No boxes match

Occasionally, your source doesn’t match any of the boxes in the Source Compass. You can combine information from two boxes, or you can adjust information from one box to fit your source. The rules for printed and online sources are quite similar. If you have an online source, check if there is an example for a printed source that is close enough – just add the URL.

Make sure that you are consistent in the choices you make, and that your in-text citations and reference list provide enough information to identify the source.

There are 4 kinds of information you need to write in a reference:

  • Who: Author, institution, association, department etc.
  • When: Year, or year and date
  • What: Title. If there is no title, insert a description in square brackets.
  • Where: Publisher, site name, department. If you have a DOI or URL, include this.
  • Author. (Year). Title [or description]. Publisher. DOI or URL

Still in doubt? Contact your campus library.

In-text citations

You have to enter an in-text citation on all quotes and paraphrases in your text.

There are two ways of doing this:

The parenthetical citation: (Author, Year).

Example: “quotation within quotation marks…” (Aanesland & Holm, 2002, p. 84).

In a narrative citation, you use the author name(s) in your text and place the year in parentheses directly after the author name:

Example: Researchers as Aanesland and Holm (2002) have shown that …

Always include the page number in a direct quotation.

Multiple sources within the same parentheses

If you want to mention multiple sources in the same sentence, you can put them within the same parentheses and divide them with a semicolon

Different authors: Sorted alphabetically.

Example: (Repstad, 2007; Riis, 1996)

Same author: Sort chronologically

Example: (Wassmo, 2003, 2006)

Authors with the same surname

If you have multiple sources where the first authors have the same surname, include their first initials to avoid confusion.

Example: … (J. Bing & Bringsværd, 2004) and (K. Bing, 2000)

You only add initials to the first author’s name.

Multiple works by the same author, same year

When multiple sources have the same author and same year, include a lowercase letter (a, b, c) after the year. In the reference list, sort the references alphabetically by title. The lettering follows the order of the reference list, not the order they appear in the text

Example: (Lohndal, 2015a, 2015c) … (Lohndal, 2015b)

Lohndal, T. (2015a). Grammatikk og struktur. Norsklæreren, 39(3), 74–75.

Lohndal, T. (2015b). Review of «Syntax of Substance». Linguistic Analysis, 39, 431–435.

Lohndal, T. (2015c). Språk er i hjernen. Språknytt, 43(2), 22–24.

For sources with multiple authors, but the same first author same year, include as many author names as you need to distinguish between them.

Chapter written by other than author

In the in-text citation you only cite the author and only credit the chapter author in your text. This is a common method for citing authors of introductory chapters.

Example: In his foreword, Roger Watson (Aveyard, 2019, s. x-xi) explains how …

Aveyard, H. (2019). Doing a literature review in health and social care: A practical guide (4. utg.). Open University Press.

NOTE: this is not the same as chapter in an edited book.

Translated or previously published works

When citing previously published works, you must enter the years for both the original and the current edition separated by a slash. In the reference, you must include parentheses at the end where you write Originally published and year.

For translated works, you must also include the translator’s name in parentheses after the title.

Example: (Nesbø, 2007/2017, p. 55)

Nesbø, J. (2017). The snowman (D.Bartlett, Trans.). Vintage. (Original work published 2007)


Direct quotation

Use quotation marks around the quotation, followed by the in-text citation (see XX). In the parentheses, include the page number from the original source. The parentheses are placed after the quotation mark, but before the period. If you cite a website or other material that does not have page numbers, state the section number, time note, etc. which makes it easier for the reader to find the quote on the page.

Block quotation, more than 40 words

A quotation of more than 40 words is a block quotation. Start the block on a new line, and indent the block. Do not use quotation marks. The parentheses are placed after the last full stop of the block quotation. Include page number.

Page numbers

When quoting directly, always include the page number in the in-text citation. If you paraphrase, i.e. write in your own words, the APA manual states that you should include page numbers for longer texts, e.g. from books. If you are referring to coherent text across multiple pages, always enter the first and last page.

If you mention a source as a whole entity, you need not include page numbers. See also sections on quotations and paraphrasing.

Page numbers are missing

For some sources, such as webpages and some e-books, there are no page numbers. For direct quotations in such cases, you can use

  • Paragraph numbers
  • Chapter title
  • Manually count paragraphs

Do not include Kindle location numbers.

Make changes in a quotation

You can make alterations in a quotation, but make sure your changes don’t alter the meaning of the quotation.

Omitting text

Original sentence:

“We have provided the full legal citation, however, allowing those who wish to read the actual decisions to access them through free online resources (such as Google Scholar and Justia), commercial databases (such as Westlaw and LEXIS), or the federal courts’ PACER electronic filing system, available at www.pacer.gov.”

Insert an ellipsis within square brackets where you have deleted text:

“We have provided the full legal citation, however, allowing those who wish to read the actual decisions to access them through free online resources […], commercial databases […], or the federal courts’ PACER electronic filing system, available at www.pacer.gov. (U.S. Copyright Office, 2020).”

Adding text

Original sentence:

“Start sowing in late-January until late-March. Sow seeds in 7.5cm pots of moist compost, top with a thin layer of vermiculite, then water and cover with cling film”.

