This is a guide to the 7th Edition of APA style, which is a recent update to the APA citation style.
Your lecturer may prefer APA 6th Edition. Check your subject outline to see which version of APA you have been asked to use. If the subject outline does not specify which APA edition you should be using, please check with your lecturer.
If you are supposed to use APA 6th Edition, please go to the APA (6th Edition) Referencing Guide:
Remember, you have to cite every piece of information that came from another source, whether or not it is in your own words. Everything cited in the text must appear in the reference list, and everything in your reference list must be something you have referred to in text. Make sure you don't have anything in one place that isn't in the other.
There are two basic ways to cite someone's work in text.
In narrative citations, the authors are part of the sentence - you are referring to them by name. For example:
Becker (2013) defined gamification as giving the mechanics of principles of a game to other activities.
Cho and Castañeda (2019) noted that game-like activities are frequently used in language classes that adopt mobile and computer technologies.
In parenthetical citations, the authors are not mentioned in the sentence, just the content of their work. Place the citation at the end of the sentence or clause where you have used their information. The author's names are placed in the brackets (parentheses) with the rest of the citation details:
Gamification involves giving the mechanics or principles of a game to another activity (Becker, 2013).
Increasingly, game-like activities are frequently used in language classes that adopt mobile and computer technologies (Cho & Castañeda, 2019).
Using references in text
For APA, you use the authors' surnames only and the year in text. If you are using a direct quote, you will also need to use a page number.
If an in-text citation has the authors' names as part of the sentence (that is, outside of brackets) place the year and page numbers in brackets immediately after the name, and use 'and' between the authors' names: Jones and Smith (2020, p. 29)
If an in-text citation has the authors' names in brackets use "&" between the authors' names : (Jones & Smith, 2020, p. 29).
Note: Some lecturers want page numbers for all citations, while some only want page numbers with direct quotes. Check with your lecturer to see what you need to do for your assignment.
Smith (2020) found that "the mice disappeared within minutes" (pp. 29-30).
The author stated "the mice disappeared within minutes" (Smith, 2020, p. 29).
Jones and Smith (2020) found that "the mice disappeared within minutes" (pp. 29-30).
The authors stated "the mice disappeared within minutes" (Jones & Smith, 2020, p. 29).
For 3 or more authors, use the first author and "et al." for all in-text citations
Green et al.'s (2019) findings indicated that the intervention was not based on evidence from clinical trials.
It appears the intervention was not based on evidence from clinical trials (Green et al., 2019).
If you cite more than one work in the same set of brackets in text, your citations will go in the same order in which they will appear in your reference list (i.e. alphabetical order, then oldest to newest for works by the same author) and be separated by a semi-colon. E.g.:
If your author isn't an "author".
Whoever is in the "author" position of the refence in the references list is treated like an author in text. So, for example, if you had an edited book and the editors of the book were in the "author" position at the beginning of the reference, you would treat them exactly the same way as you would an author - do not include any other information. The same applies for works where the "author" is an illustrator, producer, composer, etc.
Quoting is when you have used the exact words from your source. You should always put the words that come exactly (word for word) in "quotation marks", and an in-text citation in the correct format for your referencing style.
It is always a good idea to keep direct quotes to a minimum. Quoting doesn't showcase your writing ability - all it shows is that you can read (plus, lecturers hate reading assignments with a lot of quotes).
You should only use direct quotes if the exact wording is important, otherwise it is better to paraphrase.
If you feel a direct quote is appropriate, try to keep only the most important part of the quote and avoid letting it take up the entire sentence - always start or end the sentence with your own words to tie the quote back into your assignment. Long quotes (more than 40 words) are called "block quotes" and are rarely used in most subject areas (they mostly belong in Literature, History or similar subjects). Each referencing style has rules for setting out a block quote. Check with your style guide.
It has been observed that "pink fairy armadillos seem to be extremely susceptible to stress" (Superina, 2011, p. 6).
NB! Most referencing styles will require a page number to tell readers where to find the original quote.
Summarising is when you take a large amount of text (for example, several paragraphs or a whole document) and "boil it down" to the most important facts or the essence of the argument. You then give this "in a nutshell" version in your own words.
It is a type of paraphrasing, and you will be using this frequently in your assignments, but note that summarising another person's work or argument isn't showing how you make connections or understand implications. This is preferred to quoting, but where possible try to go beyond simply summarising another person's information without "adding value".
And, remember, the words must be your own words. If you use the exact wording from the original at any time, those words must be treated as a direct quote.
All information must be cited, even if it is in your own words.
