APA American Psychological Association

APA is one of the most commonly used citation styles. In fact, many journal and publisher styles are based on APA. Citavi's "APA American Psychological Association, 6th ed." citation style is based on the following guidelines:

American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

The APA style is a typical author-date style that uses in-text citations containing author last names and the year of publication.

Examples (citations)

... (McLoughlin & Luca, 2000) ... Bawden and Smith (2001, pp. 220–221)

More examples here.

Examples (bibliography entries)

  • Journal article
    Bawden, D. (2001). Information and digital literacies: A review of concepts. Journal of Documentation, 57(2), 218–259. https://doi.org/10.1108/EUM0000000007083.
  • Book
    Sharpless Smith, S. (2010). Web Based Instruction: A Guide for Libraries. Chicago, Illinois: American Library Association.
  • Contribution in an edited book
    Sorcinelli, M. D. (2010). Ten Principles of Good Practice in Creating and Sustaining Teaching and Learning Centers. In K. H. Gillespie (Ed.), The Jossey-Bass higher and adult education series. A guide to faculty development (2nd ed., pp. 9–23). San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass.
  • Internet document 

    McLoughlin, C., & Luca, J. (2000). Learning Through Self-Direction: The Influence of Task Design on Team-Based Professional Knowledge Building in an Online Environment. Presentation held at the ASCILITE Conference 9-14th December 2000. Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/coffs00/papers/catherine_mcloughlin.pdf

Special characteristics

P. 175: Author names are either joined by "and" or "&" depending on whether they appear inside or outside of parentheses:

  • Example within parentheses: (Bradley, Ramirez, & Soo, 1999)
  • Example outside parentheses: Bradley, Ramirez, and Soo (1999)

In the first citation all the authors up to five should appear. In subsequent citations only the first author is listed with et al. 

P. 184: If a work has more than seven authors, only the first six and the last author are listed in the bibliography. An ellipsis is used in place of the omitted author names.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Why do multiple authors continue to appear in multiple citations instead of et al.?

If shortening the citation to the first author name and et al. would potentially lead to ambiguous references because another group of authors from the same year would shorten to the same citation, additional authors are added until the citations are unambiguous:

"If two references of more than three surnames with the same year shorten to the same form (e.g., both Ireys, Chernoff, DeVet, & Kim, 2001, and Ireys, Chernoff, Stein, DeVet, & Silver, 2001, shorten to lreys et al., 2001), cite the surnames of the first authors and of as many of the subsequent authors as necessary to distinguish the two references, followed by a comma and et al." (p. 175)
2) Why do initials sometimes appear in citations in addition to last names?

If you cite two authors with the same last name, APA requires the first initial so that the authors are not ambiguous:

"If a reference list includes publications by two or more primary authors with the same surname, include the first author's initials in all text citations, even if the year of publication differs." (p. 176)

If you can rule out this reason, check if you correctly entered first and last names in Citavi. To do, right-click the name in your project. On the shortcut menu, click Edit "[Name]". If the first name appears in the Last name field, copy and paste it into the First name field

3) Why is there no access date for Internet documents?

As of the 6th edition, the APA style requires that the access date be omitted: 

"Do not include retrieval dates unless the source material may change over time (e.g., Wikis)." (p. 192)

4) Why do DOI names look different than how they appear in the style guidelines?

In accordance with an APA Style blog post from March 2017, Citavi now uses the new DOI format: https://doi.org/xxxxxx.

5) Is there a German-language version of the APA style?

Yes. If you want to use the APA style in German, you can use the DGPs citation style. Although this style isn't an official translation, it is an extremely close adaptation:

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie. (2016). Richtlinien zur Manuskriptgestaltung (4., überarb. und erw. Aufl.). Göttingen: Hogrefe.

It differs from the APA style in the following ways:

  • German abbreviations are used (S. instead of p./pp.; Aufl. instead of ed.; Hrsg. instead of eds., etc.).
  • If multiple authors are listed, no comma is used before "&" or "und".
  • If a work has more than seven authors, no ellipsis is used between the sixth author and the last author.
  • The access date for internet documents appears in the bibliography (as was the case in the APA 5th ed. style guidelines).
6) Can the APA style be used as a footnote style?

No. If you want to work with a footnote citation style that uses a similar format, select Footnote: author date from the Citation system dropdown menu when you search for a style.

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