Skip to Main Content

Academic Integrity in Social Work

This is guide for students of the School of Social Work with information on academic integrity and plagiarism.

APA Style & Academic Integrity

Reference List Format

APA style dictates that authors are listed by last name followed by initials; publication year goes within 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.

Periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper) in print

Surname, F. M. (year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Vol#(issue#), page-numbers.

*Work, S. (2022). Social workers save lives. Journal of All Good Things, 1(1), 1-20.


Articles retrieved from electronic sources

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 available on an open 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). 

Surname, F. M. (year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Vol.#(issue#), page numbers. DOI

Mech, T. F., & Brooks, C. I. (1997). Anxiety and confidence in using a library by college freshmen and seniors. Psychological Reports, 81(3, Pt 1), 929–930. https://doi-org/10.2466/pr0.1997.81.3.929

Surname, F. M. (year). 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) that does not have a DOI, provide appropriate print citation information (formatted like a  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.  

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


Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter to start 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.

Book chapter:

Surname, F. M. (year). Title of chapter. In A. Editor (Edition #), Title of book (pp. xxx-xxx). Location: Publisher.

*Plum, I. (2021). Eating of fruits from iceboxes. In A. Johnson (Ed.), Collection of things (pp. 213-271). Ann Arbor: University of Ann Arbor Press.

Web document or webpage

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

*Thing, O., & Thing, T. (2022, July 26). The Habits of cats. News You Confuse.


In the reference list for federal or state statutes, include the name of the statute, title of the source, section number and publication date in parentheses. The URL is optional. (See section 11.5 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition, for detailed information.)

Every Student Succeeds Act, 20 U.S.C. § 6301 (2015). 

(This Act is codified in Title 20 of the United States Code. Find keyboard shortcuts for legal symbols -- like the section symbol § -- at

Policy brief

Surname, F. M. (year). Title of brief in italics [Policy brief]. Organization. URL

Harwell, M. (2018). Don't expect too much: The limited usefulness of common SES measures and a prescription for change [Policy brief]. National Education Policy Center.


Additional details and examples can be found on the Citation Help guide and on the Purdue OWL APA Style guide.

The APA's own Style website also has examples. Additionally, the APA Style Blog offers citation styles for unusual works, such as music albums or a canceled conference presentation as well as general discussions of APA style.


*Totally not a reference to a real thing.

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!


Additional Help with APA Style