About APA Referencing Style

Comprehensive Guide to APA Referencing Style

When students write or create a research paper, they probably use information from the work of other individuals to develop a high-scoring assignment. The signs of a good researcher or scholar are that he uses others’ work in a responsible way which includes indicating the sources in the project. It also prevents plagiarism- which is the term used for illegal copying of someone else’s work.

This word is derived from the Latin word, ‘plagiare’, means,“to kidnap.” Over the years, this term has evolved, and is now used to define the act of stealing other people’s work and tagging it as one’s own, without acknowledging the original writer. Plagiarism is illegal and considered as serious offense in universities. However, it can be prevented by including citations in write-ups.

What Is APA Referencing Style?

APA (American Psychological Association) is an author-date citation style. Although it was created mainly for psychology subject, it has been adopted by other disciplines also. There are two major components of this style-

a)The In-text citation within the text of the document, e.g. (Smith, 2010). Also called as parenthetical citations, it is included in three instances: paraphrasing information, direct quote, or simply referring to certain piece of information from another source.

b)The detailed Reference list attached at the end of the document. It is full citations including all of the in-text citations mentioned in the main content of a research project. It is listed in alphabetical order of author’s last names.

Another purpose of reference list, apart from avoiding plagiarism, is to enable readers to locate the sources used in the document.
At the same time, it gives credit to original authors that you have consulted in your research. Except personal communication (emails or telephonic conversation), all other references must appear in the reference list.

General Rules Followed in APA Referencing List

Students need to include only those sources that are used in any research document. It doesn’t require bibliographies. The general formatting rules that are applied in APA referencing style are as follows:

  1. Begin the reference list on a new page and give a centered heading as References.
  2. Give double-space for all reference entries.
  3. Make sure that all the entries are arranged in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author.
  4. If you are citing more than one work by an author, then list them by earliest publication date first.
  5. If your list has more than one item published by same author in the same year, then add lower case letters just after the year (e.g. 1983a). They must follow alphabetical order of title, ignoring initial articles, such as a, an and the.

They must follow alphabetical order of title, ignoring initial articles, such as a, an and the.

In case no author name is mentioned, the title replaces the author’s position. When the title begins with numerals, spell them out.

How to cite different sources?

Books with one author


Author(s) or editor(s). (Year). Title of book: Subtitle of book (Edition). City, State abbreviation or Country of publication: Publisher.


Label, W. A. (2010). Accounting for non-accountants: The fast and easy way to learn the basics (2nd ed.). Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.

Jones, R. (2007). Nursing leadership and management: Theories, process and practice. Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis

Books with more than one author

Gazda, G. M., Balzer, F. J., Childers, W. C., Nealy, A. U., Phelps, R. E., & Walters, R. P. (2005). Human relations development: A manual for educators (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Educational.

Murray, R. B., Zentner, J. P., & Yakimo, R. (2009). Health promotion strategies through the life span. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Books with no author


Collins concise New Zealand dictionary (7th ed.). (2008). London, England: Collins.

New concise world atlas. (2007). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Title of the book will move to the place of Author’s name.

Electronic Books (ebooks)


Author(s) (if editor, include (Ed.) after name). (Year). Title of eBook: Subtitle of eBook (Edition) [Type of eReader version]. Retrieved from URL of book


Kutz, M. (Ed.). (2009). Eschbach’s handbook of engineering fundamentals (5th ed.).

Retrieved from

Marlatt, G. A., & Witkiewitz, K. (Eds.). (2009). Addictive behaviors: New readings on etiology, prevention, and treatment. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pubs/databases/psycbooks/index.aspx

Journal Articles


Author, A. A. (year of publication). Title of article. Journal Title, volume number(issue number), page–page.


Matney, G. T. (2014). Early mathematics fluency with CCSSM. Teaching Children Mathematics, 21(1), 27-35.

Jacoby, W. G. (1994). Public attitudes toward government spending. American Journal of Political Science, 38(2), 336-361.



Last, F. M. (Year, Month Published). Article title. Magazine Title, volume(issue), pp. Page(s)


Tumulty, K. (2006, April). Should they stay or should they go? Time, 167(15), 3-40.

Quammen, D. (2008, December). The man who wasn’t Darwin. National Geographic Magazine, 214(6), 106.



Last, F. M. (Year, Month Date Published). Article title. Newspaper Title, pp. Page(s).


Meier, B. (2013, January 1). Energy Drinks Promise Edge, but Experts Say Proof Is Scant. New York Times, p. 1.

Packham, B. (2010, January 18). Bullies to show concern: Schools to try Euro method that lets thugs off the hook. Herald-Sun. p. 6.

Referencing Tools Vancouver Harvard APA

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