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What Is a Good Thesis Statement?

A good thesis statement is a single sentence contained in the introduction of a paper that provides the reader with some idea of what the writer is trying to convey in the body of the paper. The thesis statement is a condensed summary of the writer’s arguments about the subject.

Typically, the thesis statement answers a single question that the rest of the paper answers in greater detail. To write a good thesis statement, the writer must know beforehand just what question or statement the paper is intended to make. For many papers needing a thesis statement, the question is not necessarily one in dispute. All that is requires is supportive facts to put more weight to the accuracy of the statement.

If the paper calls for a contrast between two or more subjects then the thesis statement needs to reveal the nature of the conflict as well as the method used to cover all sides of the subject matter. This method is also used when writing a persuasive paper that attempts to convince the reader of a certain stance over others. Regardless of the nature of the paper, a thesis statement should be short and concise. However, an overly vague statement leaves the reader uncommitted to the remainder of the paper.

Instructors and tutors can be consulted for their evaluation of a working thesis statement, but there are some general criteria to be aware of. Chiefly, the thesis statement must directly address the topic or question provided. It should also invite discussion by making an argument. If the topic is the Civil War, for instance, a good thesis statement might compare or contrast the opposing forces’ divergent reasons for fighting each other, rather than simply state that their reasons were sometimes shared and sometimes different.

Making the thesis statement specific is important to focus the paper, but it should always be related back to the broader context.


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Thesis / Dissertation

Cite a thesis or dissertation (unpublished, published online, or accessed through a database). Use other forms to cite books , journal articles , reports , and conference proceedings .

Citing a dissertation in APA style

Create a new citation.

Published February 2, 2021. Updated August 30, 2021.

To cite a dissertation in APA, it’s helpful to know basic information including the author surname, dissertation title, university and year of publication.

The templates and examples below are based on the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th Edition .

If you’re trying to cite a dissertation, the  Chegg Writing APA citation generator  could help.

Help protect your paper against accidental plagiarism with the Chegg Writing  plagiarism checker  and  citation generator .

Citing a dissertation published from a database in APA style

For citing a dissertation published from a database in APA, the surname of the author is used in the narrative and parenthetical citations.

In-text citation template and example:

Author Surname (Year)

Luscinski (2017)


(Author Surname, Year)

(Luscinski, 2017)

Full reference entry template and example:

Surname, F.M. (Year).  Dissertation title  [Doctoral/Master’s dissertation/thesis, University Name]. Website Name. URL

Roberts, B. F. (2019).  Non-invasive beam monitoring with harmonic cavities  [Doctoral dissertation, University of New Mexico]. UNM Digital Repository.

Read this  APA format  guide for more style basics.

Citing a dissertation published online in APA style

For citing a dissertation published online in APA, the surname of the author is used in the narrative and parenthetical citations.

Roberts (2019)

(Roberts, 2019)

Roberts, B. F. (2019).  Non-invasive beam monitoring with harmonic cavities  [Doctoral dissertation, University of New Mexico]. UNM Digital Repository.

Citing an unpublished dissertation in APA style

For citing an unpublished dissertation in APA, the surname of the author is used in the narrative and parenthetical citations.

Watkins (2002)

(Watkins, 2002)

Surname, F.M. (Year).  Dissertation title  [Unpublished doctoral/master’s dissertation/thesis]. University Name.

Watkins, B. D. (2002).  Investor sentiment, trading patterns and return predictability  [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Ohio State University.

For more information on citing sources in APA, also read these guides on  APA in-text citations  and  APA reference page examples .

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Fast and free citation generator APA 6th and 7th ed. • MLA 8th ed. • Chicago 16th ed.

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Copy the information below in your paper according to the Guide on the right. Use your own page numbers.

APA 7 In-text citation guide

In-text citations are required when you use someone else's ideas, theories or research in your paper.

Quick Guide

Examples: (choose depending if author and/or date is mentioned in text)

Quotation :

Paraphrase :

Note: APA style encourages the inclusion of page numbers for paraphrases, but it is not mandatory. Include page or paragraph numbers if it will help reader find the information.

No authors : Use the title in place of author. Shorten title if needed. Use double quotation marks for title of an article, a chapter, or a web page. Use italics for title of a periodical, a book, a brochure or a report.

Two authors : Within the text use the word  and .  If the authors' names are within parentheses use the  &  symbol.

Three or more authors:   Include only the last name of the first author followed by "et al."

(Wasserstein et al., 2017)

Spell out the name in full the first time and abbreviate subsequent times only if abbreviation is well known.

When quoting always provide author, year and specific page citation or paragraph number for nonpaginated material.

If the quotation is less than 40 words incorporate it into the text and enclose the quotation with quotation marks. Cite the source immediately after the close of the quotation marks.

If the authors are named in the text, they do not have to be used in the citation.

In fact, "a neurosis is characterized by anxiety" (Kristen & Warb, 2012, p. 157).

"A neurosis is characterized by anxiety," according to Kristen and Warb's (2012, p. 157) longitudinal study.

If the quotation is over 40 words, you must indent the entire quotation and start the quotation on a new line. No quotation marks are required. Cite the quoted source after the final punctuation mark.

Alberta is occasionally divided into two regions, Northern Alberta and Southern Alberta. The majority of Alberta's population is located in large urban cities, mostly located in the South. Alberta is Canada's most populous province of all three Canadian Prairie provinces. Edmonton is the Capital of Alberta. (Hern, 1996, p. 22)


APA style encourages the inclusion of page numbers, but it is not mandatory. Include page or paragraph numbers if it will help reader find the information.

If the document does not contain page numbers, include paragraph numbers.

If neither is available omit page and paragraph numbers.  Do not count paragraph numbers.  

When paraphrasing from multiple sources, include all authors name in parentheses in alphabetical order.

