APA Referencing

When you write a research paper, journal article, dissertation, or thesis, you will frequently need to refer to other scholarly works and academic literature. While doing so, you should give due credit to the researchers and authors of their creative and original work. In-text citations and reference lists are used in the academic papers to accomplish this objective.

One of the most widely used styles of referencing is known as APA (American Psychological Association) formatting. It is the referencing style recommended by the American Psychological Association. The formatting rules are detailed in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. The hard copy of the publication manual has a list price of $39.95 and eBook can also be purchased from VitalSource and RedShelf. The current edition of APA Style is the Sixth Edition.

There are numerous details and explanations presented in the manual and I will limit the discussion to the basic features that will get you started.

Open a Microsoft Word blank document, and write a sample sentence, I am learning formatting styles for research. You will notice that the default font is Calibri and the font size is 11 points. Do as follows:

  1. Select All (Ctrl + A)
  2. Select Times New Roman from the font names, and set the font size to 12 points
  3. Keep the sample sentence selected, click the arrow next to the Paragraph group on the Home tab to open the Paragraph dialogue box
  4. In the Spacing section, enter 0 pt for Before and 0 pt for After.
  5. In the Line spacing section, select Double
  6. Select the second tab Line and Page Breaks
  7. Clear the checkmark for Window/Orphan control
  8. Click OK

Now you have set the necessary formatting. In the Styles group on the Home tab, you will see that Normal style is selected. Right-click Normal and select Update Normal to Match Selection as shown below:

Now you need to set the formatting for headings. Heading 1 in APA is centered and bold. Heading 2 is left-aligned and bold. Heading 3 is First line 0.5″ indented and bold. Implement this formatting as follows:

Type the following three lines:

This is My Heading 1

This is My Heading 2

This is My Heading 3

Select This is My Heading 1, click (Bold) and Center. In the Styles group on the Home tab, right-click Heading 1 and select Update Heading 1 to Match Selection as shown below:

Select This is My Heading 2 and click (Bold). In the Styles group on the Home tab, right-click Heading 2 and select Update Heading 2 to Match Selection as shown below:

Select This is My Heading 3 and click (Bold). Click the arrow next to the Paragraph group on the Home tab to open the Paragraph dialogue box. In the Indentation section, select First line by 0.5″ as shown below:

In the Styles group on the Home tab, right-click Heading 3 and select Update Heading 3 to Match Selection as shown below:

Now your document is well-formatted to follow the APA style. The next thing you need to know is how to do in-text citations and type the references in the Reference List. The works that are cited most frequently include journal articles, books, websites, and dissertations/theses. Their syntax and format are as follows:

Journal Article:
Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Name of journal article. Name of Journal, volume number(issue number), pages.
Zagona, A. L., Kurth, J. A., & MacFarland, S. Z. (2017). Teachers’ views of their preparation for inclusive education and collaboration. Teacher Education and Special Education, 40(3), 163-178.
In-text Citation:
(Zagona, Kurth, & MacFarland, 2017)
Zagona, Kurth, and MacFarland (2017) describe that …

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of book. Location: Publisher.
Bailey, C., Mankin, D., Kelliher, C., & Garavan, T. (2018). Strategic human resource management. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
In-text Citation:
(Bailey, Mankin, Kelliher, & Garavan, 2018)
Bailey, Mankin, Kelliher, and Garavan (2018) highlight that …

You may find it challenging to write the location of the publisher. It is because if you copy the citation from Google Scholar, it will not show publisher for the book. Below, I have listed the location for some of the most cited publishers:

Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

London: Blackwell.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Florida: CRC Press.

Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

New Jersey, NJ: John Wiley & Son,

Milton, QLD: John Wiley & Sons Australia.

London: Kogan Page.

London: MacMillan

Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Oxford: Oxford University Press.

New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Harlow: Pearson.

Cambridge, Polity Press.

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Abingdon: Routledge.

Thousand Oaks: Sage,

London: Sage.

Cham: Springer International Publishing.
Berlin, Germany: Springer.
London: Sweet & Maxwell.
Melbourne: Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Limited.
Connecticut: Yale University Press.

Author, A. A., & Author B. B. (Year, Month Date Published). Title of page. Retrieved from https://www.someaddress.com/full/url
Roubini, N. (2019, February 8). Risk of global recession may be low but we are heading for slowdown. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/08/risk-of-global-recession-may-be-low-but-we-are-heading-for-slowdown
Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2006). Strategy and society: The link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility. Retrieved March 13, 2019, from https://hbr.org/2006/12/strategy-and-society-the-link-between-competitive-advantage-and-corporate-social-responsibility
In-text Citation:
(Roubini, 2019)
Roubini (2019) argues that …

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year). Title (Doctoral dissertation or Master’s thesis). Retrieved from database name. (Accession or Order No.)
Li, L. (2017). Financial inclusion: Progress motivations and impact (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from University of Groningen Research Portal. (File No. 43737604).
In-text Citation:
(Li, 2017)
Li (2017) asserts that …

With this information and basic understanding, you are all set to begin writing your research paper, thesis, dissertation, and journal article. Good luck and all the best 🙂

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