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APA Citation Style: How to Generate References

APA Citation Style

APA stands for American Psychological Association. This citation style is commonly used by writers and students in fields of Social Sciences, such as Psychology, Linguistics, Sociology, Economics, and Criminology. APA Style provides fairly comprehensive guidelines for writing academic papers regardless of subject or discipline.

When working with The APA (American Psychological Association) for citation and referencing, two basic elements are required: inputting in-text citations throughout your work and adding a reference list at the end of your entire write up or project.

Throughout your write up: In-text citations

In-text citations are citations that are within the main body of the text and refer to a direct quote or paraphrase. These will correspond to a reference in your main reference list at the end of your entire work. The format of these citations includes the surname of the author and date of publication only.

Add information about the source used within the writings of your work following this format

  • the name of the author or authors
  • the year of publication
  • the page number (see below for further explanation).

An example: author Laura Daniel, this takes the form:

Daniel (2006) states… Or … (Daniel, 2006).

Citations may be placed at the end of a sentence before the concluding punctuation in brackets.

An example is given below when paraphrasing a source in your own words within your writing.

Encouraging students to memorize information and then testing their memory has been a consistent criterion of pedagogy (Broudy, 1998).

Broudy (1998, p. 8) explains that memorization does not result in an ability to solve problems.

When using quotation (this means using exact same words from the source with no distortion)

Broudy (1998, p. 9) argues that “on the common criteria for schooling, our sample citizen has failed because he cannot replicate the necessary skill or apply the relevant principles”.

At the end: References

At the end of your work/write up, a list of references should be included; a single list of all the sources of information you have cited in your assignment. This reference list is written on a new page with the title “References”. This title should be written at the center of the page. Each entry should have a hanging indent. When using a hanging indent, it means that the first line of your reference will line up with the left margin, and each line after will be indented one-half inch from the left margin (like a mini paragraph).

Each list item requires specific bibliographic information. For example, in the case of a book, ‘bibliographical details’ refers to: author/editor, year of publication, title, edition, place of publication, and publisher, as found in the title pages (some details will vary depending on the book).

List each item in alphabetical order (by author surname). Titles should be in italics. All of the references included in the list must also be cited in the text.

Knowing when to include page numbers

Page numbers are required when you quote a source (reproducing a material word for word). When paraphrasing or referring to an idea contained in another work, the APA publications manual 6th edition. (p. 171) encourages you to provide page numbers, to help the reader locate the information in a long text. Use the abbreviation “p.” (for one page) or “pp.” (for multiple pages) before listing the page number(s). Use an en dash for page ranges.

However, this is not a ‘compulsory’ requirement. You could further confirm this by checking with your lecturer about their preferences on the inclusion or exclusion of page numbers for paraphrased information in your assignments.

An APA reference list must:

Start the referencing on a new page at the end of the entire write up (or project).

This should be centered.

It should be written alphabetically starting with the name of the first author (or title if the author isn’t known, in this case, a, an and they should be ignored)

Important guidelines to note when referencing with APA Reference:

  • Author rules

The author’s initials should be separated and end with a full stop.

An example: Daniel. L.P

When there is more than one author the names are separated with a comma and an ampersand

An example: Daniel, L.P., Doolittle, S., & Brad, C

For authors with the same surnames and initials, names should be added in square brackets.

An example: Jonathan, M. [Michael].

  • Dates rules

This refers to the publishing date but if the date is not known ‘n.d’ should be used in the place of the supposed date.

An example: Jonathan, M.K (n.d)

  • Title rules

The format used here changes depending on how the source was gotten, online, or a paper copy.

  • Publisher rules

If the source being referenced was published in the United States, then the city and two letter state code must be stated. An example: Trenton, NJ

When not published in the United States, the city and country should be written.

An example: Florence, Italy

Author’s surname, initial (s). (Date published). Title of source. Location of publisher: publisher. Retrieved from URL

Note: Retrieved is used when the source is gotten online.