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APA – Citing Sources

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APA

The building blocks of a reference

The basic idea behind a reference is that it should include enough information about the source so that the reader can easily find it. Therefore it is necessary to write your references in a consistent way. 

Surname, A. (year). Title. Source.

About APA

APA is one of the most developed and used styles among those that originate from the so-called Harvard system. According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), cited sources are written in the text within parentheses with information about the author and year. The style is frequently used in the natural sciences, social and behavioural sciences and medicine.

This guide is based on the latest edition of APA (the 7th edition). 

Changes in the 7th edition

There are a number of changes in the 7th edition of the APA manual. Here are some of the more important ones:

1. The publisher location is no longer included in the reference. 

Before: Covey, S. R. (2013). The 7 habits of highly effective people: Powerful lessons in personal change. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Now: Covey, S. R. (2013). The 7 habits of highly effective people: Powerful lessons in personal change. Simon & Schuster.

2. The in-text citations for works with three or more authors are now shortened from the first citation. You only include the first author's name "et al.". 

Before: (Taylor, Kotler, Johnson, & Parker, 2018)
Now: (Taylor et al., 2018)

3. Up to 20 authors should now be provided in the reference list. If a publication has more than 20 authors, use (...) as before. 

Before: Miller, T. C., Brown, M. J., Wilson, G. L., Evans, B. B., Kelly, R. S., Turner, S. T., … Lee, L. H. (2018).
Now: Miller, T. C., Brown, M. J., Wilson, G. L., Evans, B. B., Kelly, R. S., Turner, S. T., Lewis, F., Lee, L. H., Cox, G., Harris, H. L., Martin, P., Gonzalez, W. L., Hughes, W., Carter, D., Campbell, C., Baker, A. B., Flores, T., Gray, W. E., Green, G., … Nelson, T. P. (2018).

4. DOIs are written the same way as URLs. The label "DOI:" is no longer needed.

Before: doi: 10.1080/02626667.2018.1560449
Now: https://doi.org/10.1080/02626667.2018.1560449

5. URLs are no longer preceded by "Retrieved from", unless the date is needed. The website name is included (unless it's the same as the author), and web page titles are italicized. 

Before: Walker, A. (2019, November 14). Germany avoids recession but growth remains weak. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/business-50419127
Now: Walker, A. (2019, November 14). Germany avoids recession but growth remains weak. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-50419127

6. The format, platform or device is no longer included in references for ebooks. Instead, the publisher is included. 

Before: Brück, M. (2009). Women in early British and Irish astronomy: Stars and satellites [Kindle version]. https:/doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2473-2
Now: Brück, M. (2009). Women in early British and Irish astronomy: Stars and satellites. Springer Nature. https:/doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2473-2

7. There are clear guidelines for including contributors other than authors and editors. For example, when citing a podcast episode, you include the host of the episode.

8. More examples of online sources are added, such as social media posts and YouTube videos. The use of hashtags and emojis are also explained. 

Read more

Read more about the changes in the 7th edition in APA's free guide What’s New in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition (PDF, 1.3MB)