APA In-Text Citation Guide

Note: APA style encourages the inclusion of page numbers for paraphrases, but it is not mandatory. Include page or paragraph numbers if it will help reader find the information.)

Two or more authors : Within the text use the word  and .  If the authors' names are within parentheses use the  &  symbol.

Three to five authors : Include all authors' last names the first time the citation is used.  If you use the same citation again within the same paragraph, use only the first last name followed by 'et al'.  If you used the citation again omit the year. 

Six or more authors:   Include only the last name of the first author followed by "et al."

(Wasserstein et al., 2010)

Alberta is occasionally divided into two regions, Northern Alberta and Southern Alberta. The majority of Alberta's population is located in large urban cities, mostly located in the South. Alberta is Canada's most populous Province of all three Canadian prairie provinces. Edmonton is the Capital of Alberta. (Hern, 1996, p. 22)

In-Text Citations Parenthetical Citations

In-text citations are called parenthetical references in MLA. This involves placing information about the source in parentheses after a quote or a paraphrase. The information in the parenthetical references must match the corresponding information in the list of works cited.

The purpose of parenthetical references is to indicate to readers not only what works you used, but what you used from each source and where in the source you found the material. This can be done by inserting a parenthetical reference in your text at the spot where you have used the source's ideas or words.

You should keep parenthetical references as brief and as few as clarity and accuracy permit.

General Guidelines

Authors – Identification of source

Location of passage within source

Placement of parenthetical reference in text

Alberta is occasionally divided into two regions, Northern Alberta and Southern Alberta. The majority of Alberta's population is located in large urban cities, mostly located in the South. Alberta is Canada's most populous Province of all three Canadian prairie provinces. Edmonton is the Capital of Alberta. (Herick 22)

Example:   Cole found that "The bones were very fragile" (33-34). 1

Each superscript then refers to a numbered citation in the footnotes or endnotes.


The first time the in-text reference is cited you must include, author's first name, author's last name, title, place of publication, publisher name, year and referenced pages. e.g.

1. James Smith, The first and last war , (New York, Hamilton, 2003), 2.

If the citation has already been cited it may be shortened to author's last name, shortened title, and page referenced number. e.g.

2. Smith, The first , 220-221.

If the citation has been referenced immediately prior, the note may be shortened even further to ibid with the page number. e.g.

3. Ibid., 786.

For each author-date citation in the text, there must be a corresponding entry in the reference list under the same name and date.

An author-date citation in running text or at the end of a block quotation consists of the last (family) name of the author, followed by the year of publication of the work in question. In this context, author may refer not only to one or more authors or an institution but also to one or more editors, translators, or compilers. No punctuation appears between author and date. Abbreviations such as ed. or trans. are omitted.

(Woodward 1987)

(Schuman and Scott 1987)

When a specific page, section, equation, or other division of the work is cited, it follows the date, preceded by a comma. When a volume as a whole is referred to, without a page number, vol. is used. For volume plus page, only a colon is needed. The n in the Fischer and Siple example below indicates "note" (see 14.164 ). The last example shows how one might cite a section of a work that contains no page or section numbers or other numerical signposts—the case for some electronic documents (see 15.8 ).

(Piaget 1980, 74)

(LaFree 2010, 413, 417–18)

(Johnson 1979, sec. 24)

Fowler and Hoyle 1965, eq. 87)

(García 1987, vol. 2)

(García 1987, 2:345)

(Barnes 1998, 2:354–55, 3:29)

(Fischer and Siple 1990, 212n3)

(Hellman 1998, under "The Battleground")

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APA Citations for a Thesis or Dissertation

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Learn how to cite a dissertation and thesis in APA. Why? Because using doctoral dissertations and master’s theses is a useful way to bolster your research for your APA format school paper through current, timely topics. You can also get several examples to guide you through the rules for an APA 7 citation of a dissertation and thesis for your reference list.

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How to Cite a Dissertation or Thesis in APA 7th Edition

The APA dissertation or thesis citation isn’t a one size fits all type of citation. The reason behind this is because APA offers a different format for a published and unpublished thesis or dissertation. However, you’ll need to include information like:

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis  (Publication number, if available) [Doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis, Institution]. Publisher, if available. URL, if available

example APA citation thesis or dissertation

How to Cite a Published Dissertation or Thesis in APA

To cite a published dissertation in APA 7th edition, you need to include:

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis  (Publication number, if available) [Doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis, Institution]. Publisher.

Published APA Dissertation Example

Gavinea, D. S. (2010). Exploration of DNA sequencing: Disassembling the Sequencing chain  (Publication No. 1434728) [Doctoral dissertation, Wilmington University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database.

Example of a Published Thesis APA- No Publication Number

Brown, S. (2010). Westward expansion  [Master’s thesis, Univesity of Florida]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database.

In-Text Citation for a Published Dissertation or Thesis in APA

(Gavinea, 2010)

How to Cite a Dissertation or Thesis in APA Published Online – Not on a Database

Some published dissertations aren’t found on a database, so you include the URL along with the publisher of the dissertation.

Citing a Dissertation in APA Found Online

Kilbourn, B. (2006). The qualitative doctoral dissertation proposal  [Doctoral dissertation, University of Arizona]. UA Campus Repository.

How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation APA – Unpublished

An unpublished thesis or dissertation citation in APA is going to take a slightly different format. These do not have a publisher or a publication number. The basic format of an unpublished dissertation or thesis looks like:

Author, A. (Year). Title of the work  [Unpublished doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis]. Institution.

Unpublished Dissertation Example in APA

Castle, C. (2001). Interpreters, docents and educators: Ways of knowing, ways of teaching in a history museum, an art gallery, and a nature centre  [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of Toronto.  

