Thursday, February 23: The Clark Library is closed today.
APA Style (7th Edition) Citation Guide: Websites
- Journal Articles
- Magazine/Newspaper Articles
- Books & Ebooks
- Government & Legal Documents
- Biblical Sources
- Secondary Sources
- Films/Videos/TV Shows
- How to Cite: Other
- Additional Help
Table of Contents
Entire Website - No Separate Pages or Sections
Page or Section from a Website
Note: All citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent in a Reference List.
A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.
This Microsoft support page contains instructions about how to format a hanging indent in a paper.
It can sometimes be difficult to find out who the author of a website is. Remember that an author can be a corporation or group, not only a specific person. Author information can sometimes be found under an "About" section on a website.
If there is no known author, start the citation with the title of the website instead.
The best date to use for a website is the date that the content was last updated. Otherwise look for a copyright or original publication date. Unfortunately this information may not be provided or may be hard to find. Often date information is put on the bottom of the pages of a website.
If you do not know the complete date, put as much information as you can find. For example you may have a year but no month or day.
If an original publication date and a last updated date are provided, use the last updated date. If the more current date is "last reviewed" instead of "last updated," use the original publication date (since the review may not have changed the content).
If there is no date provided, put the letters (n.d.) in round brackets where you'd normally put the date.
Titles should be italicized when the document stands alone (e.g. books, reports, websites, etc.), but not when it is part of a greater whole (e.g. chapters, articles, webpages, etc.).
Provide website names in title case without italics after titles of work. Include a period after the website name, followed by the URL. When the author of the work is the same as the website name, omit the site name from the reference.
If the content of a website is likely to change over time (e.g. Wikis), you must provide the date you last visited the website.
If a URL is too long to fit onto one line, try to break it at a slash (/).
Note: If you are quoting or paraphrasing part of a website, you should create a reference for a Page or Section. If you mention a website in general, do not create a reference list entry or an in-text citation. Instead, include the name of the website in the text and provide the URL in parentheses.
The Department of Justice has a site called ReportCrime.gov at https://www.reportcrime.gov/ to help people identify and report crimes in their area.
Note : If you cite multiple webpages from a website, create a reference for each. Include the date you retrieved the information if the content is likely to change over time.
Created by a Corporate or Group Author
Corporation/Group/Organization's Name. (Year website was last updated/published, Month Day if given). Title of page: Subtitle (if any). Website Name. URL
Example in which the content is unlikely to change over time:
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (2019, November 21). Justice served: Case closed for over 40 dogfighting victims . https://www.aspca.org/news/justice-served-case-closed-over-40-dogfighting-victims
Example in which the content is likely to change over time:
Adidas. (2020). Sustainability . Retrieved January 23, 2020, from https://www.adidas.com/us/sustainability
Note: When the author and site name are the same, omit the site name in the reference.
(Corporation/Group's Name, Year)
Example: (Adidas, 2020)
(Corporation/Group's Name, year, Section Name section, para. Paragraph Number if more than one paragraph in section)
Example: (Adidas, 2020, Sustainability section, para. 1)
Note: When there are no visible page numbers or paragraph numbers, you may cite the section heading and the number of the paragraph in that section to identify where your quote came from.
Abbreviating Corporation/Group Author Name in In-Text citations:
Author names for corporations/groups can often be abbreviated. The first time you refer to the author, provide the full name, along with the abbreviation.
If the group name appears in the text of your paper, include the abbreviation in the in-text parenthetical citation:
Example: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA, 2019) assisted in the rescue of 40 dogs.
If the group name first appears within a parenthetical citation, include the full group name as well as the abbreviation in square brackets:
Example: Forty dogs were rescued in Bendena, Kansas (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [ASPCA], 2019).
