How to cite a report in APA Style

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

Reports may be published by governments, task groups, or other organizations. To reference a report with an individual author, include the author’s name and initials, the report title (italicized), the report number, the organization that published it, and the URL (if accessed online, e.g. as a PDF).

Format Author last name, Initials. (Year). Report title: Subtitle (Report No. number). Publisher name. URL
Reference list Bedford, D. A. D. (2017). Enterprise information architecture: An overview (Report No. WA-RD 896.4). Washington State Department of Transportation. https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/research/reports/fullreports/896-4.pdf
In-text citation (Bedford, 2017, p. 12)

Note that brochures are cited in a similar format. You can easily create accurate APA citations using our free Citation Generator.

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Report with multiple authors

When a report has multiple authors, up to 20 should be listed in the reference.

Wang, Y., Ash, J., Zhuang, Y., Zhibin, L. Zeng, Z., Hajbabaie, A., Hajibabai, L., Tajalli, M. (2019). Understanding opportunities with connected vehicles in the smart cities context (Report No. WA-RD 885.1). Washington State Department of Transportation. https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/research/reports/fullreports/885-1.pdf

If the report has 21 or more authors, list the first 19, then an ellipsis, then the last listed author:

Brian, B., Caulfield, J., Hanes, R., Hunter, C., Hughes, C., Mann, M., Newes, E., Douglas, A., Baldwin, S., Baker, E., Clarke, L., Gabriel, S., Henrion, M., Klemun, M., Marangoni, G., Nemet, G., Newman, A., Paich, M., Popper, S., Way, R., . . . Zhang, F. (2020). . . .

With in-text citations, list up to two authors. For three or more, list the first followed by “et al.

2 authors (Bedford & Caulfield, 2012)
3+ authors (Davis et al., 2015)

Report with organization as author

Sometimes, reports do not list individual authors, only the organization responsible. In these cases, list the organization in the author position.

Reference list Europeana Task Force on Metadata Quality. (2015). Report and recommendations from the Task Force on Metadata Quality. Europeana. https://pro.europeana.eu/files/Europeana_Professional/Europeana_Network/metadata-quality-report.pdf
In-text citation (Europeana Task Force on Metadata Quality, 2015)

This sometimes results in the name of the author and publisher being identical. Omit the second mention of the organization in this case.

Reference list Kellogg Company. (2019). 2019 annual report. https://www.annualreports.com/HostedData/AnnualReports/PDF/NYSE_K_2019.pdf
In-text citation (Kellogg Company, 2019)

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Where to find the report number

Many reports are associated with a specific number. If a report has a number, it will typically be listed in the database where you found the report.

APA report number in database

It will also generally appear on the cover or title page of the report itself.

APA report number on cover

A report number should always be included when available, but if a report doesn’t have one, you can just leave this part out.

Frequently asked questions about APA Style citations

How do I cite a source with no author in APA Style?

When no individual author name is listed, but the source can clearly be attributed to a specific organization—e.g. a press release by a charity, a report by an agency, or a page from a company’s website—use the organization’s name as the author in the reference entry and in-text citations.

When no author at all can be determined—e.g. a collaboratively edited wiki or an online article published anonymously—use the title in place of the author. In the in-text citation, put the title in quotation marks if it appears in plain text in the reference list, and in italics if it appears in italics in the reference list. Shorten it if necessary.

When should I use “et al.” in APA in-text citations?

The abbreviation “et al.” (meaning “and others”) is used to shorten in-text citations with three or more authors. Here’s how it works:

Only include the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.”, a comma and the year of publication, for example (Taylor et al., 2018).

How many authors do I include in an APA reference list entry?

You may include up to 20 authors in a reference list entry.

When an article has more than 20 authors, replace the names prior to the final listed author with an ellipsis, but do not omit the final author:

Davis, Y., Smith, J., Caulfield, F., Pullman, H., Carlisle, J., Donahue, S. D., James, F., O’Donnell, K., Singh, J., Johnson, L., Streefkerk, R., McCombes, S., Corrieri, L., Valck, X., Baldwin, F. M., Lorde, J., Wardell, K., Lao, W., Yang, P., . . . O’Brien, T. (2012).

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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.

2 comments

Laura
February 16, 2021 at 3:29 PM

What should I do when a report is confidential and thus not published or available via an URL?

Reply

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
February 17, 2021 at 3:24 PM

Hi Laura,

Sources that your readers won't be able to access, such as a confidential report like what you describe, are cited as personal communications. They should just be described in parentheses in the text, not included in the reference list.

Reply

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