Cite Anything And Everything With APA 6 Reference Guide

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APA 6 General Citation Style

APA is the standard writing and formatting style used in academic papers. Essentially a rulebook on citing and referencing your sources, the first APA style guide was introduced in 1952 by the American Psychological Association. Ever since the release of APA 1, new editions have been coming out regularly, with APA 2 coming out in 1974, APA 3 in 1983, APA 4 in 1994, APA 5 in 2001, APA 6 in 2009, and APA 6 in 2019. 

Although it’s most commonly used in behavioral and social sciences, APA 6 is the preferred format in most books, scholarly journals, and research papers across fields. 

Formatting your reference lists in APA 6

The APA 6 style has specific requirements for formatting your references. The essential elements of each reference include: 

  • The author: 
    • The last name, followed by a comma, then the author’s initials. When there are up to 20 authors, provide surnames and initials of all of them. If there are 21 or more authors, use the ellipsis after the 19th (no ampersand); 
    • If there are group authors (such as on government websites), use the full name of the group without abbreviations; 
  • The date: 
    • Include the date of publication in parentheses. The date could be only a year, year and month, or year, month, and day. 
    • If there is no date, place the abbreviation n.d. in parentheses; 
  • The title: 
    • Include the full title of the work you’re citing. 
    • If you’re citing a work that’s part of a greater whole (a specific chapter, for example), first place the title of the chapter, then the title of the work in the source. 
  • The source: 
    • The source can be a book, a report, even a YouTube video. Place the source after the title and include its relevant DOI or URL. 

How you’ll format your reference lists will depend on the type of reference you’re using. Therefore, you’ll have references such as: 

  • Books

If you want to cite a book such as “Doing Psychological Research” by Joseph Horvat and Stephen Davis from 1998, you’ll start by listing the authors in alphabetical order, then stating the date, and including an italicized title: 

Davis, S., & Horvat, J. (1998). Doing Psychological Research.

  • Websites 

If you want to cite a website such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and its article on “Comirnaty and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine”, you’ll treat the reference as having a group of authors and include the website’s name along with its URL: 

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2021). Comirnaty and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Articles 

When citing articles, you’ll need to include the author’s name, year of publication, the article’s title, the journal title, and optionally, the page range of the journal. If you’ve accessed the article electronically, you’ll also need to include the DOI or URL: 

Rahll, D. (2021, December 13). No, You Cannot Spoil a Baby. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: 

  • Newspapers

When citing newspapers, you need to add the author’s last name and initials, the full date of the publication, title of the article, the italicized title of the newspaper, and optionally the page number: 

Stern, J. (2021, December 14). The iPhone Feature to Turn On Before You Die. The Wall Street Journal

  • Video 

Citing videos from YouTube, for example, requires you to write the author’s name (if it’s known), their screen name in square brackets, the date of publishing. 

Easton, M. [scholagladiatoria]. (2021, December 2). Native American Style Tomahawk! Review of Ravensbeak Forge Axe

APA 6 in-text citations

Besides including proper citations in your reference list, you’ll also need to provide in-text citations within the body of your text. These citations are traditionally shorter, designed to lead the reader to your reference list, where they can find the full citation. 

You’ll need to put the author’s name(s) and the date published in the brackets before the full stop. If you’re providing a direct quote, you’ll also need to include the page number (however, this isn’t necessary if you’re paraphrasing). For example: 

  • Family members often chime in with their thoughts on how people are responding to and caring for their babies (Rahll, D., 2021). 

In case the author’s name is unknown, use the work’s title: 

  •  The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is available as a single booster dose for adults over the age of 18 (Comirnaty and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, 2021). 

In case there are three or more authors, use et al. for all citations for sources:

  • There are clear reasons why so many Americans pursue a college education; they not only acquire knowledge and skills that augment lifelong learning but also these undergraduate experiences usually lead to employment opportunities and enhanced income (Landrum, E., 2013, p.3).

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Without proper in-text and reference list citations, you risk being accused of plagiarism, harming your grade, academic performance, and professional reputation. To ensure that you always follow the APA 7 general referencing rules, it’s in your best interest to use a citation generator tool. 

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