In scholarly writing, it is both a moral & legal requirement to properly acknowledge someone else’s ideas or words you have used in your research project. Failure to acknowledge your source of information, you may be accused of plagiarism and infringing copyright.
The American Psychological Association (APA) referencing styles is a widely used standardized style in scholarly writing to acknowledge the source of information used in research. By referencing properly, it demonstrates your scholarly honesty in having undertaken research on your topic and having located relevant information.
The Two Parts of APA Referencing Styles
There are two main parts to APA Referencing (Universal College of Learning [UCOL], 2017) :
- This part is often referred to as citing in text, in text citations or text citations. It is the source of information you have used to write your project where you demonstrate support for your ideas, arguments and views.
- The second part to referencing is the construction of a reference list. It shows the complete details of whatever you cited. It appears in an alphabetical order at the end of your research report with a hanging indentation.
Types of Citations
- If citations are in brackets they are referred to as parenthetical. An example is given as: (Mahama, 2019). One straightforward rule by APA manual (2010, p. 174) states: “Do include the year in all parenthetical citations.” This means that the year of the pubnlication should be included in all citations that are in brackets. This applies irrespective of the style (part of the narrative, or parenthetical) of the first citation.
- If a citation is part of the narrative, then it’ll look like: According to Mahama (2019)…. There are two rules for this style of citing. If the first citation is part of the narrative, do not include the year in subsequent references that are in the narrative (APA, 2010).
This quotation, otherwise known as direct quotation refers to materials you quote that are less than 40 words. One common practice for short quotation is to place the author and year before the quotation. The page appears at the end of the quotation. Place the words in double quotes.
When the quote is at least 40 words, it is considered long quotation. It is indented 5 to 7 spaces (1.27 cm) and set at double spacing. The words are not placed in quotes.
Citing One Author
Citing Two Authors
More than Two Authors
When three to five authors are involved, you cite in your first citation all their surnames followed by year of publication. In subsequent citations, you cite only the surname of the first author followed by the Latin word “et al.” But when the subsequent citations are within the same paragraph, you omit the year for all the citations. When more than five authors are to be cited, use surname of the first author followed by “et al.” in both the first and subsequent citations. Do not italicise et al. in any citations.
Subsequent citation reads as:
Organisation as Author
When organisations are presented as authors in a publication, the full expression other than the initials of the body is cited. In subsequent citations, only the initials are used.
Subsequent citation reads as
Two or More Works within the Same Parentheses
When you cite works of two or more sources within the same parentheses, sort the surnames of the authors alphabetically and separate the citations with semicolon (s).
An Author with Several Works with Same Date
When you cite several works by the same author with the same year of publication, you must introduce the letters a, b, c, etc. after the year of publication.
Adam authored the three books in 2010, (a) ABC of Excel, (b) Data Analysis, and (c) ABC of Database. The in-text citation, after sorting the titles alphabetically is presented as:
A Secondary Source
We want to assume that you read the book of Amedahe he published in 2002 where he referenced previous studies undertaken by Glass and Hopkins on descriptive statistics. Amedahe’s material is what you are privy to and therefore becomes the secondary source.
The in-text citation of the given source is presented as:
The citation then appears in the reference list entry as:
For the reference list, use (a) hanging indentation for each reference list, (b) sentence case for the title of a non-periodic and title case for the article of a journal, and (c) double spacing (Figure 9).
To download sample of an indented reference list click
Periodicals (journal with one author)
Journal Article (with two authors)
Note: If the publication has no city of publication, then use the country as shown in the given example.
Book with Edition
Book with Editor
Daily Newspaper Article (with an author)
Daily Newspaper Article (no author identified)
In the reference of this type of article, you mention only the title of the article if no author is identified and italicize the newspaper name.
Encyclopaedia or Dictionary
When dealing works with a large editorial board, you list the name of the lead editor, followed by et al.
Online Dictionary Sources
When you cite an online dictionary do the following: (a) Italicize the source of the cited word after In, (b) Insert the date the dictionary was published, or revised. In case the date is not so obvious use the copyright date, (c) Provide the full uniform resource locator (URL) and the date the material was retrieved.
Internet Articles Based on a Print Source
Use the same basic primary journal reference for online articles retrieved. If the article is viewed only in its electronic form, introduce square brackets [ ] after the article.
Article in an Internet-Only Journal
Universal College of Learning. (2017). A guide to APA referencing style (6th ed.). Retrieved on April 30, 2019 from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://student.ucol.ac.nz/library/onlineresources/Documents/APA_Guide_2017.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwibtZith8HiAhWUonEKHaifBwUQFjAAegQIAhAB&usg=AOvVaw10KdXV9EjnRdfGrPWlW_Cd
American Psychological Association. (2019). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
How to Acknowledge this Post
The Call Info. (January 25, 2020). Referencing styles [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://research.thecallinfo.com/referencing-styles/