Information Needed for an APA Dissertation or Thesis Citation

Now that you’ve seen some basic examples, it’s time to look at where you find this information. When it comes to citing, you need to know whether it is a dissertation or thesis (it will say in the document). Secondly, you need to see if it is published or unpublished.

Where to Find APA Thesis and Dissertation Citation Information

Many graduate and postgraduate students submit their theses to subscription databases and institutional archives. Some even publish their work on their websites. Although there is a trend towards creating a portfolio rather than publishing a master’s thesis, there is still plenty of original material out there.

Some dissertation indexing and abstracting sources include Dissertations and Theses Global and ProQuest Dissertations . Usually, you have access to paid databases through your school and/or public library.

Difference Between a Published and Unpublished Dissertation

Knowing whether a dissertation or thesis is published or unpublished is a bit ticky. However, an unpublished dissertation or thesis is typically only available in your school library. In comparison, published dissertations offer more venues for access like databases and archives. Additionally, a published dissertation might also provide an indicator that it is in a published form.

Primary and Secondary Sources in a Thesis and Dissertation

Teachers prefer you to use as many primary sources as possible when creating a thesis or dissertation in APA format. Even so, it’s a good idea to incorporate secondary sources into your research. They guide you to authoritative sources . So, take the time to look through the reference list, works cited, or bibliography of secondary sources to find additional resources for your paper.

Vary Your APA Citations

Using a variety of sources makes the research process more enjoyable. Rather than just looking for accessible online sources, finding primary sources in doctoral and master’s theses shows off your research skills. Go further and read the abstracts of these sources to search for relevant sources quickly.

Creating a School Project in APA Style

APA Style Format Examples

FAQ APA Citations for a Thesis or Dissertation

How do you cite a dissertation in apa format.

To cite a dissertation in APA format, you need to know if it is published or unpublished. For a published dissertation in APA, you include the author, year, title, publication number, dissertation and university, and publisher. For an unpublished dissertation in APA, you include the author, year, title, unpublished dissertation, and university.

Can I cite a dissertation?

Yes, you can cite a dissertation in your APA research paper. Using dissertations and theses in your paper is encouraged because they offer recent information on timely topics.

How do you cite a dissertation in APA 7?

To cite a dissertation in APA, you need to include the author, year, title, publication number, thesis or dissertation, university, publisher, and URL. Depending on whether you use a published or unpublished dissertation, the order of the location information in your citation varies. Author, A. A. (Year). Doctoral dissertation or master's thesis title (Publication number) [Doctoral dissertation or master's thesis, Institution]. Publisher. URL

How do you cite a dissertation in APA 6th edition?

In the 6th edition of APA for a dissertation citation, you would include the UMI number rather than the publication number. Additionally, doctoral dissertation is in parenthesis rather than brackets. An example of an APA 6 citation looks like: Author, A. (Year). Title (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from database name. (UMI number)

How do you cite an unpublished paper?

To cite an unpublished master's thesis or doctoral dissertation in APA 7, you need to include the author, year, title, unpublished dissertation in brackets, and institution. This will look like: Author, B. B. (Year). Work title [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Institution. 

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APA Article Citation Examples

Apa reference list examples of periodical citations, apa reference page examples and format guide, apa title page elements and format.

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Reference Guide | How to reference a dissertation

Getting started.

Harvard referencing a dissertation or thesis is extremely easy when you follow the guide below. Firstly you need to collect the following information from the dissertation.

Building the reference

Once you have found the above information from your thesis or dissertation, you can begin to assemble your reference in the following format (hover over for more information).

Author surname , Author initial ., Year of publication . Title of dissertation . Level . Place of University : Name of university .
Foster , A ., 2005 . Can media provoke violence among people? . B.A. Thesis . Belfast : University of Ulster .

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How to Cite a Thesis in APA

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If you hate dealing with citations , we get you. They’re tedious, time-consuming and so, so boring . But this can be much easier if you use a good citation generator! Let’s take a look at the top ten citation generators in 2023.

Let’s be honest: no one really cites sources by hand anymore. And why should they, when there is an army of tools waiting to do that for you!

Citations are absolutely necessary to make your research credible and establish you as the expert in the field. For this reason alone, they need to be perfect. Whatever citation style you’re using ( MLA , APA , Chicago , or others), you need to ensure that your citations stick to the format. And what better way to ensure accuracy in your references than an MLA or APA citation generator!

All the best citation generators keep a directory of books and sources. All you need to do is enter the name or DOI of your reference material, and the tool shows you a list of titles, complete with various editions. From these, you can select your source and generate the citation.

In cases where you can’t find your source material in the online directory, you can choose the option to manually generate the citation. The citation generator then gives you a simple form consisting of the book title, date of publishing, names of publisher and author, etc. Once that is filled, the tool generates your MLA, APA, or Chicago citation.

Yes, it’s that easy. But which is the best citation generator in 2023? Here’s our list of the top ten citation generators:

1. Citation Machine

Citation Machine is extremely simple to use for those pursuing research, especially students. It has an impressive variety of citation styles , making it the most flexible citation tool. As an added bonus, it is also great for citing audio and films.

The tool has a paid version, but upgrading to it might prove useless if the only thing you’re looking for is citations. With the free version of this citation generator, you can: 

Citation Machine’s paid version offers all the features in its free version. At $9.95 a month , however, you can:

In another paid plan, Citation Machine charges about $19.95 per month. In this plan, you get the features of the existing plans with two additional benefits:

BibMe is direct and to the point. It is one of the most functional citation generators, with features similar to Citation Machine. The free version helps you:

BibMe’s paid version comes at $9.95 per month , after a free trial of three days. Of course, the premium plan isn’t absolutely essential to anyone looking only for citations. It offers you:

3. Cite This For Me

Cite This For Me has a simple and easy to use layout. The tool focuses on Harvard, MLA, and APA styles of formatting, but also supports many other citation styles. Like any good citation generator, its auto cite feature also helps you search for your source material with ease.

