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APA Citation Guide: Web & Social Media

Although it is common to refer to the source types on this page as "articles," we are treating them differently as they tend to be published initially and entirely on the web with no corresponding print publication.

New in the 7th edition: The words "Retrieved from" are no longer required for a URL unless you are including a retrieval date. Only include retrieval dates for sources that are likely to change (e.g., wikis).

Entire website

If you mention a website in general, provide the link to it in the text only. You do not need to include references to entire web sites or web tools (for example, www.qualitrics.com for surveys) in the reference list. You do, however, need to include a reference to information you took from any specific webpages, even if they are published on the same website. Only use the webpage format if the source does not fall into any of the other more specific formats on this guide. See the format below.

Webpage on a website

For web pages, provide as much information as is given on the source. If you cannot find a personal name listed, you can use a corporate author, as shown in the example below. If the author and source are the same, do not repeat the source after the title.

Basic format:

Author. (Date). Title of page you used. Source. URL

Example (group author same as source): 

National Institute for Mental Health. (2019, September). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml

Cited in text (first time): (National Institute for Mental Health [NIMH], 2019)  Afterward: (NIMH, 2019)

 

Example (personal author different from source): 

Horowitz, J. M., & Graf, N. (2019, February 20). Most U.S. teens see anxiety and depression as a major problem among their peers. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2019/02/20/most-u-s-teens-see-anxiety-and-depression-as-a-major-problem-among-their-peers/

Cited in text: (Horowitz & Graf, 2019)

Note. You can often refer to the "About" page to find more information about the author.

Twitter profile and tweet

Each Twitter user has a page with several tabs--the homepage, you may have noticed, is called "Tweets." That is why this is listed as the title of a Twitter profile. For individual Tweets, include the date posted as well as the first 20 words of the Tweet.

Basic format:

Author [@username]. (Date). Title of page or first 20 words of post [Format description]. Twitter. Retrieved Month Day, Year, from URL

Example Twitter profile: 

Trump, D. J. [@realDonaldTrump]. (n.d.). Tweets [Twitter profile]. Twitter. Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump

Cited in text: (Trump, n.d.)

 

Example Tweet: 

American Psychological Association [@APA_Style]. (2019, October 1). It’s finally here! Today we publish the 7th edition of the Publication Manual and launch a new APA Style website [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/APA_Style/status/1179019738166501377

Cited in text (first time): (American Psychological Association [APA], 2019)     Afterward: (APA, 2019)

Note. The retrieval date is needed for the profile and not the Tweet because the profile page is likely to change over time, whereas an individual Tweet is expected to remain static.

Instagram photo or video

The format for Instagram posts are very similar to the format for Twitter.

Basic format:

Author [@username]. (Date). Title of page or first 20 words of post [Format description]. Instagram. URL

Example Instagram post: 

High Point University [@highpointu]. (2020, January 7). Even the rainy days on this campus can't dampen our mood :) #hpu365 [Photograph]. Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/B7Bqtu1nfHI/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Cited in text (first time): (High Point University [HPU], 2020)  Afterward: (HPU, 2020)

Note. The APA manual says to reconstruct emojis, if possible.

Webpage on a news website

Use this format for articles published in exclusively online news sources like Salon, CNN, Vox, or HuffPost. Do not use this format for online versions of print magazines or newspapers.

Basic format:

Author, I. (Year, Month Day). Title of page or article in italics. Source. URL

Example: 

Allan, D. G. (2020, January 16). Reading is fundamental -- to the family's happiness. CNN Health. https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/03/health/reading-aloud-to-kids-go-ask-your-dad/index.html

Cited in text: (Allan, 2020)

Document on a website

A document on a web site should be cited using the information on the document itself and not the page you used to access it. Most PDF reports will have some sort of title page with the information you need. If it is a government document with a number, provide that before the URL. Link directly to the document.

Basic format:

Author. (Date). Title of document [Format description]. Source. URL

Example: 

High Point University. (2020). 2020-21 Academic calendar [PDF]. http://www.highpoint.edu/registrar/files/Final-2020-2021-Academic-Calendar.pdf

Cited in text (first time): (High Point University [HPU], 2020) 

Afterward: (HPU, 2020)

Blog post

The format description in brackets can be used to clarify the type of web source (e.g., [Blog post] or [Press release]). It goes directly after the title, before the period.

Basic format:

Author. (Date). Title of page you used [Format description]. Title of Blog. URL

Example: 

Yeager, L. (2020, January 10). Adoptive families are real families: A note from a mom [Blog post]. World of Psychology. Retrieved January 13, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/adoptive-families-are-real-families-a-note-from-a-mom/

Cited in text: (Yeager, 2020)

Facebook page and post

As with Twitter, a Facebook page has several sub-pages, each with a different title. Use Home for the landing page.

Basic format:

Author. (n.d.). Title of page or first 20 words of post [Format description]. Facebook. Retrieved Month Day, Year, from URL

Example Facebook page (it's ours!): 

HPU Libraries. (n.d.). Home [Facebook page]. Facebook. Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.facebook.com/hpulibrary/

Cited in text: (HPU Libraries, n.d.)

 

Example Facebook post: 

HPU Libraries. (2020, January 10). New year, new...APA style guidelines? The 7th edition is here, and you can read about the top ten changes [Image attached] [Status update]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/hpulibrary/photos/a.470676643001614/2804606746275247/?type=3&theater

Cited in text: (HPU Libraries, 2020)

Note. The retrieval date is needed for the profile and not the post because the profile page is likely to change over time, whereas an individual status update is expected to remain static.