APA Style is one of the most commonly used citation styles and is used in social science fields and beyond. It helps promote clear communication between the researchers and scholars who use it. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association contains information about how to format papers for both students and professionals. It also gives specific guidance on how to cite the information and ideas used within your writing.
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When directly quoting, it is necessary to include the author, publication year, and page number within the reference.
Example: Teaching practice is essential for student buy-in: “The most widely accepted view of engagement in the higher education literature emphasizes student behaviour and teaching practice” (Kahu, 2011, p. 759).
You may choose to include the author’s last name along with the publication date within parentheses as an introductory phrase preceding the quotation.
Example: According to Kahu (2011), “The most widely accepted view of engagement in the higher education literature emphasizes student behaviour and teaching practice” (p. 759).
When paraphrasing, the only elements that are necessary to reference are both the author and the year of publication. While not necessary, APA style guidelines support the inclusion of the specific page range for a paraphrase or summary to aid readers.
Example: According to Kahu (2011), student behaviour and teaching practices are two of the most acknowledged traits of engagement within higher education literature.
Example: Student behaviour and teaching practices are two of the most acknowledged traits of higher education engagement (Kahu, 2011, p. 756).
When attempting to cite several sources within one in-text citation, citations must be placed in alphabetic order along with semicolons to separate them.
Example: (Kahu, 2011; Muehlenkamp et al., 2015; Zepke, 2015)
Following is a list of terms with definitions that should be helpful in understanding the vocabulary that goes along with APA Style citation.
Recognizing the sources of information and ideas in your project.
Taking and using the words or ideas of someone else and representing them as your own.
Taking information that you have read from another source and putting it into your own words. Paraphrased information is followed by a citation.
Taking text originally published elsewhere, and copying it. Direct quotations appear in quotation marks and end with a citation.
A brief note describing the sources in your paper or project, within the text of the paper itself, to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should match more detailed information that is available in the reference list.
Reference list entry:
Gives details about the cited source.
Contains details on all of the sources cited in a paper and is usually found at the end of the paper.
Some electronic content (i.e. online academic journal articles) is assigned a number called a Digital Object Identifier (DOI or doi). This system can be really helpful because items can be tracked down online using the doi.
The retrieval date is the date you visited a website or other online source to gather the information that you are citing. It is used for online sources where content is likely to change over time and no permanently archived versions are available.