It is a bit heavy on the ads, but also features a blog and citation guides for the most prominent styles. Its free version helps you:

You can set up a premium account at $10 per month . Along with an ad-free experience, you get the following features:

We recommend working with the free version, since the paid version doesn’t add much to the existing plan. You might as well perform a plagiarism check on specialized checkers, or approach an academic editing service for it!

4. Opendemia

Openmedia is more than just a citation generator. It helps you create an automated Works Cited page as well as in-text citations. It also allows you to take notes on the spot and store them, so you can retrieve them later. Needless to say, it also lets you copy formatted citations and add them to your paper directly.

The best feature of Opendemia, however, is that it allows you to record and store your citations. Not just for the length of the paper, but throughout your entire research tenure. By the time your college or tenure ends, you get an entire library of handy resources!

Openmedia’s free version has the following features:

The paid version for Openmedia is a mere $10 per year , which is quite affordable. At that rate, it allows you to:

We don’t recommend paid plans often, but this one is definitely worth the price! Its incredibly organized layout is geared towards reducing students’ stress. It makes citations relaxing, and if that isn’t impressive, we don’t know what is.

5. Zotero 

Zotero is completely free to use. It is available both as a browser extension and as an add-on for Word. No more rifling through webpages to generate and list down your citations!

Like Openmedia, Zotero is also a research assistant. Aside from being a good citation generator, it also performs a number of other tasks. It senses research on the web that you can use and helps organize your materials and projects.

Here are the benefits of using Zotero (free version):

Zotero is a free platform and there is no paid version that offers you extra features. However, if you’re a heavy researcher, you can purchase a storage capacity of more than 2GB for $20 per year .

6. Citefast  

Citefast is a basic but efficient referencing tool. It is a completely free citation generator and has no paid version. But if you want to retain your citations for longer than four days, you’ll have to create a free account.

Here’s what you get with Citefast:

7. Paperpile  

Paperpile operates as a Chrome extension. It is a completely free reference management platform for the web. It’s available in various formats, including versions for iOS, Android, and Word.

This free citation generator helps you:

While EasyBib is a popular tool among students, it still ranks lower in our list of the top ten citation generators. This is because the free version of this tool is quite limiting and only generates citations in the MLA style.

Nevertheless, it is an efficient and widely used citation generator. EasyBib’s free version allows you to:

EasyBib Plus is $9.95 per month after a free trial. With this plan, you can:

With an extra upgrade of $19.95 per month , you can also avail:

Suffice to say, this is an impressive list of services. If you need these and can afford them, the price seems to be worth the services. But most people can do with a simple citation and avail other services elsewhere at better prices.

OttoBib is basic, no-nonsense, and to the point: all the features of a good citation generator! It is completely free, and is also available as a chrome extension. All you need to do is enter the ISBN of your book and it will generate the citation automatically.

While the tool doesn’t offer a variety of sources and reference styles, it is still widely used due to its simple interface. This is precisely why it has found a place in our list of the top ten citation generators in 2023! With OttoBib, you can:

10.  Citelighter

Aside from generating citations, Citelighter also helps you find sources, highlight important pages and quotes, and create notes. It is also available as an extension for Google Docs.

With its free version, you get:

At $15 per year , the paid plan offers many benefits, but most of them are geared toward writing rather than citing. Here are a few of them:

Why should you always double-check your references?

Despite being very advanced, even the best citation generators are machines . What you need is a human expert to review your paper and ensure that the formatting is done correctly. Even something as little as a mistake in the citation style can bring your grades down!

An academic editor will check for machine errors and ensure that your essay, paper, or thesis is flawless. Here’s a list of the top 10 thesis editing and proofreading services . Best of luck! 

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APA citation basics

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The ultimate guide to citing in APA

APA is one of the most popular citation styles, widely used in the social and behavioral sciences, but also in many other fields. APA stands for American Psychological Association . APA citation style was developed by social and behavioral scientists to standardize scientific writing and is currently in its 7th edition.

If you are not sure which citation style to use in your paper, ask your instructor. There are many different citation styles and using the style your instructor or institution has established correctly can have a positive impact on your grade.

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th edition) is the basis of this guide. It contains guidelines on paper structure and content, writing and formatting, and crediting sources in APA. This guide focuses on crediting sources and aims at answering all of your questions about citing in APA.

The APA citation rules stretch more than 50 pages in the official APA publication manual, and yes, they are complex. We have created the BibGuru citation builder to help you focus on the content of your work instead of worrying about how to get your reference list done correctly.

For general tips and tricks on writing your papers in APA, or to learn how to format your APA title page and abstract page , visit our blog . Or just use our free APA format citation generator to automatically create accurate APA citations with only a few clicks.

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I want to cite a ...

The APA guide recommends that you cite any works or individuals whose ideas, theories, or research have directly influenced your work. This means that you should cite only works you have read and ideas you have incorporated into your writing. If possible cite primary sources, and secondary sources sparingly.

A primary source reports original content; a secondary source refers to content first reported in another source.

APA citation style uses in-text citations and a reference list. Both can be created with just a click with BibGuru's APA citation generator .

For in-text references, APA uses the author-date citation system. This system allows readers to find the sources cited both within the text and in the reference list, where each source is listed alphabetically. Each work cited in the text must appear in the reference list, and each work in the reference list must be cited in the text.

To insert a citation in the text, include the author's last name and year of publication. For a direct quotation , include the page number or specific location of the phrase or sentence in the original work.

In-text references have two formats: parenthetical and narrative . In parenthetical citations , the author's name and publication date appear in parentheses. When a parenthetical citation is at the end of a sentence, place the period or other end punctuation after the closing parentheses. Here is an example:

EXAMPLE Parenthetical citation

In the production process nowadays, skilled labor and computerized machines are used (Rode, 2012).

