Overview of APA
The American Psychological Association (APA) established writing and reference guidelines in 1929 so readers could easily understand the major points and findings in social sciences research (APA, 2010). Today APA style is used by many disciplines, schools, and college-level writers as a standard for formatting and documentation of sources in research projects. As of 2009, the most current Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is the sixth edition. Beginning May 1, 2010, the Writing Center will refer to the 6th edition in all of their services and resources.
What is Citation?
Citing sources or providing citation means to include select information about books or articles you read on a topic and that you use in your paper. There are two main terms associated with citation: Intext citation and full citation, both which are explained in this handout.
Why Do We Cite?
The reasons you provide citations are: 1) to give proper credit for words, ideas, graphics, or other information you borrow from others, and 2) to help readers find sources you used in case they want to read more from those pieces for themselves.
In-text and Reference Page Citations
APA documentation style includes an in-text and reference page system. In the text, the author’s name and date are included for any references from outside sources so readers can easily see when a source is being used. The format for reference page citations depends on the source type and it is important to refer to the official manual or Web site for proper formatting guidelines. Essentially, the reference citation includes enough information to allow the reader to easily find the original source. These citations also begin with the author and date, and the list of references is alphabetized. APA provides guidance for exceptions to these rules as well. For instance, when no author is provided for a source, the title of the work and date are used as the in-text citation and at the beginning of the reference citation. Scroll down to page 7 to see an example reference page.
Parenthetical Citations and Signal Phrases
In-text citations can either be included using a signal phrase before the cited material or a parenthetical citation at the end of the cited material. A signal phrase introduces quoted, paraphrased, or summarized information using the author’s name and publication year. The page or paragraph numbers should be included in citations for specific parts of a source, such as a quotation, if these numbers are provided in the original source. If these numbers are not used in the original source, please refer to the official APA publications listed at the end of this document for more information. Here is an example of a signal phrase citation for a paraphrase:
Kaplan University Writing Center Resource Library APA, 6th Edition © 2011, Kaplan University Writing Center, All Rights Reserved. 1
Smith (2010) recognizes that more online learning opportunities are needed to reach marginalized high school students and decrease the dropout rate. If a signal phrase is not used, a parenthetical citation is included after the quoted, paraphrased, or summarized material as shown below. Online learning opportunities are needed to reach marginalized high school students and decrease the dropout rate (Smith, 2010).
Most Common Citations (in-text and references page)
In-text citations for paraphrases (Martinez, 2009) Martinez (2009) stated… In-text citations for quotes (include the page number where you found the quote) (Martinez, 2009, p. 3) Martinez (2009) said “use quotation marks around direct quotations” (p. 3). General reference citation format for books: Author, A.A. (year of publication). Title of work. Location: Publisher. Martinez, D.L. (2009). Writing in the online environment. Chicago: Evans Press, Inc. Reference for a chapter in a book: Author, A.A. (year of publication)....