This guide is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. (Washington, DC, American Psychological Association, 2010). APA is most commonly used to cite sources in psychology and the social sciences in general.
When citing sources, APA style uses the Author-Date method. This is different from other citation styles, such as MLA or Chicago Notes & Bibliography, because the name of the author is followed directly by the publication date, both in the reference list and in the in-text citation.
Other citation styles use the Author-Date method. Consult your instructor in order to verify which is the recommended style.
Every time you use ideas, theories, research, or direct quotes of other authors, you have to cite their works. Therefore, whether paraphrasing a concept, quoting an author directly, summarizing an idea that somehow influenced your work, or referring to data or data sets, you must give credit to the original source. This will help you avoiding plagiarism.
The sources that you use within your work must appear both in the text (In-text citations) and at the end of your research paper (Reference list) in alphabetical order.
Each source cited in the text must appear in the reference list, and each entry in the reference list must be cited in the text.
References to classical works and references to personal communications are cited in the text only, and they do not need to appear in the reference list.
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For a complete list of style rules, please consult the APA manuals, or take a look at the official tutorial from the APA website.