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APA Referencing Style

The American Psychological Association (APA) style is a widely used author-date system of referencing or bibliographic citation. This guide covers basic explanations and examples for the most common types of citations used by students. Referencing acknowledges the sources that you use to write your essay or assignment paper. In-text citations are used throughout your writing to acknowledge the sources of your information. The full references for the citations are then listed at the end of your assignment paper in the References list. It is important to first consult your course outline, lecturer or tutor for the preferred citation style for each unit you undertake.  

Citing a book in PDF form

Books, or extracts from books, may be encountered online in PDF form. A book will generally include a copyright page with the details of publication. To cite an online book like this, list the usual information for a book, followed by a URL or DOI at the end.

APA FormatLast name, Initials. (Year). Book title. Publisher. DOI or URL
APA reference entry
Kaufman, K. A., Glass, C. R., & Pineau, T. R. (2018). Mindful sport performance enhancement: Mental training for athletes and coaches. American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000048-000
APA in-text citation(Kaufman, 2018)

Citing a journal article

Journal articles will usually indicate the volume, issue, and name of the journal they’re published in.
Journal articles published as PDFs often use an e-locator (the letter “e” followed by a series of numbers, e.g. e1034762) instead of a page range to identify their location within the journal. If the article cited lacks a page range, use the e-locator instead.

APA formatLast name, Initials. (Year). Article title. Journal Name, Volume(Issue), Page range. or e-locator. DOI or URL
APA reference entry
Lachner, A. (2020). Timing matters! Explaining between study phases enhances students’ learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 112, 841–853. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000396
APA in-text citation(Lachner, 2020)

Citing a dissertation or thesis

A dissertation or thesis published online will often be in PDF form. These will generally feature a title page clearly marking them as a dissertation or thesis.
List the author, date, and title, followed by the type of document (e.g. “Master’s thesis”) and university in square brackets, the name of the website, and finally the URL.

APA formatAuthor last name, Initials. (Year). Dissertation title [Type of dissertation/thesis, University Name]. Archive Name. URL
APA reference entry
Ndlovu, S. (2020). Linguistic markers of maternal focus within emotional conversations: The role of depressive symptoms and maltreatment [Master’s thesis, University of Notre Dame]. CurateND. https://curate.nd.edu/show/9k41zc80w8w
APA in-text citation(Ndlovu, 2020)

Citing a white paper

A white paper is a type of report presenting the ideas, policy, or proposals of the organization that issued it (e.g., a government or business) concerning a particular topic.
The format for citing one is similar to that for a report, except that white papers generally don’t have report numbers, and the label “White paper” in square brackets appears after the title instead.

APA formatOrganization Name. (Year). White paper title: Subtitle [White paper]. Publisher Name. URL
APA reference entryDepartment of Health and Social Care. (2012). Caring for our future: Reforming care and support [White paper]. Crown. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/136422/White-Paper-Caring-for-our-future-reforming-care-and-support-PDF-1580K.pdf
APA in-text citation(Department of Health and Social Care, 2012)

Citing a brochure

Brochures and pamphlets are small, informative promotional texts designed, for example, to introduce an exhibition or advertise a range of products or services.
Brochures encountered in PDF form are cited in a similar format to reports. Note that when the organization listed as author is the same as the publisher (as in the example below), you should only list it once.

APA formatOrganization Name. (Year). Title [Brochure]. or [Pamphlet]. Publisher. URL
APA reference entry
Museum of Modern Art. (2004). Projects 81: Jean Shin [Brochure]. https://www.moma.org/d/pdfs/W1siZiIsIjIwtaF9wcm9qZyb2NodXJlLnBkZiJdXQ/projects81_brochure.pdf?sha=f2f2e81f2cbf0514
APA in-text citation
(Museum of Modern Art, 2004)

Citing a newspaper or magazine article

When you encounter a newspaper or magazine article in PDF form, the page numbers will generally be available, so that you can just cite it in the format for a print article.

APA format
Last name, Initials. (Year, Month Day). Article title. Newspaper Name, pages.
APA reference entry
Schwartz, J. (1993, September 30). Obesity affects economic, social status. The Washington Post, A1, A4.
APA in-text citation
(Schwartz, 1993)