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NUR152: Nursing Theory & Science


APA has been updated to the 7th edition.  

During this transition period between the 6th and 7th APA edition, students should ask their professors which edition of APA style they would like used.

Librarians can help students with formatting citations in APA style but it is the course professor who will grade their finished work.  It is always best for students to check in with their instructors to find out what their expectations and requirements are for citing sources.  

APA support sources

The following resources are recommended by librarians for supporting formatting citations in APA style:

1. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7th edition

  • The manual is available in the GCC Library.  

2. NoodleTools citation generator (GCC library database)

  • NoodleTools can be found on the GCC Library database page.
  • NoodleTools is a student research platform which allows the formatting of APA bibliographies.
  • All work is saved for future use by the setting up of an account by each user.

3. Purdue Online Writing Lab 

  • Purdue OWL is updated for the 7th edition.

Caution should be taken when using citation generators.  These tools may provide citations which include errors, such as in capitalization or spelling.  

To minimize risk:

  • Familiarize yourself with APA citation
  • Input all citation details accurately
  • Carefully proofread citations 

APA style "Order of elements" - Reference list

Author. (Date). Title. Source.

APA style "Author"- Reference list

Author names: 

  • Author names should be inverted, with the surname appearing first and given name initials second, e.g. Ippolito, S. P. 
  • The surname name should be followed by a comma and each initial followed by a period, e.g. Ippolito, S. P., Sabella, S., & Cusamano, M. A.
  • One space should be used between initials unless the given name is hyphenated (retain the hyphen in names), e.g. Suzhou, S.-Y. 
  • Include suffixes, such as Jr. and III.  Commas are used to separate suffixes from initials, e.g. Pascuale, S. A., Sr.
  • Commas are used to separate author names.  
  • A comma and ampersand (&) is used before the final name. 
  • DO NOT include academic achievements or titles in a reference entry.
  • Surnames that are hyphenated or include two parts are written exactly as they appear in the published work.  Retain the capitalization that is used in the work.  
  • Provide surnames and initials for up to and including 20 authors. 
  • An author may be a person or a group. 
  • Groups include institutions, government agencies and organizations.  
  • Authors may also be any combination of the people and groups or groups and groups. 
  • In a reference entry for a group's webpage or report, the group would be the author unless otherwise stated.  
  • The "About Us" page on a website can help determine authorship. 

Author: Specialized roles

  • Use the abbreviation (Eds.) for multiple editors and (Ed.) for a single editor, e.g. Smith, B. A., & Deleporte, P. (Eds.).
  • Spell out the full name of a group author in a reference list.  Abbreviations can be used for in text citations, e.g. NIH is National Institutes of Health.
  • Generally, when there are numerous layers of government agencies, use only the most specific agency, e.g., use "National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute" rather than "U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute."
  • Anonymous should only be used if the work is signed that way. When no author can be reasonably determined for a work the title is moved to the author position.

Edited work example: Alessandria, D. R. (2020). Communication strategies for nurses. In A. Cantanzariti (Ed.), Public health nursing (7th ed., pp. 236-245). University Press.

APA style "Date" - Reference list

What is the date of a work? 

  • For books, it is the copyright date. Both online and physical books have a copyright page where it can be found.
  • For journal articles, it is the volume year. Do not use the article's submission, revision, or acceptance dates.  If the article has an advance online publication date and a final publication date, use the latter.  
  • When no separate date is indicated for work on a  webpage, use no date. The date on a website footer should not be used because it does not indicate when content was published.  
  • For webpages and websites, it is the "last updated" date if that applies to the content cited. 

Date format examples: 

(2019, June 26) 

(June, June)

(2019, Summer) 


  • Use the year only if there is not month, day or season.
  • No date (n.d.) should only be used for works with no dates or when one cannot be reasonably determined. 

Retrieval dates

Retrieval dates are provided for unstable works that are not archived and/or when a work is likely to change over time.  The majority of reference entries do not include retrieval dates.  

APA style "Title" - Reference list

Title format depends on the type of works: Stand alone or those that are part of a greater whole


  • Journal articles are part of a greater whole so they are not italicized.
  • Webpages and websites are considered stand alone works so these are italicized.  
  • Book titles are italicized.  Additional information such as editions are enclosed in parenthesis and follow the title.  These should not be italicized.  


  • Capitalize titles using sentence case.  
  • Capitalize the first word after a colon.  

APA style "Sources" - Reference list

There are two main categories of sources for works, those that are part of a greater whole and those that stand alone.  

Work Source
Journal article                                              Journal and any applicable DOI or URL
Book chapter Book and any applicable DOI or URL
Webpage Website and any applicable DOI or URL

If repetitive, source information may be omitted from a reference entry.  For example, when the author and publisher of a website are the same.  

Journal & article titles:

Journal titles are italicized. Article titles are not italicized.  

Title case is used for journal titles. Sentence case is used for article titles.  

Journal titles should be written as they are in the work.  If the title includes an abbreviation reproduce it as is. Do not copy titles abbreviated by a database if that is not the official title.

Example of a journal source:  JAMA Pediatrics, 37(5), Article e01522336.

Journal source  Elements 
Journal title

JAMA Pediatrics, (italicized)

Volume 37 (italicized)
eLocator  Article e01522336 (use instead of page range when present)


  • DO NOT include the place of publication.
  • Use the publishers name as shown on the work.
  • If the work is part of an imprint or division, use that as the publisher.  For example, Clinical Solutions a division of Elsevier, would be used.
  • Do not use designations, for example Inc.


It is seldom necessary to provide database information in a reference entry,  because works obtained from academic databases are widely available.


DOIs, or digital object identifiers, are persistent links assigned to works by the publisher. A URL, or uniform resource locator, identifies the location of a work on the Internet and is found in the address bar of the browser.
If a work, either print or online, has a DOI it should be used in the reference list entry. Use URLs in a reference list entry for websites and webpages without DOIs.
If a work has both a URL and a DOI, use the DOI in the reference list entry.  
For works from an academic database without  DOIs, DO NOT include the URL or database information. An exception is the ERIC database which provides access to works with limited circulation.   For URLs that require a login, provide the database URL in the reference list entry and not the URL for the work. Persistent links to works from college and university databases are URLS that require a login.
Do not include the words "Retrieved from" or "Accessed from" before a DOI. Do not include the words "Retrieved from" or "Accessed from" before URL.  If the work is not archived and is meant or likely to change over time use "Retrieved date from url."  Please note, the majority of references do not require a retrieval date. 
Format DOIs as hyperlinks.  Links should be live if the work is submitted online. Format URLs as hyperlinks.   Links should be live if the work is submitted online.
Do not add a period after the DOI. Do not add a period after the URL.
DOIs in a reference list should all be formatted using the current, preferred prefix ""


APA style "Reference list"

  • The label "References" should appear in bold at the top of the reference list page.
  • References are ordered alphabetically.
  • Double space the entire page (including within reference entries).
  • Use a hanging indent (0.5 inches) with reference entries.

Content note

All style information on this page is from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition.

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