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Academic Skills

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Academic Skills

APA Style

American Psychological Association, 6th ed. Citation Guidelines


What is APA Style?

The guidelines of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition (APA, 2010) specify how to apply citations, references, headings, tables, appendices and other elements in an academic document.

Citation information includes author and date of publication; it is presented in parentheses in the text of the document. Learn more about requirements for in-text citations.

Cited sources are listed in a “References” section at the end of the paper. Learn more about creating a references list.


When to Cite

Academic writing synthesizes original work with the work of others. To avoid plagiarism, give credit for anything taken from other sources.

You must document all sources used in a paper.

Cite the following

  • Cite all paraphrases or summaries of ideas or information that are not your own.
  • Cite all direct quotations of two or more consecutive words. In fact, a single distinctive term taken from a source should be placed in quotation marks and cited.
  • You can use sources that are not simply written words. These need to be cited too (some examples include charts, films, maps, graphs, web pages, photographs, television news reports, lectures, and audio tapes).

Do not cite the following

  • Your ideas, opinions or conclusions
  • Common knowledge in the discipline. Common knowledge in psychology might be that Skinner was a Behaviourist. In sociology, it might be that Durkheim created the academic discipline sociology.

If you are ever confused about whether to cite or not, cite. It is better to err on the side of citing than to neglect to cite and risk plagiarising. Read more about avoiding plagiarism.


APA Checklists

  1. APA Title Page Checklist
  2. APA Formatting Checklist
  3. APA In-Text Citations Checklist
  4. APA References Checklist