Valid from October 2012 (Issue 1, R1)
The Department of Social Sciences uses the American Psychological Association (APA) referencing style in all student work assessed by the Department. You must use the 6th version of the APA referencing style guide in all your Social Sciences coursework essays, reports, dissertations and other written work you submit to the Department. Social Sciences include all four undergraduate programmes (Communication & Media Studies, Criminology & Social Policy, Social Psychology, and Sociology), as well as all our departmental postgraduate programmes at MA level.
The APA style is widely used in the social sciences. This departmental referencing guidance includes basic information about the APA style guide. For more information, see the APA website at http://www.apastyle.org/index.aspx
Frequently asked questions about the APA are available at:
A tutorial on the basics of the APA style is available at:
http://www.apastyle.org/learn/tutorials/basics-tutorial.aspx An excellent writing resource which gives you detailed information about the APA style is the Purdue Online Writing Lab at: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/ Another quick but comprehensive style guide to the APA citation style can be found at the Concordia University website at
Relating your own academic work to existing scholarship and acknowledging your sources is an important part of scholarly writing. Use this referencing guidance to make your academic written work well-sourced and professional. You may be penalised if you don't (see sections 2 & 3).
This referencing guidance has 3 sections:
1) How to refer to sources you have used
2) Information on how to avoid plagiarism
3) Information on academic misconduct procedures
Section 1: How to refer to sources you have used
This referencing guidance will be helpful in all your essay, report and dissertation writing. If you use anyone's ideas, views, findings, conclusion, and so on, you must cite their work within your own text and also provide a full reference to their work in your reference list (also called ‘bibliography’).
a) In the body of your essay, report or dissertation:
Citing journal articles, books, and book chapters
Give the authors' surname and the date of the publication of the work cited, in the format (Author Surname(s), year)
(Deacon, Pickering, Golding & Murdock, 1999).
Do not use the first name or initial, just the surname.
If you quote someone's actual words, add the page number (Wigger, 2010, p. 35). It does not matter whether you have come across the author's work directly or second-hand in a text-book. You still put her or his surname and date as above. If you got it from a text book, also say "cited in"
(Deacon, Pickering, Golding & Murdock, 1999, cited in Stokes, 2003, p. 76.) For more information on in-text citation, see the Purdue Online Writing Lab resource at: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/2/10/
Citing a website
For scholarly information, do not use or cite websites that are not obviously authoritative. "Outsmart Your Brain" is not authoritative. "The British Psychological Society" is. If you doubt the quality of a website that appears to give scholarly information, it is best not to use it and instead find an alternative which is reliable. Wikipedia is not an acceptable scholarly website.
At times you may want to use information from websites in your own writing. For example, it is perfectly fine to use and cite the websites of governmental institutions (e.g., the Equality and Human Rights Commission), voluntary organisations (e.g., Women’s Institute), groups (e.g. Nottingham Quakers), newspapers (e.g., The Guardian) as well as on-line communities, blogs, etc. which you are researching.