Articles are found in journals, magazines, and newspapers. However, it can be confusing to find articles because journals and magazines are also called periodicals. During your studies you will be accessing electronic and print articles. The most difficult task when citing articles is establishing what type and format you are using.
- Do you have an online journal article?
- Is it an article from a print journal?
- Is your article from a magazine or newspaper?
- Is it an article found in a database licensed by your library?
Journals are generally scholarly (often referred to as academic or peer-reviewed), and magazines are commonly more for general use.
DOIs and Article References (pp. 188-192)
If a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is listed on either a print or an electronic source, it must be included in the reference list. A DOI is a unique alphanumeric code that identifies a certain source.
The DOI is commonly found on the first page of an article. For more information on DOIs and sample pictures indicating where to locate a DOI on a source, see pages 188 to 192 of the APA Manual.
General Article Citation Format
Many journals are paginated by volume beginning with page one in the first issue of a volume.
Page numbering continues without breaks into the second issue until the final issue of that volume.
Place only the italicized volume number after the periodical title.
Do not use Vol. before the number.
Some journals are paginated by issue and begin with page one every issue. In these cases, place the issue number in parentheses immediately after the volume number.
Format for an Article from an Online Journal
The most difficult component of citing articles is knowing exactly the type of article you are using. You will find articles:
in an online journal
- in an online magazine
published only online
for an online article
NOTE: there is a distinct difference between an article you are using from a Library database and that from an online journal available through the Internet. If you are unsure, ask the experts at the Reference Desk.
When an article has no DOI add the URL of its home page <no period> after the article page numbers; alternatively, add the database name <period>. If citing from an electronic database, use “Retrieved from name of database” for a database that is freely available to anyone. Use “Available from name of database” if the database is by subscription only.
Some databases do not provide DOIs. If the article you are citing does not include a DOI, provide the home page URL of the journal. If you are accessing the article from a library database, you will need to do a web search to locate the URL. You do not have to include the name of the database in the citation.
If there is no DOI provided, try searching CrossRef.org, a free DOI lookup.
Journal article: Retrieved online with digital object identifier (DOI)
(Example on p. 198, #1 of the APA Manual )
Bartes, D. (2000). Writing for the aged. Lessons Learned, 8, 125-239.
Direct quotation in text: (Bartes, 2000, p. 56)
Journal article: Retrieved online with no DOI: Give URL of the journal home page (even if retrieved from a database) (p. 199 #3)
Matthews, M.M., Johnson, R., & Paine, S. (2012). Heart aware for Canadian women.
Health Care for Canadian Women, 12, 18-26. Retrieved from
Citation in text: (Matthews, Johnson, & Paine, 2012)
The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University offers an online resource which can be used in some cases. However, it does not include everything required for citing sources in one place.
The APA citation style does not cover Canadian government sources, and has only a limited section on American government resources.
Please refer to the staff at the Library Reference Desk for clarification when citing Canadian government sources.