APA Referencing: Getting started in APA Referencing

What is a DOI?

A DOI, or digital object identifier, is a unique, permanent identification number that will take you straight to a document no matter where it is located on the Internet. You can find out more about DOIs in the 6th edition of the APA Publication Manual (pp. 188–192). DOIs figure prominently in the APA 6th edition reference style, so you need to be aware of when to include them in your references.

(Adapted from: Lee, C. (2009, September 21). APA Style Blog: A DOI primer [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2009/09/a-doi-primer.html)

Note that a DOI will usually link to a record on a publisher's website, and may not always include full text, even though the Library may have full text access. It's always worthwhile checking the Library catalogue or databases & e-journals page to see if full text is available.

Useful Library resources

In-text referencing

APA is an 'author/date' system, so your in-text reference for all formats (book, journal article, web document) consists of the author(s) surname and year of publication.

The basics of an in-text reference in APA:

  • Include author or authors and year of publication.
  • Use round brackets.

Example: (Smith & Bruce, 2011)

""

If you quote directly from an author you need to include the page or paragraph number of the quote in your in-text reference. See the 'Quotes' section below for more advice on adding quotes into your work.

  • Include author or authors, year of publication and page or paragraph number of your quote.
  • Use round brackets.

Example: (Smith & Bruce, 2011)

""

The Reference List

All in-text references should be listed in the reference list at the end of your document. The purpose of the reference list entry is to contain all the information that a reader of your work needs to follow-up on your sources. An important principle in referencing is to be consistent.

When compiling your APA Reference List, you should:

  • List references on a new page with a centred heading titled: References.
  • Include all your references, regardless of format, e.g. books, journal articles, online sources, in one alphabetical listing from A - Z.
  • Order entries alphabetically by surname of author(s).
  • List works with no author under the first significant word of the title.
  • Indent second and subsequent lines of each entry (5-7 spaces).
  • Use double spacing.
  • Note that all references in APA end with a full stop except when the reference ends with a URL or a doi.

Journal article

A basic reference list entry for a journal article in APA must include:

  • Author or authors. The surname is followed by first initials.
  • Year of publication of the article (in round brackets).
  • Article title.
  • Journal title (in italics).
  • Volume of journal (in italics).
  • Issue of journal (no italics).
  • Page range of article.
  • DOI.
  • The first line of each citation is left adjusted. Every subsequent line is indented 5-7 spaces.

Example: Ruxton, C. (2016). Tea: Hydration and other health benefits. Primary Health Care, 26(8),

                       34-42. doi:10.7748/phc.2016.e1162

Book

A basic reference list entry for a book (print version) in APA must include:

  • Author or authors. The surname is followed by first initials.
  • Year of publication of the book (in round brackets).
  • Book title (in italics).
  • Place of publication.
  • Publisher.
  • The first line of each citation is left adjusted. Every subsequent line is indented 5-7 spaces.

Example: Arnott, G. D. (2005). Working in aged care and disability services: An introduction. Croydon, VIC: Tertiary Press.

""

Quotes in APA

For direct quotes of less than 40 words, incorporate them into the text and enclose the quote with double quotation marks, e.g.

           Interpreting these results, Robbins et al. (2003, p. 541) suggested that the "therapists in dropout cases may have
           inadvertently validated parental negativity about the adolescent without adequately responding to the adolescent's needs
           or concerns", contributing to an overall climate of negativity.

For direct quotes of 40 or more words start a new paragraph that is indented from the left. The entire quote should be double-spaced. Quotation marks are not required e.g.

     Others have contradicted this view:

Co-presence does not ensure intimate interaction among all group members. Consider large-scale social gatherings in which hundreds or thousands of people gather in a location to perform a ritual or celebrate an event. 
           In these instances, participants are able to see the visible manifestation of the group, the physical gathering, yet their ability to make direct, intimate connections with those around them is limited by the sheer magnitude of the assembly. (Purcell, 1997, pp. 111-112)

Note: Use paragraph numbers if no page numbers are available. 

