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Citing Sources: Audiovisual/Images - APA

This guide indicates the appropriate form for layout, in-text citations, and bibliography for MLA, APA, and Chicago formatted papers.

Why Do We Have to Cite Images?

Simply, images are created by someone. Whether a person took a photograph, painted a piece of art, or created a digital image does not matter. If it was not created by you then give credit to the person who did create it.

You also have to check to see if the creator has given you permission to use the work. Please make sure you review the Copyright considerations when using images.

When you find the image you want to use, make sure you keep the following information so you can make the citation::

  • Image creator's name (artist, photographer, etc.)
  • Title of the image
  • Date the image (or work represented by the image) was created
  • Institution (gallery, museum) where the image is located / owned (if applicable)
  • Date of access (the date you accessed the online image)
  • Website and/or Database name

General Information about Using Images with APA

The  6th edition of the Publication Manual indicates that tables and figures should only be used when necessary to display information concisely. A figure is defined as "a chart, a graph, a photograph, a drawing, or any other illustration or nontextual depiction" (American Psychological Association, 2012, p. 125). It is important to remember that tables and figures are intended to supplement the text so, as rule of thumb, if you are not planning on referring to the table or figure in your text it is not necessary so do not include it.  Ideally, your table or figure should be as close as possible to the text discussing it. However, some teachers prefer to have tables and figures in the Appendix. Remember to check and follow or teacher's requirements.

In the body of your text refer to the table or figure by its number. Do not refer to where it is located because that could change (ie. 'the table above" or the figure on page 2). Instead: shown in Figure 1, the animal cell...

A few notes:

  • Tables and Figures have specific formatting requirements. At St. Paul's, we use a simplified version and follow the same formatting for both tables and figures.
  • If the table or figure is not necessary to your essay do not include it.
  • All figures and tables must include a title/description and a note below.
  • You may not always be able to find each source detail mentioned in the format guidelines. Just do your best to provide as much information as possible in your citations. 
  •  Some teachers prefer a shortened citation below the image and the full citation to be included in the Reference list list. Check with your teacher.
  • You cannot cite Google Images or a browser. You must go to site where the image was originally found.

How to format a figure:

  1. Below the figure, in italics, number the figure and provide a descriptive title. Figure 1. Animal cell.
  2. Following the title, provide a short descriptive note if required.
  3. Following the note, include the citation.
  4. The citation should follow the following format: From "Title of the Article or Webpage," by Initials. Author, year, Title of the Journal or Website, p. page number if you have it.
  5. If you created the figure or table based on source, then make sure you indicate where the original data came from in your note.

Ideal situation - have all information. Image is found on the web.:

Figure X.  Descriptive caption of image. From Image title or title of webpage, by Creator’s Name, Year of creation, Database/URL. 


Figure 1. Animal cell. Description. From "Title" by A.A. Author, 2015, Appropriate website not Google Images.(you do not need to include the URL if you are including the full citation in your Reference page)


Figure 1. Animal cell. Data from or Adapted from ...

Reference list (remember the hanging indent):

Generally, you would not include tables and figures in the Reference page separately. Remember, you should have referred to the material within your essay so you will have already included the source. 

Creator's last name, first initial. (Role of creator). (Year of creation). Title of image or description of image. [Type of work]. Retrieved from URL/database



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