Navigating the Publication Manual of the American Psychological

 Association 6th Edition: A Guide for Tutors and Students



 Cover of Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition












Page Setup………………………….


Title Page ……………………………………..………………………………………..3




Parenthetical Citations…….....………………………...5


Reference List…………………………………………………………………….6-7


Little Known and Hard to Find APA Facts…………………….8







Please Note: “Navigating the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 6th Edition: A Guide for Tutors and Students” is neither a summary of the APA manual nor a substitute for it.  Students are encouraged to use this guide only in conjunction with the book.  Students are also strongly encouraged to consult with their professors for final decisions about complex citation questions.  Please note that grading issues regarding APA format accuracy are ultimately the student’s responsibility.  Students are also responsible for determining which edition of the APA manual their teachers are using.  For additional support, visit the official APA style website at AND  take the Basics of APA Style Online Tutorial at



Page Setup


Hint: Use the sample papers on pp. 41-59 as a visual reference.




p. 229

Set up your document with 1” margins on all sides. 

Line Spacing


p. 229

Double-space the entire manuscript.


p. 228

Your computer's default font style will generally be sufficient, or choose 12 point Times New Roman. 


Running Head and Page Numbers

p. 229

The running head is an abbreviated version of the title that appears flush left on every page of the manuscript including the title page.  Type the words “Running head” with a capital letter R on running and lowercase h on head.  Follow with a colon and the abbreviated title in all caps.  The words “Running head” should only appear on the title page.  The page number in Arabic numerals should appear flush right on every single page, except for artwork and figures.  The title page is page 1. 


Order of Manuscript Pages

p. 229-230


Title page, abstract, body, references, tables, figures, appendices


Please Note:

The APA format is specifically designed for writers who are publishing.  Therefore, faculty may choose to modify the format to conform to their academic assignments and teaching/learning goals.   Students are responsible for determining the specific modifications each instructor makes.  Some instructors will provide written formatting guidelines.  In this case, students and tutors should defer to these even if they differ from the APA manual.


Title Page


Hint:  Create a descriptive title for your text.


Title Page Overview

p. 23

The main features in order of appearance on the page are:  running head (flush left), Arabic page number (flush right), title of your paper, your name, The College at Brockport, author note. 


Note: Your instructor may not require you to include an author note (see p.24), but you need to include the course title/number and date.  Please note that the name, title, and institutional affiliation must all be positioned on the upper third of the page, centered, and double spaced.  Use upper and lower case letters for the title.






Brief Description:  The Abstract tells the reader what your paper is about so that he or she may decide quickly whether or not to read the piece in its entirety.


Hint:  The abstract should provide a meaty summary of the main points of your paper to help potential readers quickly decide whether or not to continue reading.  Because the abstract is the first point of contact between your text and potential readers, be concise yet specific as you inform your reader of what the paper does/is rather than what you hope to do.  Think of the abstract as the very essence or energy of your purpose, research, focus, conclusions, etc.


Hint:  Not all instructors will ask you to compose an abstract.  Be sure to ask.


Content Guidelines

p. 25-27

Think topic, thesis, main points, sources, methods, conclusions. 


Typing Instructions

p. 27

The abstract begins on the second page of your document, with the word "Abstract" centered at the top. While the abstract is similar in size to a paragraph, do not indent the first line.  Limit the abstract to approximately 150 words.   


Note: Your instructor may ask you to omit the abstract.




Parenthetical Citations pp. 174-179


Brief Description: Parenthetical citations, positioned directly after quotes or paraphrases within your text, provide the reader with enough information to identify the complete source in the Reference List and ensure academic and professional honesty.  Please consult table 6.1 on p. 177 for examples of in text citations.  Make note of the difference in treatment of sources with one, two, three, four, five, or six or more authors.  Also make note of citation format for sources that have groups as authors. 


Hint:  Please note that the APA format requires you to include page numbers with direct quotations; however, using page numbers with paraphrased material is “encouraged.”  Please see p. 171 for further clarification about quotes, blocked quotes, and paraphrases, and discuss the issue of page numbers with your professors.

Rounded Rectangular Callout: page
Rounded Rectangular Callout: author




Direct quote with author’s name in your sentence:


Rounded Rectangular Callout: dateAccording to Smith (1991), “------------------” (p. 4).

Paraphrase with the author’s name in your sentence (this example includes the page number, which the APA manual “encourages.”):


Smith and Gomez (2007) found that ------------------------ (p. 24).

