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APA 7 Referencing


This library guide provides information on how to correctly use the APA 7th edition referencing style. It covers how and when referencing should be used in academic writing, how to avoid plagiarism and how to manage references.

What is referencing?

When you are writing an essay or report, you will support your answer or back up your argument by discussing published work. These published works could be books, textbooks, articles, online sources, videos, newspaper articles among others. Referencing is the system by which you keep track of and give credit to the sources you have mentioned in your essay. Referencing is a requirement in academic writing, and you will be asked to present a list of all the works and authors cited in your essay. You may have seen references in your textbooks, articles you have read or on your
reading list.

When you are referencing in your essay, every reference has two parts. They are:
1. An in-text citation in the body of your essay
2. A reference in a list at the end of your essay


What is APA?

APA is just one of hundreds of different referencing styles or systems. This one was invented by the American Psychological Association but it doesn’t apply just to psychology, it is a popular style for lots of disciplines. The style has been revised 7 times, hence APA 7th edition, and it was most recently revised in 2019. Referencing styles get revised over time for lots of reasons including to incorporate new types of references, such as online resources.

Why do I need to reference?

There are three main reasons to reference:

  • To avoid plagiarism; referencing correctly means you are acknowledging the source of your work and another author’s idea. We will discuss plagiarism in more depth a little later.


  • So your reader can consult the work you have referenced. If you are not specific about which article you a referencing by a specific author, then whoever is reading your essay can go and check that article.


  • To show the scope of your research.

When do I need to reference in my essay?

You need to reference in your essay by including an in-text citation and corresponding full reference at the end of your essay every time you mention someone else's work.

That means that you need to reference when you include a direct quotation, when you paraphrase a passage from a book or article in your sentence, when you mention an idea you read or when you mention a statistic or definition you came across.

You need to include a reference even if the source is not a book or journal article - websites, blogs, YouTube videos, social media posts, news sites and reports also need to be referenced. Click on the "How to reference" tab above to see examples of different types of references.


Check your knowledge of when to reference by taking a self-paced Kahoot quiz! Click the logo below to open the quiz and answer 10 short questions.




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