Provide the full group name (without an abbreviation) in the reference list entry:
Created by an Individual Author
Author's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year website was last updated/published, Month Day if given). Title of page: Subtitle (if any). Website Name. URL
Price, D. (2018, March 23). Laziness does not exist . Medium. https://humanparts.medium.com/laziness-does-not-exist-3af27e312d01
Shillam, S. (2018). Message from the Dean . University of Portland. Retrieved October 1, 2018, from https://nursing.up.edu/about/index.html
(Author Last Name, Year)
Example: (Shillam, 2018)
(Author Last Name, Year, Section Name section, para. Paragraph Number if more than one paragraph in section)
Example: (Shillam, 2018, Message from the dean section, para. 2)
Created by an Unknown Author
Title of page: Subtitle (if any). (Year website was last updated/published, Month Day if given). Website Name. URL
Example in which the content is unlikely to change over time (because the restaurant has closed) :
Jarra's Ethiopian Restaurant [Reviews]. (2012, November 9). Yelp. https://www.yelp.com/biz/jarras-ethiopian-restaurant-portland
Powell's City of Books [Reviews]. (2020, February 25). Yelp. Retrieved February 28, 2020, from https://www.yelp.com/biz/powells-city-of-books-portland-4
Example: ("Powell's City of Books," 2020)
("Title," Year, Section Name section, para. Paragraph Number if more than one paragraph in section)
Example: ("Powell's City of Books," 2020, Review Highlights)
Note: When there are no visible page numbers or paragraph numbers, you may cite the section heading and the number of the paragraph in that section to identify where your quote came from. In this example, there is only one paragraph under the specific heading, so no paragraph number is needed.
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How to write a bibliography for websites
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Go back a generation and you’ll find that websites were rarely used as a source for academic essays and papers. Crazy to think about, right? Instead, students relied almost entirely on good old-fashioned paper sources such as textbooks, books and journals.
Of course, now it’s difficult to imagine life without the Internet. And the rise of the smartphone means that we all literally have a world wide web of information at our fingertips, 24/7! This easy-to-access information is super useful for school and life. However, just as with traditional sources, any website you use while researching and writing must be properly referenced. Failure to do this is plagiarism, which, whether accidental or not, can carry strict consequences.
The good news is there’s clear guidance on how you should reference your website sources, depending on which style of citation you’re required to use. APA, MLA and Chicago are three common styles. If you’re unsure which one you should be using, ask your instructor for their preference.
What Information Do I Need?
When researching online, it’s essential that you note the websites you are using as you go—not after when you might forget. It can be very easy to disappear down the Internet rabbit hole and lose track of what information came from where! You could also bookmark important web pages to give yourself an easy online record of your digital sources.
Important note: the Internet contains a wide variety of different types of material that you may need to reference, from articles and blog posts to images and videos. Correctly citing a website will depend on the type of source that you wish to cite. For illustration purposes we’ve used the following article on a website:
- Author/s name: Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie
- Article title: The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World
- Website title: Pew Research Center: Internet & Technology
- Publication date: 17 April 2018
- Access date: 9 May 2018
- Website publisher: Pew Research Center
- URL: http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/04/17/the-future-of-well-being-in-a-tech-saturated-world/
In-text citations may also be included in the body of your work to help the reader identify the section that relates to the full citation on your works cited page. These are also known as parenthetical citations, as they’re often enclosed (like this), and MLA refers to them as citations in prose. The format of your in-text citations will vary depending on the citation style you are using.
Let’s take a look at some examples of how to cite a website in MLA, APA and Chicago styles.
How to Cite a Website in APA Style
APA in text citation : (Anderson & Rainie, 2018)
Anderson, J., & Rainie, L. (2018). The future of well-being in a tech-saturated world. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/04/17/the-future-of-well-being-in-a-tech-saturated-world/ .
How to Cite a Website in MLA Style
MLA in-text citation: (Anderson and Rainie)
Anderson, Janna, and Lee Rainie. “The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World.” Pew Internet, 17 Apr. 2018, www.pewinternet.org/2018/04/17/ the-future-of-well-being-in-a-tech-saturated-world/.
How to Cite a Book in Chicago Style Format (footnote/bibliography style)
Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie, “The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World,” Pew Internet , April 17, 2018, accessed May 9, 2018, http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/04/17/the-future-of-well-being-in-a-tech-saturated-world/.
Anderson, Janna, and Lee Rainie. “The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World.” Pew Internet , April 17, 2018. Accessed May 9, 2018. http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/04/17/the-future-of-well-being-in-a-tech-saturated-world/.