In narrative citations, the name and publication date is incorporated into the text as part of the sentence. The author appears in running text and the date appears in parentheses immediately after the author's name:

EXAMPLE Narrative citation (with parenthesis)

Rode (2012) claims that productive activities have been part of human civilization since ancient times.

In some cases, author and date might both appear in the narrative. In this case, no parentheses are needed:

EXAMPLE Narrative citation (without parenthesis)

In 2012, Rode wrote about the productive activities...

If you cite multiple works parenthetically, place the citations in alphabetical order, separating them with semicolons, like in this example:

EXAMPLE Multiple parenthetical citations

(Adams et al., 2019; Shumway & Shulman, 2015; Westinghouse, 2017)

If multiple sources are cited within a sentence, they can appear in any order:

EXAMPLE Multiple sources in a sentence

Suliman (2018), Gutiérrez (2012, 2017), and Medina and Reyes (2019) examined...

If you cite a work with more than one author or editor, additional rules apply:

According to the 7th edition of the APA Manual , if you are citing 3 or more authors, you only need to list the first author, followed by "et al." Click here to learn more about the difference between APA 6th and 7th editions.

The BibGuru free APA 7 citation generator has incorporated all the new APA 7th edition rules, so you don’t have to worry about the differences between the versions.

Basic in-text citation styles

Direct quotations.

When quoting directly, always provide the author, year, and page number of the quotation in the in-text citation. When citing a single page, use the abbreviation "p." (e.g., p. 26, p. S44, p. e283); for multiple pages, use the abbreviation "pp." and separate the page range with an en dash (e.g., pp. 34-36). If pages are discontinuous, use a comma between the page numbers (e.g., pp. 65, 72).

Here are two examples of direct quotations:

EXAMPLE Direct quotation

"For both parties to gain from trade, the price at which they trade must lie between the two opportunity costs" (Mankiw, 2015, p. 54).

EXAMPLE Direct quotation (narrative)

In his book, Bonnett asks "What is the difference between being white and being Western?" (2004, p. 14).

However, APA strongly recommends paraphrasing whenever possible instead of using a direct quotation. A paraphrase restates another's idea (or your own previously published idea) in your own words.

How to use Bibguru for APA citations

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The reference list at the end of your paper provides the information that a reader would need to identify and find each source that you have used. An accurate reference list helps to establish the credibility of your work and of yourself as the author. You should only include works that you have used in the research for, and preparation of, your paper.

A reference list generally has four elements: author, date, title, and source. Each of these elements answers a question:

apa explainer image

When formatting the author part , follow these guidelines:

APA 7th edition allows you to include up to 20 authors' names in an individual reference.

By using an APA 7 citation generator like BibGuru you can be on the safe side with the specific rules of the new version.

When formatting the title part , follow these guidelines:

The source either has one or two parts, depending on the reference category. A source from a printed book without a DOI has one part: the book's publisher. A source from a journal article with a DOI has two parts; the periodical information (journal title, volume number, issue number, and page range or article number) and the DOI.

The publication place of printed sources is no longer required in APA 7th edition. Visit our post on the differences between APA 6th and 7th edition to learn more.

The DOI or URL is the final component of the reference list entry in the APA style. A DOI, or digital object identifier , is a unique alphanumeric string that identifies content and provides a persistent link to its location on the internet. Include a DOI for all works that have a DOI, regardless of whether you used the online version or the print version. If an online work has both a DOI and a URL, include only the DOI, but if the source only has a URL, include the URL.

You no longer need to include "retrieved from" prior to listing a URL, according to APA 7th edition.

How to format the reference list in APA:

An example of an APA reference page made with BibGuru's APA citation generator .

apa page example image

Citation Examples

Books and Reference Works includes authored books , edited books , translated books , anthologies, religious works, classical works, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and diagnostic manuals. This template shows you how to cite them.

EXAMPLE Authored book with a DOI

See, M. (2012). Greenhouse gas emissions: Global business aspects . Springer.

Parenthetical citation: (See, 2012)

Narrative citation: See (2012)

EXAMPLE Authored book without a DOI, from most academic research databases or print version

Hattie, J. (2008). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. Routledge.

Parenthetical citation: (Hattie, 2008)

Narrative citation: Hattie (2008)

EXAMPLE Edited book with a DOI, with multiple authors

Raab, M., Lobinger, B., Hoffmann, S. O., Pizzera, A., & Laborde, S. (Eds.). (2015). Performance psychology: Perception, action, cognition, and emotion. Academic Press.

Parenthetical citation: (Raab et al., 2015)

Narrative citation: Raab et al. (2015)

EXAMPLE Dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia

Zalta, E. N. (Ed.). (2019). The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Summer 2019 ed.). Stanford University.

Parenthetical citation: (Zalta, 2019)

Narrative citation: Zalta (2019)

EXAMPLE Book in another language

When a book is in a different language than your paper, include a translation of the book title in square brackets:

Meifert Matthias, T. (Ed.). (2010).  Strategische personalentwicklung [Strategic HR Development]. Springer.

Periodicals are generally published on a continuous basis and include journals , magazines , newspapers , newsletters, and even blog posts. This template shows you how to cite them.

EXAMPLE Journal article with a DOI

Warren, R., Price, J., Graham, E., Forstenhaeusler, N., & VanDerWal, J. (2018). The projected effect on insects, vertebrates, and plants of limiting global warming to 1.5°C rather than 2°C.  Science (New York, N.Y.), 360 (6390), 791–795.

