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Nursing and Nurse Practitioners


Citations are a way of giving credit when certain material and ideas in your work come from another source. Understanding why, when and how to cite is an important part of the academic writing process. In nursing, APA 7th edition is the preferred citation style. See below for some APA basic formatting guidelines. 

Why and when to cite

It is important to cite the sources you use in your research for several reasons:

  • To be a responsible scholar by giving credit to other researchers
  • To avoid plagiarism by quoting words and ideas from other authors
  • To allow your reader to track down the sources you've used
  • To show your reader that you've done proper research

Cite when you quote, paraphrase, summarize, use data, use images, use statistics, translate a text, etc. The three common types of citations are: 

  • Direct quote: Using an author's exact words
  • Paraphrase: Rewriting someone else's ideas in your own words and structure
  • Summary: Describing key points of someone else's work in a condensed way, retaining only the essence

How to cite

Citation management tools

These softwares (ex. Zotero, Endnote, Mendeley, etc.) makes it easier to in-text citations and create bibliographies using many citation styles.

To learn more, check out the Citation management libguide.

Online resource

Explore Purdue Owl Writing Lab to learn about in-text citations and reference list formatting. 

APA Manual

APA basics

In-text citations

When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, like, for example, (Smith, 2018). One complete reference for each source should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

  • Short quotation: If you are directly quoting from a work, you will need to include the author, year of publication, and page number for the reference (preceded by "p." for a single page and “pp.” for a span of multiple pages, with the page numbers separated by an en dash).
  • Long quotation: Place direct quotations that are 40 words or longer in a free-standing block of typewritten lines and omit quotation marks.

Reference List

Your references list should begin on a new page separate from the text of the essay; label this page References in bold, centered at the top of the page. All text should be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay.

Below is a list of basic formats for different types of resources. Before referencing, make sure that you have a good understanding of the source type or format. If the format you are referencing is not listed below, you can consult APA 7th edition or Purdue OWL for more details and examples.

Articles in Periodicals: 
Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages.

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Publisher Name.

Article or Chapters in an Edited Book:
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In E. E. Editor & F. F. Editor (Eds.), Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle (pp. pages of chapter). Publisher.

Website or Piece of Online Content:
Lastname, F. M. (Year, Month Date). Title of page. Site name. URL

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

Online News Article:
Lastname, F. M. (Year, Month Date). Title of article. Title of Publication. URL

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