How to cite an encyclopedia in APA Style

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

To cite an online encyclopedia entry in APA Style, start with the author of the entry (if listed), followed by the publication year, the entry title, the name of the editor, the encyclopedia name, the edition, the publisher, and the URL.

Format Author last name, Initials. (Year). Entry name. In Editor initialsLast name (Ed.), Encyclopedia name (Edition). Publisher. URL
Reference entry Wheeler, G. (2020). Bounded rationality. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Fall 2020 ed.). Stanford University. https://​plato.stanford.edu/​entries/​bounded-rationality/
In-text citation (Wheeler, 2020)


Encyclopedia entries with no author or date

Online encyclopedias are often updated on a continuous basis, so a publication date won’t necessarily be available. Additionally, they may not list authors or editors. When necessary, list the organization in the author position and write “n.d.” (no date) where the year would usually go, adding a retrieval date later:

Animalia (n.d.). Yellow-headed blackbird. In Animalia. Retrieved November 12, 2020, from http://animalia.bio/yellow-headed-blackbird

Note that the format is slightly different when you want to cite Wikipedia.

Citing a print encyclopedia

When citing a print encyclopedia, it will always be a specific edition whose year of publication is stated, so you should include this information. The publisher should not be written again if it is already listed in the author position.

Format Publisher Name. (Year). Entry name. In Editor initials. Last name (Ed.), Encyclopedia name (Edition, p. Page number).
Reference entry Cambridge University Press. (2020). Aria. In R. M. Marvin (Ed.), The Cambridge Verdi encyclopedia (p. 15).
In-text citation (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

If the individual entry lists an author, include their name at the start and move the publisher name to the end.

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

1 comment

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
November 12, 2020 at 3:08 PM

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