APA Citing and Referencing for Exceptional Academic Papers

Are you trying to find your way in the jungle of APA format requirements? At every step you take, you face the dangers of omitting a coma or bracket and thus failing to receive your excellent grade. Be careful and avoid the danger, by using these simple tips and brilliant examples as your map and GPS navigator.

APA citing format

The American Psychological Association (APA) has established a number of strict rules for documenting sources used in essays and research papers. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When working on APA papers, do as the American Psychological Association asks you to. These are the main recommendations to follow:

  1. Use a full citation in the reference list for every in-text citation. Include an in-text citation for every entry in the reference list.
  2. Use only initials for the authors’ first names.
  3. Use capital letters for the first words only when you write titles of books and articles, but use them for all words in journal and magazine titles.
  4. Italicize titles of books, journals and magazines, but do not italicize titles of articles.

APA citing in the text

The APA referencing style requires a specific format for in-text citations (parenthetical citations).
If you want to cite the whole book, write:

  • ”(Smith, 2006)” at the end of the sentence (make certain you don’t forget that tiny coma between the author’s name and the year of publication);
  • or:

  • “Smith (2006) stated that …” at the beginning of the sentence (it does not matter which of the variants you choose);
  • If you want to cite a specific page, where you found the information, write instead:

  • ”(Smith, 2006, p. 43)” at the end of the sentence
  • or:

  • “Smith (2006) noted that…” followed by a paraphrase of the information you cite and “(p.43)” at the end of the sentence.

APA citing: reference list

The APA citation style recommends that you name the list of references “Reference List” and start it on a new page. Order alphabetically all your entries and indent them. Indentation means that you use the Tab button and leave some white space before the beginning of every second and following lines of your entries (you can see indentation in the examples below). These are examples of citing the most common types of sources:

  1. A book by several authors:
    Paton, R., Brown, D. & McCalman, J. (2008). Change management: A guide to effective implementation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  2. An article in a journal:
    Dennehy, R. (2001). The Springboard: How storytelling ignites action in knowledge-era. Journal of Organizational Change Management. 14 (6) 609-614.
  3. A website
    Wounded Warrior Project (n.d.). Honor their sacrifice. Support a wounded warrior today. Retrieved from https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/default.aspx?tsid=167
  4. A movie
    Handel, A., Franklin, S., (Producers) & Aronofsky, D. (Director). (2010). Black swan [Motion picture]. United States: Phoenix Picture.
  • APA style citing: some more niceties
  • If you want to make your APA papers just perfect, you should spend a few seconds on looking through these niceties of the APA reference system:

    • Sorry for this, but if there are 3-7 authors, you should write the last names and initials of all of them in the reference list. Use ampersand (&) before the name of the last author. If there are more than 7 authors, you may include the three dots (…) and omit some of the authors’ names.
    • Do not use ampersand (&) in the text of your paper anywhere else than in the Reference List and inside the brackets of parenthetical citations.
    • If there are more than three authors, use only the name of the first of them followed by et al. for the rest of the authors in the text of your papers: Smith et al (2006) stated that…

    As you see, finding your way in the jungle of APA format requirements is possible. Feel free to use this concise guide whenever you need to write APA papers.