Don’t disappear down the Internet rabbit hole! Make a note of all the websites you use during your research and use the handy online tool at Cite This For Me to create quick and easy website citations.
How to Cite a Website in APA
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Full Citation Rules
In-text citation rules, how to cite (practically) anything in apa.
- Cite anything in APA
- Cite a Website in MLA
- Cite a Website in Chicago
- Cite the CDC in APA
- Cite the CDC Website in APA
- Cite a Genealogy Website in APA
- Cite Google in APA
- Cite History.com in APA
- Cite Khan Academy in APA
- Cite the Mayo Clinic in APA
- Cite a Newsgroup in APA
- Cite a Search Result in APA
- Cite a Dissertation in APA
- Cite a Dissertation Abstract in APA
- Cite a Scholarly Project in APA
- Cite an Introduction in APA
- Cite a Mathematical Theory in APA
- Cite an Anthology in APA
- Cite an Online Lecture in APA
- Cite a Slide Deck in APA
- Cite a Lecture in APA
- Cite a Keynote Speech in APA
- Cite a Keynote Address in APA
- Cite a PowerPoint in APA
- Cite a Slide in APA
- Cite a Conference in APA
- Cite a Graphic Novel in APA
- Cite Greek Mythology in APA
- Cite Hamlet in APA
- Cite Shakespeare in APA
- Cite a Cover Story in APA
- Cite a Magazine in APA
- Cite a Magazine Article in APA
- Cite a Magazine Cover in APA
- Cite an Art Catalog in APA
- Cite a Biography in APA
- Cite a Book in APA
- Cite a Book Cover in APA
- Cite a Chapter in APA
- Cite Dialogue in APA
- Cite the DSM in APA
- Cite Google Images in APA
- Cite a Gif in APA
- Cite a Film in APA
- Cite a Famous Saying in APA
Frequently Asked Questions
Which style guide should i choose for my assignment, what’s the difference between bibliography, references, and works cited pages, what’s the difference between full citations, in-line citations, parenthetical citations, footnotes, and annotations - and when should i use each, what is plagiarism and how do i avoid it, what’s the fastest way to generate a citation, more resources for academic writing.
Strong Writing, Proper Citations, Good Grades
- Plagiarism and grammar
- Citation guides
Cite a Website
Don't let plagiarism errors spoil your paper, citing a website in apa.
Once you’ve identified a credible website to use, create a citation and begin building your reference list. Citation Machine citing tools can help you create references for online news articles, government websites, blogs, and many other website! Keeping track of sources as you research and write can help you stay organized and ethical. If you end up not using a source, you can easily delete it from your bibliography. Ready to create a citation? Enter the website’s URL into the search box above. You’ll get a list of results, so you can identify and choose the correct source you want to cite. It’s that easy to begin!
If you’re wondering how to cite a website in APA, use the structure below.
Author Last Name, First initial. (Year, Month Date Published). Title of web page . Name of Website. URL
Example of an APA format website:
Austerlitz, S. (2015, March 3). How long can a spinoff like ‘Better Call Saul’ last? FiveThirtyEight. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-long-can-a-spinoff-like-better-call-saul-last/
Keep in mind that not all information found on a website follows the structure above. Only use the Website format above if your online source does not fit another source category. For example, if you’re looking at a video on YouTube, refer to the ‘YouTube Video’ section. If you’re citing a newspaper article found online, refer to ‘Newspapers Found Online’ section. Again, an APA website citation is strictly for web pages that do not fit better with one of the other categories on this page.
When adding the text of a post, keep the original capitalization, spelling, hashtags, emojis (if possible), and links within the text.
