There are two parts to APA referencing:
1 the in-text citation
2. the reference list entry
The in-text citation contains the basic information (author, date) about a source so acts as a signpost to your reader that this is someone else's work/ideas, etc. Your reader can then go to the reference list entry which contains the full details of the source. The information needed in the reference list entry is dependent on the type of source it is (e.g. book, journal article, webpage etc.).
APA uses the author/date style which means that the author's surname and date is used for the in-text citation. The reference list is arranged alphabetically by author surname followed by their initial(s) and then the date which makes it easy for your reader to find the corresponding reference list entry from the in-text citation information.
Referencing is important in academic writing and as essential part of any assignment. It is acknowledging the sources you have used in your academic work. It shows that your work is based on knowledge and informed by appropriate academic reading.
backs up your arguments and gives credibility to your work
demonstrates your understanding of the topic area
allows your reader to locate and verify the accuracy of the sources you have used
helps prevents accusations of plagiarism.
Plagiarism is passing off someone else's work as you own either intentionally or unintentionally.
This can be someone else’s
ideas or theories
words or writing
data or scientific findings
images or pictures
The key to avoiding plagiarism is to reference correctly so you know when and how to give credit to other authors in your work.
Check out the Library's plagiarism tutorial for more guidance.
What should I reference?
You should always reference a source when:
Alexis Lamb (firstname.lastname@example.org) and
(Academic Subject Librarian for Psychology and Sport)
Subject guides available at:
Tracey Newby (email@example.com)
(Academic Subject Librarian for Education)
Subject guide available at: