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The accurate way of using APA referencing style when citing research (with samples)

Thinking of using APA referencing style when citing research? Here’s all you need to know about it.

You might have heard about this term APA referencing and start pondering what it is about. Before jumping on to it, let us understand the meaning of reference citation.

What is a Reference Citation?

In order to make your paper acceptable for academic purposes, documentation is needed which is called a reference citation. It is that portion of the text in your paper which helps to secure access to the sources of information and give credit to the original source of information.

What is APA’s Style of Referencing?

Let us gain insights on what this term refers to, why it is used, how it is used, what are types of citations in APA style, editions of APA referencing and a few examples to get a clear picture of it.

APA style is recommended by American Psychological Association after which the style has picked up it’s name. This style employs the author/date method of citation where author(s) surname/last name followed by the date of publication, separated by comma, is used in the actual text of the paper. The American Psychological Association addresses new electronic formats in a separate guide. Also, it provides guidance and examples at

In this style, there is no distinction between books, journal articles, internet documents or other formats except for electronic documents which do not contain page numbers, where you will have to use paragraph number.

Reference book title

Why Should You Consider Using APA Style of Referencing?

For effective implementation of APA referencing, we need to discern the advantages of it which in turn will enhance or contribute to the validity of your presentation. Some of the advantages are as below:

  • It is complemented by a structural layout that accentuates reporting of authentic ideas and use of commonly accepted abbreviations to save space and avoid repetitive text.
  • Ensures adequate consideration of others' work and allows readers to easily track your references.
  • Consistency in the structure of your paper and format of your citation will accelerate ease of navigation through the text.
  • Eliminating use of footnotes and giving readers enough information to locate each source.

Now The Question Is, How Shall I Use the APA Referencing?

As mentioned in the earlier paragraph above, being an “author-date” style citation shall include author(s) surname and the year of publication wholly or partly in round brackets separated by a comma, For e.g. (White, 2018). The page number can also be included for direct quotations. For e.g. (White, 2018, p. 52).

What Are the Types of Citations in APA style?

There are basically three types of citations in APA style namely Parenthetical, Note and Numeric. Let us discuss these all in brief below.

  • Parenthetical citation: These are the citations to original sources in the text of your paper itself allowing the reader to view the source of your information immediately getting away with the trouble of making footnotes or endnotes.
  • Note citation: It enables you to put source reference in the form of footnote or endnote which is indicated by number at the end of the quote. This indicates see note 2 for the source of that quote.
  • Numeric citation: Using the number for each of the sources in the reference list and then use the correct number when you want to cite a source.

Can We Use It to Cite Your Paper with Multiple Editions of APA Referencing?

There are two editions of APA referencing used currently. The most commonly used edition is the 6th edition APA manual. The other edition or newer edition is the 7th edition APA manual. There is the latest version or edition released in 2020 which is known as “A Pocket Style Manual” considered to be 8th Edition. Let us put some light on these editions. They provide us with guidelines or offer us with instructions for referencing in the paper.

Pocket Style Manual

  • 6th Edition APA Manual

This edition provides us with some of the guidelines which need to be considered while referencing like use 12 pt Times New Roman, set 1 inch page margins, apply double line spacing, insert a running head on every page, indent every new paragraph ½ inch. We can include up to 7 author's surnames and initials as per this edition. Though the 7th edition is out, this edition is preferred and employed till date.

  • 7th Edition APA Manual

It has been thoroughly revised to showcase best practices in scholarly writing and publishing. The need to include the publisher's name is done away with in this edition. We can provide upto 20 author's surnames and initials in the reference entry. For more than 21 names, we need to use an ellipsis between the 19th and the final author name. The change is seen in level three, four and five headings. The headings are written in the title case in which important words are in capital format and boldface. Use of italics, indentation and periods is made to distinguish between the headings.

  • A Pocket Style manual, 8th Edition

This compact size easy to carry edition covers all aspects of writing in APA referencing style which also includes over 100 APA documentation models and 11 sample student papers. This proves to be an effective tool for college writing and research. With Pocket’s new research, practice, tracking and grading has become effortless.

Now, when citing multiple works, we need to place citations in alphabetical order, separating them with semicolons. In order to place citations based on dates, follow chronological order by first placing citations with no dates followed by citations with dates.

Also, when using the same source multiple times using a parenthetical citation, you will still give full in-text citation (Author’s last name, year), the second and subsequent times.

Here Are Some of the Examples of APA Referencing Style

referencing based

After gaining insights on the topic let us now consider some of the examples to get a better understanding of the same. In the below examples we will put a light on what fields are to be considered in citation for referencing based on different forms of documents.

1. Blog post-

Author, Title of blog post, Title (in italics), Weblog, [Online], Available from: enter the URL, [Date of Access]

“Todd. Trivial Dispute, Bad Science. Weblog. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 19th June 2020]”

2. Book in printed form-

Author/Editor, Title (in Italics), Series title and number, Edition (if not the 1st edition), Place of publication, Publisher, Year of Publication.

“Warne NE, Muryasz B, Reece M. A Short Course in Artificial Intelligence – insights and data. London: Thomas Telford Publishing; 2019.”

3. Brochure/pamphlet/booklet-

Author/Editor (use the corporate author if no individual author or editor is named)

4. Pre-printed Journal article-

Author/s, Title, Submitted/To be published in, Title of journal (in italics), Name of repository (in italics), [Preprint], Year of writing, Available from: enter the URL, [Date of access]

“Haines P, ORegan JR, Robert K. Functional investigation of simple cubic phase transition of arsenic. To be published in Physical Review B. Arxiv. [Preprint] 2017. Available from: [Accessed: 23rd July 2019]”

5. Webpage/website-

Author/Editor (use the corporate author if no individual author or editor is named), Title (in italics), [Online], Available from: enter the URL, [Date of access]

“ESA: Missions, Mars Observation: ENVISAT. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 3rd June 2020]”

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