Reference List: Electronic Sources // Purdue Writing Lab (2023)

Note:This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 stylecan be found here.

Important Note: Some electronic citations necessitate the use of brackets. APA style dictates that brackets should directly surround their content without spaces (e.g., [bracketed content] should look like this). When possible, include the year, month, and date in references. If the month and date are not available, use the year of publication. Additionally, APA 7thedition no longer requires the use of “Retrieved from” before URLs or DOIs; special exceptions, however, are made for resources that are unarchived. Including the retrieval date for these sources indicates to readers that the version of the work they retrieve may be different than what was originally used.

Please note: the following contains a list of the most commonly cited electronic sources. For a complete list of how to cite electronic sources, please refer to the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual.

Webpage or Piece of Online Content

If the page names an individual author, cite their name first:

Lastname, F. M. (Year, Month Date). Title of page. Site name. URL

Price, D. (2018, March 23). Laziness does not exist. Medium. https://humanparts.medium.com/laziness-does-not-exist-3af27e312d01

If the resource was written by a group or organization, use the name of the group/organization as the author. Additionally, if the author and site name are the same, omit the site name from the citation.

Group name. (Year, Month Date). Title of page. Site name. URL

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (2019, November 21). Justice served: Case closed for over 40 dogfighting victims. https://www.aspca.org/news/justice-served-case-closed-over-40-dogfighting-victims

If the page's author is not listed, start with the title instead. Additionally, include a retrieval date when the page's content is likely to change over time (like, for instance, if you're citing a wiki that is publicly edited).

Title of page. (Year, Month Date). Site name. Retrieved Month Date, Year, from URL

Tuscan white bean pasta.(2018, February 25). Budgetbytes. Retrieved March 18, 2020, fromhttps://www.budgetbytes.com/tuscan-white-bean-pasta/

If the date of publication is not listed, use the abbreviation (n.d.).

Author or Group name. (n.d.).Title of page. Site name (if applicable). URL

National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Mental health conditions. https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions

Wikipedia Article

APA 7 treats Wikipedia articles as special instances of entries in reference works. Thus, there are a few differences between reference entries for pages on Wikipedia and those for generic webpages.

Title of article. (Year, Month Date). InWikipedia.URL of archived version of page

Quantum mechanics. (2019, November 19). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Quantum_mechanics&oldid=948476810

(Video) Citing Electronic Sources Using Purdue's OWL

Wikipedia articles often update frequently. For this reason, the date refers to the date that the cited version of the page was published. Note also that the manual recommends linking to the archived version of the page, rather than the current version of the page on the site, since the latter can change over time. Access the archived version by clicking "View History," then clicking the date/timestamp of the version you'd like to cite.

Online Scholarly Journal Article: Citing DOIs

Please note: Because online materials can potentially change URLs, APA recommends providing a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), when it is available, as opposed to the URL. DOIs are an attempt to provide stable, long-lasting links for online articles. They are unique to their documents and consist of a long alphanumeric code. Many—but not all—publishers will provide an article's DOI on the first page of the document.

Note also that some online bibliographies provide an article's DOI but may "hide" the code under a button which may read "Article" or may be an abbreviation of a vendor's name like "CrossRef" or "PubMed." This button will usually lead the user to the full article which will include the DOI. Find DOIs from print publications or ones that go to dead links with doi.org's "Resolve a DOI" function, available on the site's home page.

APA 7also advises writers to include a DOI (if available), even when using the print source.

Article from an Online Periodical with DOI Assigned

Lastname, F. M., & Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Vol.(Issue), page numbers. DOI

Drollinger, T., Comer, L. B., & Warrington, P. T. (2006). Development and validation of the active empathetic listening scale. Psychology & Marketing, 23(2), 161-180. https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.20105

Article from an Online Periodical with no DOI Assigned

If an online scholarly journal article has no DOI and is published on a website, include the URL. If an online scholarly article has no DOI and is published on a database, do not include a URL or any database information. The only exception is for databases that publish articles that are in limited circulation (like ERIC) or that are only available on that particular database (like UpToDate). Note that retrieval dates are required for unarchived sources that are likely, or intended, to change over time.

Perreault, L. (2019). Obesity in adults: Role of physical activity and exercise. UpToDate. Retrieved January 12, 2020, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/obesity-in-adults-role-of-physical-activity-and-exercise

Abstract

APA 7th edition does not provide guidance on how to cite abstracts. However, if you only use information from the abstract but the full text of the article is also available, we advise you to add "[Abstract]" after the article or source name. If the full text is not available, you may use an abstract that is available through an abstracts database as a secondary source.

