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Rehabilitation Science: APA Help

Citation Style Warning

REMEMBER: Follow instructor guidelines FIRST with regards to individual classroom assignments and instructor expectations.  Your instructor is the first priority over rules and guidelines, and they may have different requirements than what the APA Manual suggests.  If you are in doubt, ask your instructor!

APA Basics

For free, online help with APA citations, including sample papers, in-text citation help, and many reference examples, go to

image from featuring the popular style guidelines: reference examples, title page setup, paper format, bias-free language, in-text citations,and sample papers

For the definitive source for guidelines using APA style is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, frequently referred to as the "APA Manual."  Most recently in its 7th edition, the manual will contain information for formatting papers, in-text citation examples, bibliography help, and sample papers, including information specific to student papers.

The copy in the library is available to check-out for 3 days or browse--just ask at any service desk.  It is not available online except through private purchase :(

Formatting an APA Paper in Word

Most word processors include an APA Template where elements like the running head, title page, sections, and references are already set up.  You can begin a paper this way by opening Word, click "New", and searching for "APA" in the templates search box.  Keep in mind, however, these templates will likely reflect APA 6th edition style (for now).  Different word processors may have slight variations in their templates.  It is YOUR responsibility to ensure their accuracy.

The Power and Perils of Citation Generators

There are numerous tools to quickly create citations in most styles--many of these tools are embedded in library databases or exist within stand-alone bibliographic citation managers like Refworks or Easybib.  Machine-generated citations can make life easier, but they can often be formatted, capitalized, or punctuated incorrectly or inadequately.  ALWAYS check machine-generated citations with the official and updated APA style guide or other authoritative sources for accurate information concerning punctuation, formatting, and completeness of the citation.  

If you rely on machines to generate citations, know that your grade is not made by a machine.


Picture of original Terminator with red eye behind sunglasses


FAQ's About the APA 7th Edition

Here's a quick list of some of the major changes from the 6th edition to the 7th edition of the APA Manual:

  • Samples for professional papers, student papers, and annotated bibliographies are now included

  • Running head and author note is no longer included in student papers

  • One space (not two) should be used after a period

  • Publisher location no longer required for book citations

  • With three or more authors, abbreviate "et al." the first time you present the work in in-text citations, as opposed to writing all authors the first time and using "et al." subsequent times.

  • For a general mention of a website with no indication of specific page, no reference list or in-text citation is needed.

  • In your reference list, write out up to 20 author names as opposed to 7 authors maximum.  For 21 authors or more, use ellipses.

  • Present both DOIs and URLS as hyperlinks, and do not insert "Retrieved from" before a hyperlink.

  • More citation examples are included for social media, apps, media, and other non-traditional sources.

For more help, see these links below:

Differences in APA 7th Edition in a Nutshell


What is a DOI?

DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier

The DOI is a a web address linked to the publisher information of an article or book chapter.  This enables all readers to access basic information about your article, regardless of their affiliation with a library or other institution.  Most DOI links do not resolve to full-text, however, so it shouldn't be used for bookmarking for full-text access.  DOI links or numbers can be searched in to reveal identifying elements of an article like title, authors, and the abstract.

How do I find the DOI for an article?

Most recent online articles will include the DOI as part of the first page of the PDF version, usually in the header or footer, along with the source of the publication:

Image from a PDF of an academic article displaying article information and the DOI expressed as a string of numbers.

You can also find it in many database results by clicking on the title of an article, instead of the PDF directly.  This will reveal an organized list of identifying features about the article, including title, abstract, authors, and publication information.  The article DOI is often included in this information.

Screenshot of article information showing a D.O.I.

If you can't find a DOI in either of these places, you can look up a DOI using the CrossRef website to search for the article title in the Search Metadata box:

Screenshot of the Search Metadata box of

What if I still can't find the DOI?

In some cases, there simply isn't a DOI for an article.  If you found the article from a library database, end the reference after the page range and do not add a URL.  If you found the article on an online journal website that is accessible to all readers (not from a library database), use the URL to the article at the end of your citation.

How do I include the DOI in my citation?

In the latest edition of APA, the DOI should be formatted as a URL at the very end of your citation, like this:

Do not end with a period, and use the automatic formatting in Word to make it a hyperlink.

Many articles may list the DOI as a string of numbers or a phrase:

  • 10.1037/ppm0000185

Be aware, you will need to reformat as a URL to place into your citation, regardless of how the journal formats the DOI.