The following resources contain examples and/or information to assist in preparing a research paper in APA Citation Style.
To avoid plagiarism when preparing a research paper, it is important to document where you found the information you are including. Depending on the subject area of the course that you are enrolled in, you may be asked to follow a specific manuscript and citation style when preparing your paper.
This resource guide will focus on the 7th edition of the APA publication style developed by the American Psychological Association, which is used by the Social Sciences and other curricular areas.
Take a look at the links on the right for examples of APA 7 in-text citations, reference pages, and some useful sites and tutorials.
Setting up your APA Paper:
The APA citation style has created a specific format for how students should set up their paper. With the new APA 7th edition, there are some changes to this format. A few of these changes will effect the way you set up your APA paper. For example, student papers no longer need to have a running head in their paper, and APA now allows more flexibility with the font choices. Sans serif fonts such as 11-point Calibri, 10-point Lucinda Sans Unicode, and 11-point Arial, as well as serif fonts like 12-point Times New Roman and 11-point Georgia are all permitted. Check out the Style and Grammar Guidelines page on the APA website to learn more about the new APA 7th edition style.
The Set-up guide for an academic paper prepared by HCC Learning Support Center staff is a great tool to help you step-by-step through the process of setting up your document. Be sure to see the APA-specific instructions on the last page. We recommend you use these guidelines to set up your paper before you begin writing.
The APA References list
Once you have completed your research and have gathered the information you would like to use to write your paper, your next step should be to create the list of the resources you will use in your paper. This list is called a Reference List and includes any source (publication, video, lecture, etc.) that you are using information from in your paper. It is very important that you cite sources in your paper because you want to show where you are getting your information from (and avoid Plagiarism), but also because it makes you seem more credible.
In APA style, each reference entry will normally include: a list of authors, publication date, title of the resource, journal or publication information, and if the source was accessed digitally, a retrieval statement. Take a look at the example below:
Dolhanty, J., & Greenberg, L. S. (2009). Emotion-focused therapy in a case of anorexia nervosa. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy 16(4), 366-382. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.624
Not every citation will include every field listed above, but you want to gather as much information as you can about the source you are citing.
The reference page is just one of the two ways you need to cite your sources when you are writing your research paper. The second is called In-Text Citations or Parenthetical Citations. When you are writing your paper, any time you use information from a source (direct quotes or paraphrased in your own words) you need to provide a citation for where that information came from. The in-text citations indicate which source in your reference list you are referring to. They are shorter than reference list citations, and normally include the source's author, year of publication, and the page numbers you found the information on. If a resource doesn't have an author, the title of the article can be used instead. And an article with no dates attached can use "n.d." instead. All in-text citations appear in parentheses directly after the information that is being cited. For example:
Anorexia has often been associated with low self-esteem. As one sufferer described, “Well, I feel I have nothing to give right now. And being thin is acceptable. If I’m fat, I’m just taking up space” (Dolhanty & Greenberg, 2009, p. 371).
In the example above, the in-text citation appears directly after the quoted information. Notice that the period for the end of the sentence appears after the in-text citation.
Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Signal phrases
There are two ways to share information from your sources in your paper: direct quotations & paraphrasing.
Direct quotations can be partial quotes, short quotes of one or two sentences, or long quotes encompassing four or more lines. The format for the citation for short and long quotes, a quote of four lines or more, will differ as is illustrated in the examples in the APA sample in-text citations document. Long quotes are off-set from the left margin by ½ inch. The ending period will appear after the citation in a short quote and paraphrase, but appears after the quoted section in a long quote of four lines or more. There is no punctuation after the citation for a long quotation.
Paraphrasing is restating the information in your own words. This does not mean simply changing a few words in the original passage, but rather synthesizing the information and presenting it in a new form. In this case, no quotation marks will be used like they are when you are quoting directly from the source. For examples of paraphrasing, refer to the APA sample in-text citations document.
Using signal phrases is another good way to enhance the readability of your paper. A signal phrase usually begins a sentence and names the author or title of the source and lists the publication date to provide context for the information to follow. “As Brown (2014) has noted…” is an example of a signal phrase. When using signal phrases, only the page number is included within the parentheses of the in-text citation since the author or title of the work and date have already been identified.
APA 7 Changes in the Reference List
APA 7 has updated some of the guidelines for creating citations in your reference list. Some of the most important changes are highlighted below. For a more complete description, check out this source from the APA website.
For more detailed information, check out the APA Style Guidelines listed here
APA 7 Changes to In-Text Citations
The only major change for creating in-text citations in APA 7 is the simplified form of citing sources with more than one author. Under APA 6, the first citation for a source with three or more authors included all the author's names (Smith, Jones, & Johnson, 2019) while the following citations were shortened (Smith, et al., 2019). Now under APA 7, all in-text citations for sources with three or more authors are shortened from the beginning (Smith, et al., 2019).
For more information about creating in-text citations, quoting, or indirect citations, check out the APA Style Guidelines found here.