APA Referencing: Journal articles

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APA Referencing: journal articles

Basic format to reference journal articles

A basic reference list entry for a journal article in APA must include:

  • Author or authors. The surname is followed by first initials.
  • Year of publication of the article (in round brackets).
  • Article title.
  • Journal title (in italics).
  • Volume of journal (in italics).
  • Issue number of journal in round brackets (no italics).
  • Page range of article.
  • DOI.
  • The first line of each citation is left adjusted. Every subsequent line is indented 5-7 spaces.

Example: Ruxton, C. (2016). Tea: Hydration and other health benefits. Primary Health Care, 26(8), 34-42.    


Referencing journals articles: Examples

Material Type In-Text Example Reference List Example
Journal Article: Single author

"... black tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water” (Ruxton, 2016, p. 34).
Ruxton (2016, p. 40) suggests "…unsweetened tea can be part of a recommended diet.”

Include page numbers for direct quotes. 

Ruxton, C. (2016). Tea: Hydration and other health benefits. Primary Health Care, 26(8), 34-42. doi:10.7748/phc.2016.e1162

Where a DOI is available it must be included at the end of the citation. The database name, URL and date of retrieval are not required.

Journal Article: 2 authors

... connection and optimism (Aspy & Proeve, 2017), but others contend ...
Aspy and Proeve (2017) have found ...

Cite both authors each time the reference occurs.

Aspy, D. J., & Proeve, M. (2017). Mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation: Effects on connectedness to humanity and to the natural world. Psychological Reports, 120(1), 102-117. doi:10.1177/0033294116685867

Journal Article: 3, 4, or 5 authors

... nurses must care as well as be competent (Geraghty, Lauva & Oliver, 2016). 
Geraghty, Lauva and Oliver (2016) suggest ...

Cite all of the authors the first time the reference occurs. In subsequent citations, include only the surname of the first author followed by et al. and the year.

... can teach compassion (Geraghty et al., 2016).
Geraghty et al. (2016) have shown ...

Geraghty, S., Lauva, M., & Oliver, K. (2016). Reconstructing compassion: Should it be taught as part of the curriculum? British Journal of Nursing, 25(15), 836-839. doi:10.12968/bjon.2016.25.15.836

Provide the names of all authors in the reference list.

Journal Article: 6 or more authors

Fitness levels are impacted by “... proximity to parks, playgrounds and sports facilities” (Eime et al., 2017, p. 248). 
Eime et al. (2017, p. 254) found “the level of sport participation is…”

Cite only the surname of the first author followed by et al. and the year. For direct quotes, include the page number after the year.

Eime, R. M., Harvey, J., Charity, M. J., Casey, M., Westerbeek, H., & Payne, W. R. (2017). The relationship of sport participation to provision of sports facilities and socioeconomic status: A geographical analysis. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 41(3), 248-255. doi:10.1111/1753-6405.12647

Provide the names of all authors in the reference list.

Journal Article: 8 or more authors

​Newton et al. (2015) have found ... 
... health protections afforded by physical exercise (Newton et al., 2015).

Cite only the surname of the first author followed by et al. and the year, for the first and subsequent citations.

Newton, J. D., Klein, R., Bauman, A., Newton, F. J., Mahal, A., Gilbert, K., . . . Smith, B. J. (2015). The MOVE study: A study protocol for a randomised controlled trial assessing interventions to maximise attendance at physical activity facilities. BMC Public Health, 15(403), 1-9. doi:10.1186/s12889-015-1735-0


Include the first six authors' names, followed by three dots, then add the last author's name.

Online Journal Article: No DOI assigned ... guidelines designed to promote health (Craig, 2012).
As Craig (2012) observes ...
Craig, P. (2012). Contemporary nutrition issues. Journal of the Home Economics Institute of Australia, 19(2), 12-21. Retrieved from http://www.heia.com.au/
If a DOI is not available, provide the home page URL of the journal publisher. The retrieval date is not required.
Print Journal Article: No DOI assigned
… Aussie Rules is the people’s game (Duncan, 2016)…
Duncan (2016) states that a sense of belonging…

​Duncan, S. (2016). Voices from the grandstands: The attitudes of Australian football fans towards the concept of creating, developing and binding communities. Sporting Traditions, 33(2), 19-40.

Journal article:  No author

... as was the case for most students ("The Pain of Being a Caffeine Freak," 2001). 
... as in "The Pain of Being a Caffeine Freak" (2001) which reveals ...

When a work has no identitfied author, cite in-text the first few words of the reference entry (usually the title) and the year. Use double quotation marks if you are referring to the title of an article, chapter or web page.

Italicize the title if you are referring to the title of a periodical, book, brochure or a report, see Book: No Author

The pain of being a caffeine freak. (2001, October 6). New Scientist, 172(2311), 27.

For magazines, newsletters, and newspapers, give the year and the exact date of the publication (month or month and day), separated by a comma.

Online Journal Article: No page numbers

 ... in all outcomes (Williams, 2008).
Williams (2008) remarks ...

For direct quotations of online material without pagination, name the sections and paragraph number.

One of the author’s main points is that “people don’t rise from nothing” (Williams, 2008, Section 2, para. 5).

Williams, J. (2008). The victims of crime. Sociology Review, 17(4). Retrieved from http://magazines.philipallan.co.uk/

Secondary Sources: When you are referring to the ideas or words of an author who has been cited in another work. Also called 'secondary citation'.

“…global movement toward a more naturalistic approach for childbirth” (Goldbas as cited in Sullivan & McGuiness, 2015, p. 20).
Goldbas’s overview (as cited in Sullivan & McGuiness, 2015) indicates…

Provide names of both authors.

Sullivan, D. H., & McGuiness, C. (2015). Natural labor pain management. International Journal of Childbirth Education, 30(2), 20-25. Retrieved from http://icea.org/


Provide the full reference for the journal article that you actually read.


Video Transcript

This introductory video will demonstrate how to reference journal articles using the APA Referencing style 6th edition.

The essential elements you require to create a Journal Article reference includes: Author or authors including Surname and initial year of publication, Title of Article, Title of Journal, Volume number, Issue number – in brackets, Start and End pages of the article, Doi: Digital Object Identifier. The use of correct Punctuation is another important element of the APA style. And notice the title of the Journal is in Italics, as well as the Volume number.

The Library Search or Database record for a Journal Article should give all the information required to create a reference. Alternatively, you will find the essential information contained in the article itself. Please note that you may need to use both the Database entry and the Article PDF to get all the necessary pieces of information. Taking the key information from the database entry and article, this is the correct reference for the article:  

In addition to the reference list entry, you are required to include in- text references in the main body of your work. This is an example of the in text reference when paraphrased and as a direct quote. When referencing a journal article where there is no DOI, include a ‘retrieved from’ statement and the homepage URL of the journal publisher. This article does not have a DOI that can be determined on either the Library Search, Database or the Article PDF. If no DOI is available, you will need to search the internet for the journal publisher’s URL. UlrichsWeb is the Global Directory of Serials and can be used to locate journal publisher information, and often the publisher’s website. UlrichsWeb can be accessed via the Library’s Databases A-Z.

We now have all of the information required to complete the reference. The in text reference format for a journal article with no DOI follows the same format as a journal article with a DOI. Remember all in text references should be listed in full in the reference list as the end of the document.

For further assistance, follow the link to the APA referencing Guide. Contact the Victoria University library. Through: ‘Ask a Librarian’ chat and email or ask for help at any Library service desk.

(Video ends)