Information on crediting sources begins on page 169 of the APA manual. Cite a source in the following instances:
You use a direct quotation, even if it is in quotation marks.
You use facts that are not common knowledge.
You paraphrase the author’s idea(s).
You have changed some of the author’s words (i.e., used synonyms).
You use the key words or phrases from the author.
You mention the author’s name in your sentence.
You have written a sentence consisting mostly of your own thoughts, but you have made a reference to the author’s ideas.
However, if you are ever unsure about citing a source, cite anyway and/or get assistance.
The basic format for an in-text citation is as follows: author’s last name, comma, date of publication. If you have no author, use an abbreviated title. If you have multiple authors, use the appropriate format, based on the number of authors, outlined in Table 6.1 of the manual (APA, 2010, p. 177). A great resource on in-text citations is Chapter 6 of the Publication Manual (APA, 2010), which goes into detail about information to include, how to format that
information, and where to place citations. For additional help with in-text citations, see the list of additional resources at the end of this document.
Other Elements of Essay Style APA Regulates
The references page at the end of an essay must list all sources used in the paper and only sources used in the paper. Each source should be listed in the correct format. Essential information includes (a) the name(s) of the author(s); (b) the date of publication; (c) the title of the article, website, chapter, etc.; (d) the title of the book, journal, website, etc.; (e) any additional identifying information like the edition number of a book, the volume and issue number of a journal, and the specific page number(s) on which the article appears; (f) publication information including city and state of publication and the publication company; and (g) the URL for any books or journals accessed electronically or webpages being used.
As you can see, there is a lot of information that must be included on the references page. Furthermore, all the information included must be formatted correctly. The sample references page at the end of this paper shows you some examples of citations, but you will likely need to consult the Publication Manual and/or other sources that are accurate and up to date.
As demonstrated on this page, headings can be useful ways to organize your papers and keep the reader on track. APA Style dictates how these headings should appear, including the formatting of the font, location of the heading on the page, where the information following the heading begins, and any punctuation that should or should not be included. As explained in the APA (2010) Publication Manual, “The heading style recommended by the APA consists of five
possible formatting arrangements…. Each heading level is numbered” (p. 62). To learn more about using headings, see pages 62-63 of the Publication Manual (APA, 2010).
Tables, Graphs, and Other Graphic Elements
Occasionally, you may need to include data in your papers. Tables, graphs, and other graphic elements can be useful in displaying your data. Chapter 5 of the Publication Manual (APA, 2010, pp. 125-167) provides guidelines on using visual elements.
Mechanics, Grammar, Usage, and Style
The Publication Manual (APA, 2010) gives guidance on the basic elements of writing as well as stylistic rules specific to APA. The Publication Manual (APA, 2010) explains,
When editors refer to style, they mean the rules or guidelines a publisher observes to ensure clear, consistent presentation…. [W]ithout rules of style, three different manuscripts might use sub-test, subtest, and Subtest in one issue of a journal or book. Although the meaning of the word is the same and the choice of one style over the other may seem arbitrary…, such variations in style may distract or confuse the reader. (p. 87)
Another example of style is how numbers should be used. Numbers one through ten are written out, and other numbers, like 250, are listed as numerals. Some exceptions exist, like when using ration. The best way to ensure you are following APA conventions is to be familiar with the Publication Manual (APA, 2010) and consult it when you have questions.
Clearly, APA Style is complex. The best way to learn APA is to use it and use it correctly. Jefferson College of Health Sciences (JCHS) encourages all students to purchase and read the APA manual. At JCHS, you will use this format in all of your classes, so spending time learning how to use it can make your life much easier in the long run.
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Bandura, A. (1993). Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning. Educational Psychologist, 28(2), 117-148.
Fritz, C., Morris, P., & Bjork, R. (2000). When further learning fails: Stability and change following repeated presentation of text. British Journal of Psychology, 91(4), 493-511.
Gagné, R. M. (1985). The conditions of learning (4th ed.). New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.
Goodrich Andrade, H. (2001). The effects of instructional rubrics on learning to write. Current Issues in Education, 4(4). Retrieved from http://cie.asu.edu/volume4/number4/
Note: The only source actually cited in the above pages in the Publication Manual. If this were an actual paper, the references page would list only this one source because it is the only source used. However, other sources have been listed here to serve as an illustration of a complete references page.