APA format citation
It’s that time of year again and you need to get your head around the APA format for citations in your work. As many of us do, we put off this part until the end, but hopefully you are reading this before you’ve finished your work!
But first, a little bit about what it actually is and how you need to use it:
What is a ‘citation’?
- Usually relating to an academic piece of work, a citation is when you refer to a source that you have quoted within your piece of work.
Why do I need to cite my sources?
- To avoid plagiarism it is vital to reference your sources appropriately and if you don’t it could look like you are taking credit for someone else’s work.
When do I need to cite?
- Sometimes it is unclear as to when to cite something so here is a list of when you should be citing something:
- When you are stating the outcome of an experiment or study.
- When you are quoting directly from someone’s work.
- When you summarise ideas.
- When you build on someone else’s work or findings and have used them as a starting point.
- When you quote two words or more.
- When something is not commonly known (think about your audience here!)
But what is the APA format for citation?
- Depending on your school/university/governing body you will be given guidelines to follow when citing a source. In this case, you have been told to follow the American Psychological Association – or better known to you as APA. The APA citations format is unique to any other type of guideline and usually refers to the APA citation formatting of branches within the field of social science.
The APA formatting citation headache
- This is not intended to scare you; it’s intended to help you. The problematic nature of referencing lies in the fact that there are so many different required formats depending on the source you are using. It can be a headache if you leave them all until the end they build up and get out of control, seriously!
- The referencing information outlined on this page will help you go directly to the source and cite it appropriately at the time you are using it. Simple!
So how do I use the APA style?
- Obviously, it’s scholarly work and as such it can be quite time consuming because the APA citation formats differ between sources.
Here is a simple guide to show you how to cite sources in APA format:
- An APA format citation in text uses the author’s name and year, for example: (Smithson, 1994) and if you cite two or more authors, always cite them in alphabetical order, separating them by a semi-colon:
(Brown, 1991; Smith 1994), and when citing a direct quote you must include the page number too, if that is unknown then the paragraph number will suffice: (Smithson, 1994, P.12).
How do I cite something unknown?
- When citing something that doesn’t include an author or date for example you must make sure that your APA format cite looks like this:
“A similar study was done to find students.....(“Title of book”, n.d.).
How do I use the APA reference citation?
- Basically, referencing just means that you are acknowledging your source. At the end of your piece of work there should be a references page which will correspond exactly to your in-text citations. You have now seen the APA cite format and can see that it is important to include the author (if known, and publication.
The next section provides you with the knowledge of how to format your references and gives examples of how to specifically cite different sources.
Formatting that all important reference page
Your works cited page format is the easy part:
- Start a new page
- Put all references in alphabetical order (but do this at the end!)
- Use Times New Roman, size 12.
- Number all pages
Citing entire books
- An apa format citation in a book should include the authors, date in brackets, title of book in italics and the publisher:
Robertson, J., & Grieve, M. (1999). Forensic Examination of Fibres. London CRC Press.
- APA formatting citations change depending on the source therefore an e-book is cited differently to that of a paperback. You will need to include all the information above but after the date [you need to state information about the format in square brackets].
Citing Journal Articles
- The structure will need to be slightly different here: Authors.
(Year published). Journal Title. Journal name in italics, Volume(issue), page(s).
- When citing from a magazine you should include:
Name(s) (Publication). Article Title. Magazine Name, Volume Number, Page numbers.
- Maybe you’ve watched a video and need to include it in your bibliography. This is how it should be cited:
Name (job title). (Release year). FilmTitle [Film Type]. Film location: Distributor.
Hitchcock, A. (Producer & Director). (1954). Rear Window. [Film]. Los Angeles: MGM.
Citing a Webpage
When citing a webpage you must include:
Author. (Date) Website Title. URL: http://webpage.com Month (if given) and year.
ATLAS. (2013). The Center for Writing Studies. URL: http://www.cws.illinois.edu/ 2013
So, one last thing. If you keep all of this information by your side while you are doing your research you will ensure that a pile of notes related to authors and dates don’t crop up out of nowhere when you thought you had finished everything! And remember, if in doubt, use the auto cite machine that will help you check your APA format.
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