Using APA Referencing in Practice

Writing academic papers will require a referencing style; Michael has touched on the use of Chicago, MLA and APA in the past but in this post I’m going to explain and outline the APA referencing system.

APA stands for the American Psychological Association and their referencing style is very common. I’ll cover off UK and US referencing styles in future posts so don’t think I’m singling APA out for special attention.

The APA system is broken into two main parts:

  • In-text citations

  • A reference list

In-Text Citations

In-text citations as the name suggests are included within the text; for direct quotations they state the name of the writer, the publication and page number with the date published of the source you are using. Where you paraphrase the source you only need the name of the writer and the date published but the wording must be your own.

An example is:

Understanding astronomical variances in stellar drift is difficult, as has been observed (ERH, 2008, The Moon is My Oyster) “Stellar drift has significant implications for worm hole transportation.”

This would be the correct use of an APA style citation for the initial use of the source, but you only need to state the writer’s name in subsequent citations IF within the same paragraph, so:

As has also been noted (ERH), “Stargate SG-1 has a great deal of good science to offer and not simply entertainment.”

If you are quoting at length (more than 40 words) you should cite the quote WITHOUT quotation marks by inserting the quote in a separate paragraph that is indented between 5 and 7 spaces, preferably using single spacing and still add the name of the author, publication date and page number in brackets at the beginning or end of the text.

An example would be:

Blah blah blah blah blah:

Lots of Stargate blah,lots and lots of blah, Teal’c looks silly with hair on, O’Neill should grow up and Samantha Carter really ought to let her hair down far more often. In fact, Doctor Jackson is the only decent character and that is because he is Canadian. (ERH, 2008 p7)

…and more blah.

The Reference List

APA follows a referencing format that is determined by the publication media you are writing for; the split is between writing for a book (or producing a report) or for a journal.

The referencing list is placed at the bottom of the page within which you are citing the source.

For Books and Reports

Author, (date), Title, Place of Publication, Publisher

e.g. Smith K,(2008), Using APA Referencing in Practice, London UK, Supaproofread

For a Journal

Author, (Date), Title, Journal Name, Volume (Issue), Page

e.g. Smith K, 2008, Stargate Science, SG-1 Fan Magazine, 12(3), 22-33

There are other rules regarding citing multiple authors, using et al, citing an author who has in turn cited another and so on and you can gain a greater understanding of the referencing style by visiting this helpful site – ACU