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An introduction to citation style using the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.)
Last Updated: Jan 8, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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The purpose of this guide is to provide students with a basic introduction to APA citation style, including in-text citation and the construction of reference lists. APA Style is widely used by scholarly publishers in behavioural and social sciences. It has also been adopted as the preferred or required system for documenting sources in writing assignments for many classes at the University of Saskatchewan.


APA Style also addresses general editorial issues and the preparation of manuscripts for publication. This guide does not discuss manuscript structure, writing style, mechanics of style, or data display.  An overview of these topics is available on the Purdue OWL website. For more information on these aspects of APA Style, refer to:


American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.


Reference, reserve, and/or general circulation copies of the manual are available in the Education, Murray, Health Sciences, and Natural Sciences Libraries. To view available holdings in all branches, check the online catalogue at call number BF76.7 A51 2010.


The Publication manual (6th ed.) provides examples of references for a wide variety of source types, including new and expanded treatment of online sources. It supercedes the interim APA Style guide to electronic references (2007), and is supplemented by information on the APA Style website.



Reference citations in text: APA Style's system for citing sources typically includes the author’s last name and date of publication, in parentheses, within the text of the paper. Parenthetical in-text citations replace the traditional footnotes or endnotes.


Reference List:  The reference list at the end of the paper documents literature cited in the paper by providing the information necessary to identify and retrieve each source. Note that a reference list differs from a bibliography in that it includes only those works actually cited within the paper. For additional details, including acceptable abbreviations, version to cite, and order of references, refer to sections 6.22 to 6.25 of the APA Publication Manual (6th ed., pp. 180-183).


Agreement of text and Reference list: APA Style requires all sources cited in the text to be documented in the reference list, with the exception of personal communications such as unpublished letters, memoranda and informal electronic communications (APA 6.20); and, ancient classical works and religious texts numbered systematically across all editions (APA 6.18).


When to cite

Give credit where credit is due! All the sources that you use must be cited in your text. This principle applies whether you quote directly, summarize, or paraphrase the work of others. For more information on avoiding plagiarism, consult section 1.10 of the APA Publication Manual (6th ed., pp. 15-16; see also “When to cite,” pp. 169-170). For institutional policy at the University of Saskatchewan, see the following resources from the Office of the University Secretary:


Student conduct & appeals

Integrity defined  


See also the concise advice in the Library's  Academic honesty: Library guide to writing it right.


Managing references: RefWorks


Citation management software allows you to import reference data from online databases, the library catalogue, and the Web, and to generate reference lists in various formats including APA Style. The Library provides all members of the university community with free access to ProQuest's Refworks platform via the web-based RefWorks @ The University of Saskatchewan Library.


Users are encouraged to review the RefWorks Quick Start guide and other help documentation available on the Learn RefWorks page


Several locally produced guides are also available. They highlight the use of RefWorks with some of the more commonly searched databases, Internet resources, and the U of S Library Catalogue. These include PDF documents from:


         Education and Music Library

         Health Sciences Library

         Natural Sciences Library


New for 2012: Say hello to RefWorks 2.0!

        Experience RefWorks 2.0 preview video

        RefWorks 2.0 Quick Start Guide

        RefWorks 2.0 Fundamentals tutorial


See other resources available via the ReWorks 2.0 Help site.

A locally produced PDF handout is also available from the Health Sciences Library: RefWorks 2.0


Please note that references generated using citation management software may need further editing to ensure conformity with the requirements of the Publication manual (6th ed.). This may be due to the format or quality of imported data, and to occasional program limitations.


Managing references: Endnote


By virtue of its subscription to Thomson Reuters’ Web of Knowledge, the Library is able to provide all members of the university community with free access to the web-based EndNote Web.

Users of Thomson Reuters’ individually licensed desktop software (EndNote X3, X4 or X5) are encouraged to view the online tutorials available via the product training page.

Locally produced resources include PDF guides available from Health Sciences Library:


         EndNote X5


         Endnote Web


Please note that references generated using citation management software may need further editing to ensure conformity with the requirements of the Publication manual (6th ed.). This may be due to the format or quality of imported data, and to occasional program limitations.


Credit & Terms of use

This guide extends but at present continues to draw most of its examples from education research literature as presented in A concise guide to APA citation style (6th ed.), one in a series of PDF documents comprising the Education & Music Library guide to resources.

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APA Style books

Interested in a personal copy? Check for availability at the UofS Bookstore


Cover Art
Publication manual of the American Pyschological Association
ISBN: 9781433805615
Publication Date: 2010

Cover Art
Concise rules of APA style
ISBN: 9781433805608
Publication Date: 2009

Cover Art
Mastering APA style: Student's workbook & training guide
ISBN: 9781433805578
Publication Date: 2009


New from SAGE

". . . this book presents easy-to understand explanations of how to write research papers, cite research, and do any work requiring APA format." SAGE Publications



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