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CITATION USING THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION (APA) STYLE

BY

Mudasiru Olalere YUSUF
Department of Science Education,
University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria

Being a Paper delivered at

A Workshop on Citation and Referencing Organised by the Research and Publication Committee of the Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin, on Wednesday the 15th of March, 2006

Introduction

There are different citation styles used in writing research reports or papers. These include the Chicago style of the University of Chicago Press, the Turabian style of Kate Turabian of the University of Chicago, which are often the preferred styles in History; the Modern Language Association (MLA) of America style, used in the field of literature, arts, humanities, and some other disciplines; and the CBE format of the American Council of Science Educator, preferred in the natural sciences, and so on. The American Psychological Association (APA) format is the documentation advice for writers in the social sciences (education inclusive), produced by the American Psychological Association. It is the most widely accepted style in the field of education. The most current edition of their publication manual is the fifth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2001), written primarily for professional publications in scholarly journals. Updates on the publication have also been published on-line by APA (2003). The manual and updates present information on manuscript content, organisation, writing style, in-text referencing, tables, figures, reference list, and so on. This paper discusses citation methods- in-text and reference list, suing the APA format. This paper, it must be emphasized, is not a substitute for the APA publication manual but the author’s summary of his understanding of the format. For detailed information on the style, consult the publication manual. Other writers have provided useful hints on the APA format. These include Purdue University Online Writing Lab. (2002), Degelman and Harris (2004), the Writers Workshop (n.d.), the University of California Berkeley Library (2004a, 2004b), among others.

Why the Need for APA Format?

There are certain inherent advantages in the use of APA format. Some of these include opportunities for: cross referencing of sources, consistency in formatting, establishing credibility, avoiding plagiarism (Kunka, n.d.), and dynamism in the use of publication manuals. 1) Cross Referencing of Sources: Use of APA format provides opportunity for cross-referencing the source(s) used in a publication or manuscript. Thus, readers can locate the publication; explore the sources, show the depth of the research. Such information can assist others in their own research using a globally accepted format. 2) Consistency in Formatting: It provides opportunities for consistency in format among scholars and researchers, as it makes for universality. Readers are, thus, given the opportunity to understand the sources on which papers/publications are built on. 3) Establishing Credibility: Use of APA gives credibility to a write up as accountability is given for sources used and it demonstrates that a writer appraised relevant resources. 4) Avoidance of Plagiarism: It helps writers to avoid plagiarism as ideas used are appropriately credited. 5) The dynamism of the APA format allows for adaptation of style to emerging research sources.

In-text citation

In-text citation deals with appropriate acknowledgement and provision of sources of the work of others which had been used, within the body of a paper. The surname (no initials) of author and date of publication must be included. However, initials may be included when two authors with the same surnames are to be cited, even when years of publication are different. For example, studies by M. O. Yusuf (2004) and A. Yusuf (2005) have indicated that teachers do not make adequate use of...
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