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Citation Styles and Plagiarism: APA

Get basic information on the major citation styles, plagiarism guidelines, and info on some of our citation softwares

APA Style

These disciplines tend to use APA Citation and Formatting Style:

  • Business
  • Communication Studies
  • Communication Sciences & Disorders
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Geography
  • Nursing
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Basic APA Citation Formats

The following guidelines are recommended in accordance with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Please check with your supervising professor to see whether strict APA formatting should be observed for your project. All references on the references page should be double-spaced and use a hanging indent.

Books with a single author

Reference page:

Oliver, P. (2014). Writing your thesis (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: Sage.

In-text citation:

(Oliver, 2014, p. 99).

With signal phrase:

According to Oliver (2014)... (p. 99).

Oliver (2014) states... (p. 99).

Books with more than one author

There are special rules in APA for citing both books and articles with three to five authors, and six or more authors. For more information on how to cite these kinds of works, please refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Reference page:

Werner-Burke, N., Knaus, K., & Helt DeCamp, A. (2014). Rebuilding research writing: Strategies for sparking informational inquiry. New York, NY: Routledge.

In-text citation:

(Werner-Burke, Knaus & Helt DeCamp, 2014, p. 82).

With signal phrase:

Werner-Burke, Knaus, and Helt DeCamp (2014) argue... (p. 82).

If you cite this again later in your paper:

(Werner-Burke et al., 2014, p. 205).

Articles in online scholarly journals

Reference page:

Martinez, C. T., Kock, N., & Cass, J. (2011). Pain and pleasure in short essay writing: Factors predicting university students' writing anxiety and writing self-efficacy. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 54, 351-360. doi:10.1598/JAAL.54.5.5

In-text citation:

(Martinez, Kock & Cass, 2011, p. 354).

With signal phrase:

Martinez, Kock, and Cass (2011) recommend... (p. 354).

If you cite this same source later in your paper:

Martinez et al. (2011) believe... (p. 355).

Documents in a website

Reference page:

Clay, R.A. (2007). Writing well. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2007/03/writing.aspx

With organization as author:

American Library Association. (2015, February 9). Framework for information literacy for higher education. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework

In-text citations:

For websites or sections in websites, give as much information as you can find in the reference for the reference page. For in-text citations, use section headings or paragraph designations (or both) to help your reader find the section you are citing when there are no page numbers.

(Clay, 2007, Make Writing A Habit section).

(Clay, 2007, para. 6).

(American Library Association, 2015, Information Has Value section).

(American Library Association, 2015, para. 8).

With signal phrase:

According to Clay, (2007)... (Making Writing a Habit section, para. 1).

According to Clay, (2007)... (para. 6).

The American Library Association (2015) claims... (Information Has Value section, para. 2).

The American Library Association (2015) claims... (para. 8).

 

The following guidelines are recommended in accordance with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Please check with your supervising professor to see whether strict APA formatting should be observed for your project. 

  • Double-space the text of your paper.
  • Use 12 point Times New Roman font.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks.
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Indent the first line of paragraphs.
  • Number all pages, including the title page and abstract, with arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.) on the top right hand corner about an inch from the top of the page.
  • On the upper left corner of all pages on the same line as the page number, include a running head. The running head is an abbreviated form of your full paper title, should be formatted in all caps, and contain no more than 50 characters. On the title page only, include the words: "Running head:" and then your running head title in all caps.
  • Use section headings to designate the different sections of your paper. Center, bold, and capitalize all words in your section headings.

Formatting the Title Page of Your Paper

  • In the top left corner, about an inch from the top, include the words "Running head:" and then your running head title in all caps.
  • In the top right corner on the same line as your running head, insert a page number.
  • About halfway down the page and centered, include the full title of your paper. Capitalize all words four letters or longer in your title.
  • Underneath the title, include your name.
  • Underneath your name, include Texas Christian University.
  • Near the bottom of the page, you may optionally include an author's note. Please check with your supervising professor about whether you should include the author note or not.

Formatting Your Abstract

  • APA requires an abstract for your paper. Include it as a separate page after the title page.
  • Your abstract should include your running head and a page number.
  • Center the word "Abstract" at the top of the page.
  • In general, abstracts are not usually more than one paragraph, and should summarize the content of your paper.
  • Your abstract should NOT be indented.
  • You may optionally include keywords, which, if your paper was being published in a journal, would help your readers find this article in a database. If you choose to include keywords, write the word, "Keywords:" centered, capitalized, and italicized underneath your summary. Include up to five keywords or phrases that describe what your paper is about in normal 12 point non-italicized font, and separate each word or phrase with a comma.

Formatting Your References Page

  • Include the running head and page numbers.
  • Center the word "References" at the top of the references page.
  • Alphabetize all references by authors' last names.
  • Use a hanging indent.
  • Double-space the entire page

APA Sample Papers With Formatting Notes

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