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APA Referencing

APA referencing refers to the writing guidelines which have been developed by the American Psychological Association (APA). This is used when referencing or citing written work within the Social and Behavioural Sciences.

The APA 6th edition referencing style is an example of the parenthetical or author-date system of referencing. As such, it follows most of the conventions that are also used by the Harvard style of referencing such as the use of brackets to cite authors or publication dates.

Below are some of general APA citation format guidelines when citing sources in-text:


  • For direct quotations, enclose the quote in quotation marks, with the following details:
    • Author's name (if not mentioned in text yet), publication year, page numbers placed inside brackets.
  • For books, the APA citation style follows the conventions of the author-date system. For books with two or more authors, all authors are mentioned in the first citation followed by the year of publication. In subsequent citations, only the first author is mentioned followed by "et al."

In APA referencing, a Reference List is added at the end of the work where all details of the cited sources are given. Below are some APA citation style guidelines for the Reference List:


  • Arrange the references which have been cited in-text in alphabetical order based on the authors' surnames.
  • When more than one work by a single author is cited, arrange this chronologically, i.e. the work with the earliest publication date should appear first.
  • The author's surname is placed first, followed by first name or initials, then the year when the work was published.

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