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 Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (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, 2018)

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, 2018, pp. 25-26)

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).
  • Edition (in round brackets), if other than first edition.
  • 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. (2017). The disability support worker (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Cengage Learning.

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.

Webber (2018, p. 82) concludes that “addressing the issue of school dropout not only affects the education system, but may also serve as a prevention effort for the welfare, mental health, and corrections systems”.

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, suggesting:

These overload issues can reach across the lifespan and affect individuals in many ways. As related issues continue to emerge, counselors will need to be aware of potential mental health problems stemming from technology overload and continue to research and develop the skills needed for effective interventions. In the digital age, these capabilities will be crucial in helping clients regain and maintain a healthy balance of life, work, and technology. (Scott, Valley & Simecka, 2017, p. 605)

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

Citing tables and figures

  • Tables are numerical values or text displayed in rows and columns.
  • Figures include graphs, charts, maps, drawings and photographs.

When including tables or figures in your work, please note:

  • All tables and figures must be referred to in the main body of the text.
  • Number all tables and figures in the order they first appear in the text.
  • Refer to them in the text by their number. For example:

As shown in Table 2...

OR

As illustrated in Figure 3...

  • Each table or figure should be accompanied by a concise description of the contents, presented directly below the figure.
  • When reproducing a table or figure from another source you must also include a citation with the caption, as well as in the Reference list. You may need to obtain written permission from the copyright holder. The copyright permission statement should be included at the end of the caption.
  • Note that you should use the wording "Reprinted [or Adapted] with permission" only when permission has been sought and granted.

Examples:

1. If you reproduce a figure, credit the original source in full at the bottom of the reproduction. Cite the source in full in your reference list:

Figure 1. 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.

Reference List

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

2. If you adapt a figure, 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 1. 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. Adapted with permission.

Reference List

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

3. Follow a discussion of a figure viewed in another source (but not reproduced) with an in-text citation for the published source. Include the figure number as it appears in the published source. 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).

Reference List

Cunningham, D. (2008). Evaluation techniques. Annals of Psychiatry36(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 and you have been unable to locate the original source, cite the source you have read in the Reference list; in text, name the original work and give the citation for the source where you found the information. For example:

Sue reads an article by Chris Brown in the Journal of Library Administration in which he cites or refers to statements made by Ulrich Boser in his book ‘Learn better’. Sue wants to refer to Boser’s statement in her assignment.

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

... (Boser as cited in Brown, 2018)
                        OR 
Boser (as cited in Brown, 2018) states ...

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

Brown, C. (2018). Creating better learners through learning science: A sample of methods. Journal of Library Administration, 58(4), 375-

381. doi:10.1080/01930826.2018.1448652

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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