Insert Square brackets around added text:

“Start sowing [tomatoes] in late-January until late-March. Sow seeds in 7.5cm pots of moist compost, top with a thin layer of vermiculite, then water and cover with cling film” (BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, 2020, How to grow tomatoes from seed)


BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine. (2020, 7. April). How to grow tomatoes. Gardeners’ World. https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/how-to-grow-tomatoes/

U.S. Copyright Office. (2020, April). U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index. https://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/


To paraphrase is to rewrite in your own words. Paraphrasing gives you a better flow to the text. It is also a better way of showing how you have understood and interpreted the source. The APA manual says you should provide page numbers if it can help your reader find their way back to what you have read. This applies especially if you have used a longer text, such as a book.

If you make your own translation of something you have read, this is considered paraphrasing even if you have translated word for word.

Quote from another author / secondary source

By secondary source we mean that the source you are reading cites content that was first presented in another source. This other source is called the primary source. If possible, you should find the primary source. If this is not possible, you must show that you are reproducing the quote from another text. Include original year if possible.

Example: (Green, 1918, as cited in Smith, 2010, p. 5)

In this example, Green is not entered in the reference list. Smith is the book you are reading.

Citing yourself

You cite yourself when you quote or reuse your own texts in assignments, articles, or other kinds of work. Remember to include a citation to avoid self-plagiarism

Submission under full name

In an article or assignment submitted under full name, you include a citation with your own name. Choose a reference type according to the type of source you are citing. Use rules and examples found under “Doctoral dissertation and master’s thesis” for school assignments.

Anonymous submission

If you are submitting your text anonymously, APA recommends that you delete the reference from the reference list. Instead of the in-text citation, you write (citation omitted) or something similar.

Year is missing

If your source lacks information about when the document was published, there are standardized abbreviations for this: (n.d.)

Author name is missing

If the author name is missing, inserted the title in the place of the author name. Works that stand alone (books) are given a title in italics, while works that are part of something larger (such as articles) are given a title in quotation marks.

When an institution is responsible for the text (e.g. the University of Agder), the institution must be stated as the “author”.

Book in multiple editions

To cite a work that has come in several editions, the edition information must be included in the bibliography.

Example: (Reason & Bradbury, 2008)

Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (2008). The SAGE handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice (2nd ed.). SAGE.


Many compendia are composed of articles and chapters that have been published in journals and books. In such cases, you should cite the original source, ie you need to find the reference to the article or book chapter where it was originally published.

If the compendium is written entirely by a teacher, use the book format and enter the information you have.

Access date for webpages

In earlier versions of APA, it was common to include a retrieval date for all web pages or web resources. This was because web pages can change over time. In APA 7th, you include the last update date after the year: Author, A. (2020, July 3). For web pages that are likely to be updated frequently (like social media profiles, event listings, and encyclopedias), the retrieval date is included in the reference list.

For pages that change over time (such as snl.no or Wikipedia), you can look for the archived version and include the last update date in the reference. Remember to also use the URL for the archived version in the reference list. If you do not find a last updated date or archived url, you enter the retrieval date in front of the URL: Retrieved July 1, 2020 from https:// etc.

What is a DOI?

A DOI (digital object identifier) ​​is a unique identification code that is assigned to electronic documents so that they are easy to find on the internet. Unlike URLs that can be changed or deleted, the DOI number is a permanent identification code that is always associated with the document. You can usually find the DOI number on the front page of electronic articles, near the copyright statement, or on the database landing page for the article. Books, articles, and datasets can have a DOI.

Example of DOI-number: 10.1177/1090198109343895

To find an article using the DOI number, enter the following URL followed by the DOI number: [ https://doi.org/ ].

In the reference, include https:// in front of the DOI number.

Using illustrations, tables, or figures

Mentioning and quoting text and ideas from others requires only in-text citation and inclusion in the reference list. It is different if you re-use parts of works by inserting pictures, figures, tables and the like in the text. These are works that have their own copyright protections.

If you want to re-use images or other illustrations in the text, you must consider necessity, citation rights, copyright, and privacy.

  • Is it necessary? Does the illustration provide significant information to the text, or is it just for decoration? Images and illustrations should add something that the text cannot give the reader.
  • Fair use: The Copyright Act (åndsverkloven) (åvl) §29 https://lovdata.no/lov/2018-06-15-40/§29 and åvl §37 https://lovdata.no/lov/2018-06-15-40/§37
  • Privacy: Can the people in the photograph be identified?
  • Copyright: Who owns the image? Some images are open for everyone to use, but most are protected by copyright
  • To use an entire table, figure, or image from another source, you usually need to obtain permission from the author or rights holder. The author must in any case be cited, and the source referred to.

Publishers often take over the rights to published articles and books, in such cases one must go through a formal process with the publisher to obtain permission. Sometimes you have to pay to reuse tables, figures, or pictures.

  • Many publishers allow the re-use of tables, figures, and pictures for scientific commentary, non-commercial research or for educational purposes when full credit is given by the author and no more than three figures or tables from the same source are used.
  • You can re-use parts of a table without having to obtain permission, cf. åvl § 29, but the author must be cited and the source must be included.
  • If the creator has been dead for 70 years or more then the table, figure, or image can be used without permission, but you must still cite the author.
  • For further information, see the APA manual, chapter 12.14-12.18 (APA, 2020).

All images, figures, and tables you re-use in the text must have an explanatory copyright notice. For all photos, figures, and tables, except those you have taken or created yourself, you must credit the author and provide copyright information.

This applies regardless of the reference style you use, and is not specifically related to the APA style.

The copyright notice looks like this in the APA style:

From Title, by Artist, Year, Publisher (url). Copyright status


Adapted from Title, by Artist, Year, Publisher (url). Copyright status

In addition, these works must be included in the reference list.