Online News Article

Note:The format for this type of source depends on whether your source comes from a site with an associated newspaper.

If the sourcedoescome from a site with an associated newspaper, leave the title of the article unformatted, but italicize the title of the newspaper.

Lastname, F. M. (Year, Month Date). Title of article. Title of Publication. URL

Richards, C. (2019, December 9). Best music of 2019: Lana Del Rey sings lullabies about the end of America. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/best-music-of-2019-lana-del-rey-sings-lullabies-about-the-end-of-america/2019/12/06/6e82c5ec-15d8-11ea-a659-7d69641c6ff7_story.html

On the other hand, if the sourcedoesn'tcome from a site with an associated newspaper, italicize the title of the article, but leave the name of the site unformatted.

Lastname, F. M. (Year, Month Date). Title of article. Name of publishing website. URL

Jones, J. (2020, May 10). Why flats dominate Spain's housing market. BBC. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200506-why-do-flats-dominate-spains-housing-market

Electronic or Kindle Books

It is not necessary to note that you have used an eBook or audiobook when the content is the same as a physical book. However, you should distinguish between the eBook or audiobook and the print version if the content is different or abridged, or if you would like to cite the narrator of an audiobook.

Lastname, F. M. (Year).Title of book. Publisher. URL

Lastname, F. M. (Year).Title of book [eBook edition]. Publisher. URL

Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of book (N. Narrator, Narr.) [Audiobook]. Publisher. URL (if applicable)

(Video) Purdue OWL Citing Electronic Sources

Dissertation/Thesis from a Database

Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of dissertation or thesis (Publication No.) [Doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis, Name of Institution Awarding Degree]. Database Name.

Duis, J. M. (2008). Acid/base chemistry and related organic chemistry conceptions of undergraduate organic chemistry students(Publication No. 3348786) [Doctoral dissertation, University of Northern Colorado]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.

Entry in an Online Dictionary, Thesaurus, or Encyclopedia with a Group Author

Note:An online dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia may be continuously updated and therefore not include a publication date (like in the example below). If that’s the case, use “n.d.” for the date and include the retrieval date in the citation.

Institution or organization name. (Year). Title of entry. In Title of reference work. URL

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Braggadocio. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved January 13, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/braggadocio

Entry in an Online Dictionary, Thesaurus, or Encyclopedia with an Individual Author

Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of entry. In F. M. Lastname (ed.), Title of reference work (edition). Publisher. URL or DOI

Note: If the dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia does not include an edition, simply skip that step.

Data Sets

Lastname, F. M. or Name of Group (Year). Title of dataset (Version No.) [Data set]. Publisher. DOI or URL

Grantmakers in the Arts. (2019). Arts funding trends, United States, 1994-present (ICPSR 37337) [Data set]. National Archive of Data on Arts & Culture. https://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/NADAC/studies/37337

Graphic Data (e.g. Interactive Maps, Infographics, and Other Graphic Representations of Data)

Give the name of the organization or individual followed by the date and the title. If there is no title, in brackets, you should provide a brief explanation of what type of data is there and in what form it appears. Include the URL and the retrieval date if there is no publication date.

HatchMed. (2017). 8 ways to improve patient satisfaction [Infographic]. HatchMed.com. https://www.hatchmed.com/blog/2017/1/30/8-ways-to-improve-patient-satisfaction

Google. (n.d.). [Google Map of Purdue University]. Retrieved January 12, 2020, from https://www.google.com/maps/@40.4237095,-86.9233886,17z

Qualitative Data and Online Interviews

If an interview is not retrievable in audio or print form, cite the interview only in the text (not in the reference list) and provide the month, day, and year in the text. If the interview transcript is published in an online periodical, like a magazine, cite the interview the same way you would cite the medium where it is published, as shown below:

(Video) Purdue OWL: APA Formatting: Reference List Basics

Schulman, M. (2019, December 8). Peter Dinklage is still punk rock. The New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-interview/peter-dinklage-is-still-punk-rock

If it is an audio file or transcript published in a database, credit the interviewee as the author and use the following model:

Paynter, W. (1970, September 17). Interview with Will Paynter [Interview]. Studs Terkel Radio Archive; The Chicago History Museum. https://studsterkel.wfmt.com/programs/interview-will-paynter

Online Lecture Notes and Presentation Slides

When citing online lecture notes, be sure to provide the file format in brackets after the lecture title (e.g. PowerPoint slides, Word document).

