The American Psychological Association (APA) Referencing System

The APA (American Psychological Association) style requires two elements: in-text citations throughout your assignment, and a reference list at the end.

1. Throughout the text: In-text citations

Include information about a source within the text of your assignment:

  • the name of the author or authors
  • the year of publication
  • the page number (see below for further information)

Citations may be placed at the end of a sentence (before the concluding punctuation) in brackets

Paraphrase of the source (in your own words)

Encouraging students to memorise information and then testing their memory has been a consistent criterion of pedagogy (Broudy, 1998).

Broudy (1998, p. 8) explains that memorisation does not result in an ability to solve problems.

Quotation (exact words from the source)

Broudy (1998, p. 9) argues that “on the common criteria for schooling, our sample citizen has failed because he cannot replicate the necessary skill or apply the relevant principles”.

2. At the end: References

At the end of the text, include a list of References, a single list of all the sources of information you have cited in your assignment. Begin the reference list on a new page and title it “References”. Centre the title on the page. Each entry should have a hanging indent.

Each list item requires specific bibliographic information. For example, in the case of a book, ‘bibliographical details’ refers to: author/editor, year of publication, title, edition, place of publication and publisher, as found in the title pages (some details will vary).

Wolpe, A. (1988). Within school walls. London, England: Routledge.

Woods, C. & Griffiths, A. (1995). The real McCoy. Design World, 12(3), 2-13.

List each item in alphabetical order (by author surname). Titles should be in italics. All of the references included in the list must also be cited in the text.

When to include page numbers
When you quote a source (reproduce material word for word), page numbers are required. When paraphrasing or referring to an idea contained in another work, the APA publications manual 6th edn. (p. 171) encourages you to provide page numbers, to help the reader locate the information in a long text. However, this is not a ‘compulsory’ requirement. Check with your lecturer about their preferences on the inclusion or exclusion of page numbers for paraphrased information in your assignments.

Next: How to cite using APA referencing

Related tags: Academic skills