Referencing using APA

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Learning Outcomes

This learning module aims to provide you will an understanding of how to utilise the APA referencing style in your academic writing.

Theoretical background


Image courtesy of El Negro Magnifico

Start by reading


If you are using the words or ideas of someone else in your own written work, then you have to acknowledge this by writing the author’s name, the year the information was published, and the page number if you are quoting.

The basic skills of in-text citations are described here.

Reference Lists and Bibliographies

As well as acknowledging author(s) with in-text citations, you have to include the details of their publication in a reference list at the end of your text.

The basic skills of writing reference lists can be found here.

A reference list is a record of the works that you have chosen to refer to in your essay. A bibliography on the other hand is a list of the material which you have accessed in the preparation of your essay. This is material which has influenced your thinking, but does not particularly warrant a reference.


Now complete the following exercises to apply the principles you have just learnt

  • Ordering information in a list of references. Note that the list of references is here called a bibliography, rather than a reference list.

More theory

Now read

Need some practice ?

If you need more practice with these ideas, Monash University has a useful on-line referencing tutorial.

Supporting resources

You will need a quick-reference guide to help you get your APA referencing right. Here are two options. Use them.

Curtin University of Technology has a useful print-based quick-reference guide to APA referencing.

Waikato Univeristy have another online guide which some people find useful.

Otago University has an excellent print-based guide called Using the APA reference style. This is a print-based document, not a quick-reference guide.


--David McQuillan 2008