A Complete Tutorial On APA Research Paper Citation Style

Behavioral, social, and some other scientists use the APA citation style to standardize scientific and academic writing. Research papers, empirical reports, literature reviews, methodological articles, and other types of papers are often formatted in APA. It provides the guidelines on how to format a title page, abstract, introduction, methodology, results, references, and other elements of a paper.

Citing References in Your APA Research Paper

If you format your assignment in APA, you should pay attention to mechanical details such as line spacing, typeface, page headers, and margins. Citing the sources used is important to avoid plagiarism. So, you should cite all the works of the authors whose theories, findings, and ideas have influenced your research. To format your citations correctly, study the guidelines below:

  • Use the author-date citation system so that the readers can easily find the sources cited in the body of the paper in the reference list.
  • Include the page number or specific location of the content cited, apart from the author’s last name and year of publication, for a direct quotation.
  • Cite the sources in the most readable manner when paraphrasing, e.g. write who developed a particular idea, when it was published, and why it was vital for your study.
  • Find a sample of how to format different in-text citations, including one work by one author, by two authors, and so on.
  • Arrange in-text quotations alphabetically when you need to cite two or more sources together.
  • Pay attention to how to format the first citation in text, subsequent citations, and parenthetical citations.

Formatting a Reference List in APA

To help the readers find the sources you used to complete your research, compose an accurate reference list. For academic writing, the most commonly used kinds of references are journal articles, chapters in edited books, entire books, conference materials, and online resources. You can easily find formatting examples online.

The following tips will help you finish this part of your work easily:

  • Compose a complete list of references, list each source alphabetically, and provide it at the end of the paper.
  • Do not include classical works and personal communications unless required by your academic advisor.
  • Use the hanging indent paragraph style in your reference list and double-space the entire list.
  • Ensure that the references contain these components: the names of all authors, publication date, the title of the source, and publication data.
  • Place a digital object identifier (DOI) for each article at the end of the reference. If there is no DOI, you can cite the URL.