Parenthetical citation: (Warren et al., 2018)

Narrative citation: Warren et al. (2018)

EXAMPLE Journal article with a DOI, 21 or more authors

Lindblad-Toh, K., Garber, M., Zuk, O., Lin, M. F., Parker, B. J., Washietl, S., Kheradpour, P., Ernst, J., Jordan, G., Mauceli, E., Ward, L. D., Lowe, C. B., Holloway, A. K., Clamp, M., Gnerre, S., Alföldi, J., Beal, K., Chang, J., Clawson, H., … Kellis, M. (2011). A high-resolution map of human evolutionary constraint using 29 mammals.  Nature, 478 (7370), 476–482.

Parenthetical citation: (Lindblad-Toh et al., 2011)

Narrative citation: Lindblad-Toh et al. (2011)

EXAMPLE Magazine article version

Bruenig, E. (2021, June 9). America’s dangerous obsession with innocence.  Atlantic Monthly (Boston, Mass.: 1993) .

Parenthetical citation: (Bruenig, 2021)

Narrative citation: Bruenig (2021)

EXAMPLE Newsletter

Darwish, F. (2014). How being a cat person can dramatically enhance your psychological health. Psych Daily, 6 (4), 4-5. https://www-psychdaily-com/the-pets-cats-report/emotional-health/

Parenthetical citation: (Darwish, 2014)

Narrative citation: Darwish (2014)

If you cite a source from a website and no other reference category fits and the work has no parent or overarching publication (e.g. journal or blog), use this template for your reference.

EXAMPLE Webpage on a news website

France-Presse, A. (2021, June 10). Child labour worldwide increases for first time in 20 years.  The Guardian.

Parenthetical citation: (France-Presse, 2021)

Narrative citation: France-Presse (2021)

EXAMPLE University website

Hamido, K. A., & Essam, J. A. (n.d.). Use of artificial intelligence in forensic analyses . Cairo Medical School.

Parenthetical citation: (Hamido & Essam, n.d.)

Narrative citation: Hamido and Essam (n.d.)

EXAMPLE Blog post

Priyadarshini, S. (n.d.). How outreach blends my worlds as a scientist and mom. Indigenus.

Parenthetical citation: (Priyadarshini, n.d.)

Narrative citation: Priyadarshini (n.d.)

EXAMPLE Website with no author

Neuroscience. (n.d.).  Wikipedia . Retrieved June 6, 2007 from /wiki/Neuroscience

Parenthetical citation: ("Neuroscience", n.d.)

Narrative citation: "Neuroscience" (n.d.)

EXAMPLE Government website

Egyptian Center for Nuclear Energy. (n.d.). Becoming a research volunteer . brochures/3panelfinal.pdf

Parenthetical citation: (Egyptian Center for Nuclear Energy, n.d.)

Narrative citation: Egyptian Center for Nuclear Energy (n.d.)

EXAMPLE Entry in an online reference work

Sameer, G. (2005). Behaviorism. In E. N. Rashed (Ed.), The encyclopedia of psychology (Fall 2014 ed.).

Parenthetical citation: (Sameer, 2005)

Narrative citation: Sameer (2005)

References for dissertations and theses are divided by whether they are unpublished or published. Unpublished works must be retrieved directly from the university in print form. Published works are available from a database, a university archive, or a personal website. This is how you cite them:

Unpublished works (only available at the college or univeristy in print):

EXAMPLE Unpublished dissertation or thesis

Eid, H. (2017). The anti-cancer effect of scorpion venom (Unpublished master’s thesis). Modern Sciences and Arts University.

Parenthetical citation: (Eid, 2017)

Narrative citation: Eid (2017)

EXAMPLE Published dissertation or thesis from a database

Mccarthy, M. D. (2014). The relationship between sleep deprivation and student performance (Order No. 3682837) [Doctoral dissertation, University of Florida]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.

Parenthetical citation: (Mccarthy, 2014)

Narrative citation: Mccarthy (2014)

EXAMPLE Published dissertation or thesis from a database-no publication number

Brown, S. (2010). Impacts of jellyfish invasion in the red sea [Master’s thesis, American University in Cairo]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database.

Parenthetical citation: (Brown, 2010)

Narrative citation: Brown (2010)

EXAMPLE Published dissertation or thesis from an online platform

Anthony, H. (2014). Link between childhood trauma and alcoholism (Doctoral dissertation). FloridaLink. Retrieved from

Parenthetical citation: (Anthony, 2014)

Narrative citation: Anthony (2014)

EXAMPLE Dissertation or thesis in print

Hawk, E. J. (2017). Using artificial intelligence to prioritize covid-19 vaccine delivery (Master's thesis). Cairo University.

Parenthetical citation: (Hawk, 2017)

Narrative citation: Hawk (2017)


Azab, A. (2012, June). Why are people so rude? [Video]. TED Conferences.

Parenthetical citation: (Azab, 2012)

Narrative citation: Azab (2012)

EXAMPLE YouTube video

Bomer, M. (2013, June 13). Does it puree? [Video]. YouTube.

Parenthetical citation: (Bomer, 2013)

Narrative citation: Bomer (2013)


Abdelaal, D. R (Host). (2017–2018). What should you be doing in your twenties? [Audio podcast]. The millennial.

Parenthetical citation: (Abdelaal, 2017–2018)

Narrative citation: Abdelaal (2017–2018)

EXAMPLE Photograph

Hassan, A. (1908). The Nile River [Photograph]. Time.

Parenthetical citation: (Hassan, 1908)

Narrative citation: Hassan (1908)

EXAMPLE Facebook post

The girl project. (2020, January 10). Signs you have poor boundaries [Image attached] [Photo]. Facebook.

Parenthetical citation: (The girl project, 2020)

Narrative citation: The girl project (2020)

While all the specific rules of the APA citation style might sound very complicated, you don't need to worry about getting them wrong with BibGuru. Use our APA 7 citation maker to create the fastest and most accurate APA citations possible.

Ditch the frustrations for stress-free citations

Helpful resources, from our blog.

