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APA Referencing Guide

APA stands for the American Psychological Association, which is an organization that focuses on psychology. They are responsible for creating APA Style. APA Style, or APA citing, is used by many scholars and researchers in the behaviour and social sciences, not just psychology. APA Style is a way to format citations.

If you are looking for our APA Reference Generator then click on the button below:

APA Reference Generator

APA Referencing Overview

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Even though this referencing style is quite similar to Harvard style, there are quite some critical differences as discussed below under the following literature materials.

  1. Books
  2. Articles
  3. Online sources
  4. Images/visual mediums
  5. Other source types

Important things to remember:

In APA reference style, all the sources which have been cited in the body text should be should be indented from the second line onwards. References are arranged alphabetically in the reference list and where there are some citations from the same author, they should be arranged chronologically as per the year of publication.

When you quote directly from the source you need to the page number of as illustrated below. For indirectly quoting i.e. citing a source to show that you have used an author's ideas, but not quoted them, you should reference it as below.

Direct: '"Leadership is critical to business prosperity" (John, 2014, p.10).'

Indirect: ''According to John (2014), leadership is a very important aspect for business to succeed.'

In APA style, the in-text citation appears within the body of an essay or a research as a summary of the reference list which appears at the bottom of the work. The full bibliography contains all the work cited in full of the name of the author and title of the literature material. APA and Harvard Citation share the same format for in-text citation but for a source with more than three authors they should be named on the first in-text citation or use “et al” after the first author.

For sources with three or more authors, all should be named on the first in-text citation. Subsequently, et al. can be used.

First citation: John, Grey and Leo (2010)

Subsequent citations: John et al. (2010)

In the main body of your work the authors’ names should be joined together with “and.” However, within parenthesis, an ampersand (&) should be used:

Main body: John, Grey and Leo (2010) opine that leadership is essential to the success of any business.

Within parenthesis: Leadership is essential for the success of any business (John, Grey & Leo).

1. Books

Citations for books with one or two authors:

Last name, first initial. (Year). Title. Edition (if not the first edition of the book). City of publication: Publisher.

For example:

John, B. (2014). The Great Wall of China. London: Sage Publications.

John, B. (2014). The great wall of China. 3rd ed. London: Sage Publications.

Jones, F. and Michael, S. (2005). Africa on the move: An Economic Perspective. London: Sage Publications.

How to cite a book with three or more authors:

This can be done by using “and” between the last and second author. Another way of doing it is by using “et al” after the first author. As mentioned earlier, et al means and others. However, all authors should be listed in the reference list in the order they are credited in the original work. The following format should be followed.

Last name, first initial., Last name, first initial., and Last name, first initial. (Year). Title. City of publication: Publisher.

For example:

Johnson, D., Faraday, G. and Jackson, L. (2010). Sustainable Supply Chain Management. London: Sage Publications.

Carol, P., Davis, L., Lilian, S. and Joy, A. (2002). How to be an influential leader. London: Sage Publications.

Citing a chapter in an edited book:

In this case, you need to give the page numbers from which the chapter begins and ends by using page range (pp). It is also important to cite include the book edition when citing a chapter in a book. The following format should be followed:

Last name, first initial. (Year). Chapter title. In: Book Title. Edition. City of publication: Publisher.

For example:

Snow, D (2012). The bold and the beautiful. In: Loftus, E., ed., Beauty: A Manual 1st ed. London: Sage Publication, pp. 30-56.

Citing multiple books by the same author:

In this scenario, the author’s materials are always differentiated by year. The literature materials are listed chronologically from the oldest to the newest. If the authors have some materials published in the same year, they are differentiated by putting letters a,b or c after the year of publication as illustrated below.

Last name, first initial. (Year). Title. Edition (if not the first edition of the book). City of publication: Publisher.

For example:

Gordon, B. (2015). Information Management. London: Sage Publications.

Gordon, B. (2016). Effective Communication. London: Sage Publications.

Gordon, B. (2017a). How to manage a start-up. London: Sage Publications.

Gordon, B. (2017b). Leadership and Business Management. London: Sage Publications.

Tools for creating APA Book references:

Reference a Book Reference a Book Chapter


2. Articles

Citations for Print Journals

Citing these materials follow the rules as those of citing a book. If there are more than one author who have written a literature material then list all of them on the first citation, otherwise, list the first author and then put “et al” to mean and others. However, all authors should be listed in the reference list in the order they are credited in the original work, unless there are eight or more authors: in this scenario, they should be referenced as demonstrated below and their names listed in full in “Notes” section.

Last name, First initial. (Year). Article Title. Journal name, Volume (Issue), Page/s.

Last name, First initial, Last name, First initial, Last name, First initial, Last name, First initial, Last name, First initial, Last name, First initial, … Last name, First initial. (Year). Article Title. Journal name, Volume (Issue), Page/s.

For example:

Jackson, A. (2000). Supply chain management. Journal of supply chain management, Volume 4 (7), pp. 20-34.

Eight or more:

Adam, H. ., Wendy, V., James, G., Fidel, A., Victor, M., Treat, D. … Martins, R. N. (2014). Airport management. Aviation Journal, 9(5), 300-315.

Complete author list: Adam, H. ., Wendy, V., James, G., Fidel, A., Victor, M., Treat, D. … Martins, R. N.

Citing Journal Articles accessed on a website or database

This takes the same format for a printed journal article, it doesn’t change. However, the citation that appears in the reference list may differ. The main difference in APA referencing is that you should use Digital Object Identifier of the source being cited. If the Digital Object Identifier is not available, please use URL of the source material. The following format should be followed.

