The purpose of this guide is to provide students with a basic introduction to APA citation style (6th edition), including in-text citation and the construction of reference lists. APA Style is widely used by scholarly publishers in behavioural and social sciences.
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.
Note: A new version (7th edition) of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association was published in October 2019. This guide is based on the 6th edition of the manual. You may want to use the guide for the 7th edition instead. Always check with your professor/instructor to make sure you are using the correct citation style.
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sources cited in the text to be documented in the reference list, with the exception of personal communications such as unpublished letters, memoranda and informal electronic communications (APA 6.20); and, ancient classical works and religious texts numbered systematically across all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).