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Citing Sources: APA

If you learned MLA in your English Composition course and now need to use APA, this guide will be a big help. 

How To Make a Hanging Indent

Both MLA and APA require a hanging indent in your citation list (Works Cited or References). With a hanging indent, only the first line of a citation goes all the way to the left margin. every additional line is indented by 0.5 inches. To do this in MS Word,

On a PC, select your text and hit Ctrl T or select your text, right click your mouse, choose Paragraph/Indentation then Special:Hanging

On a Mac, select your text and look under the Format menu for Paragraph then Indents and Spacing.

This video from the Social Work Library at Boston College shows how to do this.

In Google Docs, select your text, then go to Format > Align & indent > Indentation options. In the Indentation options menu, under Special, select Hanging. Click Apply.


NoodleTools is a citation management program that can help you manage your citations, organize your notes, and create your Works Cited or References page. Sign in to NoodleTools or check out the NoodleTools Help Desk for more information. To sign in to NoodleTools use your student email address and password. Your email address is your EasyLogin username followed by 

APA Style and sample papers

Excelsior Online Writing Lab includes a variety of writing and citation information, including APA and MLA style guides.

Using DOIs for Online Resources

APA citation style requires the use of DOI's (Digital Object Identifiers) if available for all resources that have originated online. You do not need the url if you have a DOI.

Articles found in library databases or on the Web that were originally published online should include a DOI. Many databases will provide the DOI for you along with the rest of an article's citation information (title, author, etc.). 

If you cannot determine the DOI of an article that originated online and NOT in print, simply include "Retrieved from" and the URL address of website at the end of the PRINT citation.


Have a DOI and need to find a document?

Use this DOI resolver.

APA style in presentations, and how to cite images and figures

You don't necessarily have to use APA style in a presentation - check with your professor to find out for sure. But if you want to see how to do that, use the video below.

Using Someone's Information in Your Work

There are three ways to use information from someone else's work, or your own, responsibly and ethically in your own work. In all three cases, you must give credit to the creator of that information by citing their work. 

Quoting – Quote by copying the exact words from a source into your paper, and putting quotation marks around them. You quote when the words matter as much as or more than the ideas or information in a passage. 

Paraphrasing – Paraphrase by rephrasing a sentence or short passage in your own words. It's not enough to just change the author's words -- you should completely change the way the information is expressed. You paraphrase when it's the ideas or information you need to express, and not the exact words. 

Summarizing – Summarize by stating the main ideas of a source or section of a source in your own words. You summarize when you want to refer to a long section of a source or to present an overview of one of your source's ideas. 

Always include a citation, whether you quote, paraphrase, or summarize.

If you quote, paraphrase or summarize your own writing (from another paper) you must cite yourself. "Recycling" part of or an entire paper from one class for another without citing is considered plagiarism. And some professors don't allow it even if you cite yourself, so check with your professor to be sure.


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