When you write an academic or scientific paper, it is really necessary to follow the rules of a citation guide and be consistent while formatting your material. The reasons behind such strict guidelines give your paper credibility and proof of the research you have conducted. It gives the cited authors credit for their work and helps avoid plagiarism (even if you are paraphrasing another author).
There are several kinds of formats you can follow and you should check with your mentor which one you should choose before getting down to your paper. In social science disciplines (psychology, sociology, education etc.), one of the most reputable kinds, used to cite various sources, is the APA (American Psychological Association) format. Thus, we are going to discuss how to write a citation in APA format paper. This style focuses on placing the referenced work in time and mentioning the author correctly, as you will need to add the main author and year of publishing for each reference to uniquely identify it.
1. Adding a Citation
When you include a direct quotation in your research paper, you need to specify the author, the date when the referenced paper was published and the page where the quote can be found in parenthesis. For example:
“The bones were very fragile” (Cole, 2011, p. 13).
If the quoted text has more than 40 words, quotation marks must be excluded and you need to indent the quoted text five more spaces to the left and five more spaces to the right of the page. For example:
Alberta is occasionally divided into two regions, Northern Alberta and Southern Alberta. The majority of Alberta’s population is located in large urban cities, mostly located in the South. Alberta is Canada’s most populous province of all three Canadian Prairie provinces. Edmonton is the Capital of Alberta. (Hern, 1996, p. 22)
Citing the author properly is one of the main purposes of the APA formatting and you have to choose the right way to do it in specific situations.
2. Author’s Name & Publication Year of the Paper in Parentheses
If you mention the author’s name in your text, add the year of publication after the author’s name between parentheses. Look at this example:
“A neurosis is characterized by anxiety,” according to Kristen and Warb’s (2012, p. 157) longitudinal study.
If the name of the author isn’t mentioned in your text, add it between parenthesis together with the year of publishing, separating them with a comma, as in the example:
In fact, “a neurosis is characterized by anxiety” (Kristen & Warb, 2012, p. 157).
3. Original Name of an Author When Citing Sources
If you are citing an author that has been quoted in one of your reference papers, place the name of the original author in the text and add a reference to the source between parenthesis (author, year). When citing a paper that has multiple authors (but less than six), add all their last names in your first reference. The rest of the references that will follow only have to specify the first author’s name, followed by “et al.” – e.g. (Smith, et al., 2006). If you are citing a paper that has more than five authors, only use the first author’s name followed by “et al.” in all your citations.
4. Citing Websites in APA
Writing a citation from a website should have the following format in APA:
- General website with author: Author, X.X (publication year, month, and date). Title of the article. Retrieved from (give URL)
- Website without author: Title of the article. Publication (year, month, and date). Retrieved from (and give URL)
5. Citing Articles from Journals in APA
When citing articles taken from journals, the APA formatting guide recommends students to use the following format:
- Author, X.X.. (last name, first name initial). Year of publication. Title of the article. Periodical Title. pp.-pp
- Citation format from an online journal: Author, X.X.. Year of publication. Title of the article. Periodical title, pp.-pp. Retrieved from (and give the URL to the journal)
Citation rules always depend on the type of work that is being referenced, so make sure to check the APA manual guide for each situation, or simply use our Free Citation Generator as your helper.