Paraphrase without the author’s name in your sentence (this example omits the page number.):



--------------------------------- (Kowalsky, 2001).

Direct quote without the author’s name in your sentence:

“--------------------------------” (Geraci  & Cirri, 2003, p.4).



Blocked Quotations


 p. 171

Present quotes of 40 or more words in a double-spaced block.  Omit quotation marks.  The entire block should be indented the width of a regular paragraph indent.  End the blocked quote with a period followed by a free standing parenthetical citation.  Please refer to p. 171 for a visual aid.



Reference Page


Brief Description:  The Reference page lists your sources alphabetically.  Items in the reference list must correspond with parenthetical citations. 


Hint:  Review pp. 180-192 for reference list discussion and pp.193-224 for reference examples.  Pay close attention to capitalization of titles.  Pages 193-198 provide an index of  all of the reference examples.


Typing Instructions

p. 37

Center the word “Reference(s)” at the top of a new page.  The first line of each entry begins flush left.  Subsequent lines are indented (hanging indent).  Arrange entries in alphabetical order, and double-space the entire page(s).


Example Reference Entries

Book Print Version p. 203

Shotton, M.A. (1989).  Computer addiction? A study of computer dependency.  London, England: Taylor & Francis.

Book Chapter p. 202

Cotton, M.P., & Jeffers, E.  (2007).  A day in the life.  In B. Smith (Ed.), Married at last (pp. 42-59).  New York, NY: Bantam. 

Journal Article Print Version p. 199

Light, M.A., & Light, I.H. (2008).  The geographic expansion of Mexican immigration in the United States and its implications for local law enforcement.  Law Enforcement Executive Forum Journal, 8(1), 73-82.

Journal Article Electronic Version without Digital Object Identifier (DOI) p. 199

Sillick, T.J., & Schutte, N.S. (2006).  Emotional intelligence and self-esteem mediate between perceived early parental love and adult happiness.  E-Journal of Applied Psychology, 2(2), 38-48.  Retrieved from

Journal Article Electronic Version with DOI p. 198

Herbst-Damm, K.L., & Kulik, J.A. (2005).  Volunteer support, marital status, and the survival times of terminally ill patients.  Health Psychology, 24, 225-229.  doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.24.2.25

Newspaper Article p. 200

Schwartz, J. (1983, September 30).  Obesity affects economic, social status.  The Washington Post, pp. A1, A4. 

Online Newspaper Article p. 200

Brody, J.E. (2007, December 11).  Mental reserves keep brain agile.  The NewYork Times.  Retrieved from

Little Known and Hard to Find APA Facts


And or Ampersand

Use the ampersand (&) in the reference list and in parenthetical citations.  Do not use the ampersand in text.  See sample paper p. 48-49.


Page Number  Abbreviations: p. or pp.

In parenthetical citations, use p. for a single page and pp. for a page range.  In the reference list, use neither p. or pp., just the Arabic numeral.


Page numbers for Paraphrases p. 171

In APA format, you must include the page number in a parenthetical citation for direct quotes.  Including the page number in citations to paraphrased passages is, according to APA, “encouraged,” but not required.    Please discuss this with your professors for clarification.


Personal Communications p. 174, 179

APA uses the term “personal communication” to refer to emails, personal interviews, phone conversations, etc.  You do not need to include personal communications in the reference list.


Subsequent Citations to Same Source within a Single Paragraph p. 174

The question will inevitably arise:  Do I need multiple parenthetical citations when all of the information in a single paragraph comes from the same source?  According to APA, “Within a paragraph, when the name of the author is part of the narrative [i.e. In 2003, Kessler’s study of epidemiological samples showed that…], you need not include the year in subsequent non-parenthetical references to a study as long as the study cannot be confused with other studies cited in the article.  Do include the year in all parenthetical citations” (174).  See pp. 174-175 for more information.   


Secondary Sources p. 178

If you are citing a source (let’s call this source A) that is quoted in another source (let’s call this source B), and you do not actually possess source A, then you need only include source B in  your reference list.  You do not need to include the original source in your reference list since you do not physically posses it.  Ex:  Allport’s diary (as cited in Nicholson, 2003) reveals the dual nature of the psychopath.  Nicholson (2003) will be in your reference list, not Allport’s diary, since you have not actually consulted the diary.


No Author, Groups as Author, No Date

See page 176 for works with no author or groups as authors and p. 185 for works with no date.


Online APA Tutorial

The Student Learning Center recommends that all students who are required to use the APA format and whose professors do not provide detailed written APA guidelines go through the official APA online tutorial at