APA Referencing

Referencing is a crucial part of writing in psychology and the behavioural sciences. It allows you to make a claim and support it by evidence. You can also use referencing to refer the reader to further information on a topic. To write effectively, you need to understand referencing.

‘In-text’ referencing is how you acknowledge the source documentation used in your written work. This is called "citing" another source. You typically cite the source in your text by listing the author or authors and the date of the publication. So that the reader can look up the source themselves, you need to give the "reference" details at the end of the report or essay in a section headed by the title "References". This will give the full details of each of the publications cited in your text. For example, the reference for a book would include the authors, date of publication, title of the book, place of publication, and publisher name.

Like other academic disciplines, psychology requires you to apply a consistent style of referencing. The APA style is what you should use. APA style tells us how to cite a source in the text and how to describe the source in the References section. For example, this style details what needs to be included in a reference, their order, and formatting (e.g., use of italics, full stops, and commas). Although it takes a while to learn APA referencing style, it is worth it in the long run. By using a consistent format, a lot of confusion can be avoided and you will avoid leaving out crucial information the reader might need.

Here you will find examples of how to cite sources. You will also find examples of how to write references for various types of sources, such as books, book chapters, journal articles, and web pages.