Structure: Facebook user’s Last name, F. M. (Year, Monday Day of Post). Up to the first 20 words of Facebook post [Source type if attached] [Post type]. Facebook. URL
Source type examples: [Video attached], [Image attached]
Post type examples: [Status update], [Video], [Image], [Infographic]
Gomez, S. (2020, February 4). Guys, I’ve been working on this special project for two years and can officially say Rare Beauty is launching in [Video]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/Selena/videos/1340031502835436/
Life at Chegg. (2020, February 7) It breaks our heart that 50% of college students right here in Silicon Valley are hungry. That’s why Chegg has [Images attached] [Status update]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/LifeAtChegg/posts/1076718522691591
Structure: Account holder’s Last name, F. M. [Twitter Handle]. (Year, Month Day of Post). Up to the first 20 words of tweet [source type if attached] [Tweet]. Twitter. URL
Source type examples: [Video attached], [Image attached], [Poll attached]
Example: Edelman, J. [Edelman11]. (2018, April 26). Nine years ago today my life changed forever. New England took a chance on a long shot and I’ve worked [Video attached] [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/Edelman11/status/989652345922473985
APA citation format: Account holder’s Last name, F. M. [@Instagram handle]. (Year, Month Day). Up to the first 20 words of caption [Photograph(s) and/or Video(s)]. Instagram. URL
Example: Portman, N. [@natalieportman]. (2019, January 5). Many of my best experiences last year were getting to listen to and learn from so many incredible people through [Videos]. Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/BsRD-FBB8HI/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
If this guide hasn’t helped solve all of your referencing questions, or if you’re still feeling the need to type “how to cite a website APA” into Google, then check out our APA citation generator on CitationMachine.com, which can build your references for you!
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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / Harvard Referencing / How to reference a website using the Harvard referencing style
How to reference a website using the Harvard referencing style
This guide covers how to reference a website in Harvard style. When citing information sourced from the web, it is of paramount importance that you make very clear what it is you are referencing. As sources on the internet can vary widely, your reference should aim to provide a trail that can lead the reader directly to the source. An internet source could be almost anything, including but not limited to scholarly journal articles, newspaper articles, blog posts, and personal web pages. Your reference format for internet sources will vary based on the type of source.
Since most websites are updated from time to time, it is possible that anything you quote may be changed or removed. This means that it is important to record within your citation the date that you last accessed the site.
Another important fact to be mindful of is that most websites do not have page numbers. If you need to reference a specific location on a website, you can use paragraph numbers in place of page numbers (abbreviated ‘para.’ in your in-text citation).
Citation styles for different online sources
This section will elaborate on the citation style to be utilized for the following sources, along with examples for each source type.
Web pages authored by an individual/individuals
Your references for this type of web page will include the following information:
- Author’s/Authors’ names
- The year the site was published or last updated (in round brackets)
- Title of the web page (in italics)
- Available at: URL (Accessed: date)
B. Johnson (2016) made his argument quite clear stating…
Johnson, B. (2016) The rise of the Ubermensch. Available at: http://www.bjohnsonsworld.co.uk/theriseoftheubermensch (Accessed: 23 October 2017).
In-text citation (two authors)
After years of research, Russell and Verstappen (2013) found that…
Russell, J. and Verstappen, M. (2013) Rubber compounds and their rate of wear . Available at: http://www.dailysciencefixforyou.com/rubbercompounds (Accessed: 24 November 2019).
Web pages authored by a company or organization
Here’s the information you will need to include for this type of reference:
- Name of the company/organization
- Year the site was published or last updated (in round brackets)
- Title of the web page (in italics)
- Available at: URL (Accessed: date)
A patient may suffer mild psychosis (Rural Health Institute, 2018) as a result of…
Rural Health Institute (2018) The effects of shock therapy. Available at: http://www.rhi.co.uk/shocktherapy (Accessed: 31 October 2019).
Web pages with no author
Citation structure :
- Title of the webpage (in italics)
- The year the site was published/last updated (in round brackets)
- Available at: URL (Accessed: date)
Renderings of the architect’s master plan can be found online ( Gumpert’s Modernism, 2013) …
Gumpert’s Modernism (2013) Available at: https://www.stellararchitecture.com/modernism/ (Accessed: 24 July 2020)
Web pages with no author or title
- URL of the page
- (Accessed: date)
Salt dough cookies (http://www.wholesomerecipes.com/saltdough.html, 2018) are a wonderful way to….
http://www.wholesomerecipes.com/saltdough.html (2018) (Accessed: 12 September 2020).
