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Citing In APAFormat

Help With APACiting

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When you are writing an APA paper, you will often need to refer to works by other people. This may involve describing research conducted by psychologists, paraphrasing another writer or including a direct quotation from another work. Proper APA citing demonstrates that you are familiar with the research on your topic, that your sources have been accurately documented and that you own conclusions are backed up by solid evidence.

APA Citing Style

When you are citing sources in a psychology paper, you will use APA format. This is the official publication style of the American Psychological Association and is frequently used in psychology, education and other social sciences.

Citing Your Sources in APA Format

All of the sources that you use in your paper should be cited in two ways. First, an in-text citation should be used wherever you refer to another source in the body of your paper. This is often accomplished by including the name of the source?s author and the publication year.

The second way that sources should be cited in APA format is to include a reference section at the end of your paper that provides the full reference for any and every source that was cited in the body of your paper. Always remember, if you cited a source in your paper, it must also be included in the reference section.

APA Citing for Books

The APA citing format you use for books can vary depending upon the number of authors that are listed. If a book has just one author, simply provide the author?s last name followed by the publication date. In cases where then are more than six authors, the last name and first initial of the first listed author should be used, followed by "et al.".

For example:

...students demonstrated competence after reading about APA format (Smith et al., 2005).


Smith et al., (2005) found that...

APA Citing for Articles in Journals, Magazines and Other Periodicals

When you are citing articles in academic journal, magazine, newspapers or other periodicals, you should follow the author-date format. APA citing should include the author's last name, followed by the date of publication.

For example:

...as Smith and Jones (2005) described...


...the study found a statistically significant relationship between the two variables (Smith & Jones, 2005).

In some instances, a publication might not have a listed author. Include the short title of the article followed by the date of publication.

For example:

...the findings were contradicted previous research on the subject ("New Research," 2009).

If you use a direct quotation, your APA citing should always include the page number where the source can be found. In cases where you are citing an organization such as the American Psychological Association (APA), spell out the entire name the first time you cite the source. All further citations should use the appropriate acronym.

APA Citing for Electronic Sources

The exact format you use for APA citing of electronic media depends upon the type of source that is used. In many cases, the format will be very similar to that of books or journal articles, but you should also include the URL of the source and the date it was accessed in the reference section. Learn more in this article on how to cite electronic sources in APA format.

Kendra Cherry

Kendra Cherry
Psychology Guide

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