Superina (2011) observed a captive pink fairy armadillo, and noticed any variation in its environment could cause great stress.
NB! Some lecturers and citation styles want page numbers for everything you cite, others only want page numbers for direct quotes. Check with your lecturer.
Paraphrasing is when you take the core idea from the original text, and rewrite it completely in your own words (and "voice").
Paraphrasing often involves commenting about the information at the same time, and this is where you can really show your understanding of the topic. You should try to do this within every paragraph in the body of your assignment.
When paraphrasing, it is important to remember that using a thesaurus to change every other word isn't really paraphrasing. It's patchwriting, and it's a kind of plagiarism (as you are not creating original work).
Use your own voice! You sound like you when you write - you have a distinctive style that is all your own, and when your "tone" suddenly changes for a section of your assignment, it looks highly suspicious. Your lecturer starts to wonder if you really wrote that part yourself. Make sure you have genuinely thought about how *you* would write this information, and that the paraphrasing really is in your own words.
Always cite your sources! Even if you have drawn from three different papers to write this one sentence, which is completely in your own words, you still have to cite your sources for that sentence (oh, and excellent work, by the way).
Captive pink fairy armadillos do not respond well to changes in their environment and can be easily stressed (Superina, 2011).
NB! Some lecturers and citation styles want page numbers for all citations, others only want them for direct quotes. Check with your lecturer.
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You can read the entire Big Fake Essay on the Writing Guide. It includes more details about academic writing and the formatting of essays.
When you have multiple authors with the same surname who published in the same year:
If your authors have different initials, then include the initials:
As A. Smith (2016) noted...
...which was confirmed by J.G. Smith's (2016) study.
(A. Smith, 2016; J. G. Smith, 2016).
If your authors have the same initials, then include the name:
As Adam Smith noted...
...which was confirmed by Amy Smith's (2016) study.
(Adam Smith, 2016; Amy Smith, 2016).
Note: In your reference list, you would include the author's first name in [square brackets] after their initials:
Smith, A. [Adam]. (2016)...
Smith, A. [Amy]. (2016)...
When you have multiple works by the same author in the same year:
In your reference list, you will have arranged the works alphabetically by title (see the page on Reference Lists for more information). This decides which reference is "a", "b", "c", and so on. You cite them in text accordingly:
Asthma is the most common disease affecting the Queensland population (Queensland Health, 2017b). However, many people do not know how to manage their asthma symptoms (Queensland Health, 2017a).
When you have multiple works by the same author in different years:
Asthma is the most common disease affecting the Queensland population (Queensland Health, 2017, 2018).
When you do not have an author, and your reference list entry begins with the title:
Use the title in place of the author's name, and place it in "quotation marks" if it is the title of an article or book chapter, or in italics if the title would go in italics in your reference list:
During the 2017 presidential inauguration, there were some moments of awkwardness ("Mrs. Obama Says ‘Lovely Frame’", 2018).
Note: You do not need to use the entire title, but a reasonable portion so that it does not end too abruptly - "Mrs. Obama Says" would be too abrupt, but the full title "Mrs. Obama Says 'Lovely Frame' in Box During Awkward Handoff" is unecessarily long. You should also use title case for titles when referring to them in the text of your work.
If there are no page numbers, you can include any of the following in the in-text citation:
When you are citing a classical work, like the Bible or the Quran:
References to works of scripture or other classical works are treated differently to regular citations. See the APA Blog's entry for more details:
Happy Holiday Citing: Citation of Classical Works. (Please note, this document is from the 6th edition of APA).
In text citation:
If the name of the organisation first appears in a narrative citation, include the abbreviation before the year in brackets, separated with a comma. Use the official acronym/abreviation if you can find it. Otherwise check with your lecturer for permission to create your own acronyms.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2013) shows that...
The Queensland Department of Education (DoE, 2020) encourages students to... (please note, Queensland isn't part of the department's name, it is used in the sentence to provide clarity)
If the name of the organisation first appears in a citation in brackets, include the abbreviation in square brackets.
(Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS], 2013)
(Department of Education [DoE], 2020)
In the second and subsequent citations, only include the abbreviation or acronym
ABS (2013) found that ...
DoE (2020) instructs teachers to...
This is disputed (ABS, 2013).
Resources are designed to support "emotional learning pedagogy" (DoE, 2020)
In the reference list:
Use the full name of the organisation in the reference list.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2017). Australia's welfare 2017. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/australias-welfare-2017/contents/table-of-contents
Department of Education. (2020, April 22). Respectful relationships education program. Queensland Government. https://education.qld.gov.au/curriculum/stages-of-schooling/respectful-relationships
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