How to cite a journal article in APA Style (6th edition)

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

An APA Style citation for a journal article includes the usual elements of an APA citation, plus the volume and issue number, the page range of the article, and a DOI (if available). Use the buttons below to explore the format.

You can also use the Scribbr Citation Generator to generate your APA journal article citations. All you need is the URL or DOI of the journal article. With the click of a button, the generator retrieves all the necessary information.


Basic format for an APA journal citation

The article title appears in plain text and sentence case, while the journal name is italicized and in title case (all major words capitalized).

Format Last name, Initials. (Year). Article title. Journal Name, Volume(issue), page range. https://doi.org/xxxx
Example Mounier-Kuhn, P. (2012). Computer science in French universities: Early entrants and latecomers. Information & Culture: A Journal of History, 47(4), 414–456. https://doi.org/10.7560/IC47402
In-text citation (Mounier-Kuhn, 2012)

When viewing a journal article online, the required information can usually be found on the access page:

Where to find information for an APA journal citation

Linking to online journal articles

A DOI should always be used where available. Some databases do not list one, but you may still find one by looking for the same article on another database. You don’t need to include the name of the database in your citation.

If no DOI is available and the article was accessed through a database, do not include a URL.

If the article is not from a database, but from another website (e.g. the journal’s own website), you should ideally use a stable URL: this is often provided under a “share” button. Otherwise, use the URL from your browser.

Citing unpublished journal articles

When citing from an article that has not yet been formally published, the format varies depending on whether or not it has already been submitted to a journal.

Unpublished article

The text of an article which has not yet appeared online or in publication (i.e. which is only available directly from the author) should be cited as an “unpublished article.” The title is italicized and information about the author’s university is included if available:

Format Last name, Initials. (Year). Article title. Unpublished article, Department Name, University Name.
Example Smith, J. M., & Davis, H. (2019). Language acquisition among autistic children. Unpublished article, Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame.
In-text citation (Smith & Davis, 2019)

Article submitted for publication

An article which has been submitted to a journal but not yet accepted is cited as an “article submitted for publication.” The title is italicized, and the name of the journal to which it was submitted is not included:

Format Last name, Initials. (Year). Article title. Article submitted for publication, Department Name, University Name.
Example Smith, J. M., & Davis, H. (2019). Language acquisition among autistic children. Article submitted for publication, Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame.
In-text citation (Smith & Davis, 2019)

Article in press

An article which has been submitted and accepted for publication in a journal is cited as “in press.” Here, the name of the journal is included, university information is omitted, and “in press” is written in place of the year (both in the reference list and the in-text citation):

Format Last name, Initials. (in press). Article title. Journal Name.
Example Smith, J. M., & Davis, H. (in press). Language acquisition among autistic children.
Journal of Developmental Psychology.
In-text citation (Smith & Davis, in press)

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Special issue of a journal

If you want to cite a special issue of a journal rather than a regular article, the name(s) of the editor(s) and the title of the issue appear in place of the author’s name and article title:

Format Last name, Initials. (Ed. or Eds.). (Year). Title of issue [Special issue]. Journal Name, Volume(Issue).
Example Pollak, S. D., Camras, L. A., & Cole, P. M. (Eds.). (2019). New perspectives on the development of human emotion [Special issue]. Developmental Psychology, 55(9).

Note that if you want to cite an individual article from the special issue, it can just be cited as a regular article.

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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.

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1 comment

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
November 5, 2020 at 4:04 PM

Thanks for reading! Hope you found this article helpful. If anything is still unclear, or if you didn’t find what you were looking for here, leave a comment and we’ll see if we can help.

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