How to do APA style referencing – Easy Steps

You’ve chosen your dissertation topic, but you’re wondering how to acknowledge the ideas of others you’ve used to support your position? One way to do so is via referencing all the sources you’ve cited at the end of your text. APA, or American Psychological Association, style is the most commonly used referencing styles to cite sources within the psychological and social sciences. If you need a bit of help with your dissertation, here‘s how you can master APA style referencing.

APA style referencing is a critical aspect of academic writing, providing a standardized method for citing sources and acknowledging the contributions of others to one’s own work. Mastering APA style referencing involves understanding its intricacies and adhering to specific guidelines to ensure accuracy, consistency, and compliance with academic standards. This comprehensive guide outlines easy steps to effectively implement APA style referencing in academic writing.

Firstly, familiarize yourself with the basic structure of APA style citations. In-text citations typically include the author’s last name and the publication year enclosed in parentheses, placed within the body of the text following the cited information. For example, (Smith, 2019). If directly quoting a source, include the page number after the year, separated by a comma, like this: (Smith, 2019, p. 25). Additionally, each in-text citation must correspond to a full reference entry in the reference list at the end of the document.

Secondly, understand the different types of sources and how to cite them in APA style. Common sources include books, journal articles, websites, and other scholarly materials. For books, cite the author’s name(s), publication year, title, and publisher. For journal articles, include the author(s), publication year, article title, journal name, volume number, issue number (if applicable), page range, and DOI or URL if available. Websites require the author(s), publication date (if available), page title, website name, URL, and access date. Be sure to consult the official APA style manual or online resources for specific citation formats for various source types.

Next, utilize citation management tools to streamline the referencing process. Citation management software such as Zotero, Mendeley, or EndNote allows you to organize, store, and automatically generate citations and reference lists in APA style. These tools can save valuable time and ensure accuracy by managing your references efficiently and providing citation templates for different source types. Simply input the required information, and the software will generate the citation in the correct APA style format, eliminating the need for manual formatting.

Another important step is to carefully proofread and cross-check your citations for accuracy and consistency. Errors in citation formatting or incomplete citation details can undermine the credibility and integrity of your work. Take the time to review each citation against the source material to ensure that all necessary information is included and accurately transcribed. Pay attention to details such as author names, publication dates, and page numbers, as well as punctuation and formatting conventions. Consistency in citation style and formatting throughout the document is essential for maintaining professionalism and adherence to APA style guidelines.

Additionally, stay updated on the latest APA style guidelines and revisions to ensure compliance with current standards. The APA style manual undergoes periodic updates to reflect changes in citation practices, technological advancements, and evolving publishing norms. Familiarize yourself with the latest edition of the APA style manual and consult reputable online resources or style guides for updates and clarifications. Being informed about changes to APA style guidelines will help you accurately apply the most current standards in your writing and avoid potential errors or discrepancies.

Lastly, seek feedback from peers, instructors, or writing tutors to improve your APA style referencing skills. Constructive feedback can help identify areas for improvement and clarify any uncertainties or misunderstandings about APA style guidelines. Engaging in peer review or seeking guidance from experienced writers can enhance your proficiency in APA style referencing and strengthen your academic writing overall. Remember that mastering APA style referencing is a gradual process that requires practice, patience, and attention to detail. By following these easy steps and incorporating APA style referencing into your writing routine, you can effectively acknowledge sources, uphold academic integrity, and communicate your ideas with clarity and professionalism.

  1. Citing a book

If you’re citing a book, for instance, you’d need to write the author’s last name, followed by a comma and their first initial. Put the year in brackets, followed by the name of the book, full stop, and the city where the book was published. No titles or degrees should be included and in case they’re multiple authors, you should list them all in the same format:

Smith, J. (2010) How to do APA referencing. London: Random Publishing House
  1. Citing a journal article

If you’re citing a journal article, you should generally follow the same outline. The only difference is that the name of the journal should be italicized, and every important word needs to be capitalized. Finish the reference by including the journal’s volume and issue number (if there are such), followed by the page numbers, on which the article appears.

Smith, J. (2014) How to cite journals according to APA. APA for students, 3(5), 58-73.
  1. Citing a web document or page

Finally, if you’re referencing a page or document you found online, you need to cite the author’s last name, initial, date of publication in parenthesis, as well as the title of the article in italics. Include the words “retrieved from”. Never finish the reference with a period.

Smith, J. (2016) Why use APA citation. Retrieved from

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