Apa style Basics

Adding Citations and References to Your Papers

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Adding Citations and References to Your Papers

When citing a reference, include the author’s last name and the year in parentheses right after the relevant text, for example, (Smith, 2012). Note that the period goes after the second parenthesis. However, if your citation is also part of a sentence, for example, when mentioning something that Smith (2012) wrote, note that the format changes slightly. There are additional rules about adding page numbers for quotations and for citing references with multiple authors. Chances are good that you will refer to the Manual or an online source many times during this semester.

Your citation in text, with the author’s last name and the date of the publication, allows the curious reader to find the full reference in the reference section. Begin the reference list on a new page. The heading is always the same, and you format it like the title of your paper as it appears on the first page of text, like this:


There is an entire section in the Manual about creating a reference list. Each type of publication or source requires a somewhat different format. Types of sources include, for example: articles, books, online sources with and without known authors or dates, and personal communications.

When you look up a reference type, note capitalization and punctuation rules. Also, notice that the form of reference paragraphs is reversed, with the first line flush left and subsequent lines indented.

Once you’ve completed your paper, check to make sure that every citation has a reference entry and that every reference entry is mentioned in text with a citation. If you refer to a reference more than once, you only have to list it once in the reference section.

References are usually listed in alphabetical order by author. If you refer to multiple publications by the same author, or if there is no author, then additional rules apply.

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