Lastname, F. M. (Year, Month Date). Title of presentation [Lecture notes, PowerPoint slides, etc]. Publisher. URL

Smith, C. (2017, October 13). AI and machine learning demystified [PowerPoint slides]. SlideShare. https://www.slideshare.net/carologic/ai-and-machine-learning-demystified-by-carol-smith-at-midwest-ux-2017

Computer Software/Downloaded Software

Do not cite standard office software (e.g. Word, Excel) or programming languages. Provide references only for specialized software.

Lastname, F. M. or Name of Group. (Year). Title of software (Version No.). Publisher. URL

Maplesoft. (2019). Maple companion (Version 2.1.0). Cybernet Systems Co. https://www.maplesoft.com/products/MapleCompanion/

Email

E-mails are not included in the list of references, though you should parenthetically cite them in your main text:

(E. Robbins, personal communication, January 4, 2001).

Online Forum or Discussion Posting

Lastname, F. M. or Name of Group [username]. (Year, Month Date). Title of post [Online forum post]. Publisher. URL

Stine, R. L. [RL__Stine]. (2013, October 23). I’m R.L. Stine and it’s my job to terrify kids. Ask me anything! [Online forum post]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1p32dl/

Tweet

Lastname, F. M. or Name of Group [@username]. (Year, Month Date). Content of the post up to the first 20 words[Tweet]. Site Name. URL

Note: If the tweet includes images, videos, or links to other sources, indicate that information in brackets after the content description. Also attempt to replicate emojis if possible.

National Geographic [@NatGeo]. (2020, January 12). Scientists knew African grays are clever, but now they’ve been documented assisting other members of their species—even strangers [Tweet; thumbnail link to article]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/NatGeo/status/1216346352063537154

Twitter Profile

Lastname, F. M. or Name of Group [@username]. (n.d.). Tweets [Twitter profile]. Retrieved Month Date, Year, from URL

MLA Style [@mlastyle]. (n.d.). Tweets [Twitter profile]. Retrieved January 12, 2020, from https://twitter.com/mlastyle

(Video) APA 7th Edition: References | Part II

Facebook Post

Lastname, F. M. or Name of Group. (Year, Month Date). Content of the post up to the first 20 words [Type of post]. Site Name. URL

Note: If the Facebook post includes images, videos, or links to other sources, indicate that information in brackets after the content description. Also attempt to replicate emojis if possible.

U.S. Department of the Interior. (2020, January 10). Like frosting on a cake, snow coats and clings to the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah [Image attached] [Status update]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/USInterior/photos/a.155163054537384/2586475451406120/?type=3&theater

Facebook Page

Lastname, F. M. or Name of Group. (n.d.). Home [Facebook page]. Site name. Retrieved Month Date, Year, from URL

Little River Canyon National Preserve (n.d.). Home [Facebook page]. Facebook. Retrieved January 12, 2020 from https://www.facebook.com/lirinps/

Instagram Photo or Video

Lastname, F. M. or Name of Group [@username]. (Year, Month Date). Content of the post up to the first 20 words [Type of post]. Site Name. URL

BBC [@bbc]. (2020, January 12). Skywatchers have been treated to the first full moon of 2020-known as a “wolf moon”-at the same time as a [Photograph]. Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/B7OkWqbBwcf/

Blog Post

Lastname, F. M. (Year, Month Date). Title of post. Publisher. URL

Axelrod, A. (2019, August 11). A century later: The Treaty of Versailles and its rejection of racial equality. Code Switch, NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2019/08/11/742293305/a-century-later-the-treaty-of-versailles-and-its-rejection-of-racial-equality

YouTube or other Streaming Video

Last Name, F. M. [Username]. (Year, Month Date). Title of video [Video]. Streaming Service. URL

Lushi, K. [Korab Lushi]. (2016, July 3). Albatross culture 1 [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AMrJRQDPjk&t=148s

Note: The person or group who uploaded the video is considered the author. If the author’s name is the same as the username, you can omit the [Username].

Ted Talk

Author, A. A. (Year, Month Date). Title of talk [Video]. TED. URL

Al-Mutawa, N. (2010, July). Superheroes inspired by Islam [Video]. TED. https://www.ted.com/talks/naif_al_mutawa_superheroes_inspired_by_islam#t-4909

Or (if on YouTube)

Username. (Year, Month Date). Title of talk [Video]. YouTube. URL

Tedx Talks. (2011, Nov. 15). TEDxHampshireCollege - Jay Smooth - How I learned to stop worrying and love discussing race [Video]. YouTube.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbdxeFcQtaU

Podcast Episode

Host, A. A. (Host). (Year, Month Date). Title of episode (No. if provided) [Audio podcast episode]. In Name of podcast. Publisher. URL

(Video) APA 7th Edition: References | Part I

FAQs

How many references do you use for et al? ›

“Et al.” is used in APA in-text citations of sources with 3+ authors, e.g. (Smith et al., 2019). It is not used in APA reference entries. Use “et al.” for 3+ authors in MLA in-text citations and Works Cited entries.

