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Referencing and assignment writing: APA 7th ed.

General Information

What is APA style?

APA style is a citation (or referencing) method developed by the American Psychological Association and is a version of the commonly used Author-Date system

This guide is based on the following text:

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).


Which style does my School use? 

Some Schools or individual units require a different style from the one outlined here. Always use the citation style required by your lecturer. If in doubt, check with your lecturer or tutor for the unit.


Why reference your sources?

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


How to use APA style 

Sources which you refer to must be cited in two ways: 

  1. by inserting a short citation containing the author and date of publication in the text of the paper at the appropriate point; and

  2. by adding a corresponding, more detailed entry in the Reference list at the end of the paper.


1.  In-text citations direct the reader to the full details of the work which are found in the Reference List. Each in-text citation comprises the following elements:

  • WHO is responsible for the work (surname/s only)

  • WHEN was the work created (year)

and you might also need

  • WHERE in the work you can find supporting information (page, paragraph number/s) - see below

In-text citations can be done in two ways:

1. by inserting the author and date in parentheses (parenthetical citation), 

e.g. ... a discussion of the analysis of results (Sternberg, 1993)...


2. by incorporating the name of the author, followed by the date enclosed in parentheses into the text of the paper (narrative citation), 

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

When citing multiple works in-text using the parenthetical method, arrange the citations in alphabetical order and separate them with semicolons,

e.g. (Citizen, 2019; Jones, 1999; Smith, 2001)

Multiple works can be arranged in any order when they are incorporated into the text of the paper (narrative citation).


Paraphrasing is using your own words to present somebody else's ideas. When paraphrasing, it may be useful to include a page number, especially when citing long works such as books.

Direct quotations: 

Page numbers are always included for direct quotations e.g. (Hiebert, 2009, p. 69).

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


There are a number of instances when a direct quotation is preferable to paraphrasing, for example, "when an author has said something memorably or succinctly, or when you want to respond to exact wording" (American Psychological Association, 2020, p. 270). 

Direct quotations of more than 40 words should be started on a new line and indented from the left margin, without quotation marks (American Psychological Association, 2020, pp. 272-273).


...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.  A Reference list is placed at the end of your paper.

A Reference list contains the details of all the references cited in the text of your paper. These details should be sufficient for the reader to be able to identify and locate the sources. Each entry consists of the following elements:

  • WHO is responsible for the work (e.g. author, editor, film producer or director, host)

  • WHEN was the work created (e.g. year, date, season) 

  • WHAT is the work called (e.g. title of book, title of book chapter, title of journal article, title of film, title of podcast, webpage)

  • WHERE can I find the work (e.g. book publisher and DOI or URL; details of journal in which article was published and its DOI or URL; website name that published the specific webpage and its URL)

These elements are separated by full stops: WHO. (WHEN). WHAT. WHERE. 

See the specific guidelines further in this guide on the formatting and punctuation of  WHO. (WHEN). WHAT. WHERE.


Style manual

If you cannot find a specific example of what you are looking for, use the complete APA manual.

APA Style - Quick Reference Guide

References abbreviations

(APA, 2020, pp. 306-307)




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.