Citing photos, tables, graphs and other illustrations

If you refer to a figure such as a table, graph, chart, map, drawing, photograph, or image in your work, there are three ways to give credit to the original source: 

  1. Follow a discussion of the figure with an in-text citation for the published source then cite the source in full in your reference list:

... evaluating the credibility of a source is shown as the interaction between one's defined need, specific attributes of the source, and rules of thumb which have worked previously when evaluating sources (Cunningham, 2008, p. 35, fig. 3).

Cunningham, D. (2008). Evaluation techniques. Annals of Psychiatry, 36(2), 24-45.

  1. If you reproduce a copy of a figure to illustrate your work, credit the original source in full at the bottom of the reproduction and cite the source in full in your reference list:

Figure 3. A credibility judgment is arrived at within the larger context of one's background, prior knowledge, assumptions and biases, as one performs a series of iterative assessments based on one's defined need, specific attributes of the source and rules of thumb that have worked successfully in the past. From "Evaluation techniques," by D. Cunningham, 2008, Annals of Psychiatry, 36, p. 35. Copyright 2008 by David Cunningham. Reprinted with permission.

Cunningham, D. (2008). Evaluation techniques. Annals of Psychiatry, 36(2), 24-45.

  1. If you adapt a figure to illustrate your work, credit the original source in full at the bottom of the figure but add the words 'Adapted from' to indicate it has been changed by you, and cite the source in full in your reference list:

Figure 3. A credibility judgment is arrived at within the larger context of one's background, prior knowledge, assumptions and biases, as one makes interim decisions based on one's defined need, specific attributes of the source and rules of thumb that have worked successfully in the past. Adapted from "Evaluation techniques," by D. Cunningham, 2008, Annals of Psychiatry 36, p. 35. Copyright 2008 by David Cunningham.

Cunningham, D. (2008). Evaluation techniques. Annals of Psychiatry, 36(2), 24-45.

Secondary sources

APA discourages the use of secondary sources unless the original work is unavailable. If you read an article or book which references some information that you also want to reference, always refer to the source where you found the information, not the original source. For example:

Sue reads an article by Alex Byrne in the Australian Library Journal in which he cites or refers to statements made by Tim O'Reilly on his website at http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html Sue wants to refer to O'Reilly's statement in her assignment.

Sue would acknowledge O'Reilly in her text but her reference is to the source where she saw the information. Sue might write as her in-text reference:

(O'Reilly as cited in Byrne, 2008)
                        OR 
O'Reilly (as cited in Bryne, 2008) states ...


In her reference list Sue would write a reference for Byrne's article because that's where she sourced the information. The entry in her References would be:

Byrne, A. (2008). Web 2.0 strategies in libraries and information services. The Australian Library Journal, 57(4), 365-376.

Video Transcript

In this presentation, you will learn the basics on how to create an in-text reference and a reference list in APA style.

So, what is an APA style of referencing? The APA Style is an author-date referencing system which draws upon the 6th edition of the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). Each work or source referred to within the body of your writing is given an in-text reference and an entry in the Reference list at the end of the document.

So, how do I format an In-text reference? When formatting your in-text reference you need to consider the following:Are you quoting directly or in other words copying “word to word” from a source? Or are you paraphrasing or summarising the words or ideas of others in your own words? If using a direct quote from a source, include the Author’s surname, the year of publication and the page number in round brackets and place quotation marks around the direct quote. Alternatively, the author’s name can be used anywhere within the sentence.  In this case, place the year of publication and the page number in round brackets next to the Author’s surname name. When paraphrasing or summarising the ideas or opinions of others, include the authors’ surname and year of publication in round brackets within the text of your writing. If including the author anywhere in the sentence, place year of publication in round brackets next to the Author’s name.

So, how do I reference when there is more than one author of a particular source? Here are some examples of how you would do an in-text reference when there is more than 1 author of a particular source. 

The next component of APA Referencing is to compile a Reference List. A Reference list includes full details of all your in-text references and is listed on a separate page at the end of your assignment titled: References. It is arranged in alphabetical order and must be indented from the second and subsequent lines of each entry (5-7 spaces). 

For further assistance, follow the link to the APA referencing Guide OR Contact us through ‘Ask a Librarian’.

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