Web pages without a date
- Author’s name
- Mention that no dates were available (use ‘no date’ in round brackets)
- Title of the web page, if available (in italics)
Cuba struggled through the decade (Banana Republic News, no date) facing a constant onslaught of….
Banana Republic News (no date) The trials and tribulations of Cuba. Available at: https://www.bananafyinews.com/cuba.html (Accessed: 15 July 2019).
Multiple pages from the same website
If you need to cite multiple pages from the same website, and the pages have different authors and/or publication dates associated with them, then you can simply use corresponding individual in-text citations and reference list entries for each page that you cite. In this case, you would also include the unique URL for each page in its corresponding reference list entry. However, if the pages you are citing all have the same author and publication date, you can differentiate between them in both your reference list entries and in-text citations by adding a lowercase letter after the date.
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022a)
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022b)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022a) International travel . Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel/index.html (Accessed: 18 July 2022).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022b) Cruise ship travel during COVID-19 . Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/cruise-travel-during-covid19.html (Accessed: 18 July 2022).
Note that if the web page has no date, insert a hyphen between the words ‘no date’ and the lowercase letter to improve readability, for example: (no date-a) or (no date-b).
Web blogs or video blogs
When citing any information from blogs or vlogs, you need to keep in mind that you are treading a very thin line between objectivity and subjectivity. Blogs or vlogs are meant to be informal as most people use them to express their perspectives on issues or topics that are close to their heart, or to comment on issues from the public domain. So, be incredibly careful as most blogs are not very well reasoned or objective in their stance.
- The year that the blog/vlog was published or last updated (in round brackets)
- Title of the blog/vlog (in single quotation marks)
- Title of the site that hosts the blog/vlog (in italics)
- The day or month the blog/vlog was posted
Note that if you’re trying to cite a vlog that was posted on YouTube, you’ll need to know how to cite a YouTube video in Harvard style .
Engelbert D’Souza (2015) has expounded on the “Mandela Effect” at great length….
D’Souza, E. (2015) ‘The Mandela Effect’, Engelbert’s monthly blog , 6 November. Available at: https://www.engelbertsmonthlyblog/november/mandelaeffect/ (Accessed: 11 September 2016).
Social networking sites
- Year (in round brackets)
- Title of the post (in single quotation marks)
- Day/month of the post
- Available at: URL (Accessed: date)
Hendrix was a master of distortion and feedback (Casanova, 2018) …
Casanova, G. (2018) ‘Jimi Hendrix: wild blue angel’ [Instagram]. 18 September. Available at: https://www.instagram.com (Accessed: 7 October 2019)
- Author (if available, otherwise use the title)
- The year the article was published or last updated (in round brackets)
- Title of the post (in italics)
- Day/month the post was uploaded
The Trump rally drew large crowds in South Carolina ( Trump campaign , 2016).
Trump campaign (2016) [Facebook] 24 October. Available at: https://www.facebook.com (Accessed: 28 February 2019).
- Author of the tweet
- Twitter handle (in square brackets)
- The year the tweet was posted (in round brackets)
- The full body of the tweet (if it is too long, use an ellipsis to shorten it)
- The day/month the tweet was posted
Jasper Kuhn (2018) was quite critical about the proceedings…
Kuhn, J. [@kuhnper] (2018) It was appalling to see the leaders of the state bicker like rabid dogs in the assembly [Twitter] 31 January. Available at: https://twitter.com/kuhnper/status/161664645.654654.655 (Accessed: 17 July 2018).
- While referencing anything from a website, the main aim is to provide a trail that can lead the reader directly to the source.
- An important point to keep in mind is that you will need to cite the date you last accessed the site.
- Since most websites do not have page numbers, use paragraph numbers to show where you found the information you used.
Published October 29, 2020.
Harvard Formatting Guide
- et al Usage
- Direct Quotes
- In-text Citations
- Multiple Authors
- Page Numbers
- Writing an Outline
- View Harvard Guide
- View all Harvard Examples
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Other Citation Styles
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How to Write an APA Style References Page
Last Updated: March 7, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Michelle Golden, PhD . Michelle Golden is an English teacher in Athens, Georgia. She received her MA in Language Arts Teacher Education in 2008 and received her PhD in English from Georgia State University in 2015. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 910,529 times.
