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The following is a brief summary of APA citation and reference style for students in COMM 3201 Health Communication and other courses.


Use Times New Roman 12 pt font throughout the paper.

Double space your paper by choosing Select All Text from Edit pull down menu or pressing Command + A. While highlighted press Command + 2.

Indent each paragraph by pressing Tab once.

Top and bottom margins should be 1 inch and Left and Right margins should be 1.5 inches (these are the default for MS Word.)


Following the introduction to your paper, organize your paper by sections and sub-sections.  These help the reader follow your thoughts and discussion.  Each section is a new topical focus or dimension of the broader subject you are addressing in your paper.

Section Headings should be centered and in bold.

Sub-section Headings should be left-aligned on their own line and in bold.

Below is an example. *Note that in your Word document, each paragraph should be indented and double spaced (not easy to show this in blog format).

Establishing Authority and Gaining Influence

Relative to climate change, the prominence of the public intellectuals reviewed in this paper is especially remarkable, given the extremely crowded media and publishing space within which they work. Consider that over the past two decades, an estimated 14,000 peer-reviewed studies10 and 30,000 English-language books on climate change have been published with more than 25,000 stories about the issue running at the five major U.S. newspapers alone.  Yet, as I show in this section, several unique characteristics and factors enable the work, ideas, and arguments of these public intellectuals to stand out in a highly competitive marketplace.

Who is a Public Intellectual?

Several prominent public intellectuals in the climate debate like Pielke Jr., Sachs, Hamilton, Stern, Rayner, or Hulme are career academics, tenured professors, and research institute leaders who have sparked wider debate through their popular books, essays, and commentaries. Some like McKibben, Monbiot and Revkin began their careers as widely read journalists, commentators, and authors, but today also hold professorships, fellowships, or lectureships at academic institutions. Others as an outgrowth of their work as public intellectuals have also founded their own advocacy organizations or think tanks.


A useful guide for citing references in the main text of your paper is provided by this online summary of the APA style guide:

  • Give the author’s last name and the publication year.
  • Only use page numbers for a direct quote.
  • Make sure the source information in parentheses matches with your works cited. 
  • The punctuation for the sentence goes AFTER the parenthesis.
  • If your quote is longer than forty words, set it off in a block text by beginning a new line, indenting one inch, and do not add quotation marks.  At the end of the quote put the period after the last word of the sentence followed by the parentheses.

Here are examples of these APA rules.

  • Quote with author’s name in text, article or book: Nisbet (2006) writes that “in order to to be successful use APA style” (p. 112).
  • Quote from a website: Nisbet (2006) writes that “in order to be successful use APA style” (para. 5).
  • Referencing but not directly quoting an author: As Nisbet (2006) argues, few students are successful unless they use APA style.


Two authors of a reference:

  • Nisbet and Scheufele (2009) argue that APA style is important.
  • APA style has been found to increase clarity (Nisbet & Scheufele 2009).

Three to five authors of a reference:

  • Nisbet, Scheufele, Brossard, Shanahan and Lewenstein (2009) argue that APA is important.
  • APA style has been found to increase clarity (Nisbet, Scheufele, Brossard, Shanahan & Lewenstein, 2009).

All subsequent citations in your paper to three to five authors:

  • Nisbet et al. (2009) argue that APA is important.
  • APA style has been found to increase clarity (Nisbet et al. 2009).


The Purdue University library provides an excellent summary of how to format references at the end of your paper by type of document.

**Remember that the first line of each reference should be left aligned, but each line after should be Tab indented. See screen image below (not possible to easily show this in blog format.)

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Book or Edited Book

Authored Book:

  • Calfee, R. C., & Valencia, R. R. (1991). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Edited Book:

  • O’Neil, J. M., & Egan, J. (1992). Men’s and women’s gender role journeys: A metaphor for healing, transition, and transformation. In B. R. Wainrib (Ed.), Gender issues across the life cycle (pp. 107-123). New York, NY: Springer.

Journal articles

Journals paginated by volume:

  • Harlow, H. F. (1983). Fundamentals for preparing psychology journal articles. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 55, 893-896.

Journals paginated by issue within volume:

  • Scruton, R. (1996). The eclipse of listening. The New Criterion, 15(3), 5-13.

Magazine and Newspaper articles retrieved via the Web (see also other Web type documents)

  • Parker-Pope, T. (2008, May 6). Psychiatry handbook linked to drug industry. The New York Times. Retrieved from