How to use APA Citation
APA Citation enables you to accurately give credit to those people whose work you have used to support your own work. “Cite the work of those individuals whose ideas, theories, or findings have directly influenced your work, even if you are paraphrasing or describing someone else’s idea.” (American Psychological Association, 2015)
So, specifically, what things should you cite?
When in doubt, create a citation and give credit. It is always better to have too many citations than too few. If you are using an idea that is not your own, you can cite it. This means that your list of citations can include references to people, books, theories, philosophies, signs, written words, spoken words, internet sites, quotations, interview answers and more. There really is no limit. If the thought did not originate with you, you should give credit by citing it.
Ok, but doesn’t that mean that there will be more citations in my paper than the paper itself?
Not exactly. Most ideas stem from other ideas. The work that came before ours inspires our new understanding of things. It is also a foundation for new ways of looking at old ideas. Therefore, you do not have to quote everything you have ever read. If you summarize and cite properly, it will be understood that you have built upon the work of others.
When using APA Citation style, there are 2 primary ways to cite resources:
- First is your comprehensive list of references. This is a list that comes at the end of your paper. The references listed in it look like the examples I gave you in Section II. It is where you detail all the books you read, magazines you poured over, internet sites you visited, and anything else that may have significantly influenced your thinking. You may or may not directly quote these resources in your work, but by putting them in this list, you are letting any future reader know where your ideas may have come from. You are giving credit to the other thinkers in your field.
Always include at least the following data in your references:
- author name or names
- publication date
- title of the work
- publication data(American Psychological Association, 2015)
- Second are your in-text citations. These are references within your paper. They are quotations or summaries of research done by others. They look something like this:
Hacker (2011) explains that you must “ordinarily, introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author’s last name followed by the year of publication in parentheses. Put the page number (preceded by “p.”) in parentheses after the quotation” (p.459).
The in-text citation I put in Section III is another example of how these are formatted. Can you find it? Can you find any others in this article?
There are many instruction manuals that detail how to use APA Style and construct APA Citations. If you are required to use this style, it is a good idea to get access to one, such as the official Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, and to follow their instructions. This manual and many others that detail how to use this citation method are available in libraries and bookstores of all kinds. You can use these tools to generate the APA citation:
When to use APA Citation
Use APA Citation style whenever you are writing a scientific paper or report or whenever your instructor asks for this particular citation style.