How to Create an APA Style Reference for a Canceled Conference Presentation

McAdoo, T. (2020, March 16). How to create an APA Style reference for a canceled conference presentation. APA Style.

To help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), officials have canceled many public events, including conferences and conventions. This has raised a question for researchers who were planning to present.

Question: How should the APA Style reference for an accepted presentation appear on my CV when the conference has been canceled?

Answer: Include the presentation in your CV, as your work was peer reviewed and accepted, but consider which of the following cases is most applicable.

Note that in the examples shown in this post, the text in brackets varies by the type of contribution, as described in Section 10.5 of the Publication Manual (7th ed.). Options for bracketed text include “Conference session,” “Paper presentation,” “Keynote address,” and so forth. Use the labeling that matches what a user would see in the program or website for the conference.

1. The conference is canceled.

Include the APA Style reference for your presentation in your CV in the usual format shown in Section 10.5, with “(Conference canceled)” added at the end of the source element.

Boissy, A., Davis, C., & Montori, V. (2020, March 13–22). Keeping healthcare human in the digital era [Conference session]. SXSW Conference, Austin, TX, United States. (Conference canceled)


  • Parenthetical citation: (Boissy et al., 2020)
  • Narrative citation: Boissy et al. (2020)

2. The conference is changed to be online only.

If the conference has been moved to online only, use the template in Section 10.5 to create the reference. There is no need to indicate that the conference is online only. Online-only conferences use the same template as in-person conferences. Use the original planned location of the conference in the reference to aid readers in identifying the conference.

Kullgren, K., Carter, B., Caplin, D., Ramirez, L., Williams, S., Marsac, M., Judd-Glossy, L., & Brown, M. (2020, March 19–­21). Pediatric psychology consultation: State of the art and future directions [Conference workshop]. Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference, Dallas, TX, United States.


  • Parenthetical citation: (Kullgren et al., 2020)
  • Narrative citation: Kullgren et al. (2020)

3. The conference occurs (in person or online only), but you cannot attend or present.

If the conference proceeds but your session was canceled or you were not able to attend and were the sole author and presenter, indicate that the specific session was canceled in the bracketed description after the title of the session. Placing that notification in the title element of the reference clarifies that the specific session—but not the entire conference—was canceled.

Akamine, A. H. (2019, June 10–15). Immunopathology lab work [Poster session canceled]. 24th World Congress of Dermatology, Milan, Italy.


  • Parenthetical citation: (Akamine, 2019)
  • Narrative citation: Akamine (2019)


If the conference proceeds, and your session was held despite your absence, create the reference as usual, including your name as originally planned. For example, if you worked with coauthors on a session and they presented the work on your behalf, create a standard reference that uses “[Conference session]” for the bracketed text (see also Example 60 in Chapter 10).

4. The conference will be postponed.

If the conference will be postponed, simply update the dates and location as needed once the new information is known. There is no need to mention the postponement in the reference.

For more about references for conference sessions and presentations, see Section 10.5, and see more examples in the “Textual Works” section of our online reference examples.