scribbr.



APA style guides



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