As a college student, you need to be familiar with academic citation styles so that your essays and assignments follow current scientific writing standards. If your field of study involves social sciences, you will need to use APA website citation in your coursework. In this article you will find everything you need to know about APA website citation.
Definition: APA website citation
APA website citation is a system used to cite online sources in academic work. This writing style was developed by the APA (American Psychological Association), and it is intended to be used by students and academics in the fields of social and behavioral sciences.
Students and professionals who publish academic
work in these areas must use APA website citation guidelines so that all sources are adequately referenced in order to avoid plagiarism claims.
APA website citation guidelines are updated every few years. Currently, the version in effect is APA’s 7th edition, which was published in October 2019.1
APA website citation – An entire website
In terms of APA website citation guidelines, you don’t need to formally cite an entire website if you’re not quoting or paraphrasing parts of its content. In such cases, APA website citation guidelines simply require you to state the website URL within brackets.
These mentions don’t need to be included on the reference page.
APA website citation – Online articles
Next, we will look at how to reference online articles using APA website citation guidelines.
Online articles from magazines, newspapers, and blogs
You may want to cite articles from the online versions of print publications. These could be newspapers like The Guardian or magazines like The Economist. Please adhere to the following APA website citation guidelines:
Newspapers and magazines:
|APA reference entry:||Author’s surname, Initial/s. (Year, Month Day). Article title. Publication. URL||Henley, J. (2019, June 3). It’s a miracle: Helsinki's radical solution to homelessness. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/jun/03/its-a-miracle-helsinkis-radical-solution-to-homelessness|
|APA in-text citation:||(Author’s surname, year)||(Henley, 2019)|
|APA reference entry:||Author’s surname, Initials. (Year, Month Day). Article title. Blog Name. URL||Beckworth, D. (2020, September 2). The Fed's New Framework. Macro Musings. https://macromarketmusings.blogspot.com/2020/09/the-feds-new-framework.html|
|APA in-text citation:||(Author’s surname, year)||(Beckworth, 2020)|
Articles from online-only news sites
If you reference a news site that doesn’t have print equivalents (such as Reuters or The Conversation), ensure you italicize the article’s title, instead of italicizing the site’s name, as you would do with news sites that have a print equivalent.
|APA reference entry:||Surname, Initials. (Year, Month Day). Article title. Site Name. URL address||Chzhen, Y. (2022, March 11) How lockdown highlighted educational inequality in Ireland – new research. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/how-lockdown-highlighted-educational-inequality-in-ireland-new-research-177413|
|APA in-text citation:||(Surname, Year)||(Chzhen, 2022)|
- If you’re citing a web page that doesn’t specify who is its author, you have two options according to APA website citation guidelines.
- If the page has been published by an organization or government and you can’t identify the author, as per APA website citation guidelines state you must use the organization’s name as if they were the author.
- To avoid redundancies, you may skip the site name if the page has been authored by an organization / government and their name is the same as the site’s name.
|APA reference entry:||Organization Name. (Year, Month Day). Page title. Site name. URL address||American Psychological Association. (2017). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. https://www.apa.org/ethics/code|
|APA in-text citation:||(Organization Name, Year)||(American Psychological Association, 2017)|
If neither the author’s nor the organization’s name are obvious, use the page title in lieu of a name, and if necessary, shorten the title in the in-text citation.
|APA reference entry:||Page title. (Year, Month Day). Site Name. URL address||How to Create a Blog with Captivating Content (2022, June 22). Textbroker. https://www.textbroker.com/blog-content|
|APA in-text citation:||(Page title, Year)||(How to Create a Blog, 2022)|
APA website citation – No date
If you reference an online article that doesn’t specify its publication date, follow the format below:
|APA reference entry:||Surname, Initials. OR Organization’s name. (n.d.). Page title. Site Name. Retrieved Month Day, Year, from URL address.||Yale NUS College. (n.d.). Avoiding Plagiarism. Retrieved March 20, 2022, from https://www.yale-nus.edu.sg/library/overview/research-support/start-your-research/avoiding-plagiarism/|
|APA in-text citation:||(Surname, Initials. OR Organization’s name, n.d.)||(Yale NUS College, n.d.)|
APA website citation – Social media
To cite a social media post published by an organization as per APA website citation guidelines, follow this format:
|APA reference entry:||Organization’s name. (Year, Month Day). First 20 words of the post [Describe any multimedia multimedia aspects present in the post] [Type of post]. Site Name. URL address||NHS England and NHS Improvement. (2022, June 21). A first-of-its-kind study at Royal Papworth Hospital, called Project Breathe, was launched in 2019 to allow people with cystic fibrosis [Link with photo] [Status update]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=400178512137576&set=a.310955187726576|
|APA in-text citation:||(Organization’s name,, Year)||(NHS England and NHS Improvement, 2022)|
Social media posts published under the author’s real name must be cited as follows:
Surname, Initial/s. [author’s handle]. (Year, Month Day). First 20 words of the post [Type of post]. Site Name. URL address
To reference a source within the body of a document or text, you need to quote the author’s last name and the year their work was published, within brackets. For example: (Johnson, 2019).
Website articles don’t usually feature page numbers. If you are quoting a long piece of text, you may quote section headings instead (if available), followed by the paragraph’s number.
- Example: (Johnson, 2019, Previous findings section, para. 2).
If there are no section headings available, cite the paragraph number.
- Example: (Johnson, 2019, para. 2).
According to APA website citation guidelines, you only need to cite the access date when you reference online content that may change over time (e.g. news sites, website content, etc.), or when you reference an online article with no publication date.
Yes, but not in the reference list, only in-text and following this format:
We increased our budget by 35% to purchase dedicated software (M. Jacobs, personal communication, March 20, 2022).
1 APA Style. “Publication Manual of the American Prsychological Association, Seventh Edition (2020).” Accessed February 9. 2023. https://apastyle.apa.org/products/publication-manual-7th-edition.