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Social Work

Provides resources for social work research at the University of Michigan.

Bibliography Format

APA style dictates that authors are listed by last name followed by initials; publication year goes between parentheses, followed by a period. The title of an article or book title is in sentence-case, meaning only the first word and proper nouns in the title are capitalized. A periodical title is run in title case, and is followed by the volume number which, with the title, is also italicized.


Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.

(Note: For "Location," you should always list the city, but you should also include the state if the city is unfamiliar or if the city could be confused with one in another state or country.)

Calfee, R. C., & Valencia, R. R. (1991). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper) in print:
Abiodun, J. (2012). Title of article. Title of Periodical, xx(Volume), xxx-xxx (Page Numbers).

Part of a nonperiodical (book chapter):
Chen, F. M. (2010). Title of chapter. In A. Editor (Edition #), Title of book (pp. xxx-xxx). Location: Publisher.

Online Articles

APA style prefers the inclusion of DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) for online journal articles in reference lists. This is a unique number assigned to each published article. If there is no DOI, include the date retrieved and URL if the article is published on a website. IF ONLY AVAILABLE THROUGH A DATABASE, do not include a URL (database URLs will not get readers to the article as they are often behind a paywall or the database URL times out). 

Nnamani, T. (2018). Title of article. Title of PeriodicalVol.#(issue#), page numbers. DOI

Jones, A. (1995). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Vol.#(issue#), page numbers. Retrieved Month date, Year, from URL


Article From a Library Database

When referencing material obtained from an online database (such as a database in the library), provide appropriate print citation information (formatted just like a "normal" print citation would be for that type of work). This will allow people to retrieve the print version if they do not have access to the database from which you retrieved the article.  

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages.

Smyth, A. M., Parker, A. L., & Pease, D. L. (2002). A study of enjoyment of peas. Journal of Abnormal Eating, 8(3), 120-125.


Web Document, Web Page

List as much of the following information as possible (you sometimes have to hunt around to find the information; don't be lazy. If there is a page like, and somepage.htm doesn't have the information you're looking for, move up the URL to

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year, Month Date). Title of page. Site name. URL



additional details and examples can be found on the Citation Help guide.

In Text Citations

APA uses the author-date method of citation.

  • For a work by a single author, the last name of the author and the year of publication are used in the text: Walker (2000) compared... or In a recent study of reaction times (Walker, 2000)...
  • For a work by two authors always cite both names every time the reference occurs in the text: (Baker and Lightfoot, 1992).  
  • When a work has three or more authors, cite only the first author followed by “et al.":Wasserstein et al. (1994) found... . Omit year from subsequent citations after first citation within a paragraph: Wasserstein et al. found...
  • Corporations, associations and government agencies as authors are listed in full in the first citations (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 1991) and as abbreviations in subsequent citations (NIMH, 1999).
  • For works with no author, cite the first few words of the title and the year: The book College Bound Seniors (1979)...

If your resource does not fit these examples, don't be discouraged! Consult a manual, check online the Style Blog or Purdue OWL, or Ask A Librarian!