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APA 7 Citation & Style

A resource guide to help you cite sources in APA 7.

APA Reference Entry for a Database Source (Journal Articles)

In the video below, Keri from the Writing Center explains how to create an APA-style Reference entry for a journal article found in a database.

Reference entries for database sources (journal articles) will include:

  1. Author Last Name, First Initial.
  2. (Date).
  3. Title of article.
  4. Title of Journal,
  5. Volume (Issue Number),
  6. Page Numbers.
  7. Web Address or DOIWeb addresses are no longer required for APA 7 but some instructors prefer you still include this. 

Example journal article source (with elements color-coded):

Grunwald, A. T. D., Roy, S., Alves-Pinto, A., & Lampe, R. (2021). Assessment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis from body scanner image by finite element simulations. PLoS ONE, 16(2).

Example journal article source (final, as it would appear on a Reference page):



Grunwald, A. T. D., Roy, S., Alves-Pinto, A., & Lampe, R. (2021). Assessment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis from body scanner image by finite element simulations. PLoS ONE, 16(2).


Example in-text citation for this source (color-coded):

(Grunwald et al., 2021)

A Note on Auto-Generated Database Citations

Database Citations

Most library databases have a handy tool where you can retrieve the APA (or MLA) citation for articles and resources.

Look for a button that says Cite or Citation or an icon that looks like one of these options below:

citation button in EBSCO    citation button in Gale    Citation button in Credo       Cite button in Britannica

These tools give you the option to copy and paste from the database into your paper, but remember that these aren't always 100% correct, so it pays to double check!

Although most library databases provide citations that you can copy and paste into your assignment, these citations are not always 100% correct. As the author of your own work, you must correct any errors that appear in the database citations, and correct any formatting that gets lost when you paste it into your assignment. This guide is a tool you can use to compare the database citations to make sure they are correct.

Common Errors in Database Citations and Copy/Pasting

1. Incorrect Capitalization

Some APA citations in databases may be incorrect, particularly with regard to capitalization.

  • The author name should be in normal case with the last name appearing first and the first name abbreviated to the first initial

For example: Doe, J.

  • Only the first letter of the first word in the title of the book or article (or the subtitle, unless a word is a proper noun, such as Wisconsin) should be in caps with the remaining letters in all words, in lowercase. This is called sentence case. 

For example: This that or the other thing: reflections on the state of Wisconsin.

  • The periodical title should appear in title case, with the first word and all major words are capitalized (basically everything except words with three letters or fewer). This should also be in italics. 

For example: Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology.

2. Pasting Errors 

  • Gray Background - When pasting from some databases, you may notice the gray background is pasted along with the text of the citation. This occurs when you use the left Paste Option in Microsoft Word or the command keys CTRL-V (or CMD-V, if a Mac) to paste. To avoid this, use the middle or far right Paste Options. On a Mac, hover over the citation, and a little clipboard will appear. Choose "Paste Text Only."
  • Missing Italics - Often when pasting a citation into a Word or Google document, the italics will revert to regular type. Go into your pasted citation and add the italics back in. The title of the source (name of a book, newspaper, magazine or journal)  must be in italics.

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