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APA Referencing Overview

Why Is Citation Necessary?

We cite sources for many reasons. One of them is to give credit to the authors whose work you've used for your research. The authors may or may not be known to you, but you have to cite their work if you do not want to get indulged in any legal battle regarding copyright violation. When you use another person’s information to help you with your project, it is important to acknowledge that individual or group. This is one way to prevent plagiarism. Another reason why we create citations is to provide a standard way for others to understand and possibly explore the sources we’ve used.

Main Highlights of APA Referencing

Although there are many things to consider, a few inevitable ones are given below:

The latest edition of APA citation style consists of in-text citations and a reference list along with rules for formatting the paperwork.

For those sources which have three or more authors, all of them should be named on the first in-text citation, and Et al. can also be used subsequently.

First citation: Tim, Rupert, and Lerner (2005)

Subsequent citations: Tim et al. (2005)

In the main body of the document, authors' names should be connected with the word 'and.' However, within parenthesis, an ampersand (&) should be used:

Main body: Tim, Rupert, and Lerner (2005) state that Global Warming will become extremely problematic shortly.

When directly quoting from a text from the work of any other writer, you must include the page number in the citation. However, including page numbers in all other circumstances is not required. It is the best practice to do so when referring to a part of work (e.g., a paragraph or chapter in a book or some already published academic papers). It is not required when you are referring to an entire work that covers a single topic (e.g., a journal article).

Direct: '"A motor has an infinite variety of uses" (Davis, 2013, p.8).'

Indirect: 'As Davis (2013) notes, the motor can be used in many different ways.'

Take a quick look at the examples given below and get enlightened how a reference source should be cited.

1. Books

Citations for books with one or more authors

In APA referencing, the following format for books with one or two authors is used:

Format: Last name, first initial. (Year). Title. Edition (if this is not the first edition of the book). City of publication: Publisher.

For example:

Wegener, D. T., & Petty, R. E. (1994). Mood management across affective states: The hedonic contingency hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 1034-1048.

Citations for a chapter in an edited book:

When you are citing a single chapter in a book, make sure that you add the page range (pp.) that the chapter spans. When citing an individual chapter, you should also include the edition of the book in the citation.

Format: Last name, first initial. (Year). Chapter title. In: Book Title. Edition. City of publication: Publisher.

For example: Plath, S. (2000). The unabridged journals. K. V. Kukil (Ed.). New York, NY: Anchor.
Citations for more than one book by the same author

An author’s texts can be differentiated by year, but they should be listed in the chronological order of their publication. If you are citing two works by the same author which were published in the same year, you should label them as 'a,' 'b,' 'c,' and so on, directly after the year.

Format: Last name, first initial. (Year). Title. Edition (if this is not the first edition of the book). City of publication: Publisher.

For example: Cheever, J. (1995a). The enormous radio. In R. V. Cassill (Ed.), The Norton anthology of short fiction (5th ed., pp. 182–191). New York, NY: Norton. (Original work published 1947)


Citations for Print Journals

If you have taken help from some print journals, you should use the following format to cite it in APA.

Format: Last name, First initial. (Year). Article Title. Journal name, Volume (Issue), Page/s

For example: Harlow, H. F. (1983). Fundamentals for preparing psychology journal articles. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 55, 893-896.
Citations for Journal Articles accessed on a website or database

In APA referencing, wherever possible you should supply the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) of the source you accessed. If no DOI is available, you should cite the URL of the source.

Format: Last name, First initial. (Year). Article Title. Journal name, Volume (Issue), Page/s. DOI: DOI link

Last name, First initial. (Year). Article Title. Journal name, Volume (Issue), Page/s. Retrieved from: URL.

For example: Ahn, H., Kim, K. (2008). Using genetic algorithms to optimize nearest neighbors for data mining. Annals of Operations Research, 263(1), 5-18. doi:10.1007/s10479-0080325-2
Citations for Newspaper and Magazine Articles Print or Online

Newspaper and magazine citations are cited similarly to journal articles if they have been found online; the same differences in formatting occur, as the example below illustrates.


(i) Print: Last name, first initial. (Year). Article title. Newspaper name, Page/s.
(ii) Online: Last name, First initial. (Year). Article Title. Newspaper name, Page/s. Retrieved from:

For example: Rothbart, D. (2008, October). How I caught up with dad. Men's Health, 108-113.

Citing an E-book from an E-reader

The e-book is an abbreviation for “electronic book.” It is basically a digital version of a book that can be read on a computer, laptop, e-reader (Kindle, Nook, etc.), or other electronic devices that support the format of the e-book. If you’ve found some useful information from here, cite it as given below:

Format: Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year published). Title of work [E-reader version]. or Retrieved from URL is used when a source has a DOI number. If the e-book you’re citing has a DOI number, use it in the citation. DOIs are preferred over URLs.

For example: Eggers, D. (2008). The circle [Kindle version]. Retrieved from

Hope this guide was informative enough and will help you while citing your academic paper next time.

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