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Referencing and Assignment Writing guide: General information

General Information

APA is a referencing method developed by the American Psychological Association and is a version of the commonly used Author-Date system.

Which style does my School use? 

Some Schools or individual units require a different style from the one outlined here.  Use the citation style required by your lecturer.

Why Reference your sources? 

As you are using other peoples' ideas in your work it is essential to acknowledge the original sources. It will avoid plagiarism and will also strengthen your argument or present another point of view, and allow the reader to check the facts.  

This guide is based on the following text:

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington DC: Author.

How to use APA 

Sources must be cited in two ways: by inserting a short citation in the text of the essay, and the full citation in the References list at the end of the essay.

1.  In-text citations consist of the author's name and the year of publication inserted at an appropriate point in the text.


Sternberg (1993) suggests results should be carefully analysed ...


... a discussion of results analysis (Sternberg, 1993)

According to the Publication Manual of the APA “When paraphrasing or referring to an idea contained in another work, you are encouraged to provide a page or paragraph number, especially when it would help an interested reader locate the relevant passage in a long or complex text.” (p. 171)

Direct quotations and in-text citations: 

Page numbers are always included in the in-text citation for direct quotations eg. (Hiebert, 2009, p. 69).

 Direct quotations 40 words or less should be typed within the text surrounded by double quotation marks.


Using graphics in an assignment has visual impact, but you need to determine the purpose and importance of including them "The preparation of graphic materials requires careful attention to organization and content" (American Psychological Association, 2010 p. 126). 

Direct quotations more than 40 words should be included as a separate paragraph, and indented from the left margin, without quotation marks (American Psychological Association, 2010, pp. 170-171).


...Frameworks are constructed by scaffolding master goal learning.

Placing an emphasis on mastery of new material, not just the performance of tasks, typifies the teacher who is focused on mastery goal orientation. In the classroom, concepts are introduced and then related to one another to form a complex web of knowledge. Students are able to explore topics in depth and at length, and they come away with a more nuanced understanding of the text that can then enhance future reading experiences. (Hiebert, 2009, p. 69)

 2.  Reference lists are placed at the end of your paper.

A reference list entry includes information about the source such as the author, publication date, title, place of publication and publisher, and may include additional information depending on the type of source.

  • The reference list starts a new page (APA, 2010, p. 37), and is arranged alphabetically by author's last name (APA, 2010, p. 181).
  • References are double spaced with the second and subsequent lines of each reference indented (APA, 2010, p. 37).
  • Include only the references that were used when writing the paper (APA, 2010, p. 180).
  • The title of the reference list 'References' should be centered (APA, 2010, p. 37).
  • Single authors go before multiple authors (APA, 2010, p. 182), e.g. Fischer, K. W., (1992)... before Fischer, K., Demetriou, A., & Dawson, T. L. (1992)....



American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington DC: Author.

Bjork, R. A. (1989). Retrieval inhibition as an adaptive mechanism in human memory. In H. L. Roediger & F.I.M. Craik (Eds.), Varieties of memory and consciousness (pp. 309-330). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Fischer, K., Demetriou, A., & Dawson, T. L. (1992). The development of mental processing: efficiency, working memory and thinking. Boston: Blackwell Publishing.. Washington DC: Author.

Sternberg, R. J. (1993). The psychologist's companion (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

APA tutorials

Reference list abbreviations

(APA, 2010, p.180)




Revised edition

Rev. ed.

second edition   

2nd ed.

Editor (editors)

Ed. (Eds.)



no date


page (pages)

p. (pp.)

Volume (Volumes)

Vol. (Vols.)





Technical Report

Tech. Rep.