Last name, First initial. (Year). Article Title. Journal name, Volume (Issue), Page/s. DOI: DOI link

Last name, First initial. (Year). Article Title. Journal name, Volume (Issue), Page/s. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

Jackson, A. (2000). Supply chain management. Journal of supply chain management, Volume 4 (7), pp. 20-34. DOI: http://doi.org/ajacksonsupplchainmanagement

Jackson, A. (2000). Supply chain management. Journal of supply chain management, Volume 4 (7), pp. 20-34. Retrieved from: www.journalosupplychainmanagement.com/culinaryresearchjournal.com/

Citations for Newspaper and Magazine Articles – Print or Online:

Newspaper and magazine citations are deemed similar to journal articles when retrieved online. The only difference is in formatting. The following examples illustrate this:

Last name, first initial. (Year). Article title. Newspaper name, Page/s.

Last name, First initial. (Year). Article Title. Newspaper name, Page/s. Retrieved from:

For example:

Ernest, Y. (2017). Operational management in automotive industry. Automotive magazine, p.10.

Liz, F. (2016). Medic Operations. Doctors weekly, p.23. Retrieved from: www.doctorsweeklyonline.com/medioperations2016.

Tools for creating APA Journal references:

Reference a Journal Article


3. Online sources

Citations for websites:

When citing website, the author should be recognized. Just in case the website belongs to a certain organization with no specific author, then assume organization as the credited author. If the year of publication is not available, then use “n.d.” In the reference list, this kind of a reference should appear as follows.

Author/Source if no specific author (Year). Title of web document/page. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

McKinsey (2016). Technology in the 21st century. Retrieved from: www.McKinsey.com/technologyinthe21stcentury

Citations for Social Media:

The date sources were retrieved should be added when citing these sources especially when the content is expected to change drastically especially in the case of a live feed. However, if the post you want to use as the source has a set date then, there is no need to do as stated above. This source should appear illustrated as follow.

Last name of author, First initial. (Year, Day Month). Title of page/ up to the first 40 words of post [Social media format]. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

Moses, F. (2015, July 5). Ugali recipe group [twitter]. Retrieved from: www.twitter.com/ugalirecipegroup2015

Tools for referencing online sources:

Reference a Website Reference a Wiki Reference a Blog


4. Images/visual mediums

Citations for films/videos/DVDs:

Director's last name, first initial (Director). (Year). Film/video/DVD title [format]. Country of origin: Film studio or maker.

For example:

James, G. (Director). (2011). All of us [film]. USA: Disney Studio.

Citations for YouTube videos:

Username of contributor. (Year, Day Month). Video Title, Series Title (if relevant). [type of medium]. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

Music (2012, 30 March). You waited, Gospel 101. [YouTube video]. Available at: www.youtube.com/musicyouwaited[Accessed 15 June 2017].

Citations for broadcasts:

Executive Producer's last name, first initial (Executive Producer). (Year, Day Month). Name of programme [Medium]. City of recording: Network.

For example:

Dick, L. (Writer), & Yaitanes, G. (Director). (2009). Simple explanation [Television series episode]. In P. Attanasio (Executive producer), House, and M.D. Los Angeles, CA: Fox Broadcasting.

Citations for images/photographs – Print or Online:

Last name of artist/photographer, first initial). (Year of production). Title of image. [type of medium] City where image original can be found: Place/institution where image can be found.

Last name of artist/photographer, first initial). (Year of production). Title of image. [type of medium]. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

Lucy, F. (2014). Bridal Shower party. [Photograph]. USA: Lucy Favier production.

Lucy, F (2014). Bridal Shower party. [Photograph]. Retrieved from: www.lucyfavierproductio.com/bridalshowerparty

Citations for podcasts:

Broadcaster/author's name. (Year, Day Month). Programme title, series title (if relevant). [type of medium]. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

Lucy, F (2014, 23rd Oct 2016). Bridal Shower party. [Photograph]. Retrieved from: www.lucyfavierproductio.com/bridalshowerparty


5. Other source types

Citations for reports – Online or Print:

Organisation/author. (Year). Full title of report. Place of publication: Publisher.

Organisation/author. (Year). Full title of report. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

UNEP. (2014). A report on Solar energy in Africa: New York: Sage Publications.

UNEP. (2014). A report on Solar energy in Africa: Retrieved from www.unep.com/solarenergyinafrica.report

Citations for dissertations:

Last name of author, first initial. (Year). Title of dissertation. Level. Official name of university.

For example:

Neath, G. (1998). An examination of Mexican food in popular culture. Masters level. Oxford Brookes University.

Citations for government/official publications:

Organisation/author. (Year). Full title of report. Place of publication: Publisher.

Organisation/author. (Year). Full title of report. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

Nathan, R. (2000). The impact of taxation on SMEs growth and development. Masters level. Harvard University Press.

Citations for presentations/lectures:

Last name of author, first initial. (Year). Presentation/lecture title [file format]. Retrieved from: URL (if accessed online).

For example:

Germany Government. (2014). Health Improvement among young children. London: Government Publications.

Citations for music:

Performer/writer's last name, first initial. (Year). Recording title. [Medium]. City published: music label.

For example:

Adelle, R (2016). Hallo. [CD Recording]. USA: Adelle Music Production.

Citations for dictionaries:

Publisher. (Year). Full title of dictionary. Place of publication: Publisher.

For example:

Cambridge University. (2010). New English dictionary. USA: Cambridge University Press

Citations for computer programs/software:

Name of software/program. (Year). Company which made software (Version if applicable). [type of software]. Retrieved from: URL if applicable.

For example:

Microsoft office. (2008). Microsoft (V.8) [Word processor software].

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