APA 7th Edition is the most commonly used referencing style here at the University of Portsmouth. Below you will find general guidance on how to reference and cite using APA 7th Edition, as well as examples for the specific sources you are likely to use in your assignments. 

Your department or lecturer may prefer you to reference sources differently from the guidance given here. Always follow the requirements of your department or lecturer. 

External visitors are welcome to use this guide, but note that your institution's requirements may differ from those suggested here.

Need More Help?

If, after looking at this guidance, you are still stuck, then we can help. If you have a quick question then chat to us online, and if you need more help then you can Book an online APA 7 referencing appointment.


Citation generators (the “Cite” feature found on publishers’ webpages or in databases such as Discovery, and ebook platforms) should always be reviewed against our guidance for accuracy.

The generator may be using an older version of the referencing style, or may not handle information in the way that is needed. We advise checking anything generated for correct punctuation and font elements.

Typically, such generators have difficulty with:

Corporate names

Nations, U. should be United Nations. Bank, W. should be World Bank. Citation generators are programmed to make authors fit the Surname, Initial format, when they don't always need to. Look out for anything like this which makes it unclear who the author is.

Publication dates 

These maybe an online publication date (2016 vs 1995) or a corporate merger date (2014 instead of the real date of publication, 2006). If in doubt, always use the date on the actual source.


Titles may be given in all capital letters or with extra spacing after punctuation. This should be edited to reflect APA formatting, which requires the use of sentence case.

Chapters in an edited book

The generator won't necessarily know which chapter you are using and will only give a citation for the entire book. See the relevant referencing advice for details on how to properly reference a chapter in an edited book.

Edition, editor and translator details

These may be incorrectly formatted or absent.

DOI number formatting

Generators may provide an incomplete DOI (or no DOI ). All DOIs need to be in the format https://doi.org/ followed by the item number. You will need to standardise these if they are presented in an older or alternative format.


These may have angled brackets around them: <https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/portsmouth-ebooks>. These angled brackets should be removed. 


For these the publisher, date of access, and additional non-essential information may be included. Such non-essential information should be removed in order to conform to APA standards. 


Some citation generators may also add in extra information to references which is not required. Examples of this can include places of publication for books, and the names of databases used for articles.