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APA Style Guide: Electronic Resources

A guide to help with the APA Citation Style.

Citing Electronic Resources

In general, it is advised to include the author, year of publication (or retrieval date, if the online material is likely to change), title of page or (if not available) title of Web site, and the URL (or universal resource locator). The URL begins with the familiar “http://” notation. Here are some citation examples.

Incorrect citation of a Web site:

Code of ethics. http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/Code/code.asp

Correct citation of a Web site:

National Association of Social Workers. (1999). Code of ethics. Retrieved August 28, 2008, from http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/Code/code.asp  

Incorrect citation of an online forum message:

Socialworkchat.org. (n.d.). Field placement discussion. http://www.socialworkchat.org/swchatforum/index.php?topic=213.0  

Correct citation of an online forum message:

Mankita, S. (2008, March 10). Field placement [Msg. 3]. Message posted to http://www.socialworkchat.org, archived at http://www.socialworkchat.org/swchatforum/index.php?topic=213.0

    Notice that in the correct citations, the URL is not underlined. Many word processing programs have a feature that automatically underlines URLs and makes the text blue. Unfortunately, this is not proper APA style. Be sure to disable this feature when typing your papers, or be prepared to format and then reformat your URLs. That being said, however, I’m sure your professors will be pleased if such online sources do not “overpopulate” your reference section.


Citing a website with no author:

All 33 Chile miners freed in flawless rescue. (2010, October 13). Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39625809/ns/world_news-americas/

Cite in text the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year. Use double quotation marks around the title or abbreviated title.: ("All 33 Chile Miners," 2010).


adapted from Alliant International University Library: APA (6th ed.), Citation Style: Citing Personal Communications.