APA Referencing

APA Referencing

The production stage of an academic work involves several stages, such as research, reading, analysis, writing, and formatting.

In this last part, that of formatting, several doubts often arise in the student who authored the work, as it is not always clear how the material should be edited or the standard to be used.

In fact, there are several formatting standards for academic papers that have emerged over the years. One of the most common formatting styles is the APA.

The APA standards compose a writing style and formatting for academic papers, more specifically for journal articles. HOWEVER, the APA style can also be used in the formatting of other types of work, being adopted by several educational institutions.

These standards emerged with the American Psychological Association (APA) style manual and are widely used by various scientific journals and academic institutions in their entirety or with changes.

Formatting of Citations in APA Standards

The system used by the APA Standards is author-date, that is, the author’s last name and the year of publication.

Therefore, the text must be documented citing the author and the publication date of the researched and consulted works, and all authors cited in the text must be present in the references with complete information.

A citation in an article requires the inclusion of the name of the author of the source, which commonly occurs in sentences that introduce the cited material, the date of publication, and a page number in parentheses if any.

At the end of the article, a list of references provides complete information about the publication of the source, and this list must be presented in alphabetical order of the last name of the authors or the titles of the works if there are no authors.

Below, see how to reference different types of query sources.

Citation APA Standards – Works with one author

The author’s last name must be written with the first letter in capital and the rest in lower case, regardless of being outside or inside the parentheses.


  • In the text: (Giddens, 1978) or Giddens (1978)
  • In references: Giddens, A. (1978). New rules of the sociological method. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar.

Citation APA Standards – Three to five authors

When a work has three, four, or five authors, add all surnames in the first citation followed by the publication date. In subsequent ones, include only the first author’s last name followed by et al. and the date of publication — in parentheses.


  • In the text (1st citation): Alves Filho, Cerra, Maia, Sacomano Neto and Bonadio (2004) or (Alves Filho, Cerra, Maia, Sacomano Neto, & Bonadio, 2004)
  • In the text (subsequent quotes): Alves Filho et al. (2004) or (Alves Filho et al. , 2004)
  • In the references: Alves Filho, AG, Cerra, AL, Maia, JL, Sacomano Neto, M., & Bonadio, PVG (2004). Supply chain management assumptions: evidence from studies on the automobile industry. Management & Production, 11(3), 275-288.

six or more authors

When a work has six or more authors, mention only the first author’s last name followed by et al. and the date of publication — in the references add all authors.


  • In the text: Alves Filho et al. (2001)
  • In the references: Alves Filho, AG, Rachid, A., Nogueira, E., Donadone, JC, Martins, MF, Truzzi, WHO, Bento, PEG, Martins, RA, & Vanalle, RM (2001). The modular consortium and its impacts on the supply chain of the VW-São Carlos engine plant (Final Report, Thematic Project, FAPESP Process 97/13071-9). São Carlos, SP, Federal University of São Carlos.

author entity

Corporations, associations, government agencies, among others, must be written in full in the first citation and abbreviated thereafter.


  • In the text (1st citation): Banco Central do Brasil [BACEN] (2003)
  • In the text (subsequent citations): BACEN (2003) or (BACEN, 2003)
  • In references: Central Bank of Brazil. (2003). Rural credit yearbook. Retrieved on November 10, 2003, from

no author

Including legal materials, quote the first words of the title in the text, or the entire title if it is short and the year. In the list of references place the title in the author’s position.


  • In the text: Law n. 9,984 (2000) or Constitution (1988)
  • In the references: Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil of 1988. (1998). Brasilia. Recovered on April 10, 2007, from

secondary source

Citation of a work discussed in a secondary source, indicate the author of the original work and the year (if possible), after adding “as cited in” the author, year, and page of the work used for consultation.

In the list of references, indicate only the secondary work data (material that was used as a means of reference for the citation). In the case of direct citation, the indication of the page is mandatory.


  • In the text: Den Dulk et al. (1999 as quoted in Rego & Souto, 2004, p. 32).
  • In the references: Rego, A., & Souto, S. (2004). Organizational commitment in authentic organizations: a Portuguese-Brazilian study. Journal of Business Administration, 44(3), 30-43.

Citation APA Standards for Books

If the city where the Publisher is located is not known, add the State or Country (use abbreviations for the State).

Place a colon after the location. If two or more places of publication are presented, indicate the location first listed in the book or, if specified, the location of the publisher’s headquarters.


Toffler, A. (1994). The shock of the future (5th ed.). Rio de Janeiro: Record.

Scientific journals, magazines and bulletins

Indicate the volume number (in italics) and the edition number (if any) for scientific journals, magazines, and newsletters.


Peci, A. (2007). Brazilian regulatory reform in the 1990s in the light of Kleber Nascimento’s model. Journal of Contemporary Administration, 11 (1), 11-30.

electronic journal

Last name, Short name. (year of publication). Title of the article. Electronic Journal name, volume (number), pages. Retrieved day, month, year, full email address.


Santos, CP dos, & Fernandes, DH von der (2007). Service recovery and its effect on customer trust and loyalty. RAC-Electronics, 1 (3), 35-51. Retrieved on December 5, 2007, from http://anpad.org.br/periodicos/content/frame_base.php?revista=3

Magazine article

Indicate the date shown on the publication – year and month for monthly publications or year, month and day for weekly and/or daily publications, add volume, number (if any), and pages (number of pages).


Schwartz, J. (1993, September 30). Obesity affects economic, social status. The Washington Post, pp A1, A4.

thesis and dissertation

Last name, Short name. (year of publication). Title of the Work. Document Type, Institution, City, State, Country.


Nogueira, EES (2000). Organizational identity – a case study of the Brazilian customs system. Master’s Dissertation, Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brazil.

electronic documents

Electronic documents must indicate the year of publication or, if the source is regularly updated, the most recent update date. After the title, use the terms “recovered” or “from” and indicate the email address, allowing immediate access to the document.


Famá, R., & Melher, S. (1999) Capital structure in Latin America: would there be a correlation with corporate earnings? Retrieved on April 15, 2004, from research/articles/files/1.pdf

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APA referencing