Once you finish writing a research paper, you will need to cite the sources you used to do your research. How you format your Works Cited page depend on the style guidelines you are required to use. The American Psychological Association (APA) citation style is primarily used in the social sciences. This format differs from the Modern Language Association (MLA) style because it emphasizes the date by placing it earlier in the citation, and it helps reduce bias by using only the last names and first initials of the author, thereby removing gender from the author’s name.
Creating APA Style References Manually
- Example of one author: Krauss, L. M. (1993).
- Example of two authors: Wegener, D. T., & Petty, R. E. (1994).
- Example of three or more authors: Kernis, M. H., Cornell, D. P., Sun, C. R., Berry, A., Harlow, T., & Bach, J. S. (1993).
- Example of more than seven authors: Miller, F. H., Choi, M. J., Angeli, L. L., Harland, A. A., Stamos, J. A., Thomas, S. T., . . . Rubin, L. H. (2009). Book title. New York, NY: Basic Books.
- Example, book: (1999).
- Example, newspaper, magazine, newsletter: (1993, June).
- Example, daily or weekly periodicals: (1994, September 28).
- Example, for a work with no date given: (n.d.)
- Italicize book titles. For example, Call of the wild.
- Do not italicize journal, newspaper, or magazine titles. Just include these as normal text. For example, “Making the grade in chemistry: A story of trial and error.”
- Example: Boston, MA: Random House.
- Example: New York, NY: Scribner.
- Example: Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore Press.
- For example, ReCall instead of RECALL , and Knowledge Management Research & Practice, not Knowledge Management Research and Practice.
- Use the ampersand if the journal does, instead of spelling out the word and.
- Title of Periodical, volume number (issue number), pages referenced.
- For example, Psychology Today, 72 (3), 64-84 or The Statesman Journal , 59(4), 286-295.
- Example: Eid, M., & Langeheine, R. (1999). The measurement of consistency and occasion specificity with latent class models: A new model and its application to the measurement of affect. Psychological Methods, 4, 100-116. Retrieved from http: // www.apa.org/journals/exampleurl
- You do not need to include your date of access for APA references.
Creating APA References with an Online Generator
- Some generators require you to supply your email address and they will send you the citations. It's best to avoid these, because they may sell your information to businesses that will clog your inbox with spam.
- Many searchable library databases also provide citations in multiple styles, such as EBSCO. If you are using your university library’s databases , then you should have the option of getting an APA style citation for the source from the article’s page in the database.
- Just remember to check any references that you get from an online generator for accuracy because they may have errors.
- The auto-fill method will supply a lot of information instantly, which you will then verify to make sure it's correct.
- The manual entry method will give you a form to complete yourself, and you will enter the appropriate author names, dates, and other relevant information manually.
- Make sure to select the type of work you are citing. The BibMe generator has five main boxes: Journal, Website, Book, Video, and Other. Click on the box that corresponds to the type of work you need to cite.  X Research source
- For a journal, enter the title of the journal.
- For a website, enter the URL or a keyword. Generally, using the url for the source will get more accurate results.
- For a book, enter the book title, author's name, or ISBN. You can find the ISBN on the book jacket, usually next to the price and the barcode. The ISBN will provide the most complete information.
- For a video, enter the URL or a major keyword. The URL will yield more specific results.
- If you choose “Other,” you will see a long list of alternative formats to choose from. Select the one that is appropriate (e.g., Magazine Article, Blog/Podcast, Painting/Artwork), and follow the prompts to enter the publication details manually.
- If you supply specific information (such as a URL or ISBN), this will be a short list.
- If you enter less specific information (such as a keyword), you will get a longer list. Your source may or may not be included, depending on whether the generator located it. If your source is not on the list, then try supplying more specific information, or using the manual-fill entry mode.
- If you enter a common book title, then you will see a list of options. Check the author and date to be sure you're choosing the right one. For example, the book title Nemesis will return a list of 20 different books, each written by a different author.
