I. What is APA Citation?
A citation is a quotation or an explicit reference to a source of information. When writing a paper of any kind, it is vital that you cite your sources accurately.
The APA is the American Psychological Association. Over time, they have developed a generally accepted style of writing papers and citing sources used throughout the scientific and social scientific worlds.
An APA Citation is a citation written in this style.
II. Examples of APA Citation
There are many manuals that detail how to use the APA Citation style. I have used one of these in researching this article. It is titled A Writer’s Reference by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers. If I were to cite that book using the APA Citation method, it would look like this:
Hacker, D., & Sommers, N. (2011). A Writer’s Reference (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
I have also used an online tutorial to learn more about using this citation format. Much of the information shared here is a summary of the information within this tutorial. Here is the reference to that tutorial in APA Citation format:
APA Format. (n.d.). APA Book Citation. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from https://apaformat.org/apa-book-citation/
III. Types of APA Citation
APA Citations are used mainly for publishing research in the social and behavioral sciences. These fields include the social sciences, such as psychology, linguistics, sociology, economics and criminology, as well as fields such as business and nursing. This style of citation can be used for many different publications, such as:
- term papers
- research reports
- empirical studies
- literature reviews
- theoretical articles
- methodological articles and
- case studies (American Psychological Association, 2015)
IV. The Importance of using APA Citation
APA (American Psychological Association) style and citations were developed by social and behavioral scientists in order to set a standard for scientific writing. When informative papers are formatted in a standard way, it allows readers to focus on ideas and research without being distracted by unfamiliar formatting and stylistic choices. It creates a system of publishing which is efficient in distributing ideas because less time is spend locating and navigating information. Familiar structure sets up easy and efficient searching and reading.
On a different, note, information and ideas are precious. To steal them is as serious a crime as stealing a car or anything else. The name for stealing someone else’s ideas is “plagiarism” and it carries heavy penalties in the academic world. When you show the progression and development of your ideas through quotation and citation, you increase your reliability and credibility as an author and researcher. If your readers are able to trace and confirm where your ideas came from, they will be able to trust you and your work and then build upon it themselves.
V. APA Citation in Literature
APA Citation format is usually used for scientific writing. If you are writing or reading papers about literature, you will most likely use the MLA format (Modern Language Association), or the CMS format (Chicago Manual of Style).
VI. APA Citation in Popular Culture
Researchers come from all countries and cultures and speak all languages. Therefore, there is an incredible amount of information available in the world today, and just as much research about people, their behaviors, and society. Thankfully, there is also an incredible number or organizations attempting to keep all of that information in order and accessible. By developing a standard of style of documentation, the APA has made scientific writing simpler, easily accessible, and understandable by anyone, whether they are doing research in order to build on it, or just wanting to learn. By standardizing the way research is reported and distributed, the APA has made it easier for researchers to make their work available.
VII. Related Terms
MLA Citation: citations written in the style standardized by the Modern Language Association. This style is used in the humanities fields, such as literature and language arts. You can learn more about this style from their website: https://www.mla.org/style. You can also use a tool to help you create the citation such as:
CMS Citation: citations written in the style standardized by the Chicago Manual of Style. CMS style is also used in the humanities, but more commonly in the historical fields. You can learn more about this style from their website: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org
There are many other citations styles, each specific to its own field of research and study. APA, MLA and CMS are the three most commonly used in schools and universities.