It is very important to tell the reader of your Essay where you got certain ideas you used. Every time you use specific information from a source, you must provide a reference for that source that includes specific information about it. For the websites we are using, you must provide the following details in this order:

  • Author name: Last name followed by a comma and first initial(s) and a period.
    Smith, B.
  • Publication year: Bracket followed year and a comma, Month and date if available. There is a period after the end bracket.
    (2010, October, 5).
  • Article title: In regular type and followed by a period. Capitals only for first word, proper nouns and following colons.
    Stuff I like to write when I’m sleeping.
  • Website name (the host of the article): In regular type and followed by a period.
    Dreaming Stuff.
  • Website address (with hyperlink): Preceded by the phrase "Retrieved from" and not followed by a period.
    Retrieved from

Here's what the full example looks like with a hanging indent of 0.5" and double-spaced:

Smith, B. (2010, October 5). Stuff I like to write when I’m sleeping. Dreaming Stuff. Retrieved from

When you want to show in your Essay which sentence has information taken from one of your sources, you need to add a Citation inside or at the end of the sentence. How to do this will be discussed later.  In general, a Citation includes the Authors last name and publication year only. For the example above, it looks like this: (Smith, 2010)


The format outlined above follows the rules of the APA Guidelines, which are a standardized set of rule used in academic writing. Review the APA Guidelines in the table in the Exercise link. There are many more situations for using APA than these, but these are the ones that are relevant for the course. Notice the four website examples are first and there are situations given if there is no author and/or date given. The examples for journal articles will be discussed later and are usually used for PDF documents found on the Internet. The Citation for each Reference example is also given. Notice the exceptions for those as well.