Although not all open web materials are appropriate as scholarly evidence, some web content is appropriate such as technical research reports published online and open access peer-reviewed scholarly journals. Additionally, you may encounter some assignments that ask you to find and cite other web content.
APA 7 acknowledges that distinguishing between various online resources can be difficult since many types of work are now available online (see Section 9.2). When referring to a source accessed from a webpage, you first need to determine what type of material it is. The information could be a journal or magazine article, a personal webpage, an organization’s webpage, an institutional report, a blog post, or an online reference work. Follow APA's guidelines on the reference category first, followed by additional information on the method of retrieval as necessary.
In addition to knowing the type of material, you will also need to assess the website for accuracy and scholarship. For tips on evaluating resources, please visit the Walden Library's Evaluating Methods webpage. To learn more about differentiating between primary and secondary sources and evaluating electronic sources, check out the Walden Library’s Evaluating Resources webinar.
We cover online journal articles on a different page, so here we focus on other web content.
When just mentioning the existence of a particular website in text, there is no need to provide a full citation. You can just include the URL in parentheses in the body of your paper. Here is an example:
To begin my content analysis, I read all of the articles posted in January 2018 on CNN's website (www.cnn.com).
However, if you are providing information from a particular webpage, you need to cite it in the text with author and date as you would other sources:
According to the Vartan (2018), the United States has no mandated number of days off for employees.
You should then include a full reference list entry for the source:
Vartan, S. (2018, January 30). Why vacations matter for your health. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/why-vacations-matter/index.html
These are the elements of the reference list entry for the web page cited above:
Retrieval date. A retrieval date is only included if the information is likely to change over time. Some examples provided by APA 7 include UpToDate articles, social media pages or profiles, maps generated by Google Maps, and other website content that updates frequently. Because the example provided above a web page does not have content that is regularly added or changed, the retrieval date is not necessary.
Direct quotations. If you are directly quoting from the web page, you will not be able to include a page number (because there are no pages). Instead, count the paragraphs from the top of the page to determine the paragraph number. Here is an example:
"Jackie has a family history of cancer. Several relatives on her father’s side of the family had breast or ovarian cancer at an early age. Her doctor encouraged her to see a genetic counselor" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d., para. 2).