How do you write an electronic reference in APA format? ›

Include information in the following order:
  1. author name and initial, or group name, followed by social media identity information (provide the author's screen name in square brackets. If only the screen name is known, provide it without brackets.
  2. date. ...
  3. title. ...
  4. format. ...
  5. source url. ...
  6. retrieval date.

Should APA 7 references be hyperlinked? ›

ACAP recommends the use of live, blue hyperlinks in reference lists. Remember to be consistent throughout the entire document. See also the APA Style and Grammar Guidelines for more information.

Are citation generators accurate? ›

Make sure to use reputable, accurate sources.

Citation generators work with the sources you give them. They can't evaluate whether those sources are good or not. This means that it's possible to use a citation generator to assemble a bibliography that's technically flawless, but nevertheless useless.

Do you use et al for 3 authors Harvard? ›

“Et al.” is used in Harvard style to indicate that a source has four or more authors. By using “et al.”, writers can also avoid having very long citations that list every single author.

Does et al need a full stop? ›

This is abbreviated to et al. (with a full stop at the end) and it is used in a citation when you have three authors or more. This makes your citation more manageable. When using the authors name in your writing you should include the full stop after et al.

How do you write a full reference to an electronic source in the list of references? ›

To cite your electronic sources in text, use the APA guidelines for print sources. For direct quotation of a specific passage, cite author, date, page (Anakwe, Igbaria, & Anandarajan, 2010, p. 2) or According to Anakwe, Igbaria, and Anandarajan (2010), “Most management research is privately funded” (p. 2).

What is included in a reference to an electronic source? ›

Author. (Publication date). Title of document. Publishing information or electronic retrieval information.

How do we cite electronic resources within a research paper in APA? ›

Common citation elements for electronic resources include:
  1. author/editor.
  2. publication or update date.
  3. article title.
  4. journal title.
  5. the type of medium (i.e. CD-ROM, online, etc.)
  6. volume and/or pages.
  7. a source statement (e.g. URL, electronic database vendor, email address, etc.)
  8. date you accessed the resource online.

What are three cons of using citation generators? ›

Cons: Only offers MLA and APA. Doesn't offer the most current versions. Blocks access to versions that are being upgraded. Requires user to have some knowledge of punctuation for various field.

What is the most accurate citation generator? ›

Best Citation Generator Tools
  • Mendeley Cite.
  • Zotero.
  • EndNote.
  • Paperpile.
  • Cite This for Me.
  • Citation Machine.
  • EasyBib.
  • BibMe.
4 Oct 2022

What should an APA 7th reference list look like? ›

For APA the reference list is arranged in alphabetical order of authors' surnames. Arrange by first author's name, then by second author if you have the same first author, etc. (check the page on Authors for how to lay out the reference if you have more than one author).

Should I remove hyperlinks in references? ›

The APA Style blog recommends having active links (hyperlinks) if your document is electronic (Microsoft Word document, PowerPoint, etc.). If your document will be printed, the APA Style blog recommends removing the hyperlinks.

Do you remove hyperlinks in references? ›

You should keep hyperlinks active. Consider your reader and the paper's final delivery method (print or digital) when deciding whether to format links as blue text with underline or as plain text.

How do you cite 3 authors in APA? ›

A Work by Three or More Authors

List only the first author's name followed by “et al.” in every citation, even the first, unless doing so would create ambiguity between different sources. In et al., et should not be followed by a period.

How do you cite 4 authors in APA? ›

APA in-text citations with multiple authors

If a work has two authors, separate their names with an ampersand (&) in a parenthetical citation or “and” in a narrative citation. If there are three or more authors, only include the first author's last name followed by “et al.”, meaning “and others”.

How many references should I have for a 1500 word essay? ›

Generally, you need to use one to two references for the point you are trying to make. Roughly, for a 1500-word essay, this makes a minimum of 10 references. This, however, also depends on the topic or the subject you are covering in the essay.

How do you cite 5 authors? ›

Provide all the authors' last names when you first refer to a document with 3-5 authors. Only list the first author with the Latin abbreviation "et al." for any subsequent references. Example: Jones, Chavez, Jackson, and Chen (2010) duplicated...

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