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Citing Sources: Reference Sources- APA

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

Overview - Why use encyclopedias?

Encyclopedias and general/background sources are excellent for gathering information at the beginning of the research cycle. Background sources are any sources that provide a broad overview of a topic including but not limited to encyclopedias, dictionaries, and atlases. They can provide important dates and names. They can also provide alternate terms and related issues to help a researcher better understand the scope of a topic. Background sources can help a researcher develop a set of keywords and phrases and key ideas which will help with further searches.

How to Create a Reference list Entry for Books using NoodleTools

Click Play then please click on the full screen icon in the bottom right of the screen.

The process of creating a citation for a book is the same for MLA, APA, or Chicago. NoodleTools will format it correctly based on the format you chose when you created your project.

General Information for APA and Reference Sources

Electronic encyclopedia articles (e-books), online or through a database: APA rules ask for the URL of the publisher home page, but St. Paul's teachers prefer the name of the database where you retrieved the article. If the encyclopedia is freely available online, use the URL for the article. In addition, APA rules do not require a retrieval date for electronic sources, unless they are likely to change. St. Paul's teachers want to see the retrieval date.

  • Alphabetize your reference list by the first word of the citation (usually the author's last name).
  • Double space all of the citations on your reference page.
  • Indent the second & following lines of the citation 5-7 spaces.  
  • For 2-7 authors: Wingert, P., Smith, J., & Brown, P.
  • For more than 7 authors:List the first six authors, then put an ellipses (. . .) before the final author’s name.
  • Only capitalize the first word of the document title. If there is a colon in the title, capitalize the first word after the colon.
  • If there is no date, use (n.d.).
  • Do not include a period after the URL

Creating a Reference List for Encyclopedias or a Reference Work

In-text Citations with APA - Electronic Sources with No Page Numbers

A database source is NOT the same as an Internet source. Most sites do not reproduce the article exactly as it was published in the original journal or magazine. If you find an article on a news website, such as the BBC site or CBC site please remember to cite the source as a website.

Use author or title and year. 

For an electronic source without pages but with numbered paragraphs, use “para.” and the paragraph number. If there are no numbered paragraphs, provide a section header.

Signal phrase, "quote" (Author, Year).

Signal phrase, "quote" (Shortened title, Year).

According to a study, "Twins reared apart report similar feelings" (Palfrey, 2005, Conclusions section).

In-text Citations with APA - Electronic Sources with No Publication Date

Use the abbreviation “n.d.” for “no date.” 

If there are no page numbers on an electronic source, you can use numbered paragraphs. Use "para." and paragraph number or provide a section header.

Signal phrase with author’s name (n.d.), “quote” (p. page number).

Signal phrase, “quote” (Author, n.d., p. page number).

According to Magnus (n.d.), "it has been difficult to identify a connection between watching television and eating habits" (p. 67).

APA Checklist - Quick Guide for Printing

Citation Tools


This LibGuide is based on the APA Citations LibGuide created by Montgomery College Libraries. The content and format are used with permission.

The APA Formatting Style Guide by OWL at  Purdue was also used with permission.