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More Bibguru APA guides

How to cite an appendix

University Guides on APA styles

APA is the referencing style of the American Psychological Association. The principles of the APA style can be found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . The style is commonly used in psychology, education, and the social sciences.

In APA style, you need to cite your source in-text with the author's last name and year of publication in brackets, and then give a full reference in the alphabetic reference list. Our APA citation guides show you how to cite different sources in APA, taking into consideration all the rules set out in their Publication Manual .

In general, all parts of an APA-styled paper should be double-spaced, including the abstract, text, titles, notes, and reference list. There are some exceptions, however, which you can read all about here .

When you cite a source for the first time in a paragraph as part of a sentence, give the citation of your author's name and year. The second and subsequent time you use that source in a sentence, you do not need to include the year anymore.

In the fall of 2019, the American Psychological Association (APA) issued the 7th edition of their publication manual. Some of the major changes in APA 7th are:

You can read more about the changes in the latest version in our blog post .

Citation generators

Citation guides, alternative to.

Welcome to MyBib

Generate formatted bibliographies, citations, and works cited automatically

What is mybib.

MyBib is a free bibliography and citation generator that makes accurate citations for you to copy straight into your academic assignments and papers.

If you're a student, academic, or teacher, and you're tired of the other bibliography and citation tools out there, then you're going to love MyBib. MyBib creates accurate citations automatically for books, journals, websites, and videos just by searching for a title or identifier (such as a URL or ISBN).

Plus, we're using the same citation formatting engine as professional-grade reference managers such as Zotero and Mendeley, so you can be sure our bibliographies are perfectly accurate in over 9,000 styles -- including APA 6 & 7, Chicago, Harvard, and MLA 7 & 8.

Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts

thesis citation generator

Using Citation Generators Responsibly

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This page describes how citation generator apps work to show what’s happening when a writer uses one. Then, it offers a few “best practices” for using citation generators. See also our similar article on "paper checker" apps.


The citation generator is a relatively recent addition to the writer’s toolbox, but one that has already altered the practice of writing immensely. Gone are the days of painstakingly documenting every individual source by hand. Citation generators allow writers to generate citations in a fraction of the time this work once took. Some even allow writers to construct entire bibliographies on the fly that can be imported into projects with a few clicks.

Citation generators are, clearly, powerful tools. However, because citation generators have the potential to change the writing task so drastically, it’s important for writers to educate themselves about them. Used wisely, citation generators remove much of the tedium from the writing task so that writers can focus on the things that matter most—their ideas. Used unwisely, however, they can introduce systematic errors that the writer isn’t even aware of.

Thus, writers should remember that  citation generators cannot (and should not) do their thinking for them.  The rest of this guide provides information that can help you keep this simple principle in mind as you work.

How Do Citation Generators Work?

Citation generators are programs that turn information about a source into a citation that the writer can use in a project. Though many different citation generators exist, most follow this general process:

The generator receives information about a source. Usually, this comes from the user: he or she types the source’s author, title, publication date, and so on.

The generator processes this information according to settings the user has specified (e.g., the citation style and the medium). This usually means putting the pieces of information received in Step 1 into the correct order and applying the correct formatting.

The generator produces a citation (or set of citations) that the user can use. This usually takes the form of text that a user can copy and paste into a project.

The diagram below illustrates this pattern.

Using strings of colored blocks labeled with the type of data they contain (e.g., Author First Name, Author Last Name, Source Title, etc.), this diagram displays how citation machines re-order pieces of user-provided content to create full citations.

Citation generators can be very sophisticated. Some offer additional features not described above. For instance, some generators can automatically locate sources in online databases and fill out entire citations with just a little bit of starting information—the source’s title, for instance. Other citation generators can automatically fix spelling or capitalization errors that the user makes when inputting the source’s information.

What’s important to realize, however, is that citation generators rely on the user’s input and follow set patterns . Citation generators cannot exercise any judgment of their own. They do not “understand” the task of citation in the way that humans do. They can only follow instructions given to them by their users and their programmers.

Thus, writers who use citation generators as if they were definitive authorities (rather than powerful tools) can expose themselves to problems. They may give citation generators inaccurate information (and thus receive incorrect citations) under the incorrect assumption that the generator can “sort out” any errors. They may use citations in ways that don’t make sense because they assume that as long as they have received the “correct” citation from the generator, any usage of this citation is valid. They may simply not think to double-check the citations they receive, and thus miss the occasional errors that even well-designed citation generators can make.

In short, relying entirely on citation generators rather than on one’s judgment as a writer can lead to errors. Below are a set of suggestions that can help you use citation generators wisely.

How Can I Use Citation Generators Wisely?

Make sure the information you input is correct..

No citation generator is perfectly insulated against user error. If you give a citation generator incorrect information, it will probably give you an inaccurate citation. Check your input information carefully as you enter it to ensure the accuracy of the final product.

Enacting this advice means doing some very obvious things. You should, for instance, check to make sure you’ve spelled the author’s name correctly (especially if it’s a name you haven’t encountered before). You should be aware, however, that subtler things like capitalization and punctuation can also matter. For instance, here is an MLA8 citation for a poem by E. E. Cummings:

Cummings, E. E. “anyone lived in a pretty how town.” Complete Poems: 1904-1962, edited by George J. Firmage, 1st ed, Liveright, 2016.

Note that, in this example, the unconventional lowercase title of the poem is maintained. You would want to ensure that a spellchecker (or the citation generator itself) has not incorrectly “fixed” the capitalization in the title before inputting that information.

Work from the copy of the source you have available, rather than from secondary information about the source (like a web page selling the source on an online store). It’s easy to miss minor details like edition number and editors’ names in the latter case.

Make sure you designate the correct medium, version, and/or edition for each source.

