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Library Research Guides

Social Work

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

Bibliography Format



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.

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


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

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

Periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper):
Jone, J. (1994). Title of article.
Title of Periodical, xx(Volume), xxx-xxx (Page Numbers).

Part of a nonperiodical (book chapter):
Jones, J. (1994). Title of chapter. In A. Editor (Edition #), Title of book (pp. xxx-xxx). Location: Publisher.

Online periodical:
Jones, J. (2000). Title of article.
Title of Periodical, xx(Volume), xxx-xxx(Page Numbers). Retrieved month day, year, from source/website.

Online document:
Jones, J. (2000). Title of Work. Retrieved month day, year, from source/website.

Article From a 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. You can also include the item number or accession number in parentheses at the end, but the APA manual says that this is not required. For articles that are easily located, do not provide database information. If the article is difficult to locate, then you can provide database information. Only use retrieval dates if the source could change, such as Wikis. For more about citing articles retrieved from electronic databases, see pages 187-192 of the Publication Manual.

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. (Date of publication). Title of document. Retrieved from http://Web address

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 to five authors, cite all authors the first time; in subsequent citations include only the first author followed by “et al.": Wasserstein, Zappulla, Rosen, Gerstman and Rock (1994) found... followed by Wasserstein et al. (1994) found... in subsequent citations. Omit year from subsequent citations after first citation within a paragraph: Wasserstein et al. found...
  • When a work has six or more authors, cite only the last name of the first author followed by “et al,” and the year for the first and subsequent citations:Kosslyn et al. (1992)...
  • 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 or Ask A Librarian!



APA Style Tutorial