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Reference List: Online Journal Articles

Quick Guide to Online Journal Articles


  1. The retrieval date and database information are not needed for articles retrieved from online sources. Instead, you want to use a permanent link to the article. The preferred permanent link is the DOI. If there is a DOI, you'll often find it somewhere on the first page of the journal article. It might also appear hidden behind a database button. You may also check this link: and APA 6th edition 6.31, 6.32, and 7.01.

    Swann, W. B., Jr., Sellers, J. G., & McClarty, K. L. (2006). Tempting today, troubling tomorrow: The roots of the precarious couple effect. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32(1), 93–103. doi:10.1177/0146167205279584

  2. If no DOI is shown, provide the URL for the journal homepage as the second choice. The retrieval date is not required in this type of reference.

    Murray, D., Moore, R., Johnson, T., & Keeler, P. (2006). Coping with skill loss among the aging recreational softball player. Gerontological Studies Quarterly, 16(2), 167–180. Retrieved from

  3. In the rare instances that the journal does not have its own homepage (such as for older journals no longer in print but converted to online documents), provide either (a) the database homepage or (b) the name of the database and the accession number.

    The sixth edition of the APA manual guidelines:

    Scott, G. (2008). Understanding difficult change in writing formatting and its effect on personality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 6(2). Retrieved from

    Scott, G. (2008). Understanding difficult change in writing formatting and its effect on personality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 6(2). Retrieved from Academic Search Premiere database. (Accession No. 200010188)

  4. For print or electronic journals, include the issue number only when the journal is paginated separately by issue.

You can also use our DOI or URL? flowchart form to help you understand what to include in your reference list entry.

For more information about DOI numbers, consult the Library's information:

Article (With DOI)

Laplante, J. P., & Nolin, C. (2014). Consultas and socially responsible investing in Guatemala: A case study examining Maya perspectives on the Indigenous right to free, prior, and informed consent. Society & Natural Resources, 27, 231–248. doi:10.1080/08941920.2013.861554 

Toren, Z., & Iliyan, S. (2008). The problems of the beginning teacher in the Arab schools in Israel. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24, 1041–1056. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2007.11.009

According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.; APA) guidelines for citing sources, cite the DOI number whenever one is available. The DOI stands for digital object identifier, a number specific to this article that can help others locate the source. Include an issue number for the article only if the journal is paginated by issue rather than by volume. Although most journals are paginated by volume, you may find it helpful to consult the APA Style Blog's post, "How to Determine Whether a Periodical is Paginated by Issue."

Note also that Walden University allows students to use the new DOI format detailed in the APA Style Guide to Electronic Resources, but Walden will not require this new format until it is integrated into a future 7th edition manual. For more on citing electronic resources, see Electronic Sources References.

Article (With URL)

Eaton, T. V., & Akers, M. D. (2007). Whistleblowing and good governance. CPA Journal, 77(6), 66–71. Retrieved from

If an article does not have a DOI, then write “Retrieved from” followed by the periodical’s homepage URL.

HINT: You might have to conduct an Internet search for the periodical’s homepage.

Knowledge Check: Quick Guide to Electronic Sources