Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Health Sciences: APA 7-Citations

Research guide for all TR health science programs

Citation Basics

No matter where you find information, all APA citations have four pieces:

Who? (When?) What? Where?

Who wrote it? (When did they write it?) What did they call it? Where did you find it?

Who: author(s) last name(s) and first and middle initials or full title of the organization

When: most current copyright date. (if there is no copyright date, do not use it)

What: title of the article or book (should be in sentence case)


(book) edition number, name of book publisher

(journal article) the title of the journal, volume number, issue number, page numbers, doi or web address

(web site) exact address of the web site


Journal Article:

Smith, F. A. (2017). Students' reactions to nursing school. Journal of Nursing, 25(6), 25-35. doi:hag.dlkfoiuwer/ah


Smith, F. A. (2017). Students' reactions to nursing school. (3rd ed). Elsevier.


Smith, F. A. (2017). Students' reactions to nursing school. http://ttts.suoad.aores.html

Citation Examples

  • Do not include degrees or titles of authors.
  • List all authors up to and including 20.  When there are 21 authors, include the first 19, an ellipsis and the final name. Do not use et al. in the references page.

Author last name, first and middle initials. (date). Title of book. (edition). Name of Publisher.

For book titles, use sentence case (capitalize only those words you would capitalize in a sentence, i.e. the first word, a proper name or an acronym).


Potter, A.P., Perry, A.G., Stockert, P.A. & Hall, A.M. (2013). Fundamentals of nursing. (8th ed.). Elsevier.

Journal Articles

Author(s) last name, First and middle initials. (date). Title of article. Title of journal, volume number(issue number), page numbers. doi or http://www.............

For article titles, use sentence case (capitalize only those words you would capitalize in a sentence, i.e. the first word, a proper name or an acronym).


Smith, A. W. (2018). Student attitudes toward writing papers. Journal of Nursing Education, 5(7), 124-150.

Web Sites

Websites (especially nursing related ones) are rarely just websites.  Most are journal articles available via a website, or reports compiled by hospitals or government agencies.  What kind of thing your source actually is will determine how you cite it.  If you are not sure, contact me.

Follow the same rules you used to cite anything else.  If the item does not have things like author names and dates, you should reconsider using it at all.

Whatever is it you have found, be sure to capture the entire address of the EXACT place where you found it.  Do not use just the address of the main page.  Your reader should be able to copy that address and see EXACTLY what you claim you read.


Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. (2014). Leading cancer cases and deaths, 2014.

  • All sources must be cited at least once in the paper.
  • Cite once per sentence. 
  • The in text citation goes inside the sentence to which it refers, so the period will go after the closing parenthesis.
  • In text citations are driven by the number of authors.


If paraphrasing or summarizing:

Narrative in text citation (the author's name is part of the sentence text): Author last name only (date),...

Ex: According to Smith (2018) study results showed...


Parenthetical in text citation (the author's name is not part of the sentence text): (Author(s) last name(s) only, date).

Ex: ...results showed improvement (Smith, 2018).

Direct quotes (three or more words taken directly from the source):

Narrative in text citation: Author(s) (date).......................(p.#).

Ex: According to Smith (2018), "nursing students hate writing papers" (p. 34).


Parenthetical in text  citation: ...(Author(s) last name only, date, p. #).

Ex: "Nursing students hate writing papers" (Smith, 2018, p. 34).


Two Authors:

Always list BOTH author last names.

(Smith & Jones, 2017).

Three or more authors:

For every citation, use only first author followed by et al.

(Smith et al., 2017)

et al. is Latin for "and others"

Notice there is no comma after the name Smith, and a period goes after al.


Special Circumstances

Any communication that cannot be directly retrieved by a reader is considered “personal communication.” Emails, phone conversations, text messages, and social media messages are all examples of personal communication. You do not include personal communication in your reference list; instead, parenthetically cite the communicator's name, the phrase "personal communication," and the date of the communication in your main text only.

(E. Robbins, personal communication, January 4, 2019).

After the first 19 authors’ names, use an ellipsis in place of the remaining author names. Then, end with the final author's name (do not place an ampersand before it). There should be no more than twenty names in the citation in total.

Pegion, K., Kirtman, B. P., Becker, E., Collins, D. C., LaJoie, E., Burgman, R., Bell, R., DelSole, R., Min, D., Zhu, Y., Li, W., Sinsky, E., Guan, H., Gottschalck, J., Metzger, E. J., Barton, N. P., Achuthavarier, D., Marshak, J., Koster, R., . . .  Kim, H. (2019). The subseasonal experiment (SubX): A multimodel subseasonal prediction experiment. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 100(10), 2043-2061.

References Page

Always use the full name of the organization in the references page--even if the organization is well known.

Ex: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. (2015). Annual numbers (in thousands) of new cases of diagnosed diabetes among adults ages 18-79 years, United States, 1980-2013.

In-Text Citation

The first time you mention any acronym, define it.  Then you may use the acronym throughout the rest of paper.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC, 2015)...


....(Centers for Disease Control & Prevetion [CDC], 2015).

References Page

Author, A. A. [Screen name]. (year, month day). Title of video
     [Video file]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx

In-text Citation

Parenthetical: ...(Author, year).

Narrative: Author (year)...

Click here for more information on how to cite a YouTube video.

What is an indirect quotation?

Let's say you are reading a great article you found written by Dr. Jones.  Within his article, Dr. Jones quotes a great article HE read by Dr. Smith.  Dr. Jones liked what Dr. Smith said so much, that he quote Dr. Smith in his article. You agree that what Dr.  Smith said is brilliant, and you would like to use that quote as well.  However, you did not actually read Dr. Smith's article, you read Dr. Jones' claim that Dr. Smith said this brilliant thing.  The quote from Dr. Smith is an indirect quote.

May I use indirect quotes?

Ideally, you should find the original article by Dr. Smith and quote directly from it--it's the only way you'll know if Dr. Jones quoted him correctly.

How do I find the original article by Dr. Smith?

Use Dr. Jones' References list to gather information about Dr. Smith's original article, then follow the steps listed on the research guide labeled: How do I find this particular article?

You can also just Google the particulars of Dr. Smith's article to see if it is freely available on the web.

What if I can't find Dr. Smith's original article, can I still use the quote?

It's always best practice to only quote directly from a source (remember the old telephone game?); however, if you cannot find the original article—and you really, really, really want to use that quote—you may use it--IF you cite it properly.

How do I cite indirect quotations properly?

You have to make it clear to your reader who actually said what and what you actually read.  Here are some examples:

According to Smith (2009), nursing school is tough (as cited in Jones, 2016, p 116).

Nursing school is tough (Smith, 2009, as cited in Jones, 2016, p. 116).

Always pay attention to the date of the original quote—it may be older than your five-year requirement!

Don’t use any data or statistics older than 5 years!

A long quote is a word-for-word quote that is longer than 40 words. (1 - 40 words is not considered long.)      

Try to not use these too often, as you are filling up your paper with things your teacher cannot grade. 

HINT: Instructors HATE direct quotes. They want you to put things in your own words so that they know you understood what you read.  (You would still CITE this information.)

However, if you REALLY need to use a long quote, here is how you format it:

Jones (2016) said:

It is widely documented that people with diabetes who are admitted to hospital for surgery are far more likely to have increased length of stays, and are more prone to surgical site infections and delayed wound healing than people without diabetes. (202)
Notice that the quote is introduced with a colon and the entire quote is set apart from the author names as well as indented one half inch from the left.
There are no quotation marks, the period goes BEFORE the parenthesis and there is no p. before the page number.