- Your references should always include title, author, publication date, publication location, and publisher. If any of these are missing, then you'll need to refer to the work itself to find that information.
- Copy and paste the generated citation if you want to add it to your references manually.
- Continue to enter more works if you want the generator to compile an alphabetized reference list of all your references.
- Check for misspellings or glaring omissions, such as missing dates or author names.
- Check to be sure you have included every source you wanted to include.
Formatting and Ordering Your References
- Do not use bold, italics, or quotation marks on the word “References.”
- Double space the entire “References” page.
- Do not add an extra line between the title '”References” and your first reference item.  X Research source
- To set your indentations to hanging, open the “Paragraph” dialog box by clicking the small arrow to the right of “Paragraph” near the top of your MS Word document.
- After the box opens, look for the section called “Indentation.”
- Click on the drop down menu called “Special” that is in this section and select “Hanging.”
- Your entries will now automatically have hanging indentations.
- Alphabetize letter by letter. Remember that “nothing precedes something,” or in other words, the shorter version of two similar names should come first. For example, Brown, J. R. would come before Browning, A. R.
- Alphabetize the prefixes M', Mc, and Mac exactly as they are shown. Do not alphabetize them as if they were all spelled out (Mac).
- Ignore apostrophes in names. For example, MacNeil would come before M'Carthy.
- List one-author entries before multiple-author entries, when the first author is the same. For example, “Alleyne, R. L. (2001).” would come before “Alleyne, R. L. & Evans, A. J. (1999).”
- For example, “American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty of Animals,” not “ASPCA”.
- For example, “University of Michigan, Department of Psychology,” not “Department of Psychology, University of Michigan”.
- For example, “ Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (11th ed.). (2005) Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster."
APA Style Reference Page Template
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- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa6_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_author_authors.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_basic_rules.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_electronic_sources.html
- ↑ http://www.waikato.ac.nz/library/study/referencing/styles/apa
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_articles_in_periodicals.html
- ↑ https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/references/dois-urls
- ↑ http://www.bibme.org/
- ↑ http://www.citationmachine.net/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html
- ↑ https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/format-your-reference-list
- ↑ https://libguides.jcu.edu.au/apa/reference-list
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_author_authors.html
- ↑ https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/references/missing-information
About This Article
To write an APA style "References" page, list your sources in alphabetical order on a new page at the end of your document. Seperate each source with a hanging indent, which will make the first line of each source flush with your left margin and every other line indented. For each source, include all required bibliographic information, like the author's name and the date of publication. You can use an APA citation generator, like Bibme or Citation Machine to help you format each citation correctly. To learn how to do manual citations in APA style, keep reading. Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Works cited: a quick guide, core elements.
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- How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates
How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates
Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 11, 2023.
What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .
There are five key steps to writing a literature review:
- Search for relevant literature
- Evaluate sources
- Identify themes, debates, and gaps
- Outline the structure
- Write your literature review
A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.
Table of contents
What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions, introduction.
- Quick Run-through
- Step 1 & 2
When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:
- Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
- Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
- Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
- Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
- Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.
Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.
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Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.
- Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
- Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
- Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
- Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)
You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.
Download Word doc Download Google doc
Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .
If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .
Make a list of keywords
Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.
- Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
- Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
- Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth
Search for relevant sources
Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:
- Your university’s library catalogue
- Google Scholar
- Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
- Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
- EconLit (economics)
- Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)
You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.
Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.
You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.
For each publication, ask yourself:
- What question or problem is the author addressing?
- What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
- What are the key theories, models, and methods?
- Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
- What are the results and conclusions of the study?
- How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?
Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.
You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.
Take notes and cite your sources
As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.
It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.
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To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:
- Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
- Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
- Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
- Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
- Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?
This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.
- Most research has focused on young women.
- There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
- But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.
There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).
The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.
Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.
If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.
For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.
If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:
- Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
- Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
- Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources
A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.
You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.
Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.
The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.
Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.
As you write, you can follow these tips:
- Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
- Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
- Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
- Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts
In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.
When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !
This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.
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If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.
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A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .
It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.
There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:
- To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
- To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
- To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
- To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
- To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic
Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.
The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .
A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .
An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a paper .
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