American Psychological Association (APA) style is commonly used for citing references in student papers in science, medical, public health, health sciences and nursing as well as the social science.
The purpose of documentation is to:
- Identify (cite) other people’s ideas and information used within your essay or term paper.
- Indicate the authors or sources of these in a References list at the end of your paper.
This guide is based on the APA Manual (6th ed.) that was published in 2009.
The following sections provide you with information and examples that will help you to cite the sources that you come across during your research.
General Style Guidelines
For more examples and information, consult the following publications:
APA Manual (6th ed.)
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The quickest and easiest way to reference your academic work is to:
- record the necessary information at the time of using it
- be consistent
Referencing is a very important consideration when submitting a piece of academic work and by following these guidelines you will ensure that you will meet the requirements set out by your tutor.
You need to reference:
- to demonstrate that you have undertaken research for your academic work
- to avoid accusations of plagiarism
- to acknowledge the work of other authors, which can be found in books, journal articles, websites etc.
There are many systems of referencing available; this guide will focus on the American Psychological Association (APA) system which is used for both the School of Psychology and the School of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Lincoln.
This guide provides examples of different information sources: how to cite them within your text and how to include them in your reference list. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing). The APA Manual also provides information about paper formatting and writing style whereas this guide is primarily focused on the referencing aspect.
The APA website also contains information and tips on using the APA style at http://www.apastyle.org.
Other referencing styles
If you are doing a joint degree with another discipline, you may be required to use a different referencing system such as Harvard for some assignments. If so, please refer to the University of Lincoln Harvard guide.
There are two parts to APA referencing:
- In-text citation
- Reference list.
Double-space your entire paper, including the reference list and any block quotations (unless advised differently by your tutor/lecturer).
- OWL PurduePurdue University have an Online Writing Lab (OWL) which advises on general format for APA style including many examples.