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This guide offers rules and examples for the general format of APA student research papers, in-text citations, and the Reference list. Use the blue tabs at the top of the guide to navigate. If needed, look for boxes titled "Additional Resources," located near the bottom of every page, with links to in-depth, authoritative APA websites.
While this guide is meant to be reliable resource and the contents are accurate to the best of our knowledge, it is illustrative rather than exhaustive. The ultimate authority on APA style is the official Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition. The manual itself (on which this guide is based) should be consulted along with this guide and the "Additional Resources" links in order to guarantee consistent adherence to APA rules.
Some examples illustrate recommendations of Seneca Library, Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL) and/or Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) and should be viewed as modifications to the official APA guidelines.
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What is APA?
APA style was created by the American Psychological Association. It is a set of formatting and citation rules for publications (including research papers) in the social sciences.
There are two parts to APA citations: In-text citations and the Reference list.
In APA, you must "cite" sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places:
- In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation.
- In the Reference list at the end of your paper, where you give more complete information for the source.
Commonly Used Terms
- In-Text Citation: A brief note within a paragraph/sentence to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is available in the reference list.
- Reference List: Contains the complete, detailed citations on ALL the sources cited within a research paper or essay. Usually located on the final page of a student research paper.
- URL: The address of a website (many begin with http://www...). The URL is added to the end of reference list citations for all websites except library databases.
- DOI: Some electronic content, such as online journal articles, is assigned a unique number called a Digital Object Identifier (D O I or doi). Items can be tracked down online using their doi.
- Quoting: The copying of words of text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations generally appear in quotation marks and end with an in-text citation.
- Paraphrasing: Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words (still requires an in-text citation!).
- Plagiarism: Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another. This can be avoided by always citing your sources!
Have a question about something APA-related that isn't covered in this guide? Check out these in-depth webpages, created by authorities on APA style:
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