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How to Format APA Citations

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  • 0:05 Intro to APA Citations
  • 0:29 In-Text Citations
  • 2:13 Reference Page
  • 2:53 Journal Articles
  • 4:17 Authored Books
  • 5:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Doresa Jennings

Doresa holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies.

All college students must not only know how to read and understand writing, they need to know how to write using the APA citation style as well. This video will pull back the covers of APA style writing and give you confidence when using APA.

Intro to APA Citations

The American Psychological Association (APA) is one of the most common formatting styles in academic writing. Despite its name, APA style is used in a variety of academic disciplines as it's designed to be clear and easy to follow. This video will cover citing sources in the text as well as in the reference page of a piece utilizing APA formatting.

In-Text Citations

An in-text citation is a source being cited within the body of a paper. In-text citations are needed to show the reader where you got the information you are using in the piece. If there is no citation, the reader assumes the information came from you. In academic writing, this is seen as a form of plagiarism, or taking credit for work that is not your own. Two pieces of information are needed for an in-text citation when summarizing information from the piece - the last name of the author and the year of publication. There are two common ways of making an in-text citation. The first is to mention the name of the author within the sentence, while the year of publication is in parenthesis:

According to Smith (2012), laughing helps a person conquer the hiccups.

The second way of doing an in-text citation is to cite the information, then put both the author and the publication year in parenthesis:

Laughter is believed to be a way to conquer the hiccups (Smith, 2012).

If, instead of summarizing the information from the source, you will be using a direct quote, you will also need the page number on which the quote can be found in your in-text citation.

According to Smith (2012), 'Laughter was successful in curing hiccups almost 70% of the time' (p. 822).

If the author is not cited in the introductory phrase, the citation for a direct quote would look like this:

(Smith, 2012, p. 822)

The big thing to remember is that when using a direct quote, make sure the page number the quote can be found on is a part of the in-text citation.

Reference Page

The reference page is a page that lists all of the sources used within your paper. The references should be placed in alphabetical order according to the author's last name. All lines in each entry after the first line should be indented one half inch from the margin.

When creating your reference page, you will need additional pieces of information from your citation. What information is needed will depend on the type of reference you are using. This video will cover the two most common types of references in academic writing: journal articles and books.

Journal Articles

When creating a reference entry for a journal article, you will need the name of the author, the year the article was published, the name of the article, the name of the journal, the volume and issue number of the journal, and the pages on which the article can be found.

A journal article citation would look like this:

Smith, A. B. (2012). The best cure for hiccups. The Journal of Everyday Cures, 5(13), 802 - 850.

The first part of the citation is the author's last name, followed by the first and middle initial. Next is the year the journal article was published put into parenthesis, followed by a period. Then we have the full name of the article. Remember to capitalize only the first word of the article and any proper nouns. After the name of the article is the name of the publication. The name of the publication should be capitalized as well as put into italics. A comma follows the name of the article, then the volume number. Next to the volume number is the issue number in parenthesis. A comma follows the parenthesis, then the page numbers on which the article can be found. After the page number is a period.

If there is more than one author, include each author's last name and first and middle initial. Make sure to list the authors in the order in which their names appear in the article.

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