Skip to Main Content
Library Guides

APA referencing: Introduction to APA

The basics

Referencing allows you to distinguish your own ideas from the research you have read so that your lecturers can clearly see your understanding of a topic. 

References will have three components:

Content: This is how you use the information within your work. You may choose to paraphrase, summarise and or quote the source.

Citation: This is the brief reference within the body of your text immediately after the quote or summary. This refers the reader to the reference list.

Reference List: This is the full list of all the sources you have read with all the details to enable your reader to find the source themselves.

Understanding references is also important to help you find the sources that your lecturers refer to in reading lists, lectures etc. 

Below are some common examples:

Book: Shaffer, D. & Kipp, K. (2013). Developmental Psychology (9th ed.)Boston, MA: Cengage Learning

Book Chapter: Macchi, L. (2005). The partitive conditional probability. In D. Hardman and L. Macchi (Eds.) Thinking: Psychological perspectives on reasoning, judgement and decision making (pp.165-187). Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Journal Article:  Sniehotta, F.F., Presseau, J. & Araújo-Soares, V (2014). Time to retire the theory of planned behaviour. Health Psychology Review, 8(1), 1-7. doi: 10.1080/17437199.2013.869710

Referencing is an essential part of academic work and helps you demonstrate a number of skills. It is important because:

  • it demonstrates your own contribution, ideas and understanding of the topic;
  • it acknowledges the research you have done and enables readers to follow up on your references; and
  • it demonstrates consistency and attention to detail.

Rather than see referencing as a chore try and view it as an opportunity to make your work more professional and also improve your grade.