About APA Style
American Psychological Association (APA) style is used for citing references you use for your papers in science and social science courses, such as:
- Social Work
APA style provides rules for formatting:
- your essay as a whole: margins, indenting, etc.
- references included in the body of your essay (in-text)
- the reference list at the end of your essay (References)
It may seem like citing your sources is tedious, but it's important and there are many reasons to do it.
The purpose of citing your references is to:
- identify (cite) other people’s ideas and the information you use within your assignment, essay or term paper
- avoid plagiarism
- allow the reader to find your research sources
- provide evidence for your arguments and add credibility to your work
This online guide is based on the APA Manual (6th ed.), 2009.
Here are three different ways you can present information you have found in your research to consciously avoid plagiarizing.
1. Direct quote
When you use or copy the exact words or section of words from an author, you can surround that direct quote by quotation marks. Include the correct citation acknowledging the original author in your sentence.
Write a summary using your own words of the ideas or the text you want to use. Be original without using the words of the original work and be sure you cite that statement.
Paraphrasing is similar to a summary. It just means taking what you have read and rewriting it in your own words. You must cite that paraphrase.
Why Cite Sources
This animated overview explores how research works and why sources matter — whether you're getting a tattoo or writing a paper.
The 6th Edition
APA published a new manual of style in July 2009, after four years of development.
There have been many changes, such as:
- the use of Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) in references to print and electronic sources (when available)
- levels of Headings
- specific and detailed referencing of online resources
Manage your research and citations easily with RefWorks.
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Instructor and Subject Citation Requirements
Some instructors may have additional or specialized requirements for your citations.
For example, while the current MLA format does not require you to include the full URL in your citation, some instructors prefer that you do.
Always be aware of class requirements- check with your instructor if you're not sure!
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