Skip to main content

Citing sources: APA (American Psychological Association)

When and how to cite (and avoid accidental plagiarism!)

APA 7th edition, October 2019, important information from the Library and the Writing and Tutoring Center

The new 7th edition of the APA publication style manual came out in October 2019!

There are some relatively significant changes to both how we write citations, and how we write using APA style. The TCC Library and the Writing Tutoring Center (WTC)  offer APA 7 support and instruction.

  1. In keeping with previous new editions of publication styles, the Library and the WTC offer a period of transition, with APA 6 and APA 7 support through Winter 2020, with full transition to APA 7 beginning in Spring 2020.
  2. The Purdue OWL is now fully transitioned to APA 7. 
  3. EBSCO databases appear to have updated their citation generators to APA 7.
    • ProQuest databases appear to be still using APA 6 as of this date.
    • Here is a good place for a reminder: Database-generated citations often need to be corrected, and always need to be re-formatted for use in References or Works Cited pages.
  4. Major online citation generator, NoodleTools, has updated to APA 7.
  5. The Library currently has copies of the 7th edition on Reserves and in the Research area - ask at the Front Desk, or the Research Desk.
  6. APA 7 handouts are available in the Library and in applicable Research Guides available through the Library Website. In transition, the Library will continue to provide well-labeled 6th ed. handouts as well, through Winter 2020.

If you have questions please ask. At least one of your library faculty, Melissa Adams (, has a working knowledge of APA 7. And always, when you need help with research, work with a librarian at the Research Desk in the library, and when you need help with writing, work with a tutor at your Writing and Tutoring Center.

See the Library Homepage for "Did You Know" APA 7 highlights.

Last updated 2/13/2020

What is APA style?

"APA style" is the citation style guide used in health and social sciences.

As the American Psychological Association (APA) states:

When editors or teachers ask you to write in "APA Style," they are referring to the editorial style that many of the social and behavioral sciences have adopted to present written material in the field. APA Style was first developed 80 years ago by a group of social scientists who wished to establish sound standards of communication. Since that time, it has been adopted by leaders in many fields and has been used by writers around the world.

APA help links

APA web forms

Use the sites below to plug in the appropriate information and view your citation in APA format. Successful use depends upon entering correct information! Compare your results with an APA style handout available on this page.

While NoodleTools has transitioned to APA 7, Citation Machine is still using APA 6th edition. (2/13/2020)

APA style books in the TCC Library

What does "citing" mean?

There are two parts to a citation:

  1. The brief in-text citation lets your reader know where the information in your paper came from, as you are using it. Usually, this means the author(s) and year.
  2. The full References citation is on a separate References page, letting your reader know, in detail, where to find that source.

Below is an example of how the two citation pieces fit together in APA style:

Gordon and Cui (2015) found compelling evidence suggesting that a person’s career outcomes in adulthood are more of a product of the quality of their childhood relationships with their parent(s), or other adult guardians, rather than the quality of the education they received.

. . . . . . . .


Gordon, M. S., & Cui, M. (2015). Positive parenting during adolescence and career success in young adulthood. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(3), 762-771.

TCC Library's APA 6th and 7th edition handouts

Here are some handouts (in both .docx and .pdf formats) featuring examples citations for sources you might find through TCC's Library and the Web.

  • Note that there are two different editions of APA here. As of October 2019, APA 6 was updated to APA 7.
  • During Winter 2020 and Spring 2020 the Library will provide support for both APA 6 and 7. Starting in Summer 2020 the Library will support only APA 7.
  • During this transition time, ask your instructors which edition they would like you to follow. 


In-text citations

Video tutorial: Introduction to APA (6th edition)

Click on the image or link below to view an introduction to using APA style. This video tutorial was created by TCC librarians.

Cover image of the video tutorial for "Introduction to APA"

Video tutorial: How to write APA citations

Watch this short video (2 mins, 48 seconds) to learn how to create citations in APA style.

Source: "How Library Stuff Works: How to Write APA Citations" by McMaster Libraries, March 2015, Standard YouTube License.

APA and MLA help for citing government documents

Citing government documents or reports -- from local, county, state, and/or national government departments -- are cited a little differently in both APA and MLA citation styles. For government documents or data, in most cases the author will be the government department responsible for compiling or publishing the data/report/document.

Examples for citing government documents:

Click the links below for good guides, with examples, for how to cite Census data, tax forms and other government documents.

CC BY SA license

Except where otherwise noted, the content in these guides by Tacoma Community College Library is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0.

Tacoma Community College Library - Building 7, 6501 South 19th Street, Tacoma, WA 98466 - P. 253.566.5134