Citation generators can’t judge whether the information they receive about a source “makes sense.” They can’t tell, for instance, if you’re accidentally citing an academic journal article as a magazine article (and thus likely leaving out important information like volume number). They also can’t tell if the paperback and hardcover releases of the book you’re citing use different page numbers. Thus, to avoid unnecessary confusion for your readers, it’s always wise to double-check that you’ve indicated precisely the source you’re using (and not a source that’s “close, but no cigar”).

This advice is especially important if you’re using a citation generator that automatically searches for information about your source online. In this case, it’s crucial to make sure the generator has grabbed the correct edition, version (e.g., paperback vs. hardcover), etc. These minor differences can affect the page numbers and publication dates of sources, which means that getting this information wrong can lead to inaccurate citations.

Don’t forget that edited collections usually have at least one editor who needs to be credited in the citation in addition to the author of the piece you’re using. Keep this in mind if you’re citing a small work that appears in a bigger collection.

If you can’t figure out precisely what medium your source should be categorized as, consult the general formatting rules for the citation style you’re using. Usually, you will be able to assemble a usable citation simply by putting as much information as you have into the generic pattern your style specifies. Here are the links to the OWL's "Overview and Workshop" pages for each of the major citation styles:

MLA  Overview and Workshop

APA  Overview and Workshop

Chicago  Overview and Workshop

Make sure to use reputable, accurate sources.

Citation generators work with the sources you give them. They can’t evaluate whether those sources are good or not. This means that it’s possible to use a citation generator to assemble a bibliography that’s technically flawless, but nevertheless useless. To avoid this, be sure to evaluate whether each source you use is accurate, reputable, and unbiased. Below are some questions to consider for each source. There is not necessarily a single "correct" answer to each of these questions (e.g., some emotionally-charged sources nevertheless contain true information, and some commercially-sponsored sources are truthful regardless of the source of their funding). However, considering these sorts of questions as you pick sources can help you make smarter choices.

Is your source peer-reviewed?

Is your source primary (i.e., does it come directly from the person providing the information, or is it mediated by someone else’s opinions and commentary)? If it is a secondary source, does it seem like the author is referencing primary sources when possible?

Does the source come from an organization with a vested interest in having an unbiased, authoritative reputation?

Does the source reference clear, unambiguous evidence? Is this evidence well-documented (for instance, in a bibliography)? 

Does the source acknowledge a range of viewpoints even as it makes its own argument?

Does the source use emotionally-charged language or make broad generalizations?

Does the source come from a lone individual, particularly an individual without a reputation for careful, objective, or well-reasoned claims (or a motivation to preserve that reputation)?

Is the source commercially sponsored? Does the sponsor have a vested interest in the audience’s perception of the source’s topic?

For more help, consult the OWL's “ Evaluating Sources: Overview ” resource.

Double-check the citation you receive against a reference.

After you’ve finished inputting information and you’ve received a citation, resist the urge to copy and paste the citation into your document without first doing a quick check for accuracy. In the event that the citation generator has made an error (a rare but real possibility), you will be glad that you took an extra few seconds to verify its accuracy.

Pay particular attention to the way the generator has handled capitalization and formatting.

Note, for instance, that there are different rules for capitalizing titles in MLA and APA styles.

Note also that different styles handle numbering differently. Some, for instance, require page ranges to include all numbers in the start and end pages (e.g., 267-268), while others allow redundant numbers to be omitted (e.g., 267-8).

If you couldn’t find certain pieces of information (e.g., publication date) for your source, check to ensure that the information has been left out rather than being rendered as a generic placeholder (e.g., “[DATE]”).

Here, again, are the links to the OWL's "Overview and Workshop" pages for each of the major citation styles:

MLA Overview and Workshop

APA Overview and Workshop

Chicago Overview and Workshop

Make sure you cite each source in the text in a way that makes sense.

Remember that bibliographies are not the end of the story when it comes to citations. Citations must also be used in the text to indicate when information is being borrowed from a source. The good news is that many modern citation generators can automatically generate in-text citations once you’ve provided bibliographic information. The bad news, however, is that the correct usage of in-text citations is much more context-dependent than it is for bibliographic entries. This means that, when you use an in-text citation you’ve generated from a citation generator, you should check that you’re using it logically, rather than simply copying and pasting.

Here is an example. Suppose that you would like to cite a chapter by the author Jane Smith in a paper you’re writing about the history of pies. You input the source’s bibliographic information into the citation generator, you indicate that you’re using APA style, and you get the following in-text citation:

(Smith, 2015, pp. 122-128)

Now, you want to use this citation in the text, so you copy and paste it into a sentence where you’re borrowing from Smith’s source:

According to Smith, the world’s first pies were developed by the ancient Egyptians (Smith, 2015, pp. 122-128), while later innovations were spearheaded by the Macedonians (Smith, 2015, pp. 122-128).

The uncritical copying and pasting you’ve just done has led you to make a few mistakes in your citation. When you provide the author’s name in a signal phrase (like “According to Smith…”), you usually should not provide it again in the parenthetical. You also should not provide a source’s date multiple times in the same sentence. Finally, you should not provide vague page ranges when it’s possible to pinpoint precisely where you found the information you’re borrowing. The citation generator cannot judge the context of the sentence you’re using the citation in, so it can’t tell you to do any of these things. A much more sensible approach would look like this:

According to Smith (2015), the world’s first pies were developed by the ancient Egyptians (p. 123), while later innovations were spearheaded by the Macedonians (p. 127).

Note also that if you are using multiple sources by the same author, you may need to make special indications in the text. The citation generator may not tell you this. Here are links to OWL resources that can help you cite multiple sources by the same author:

MLA Works Cited: Books

APA Reference List: Author/Authors

In sum, when using citation generators, remember that they can do much of your work for you, but they cannot (and should not) do any of your thinking for you.


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