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National College of Ireland


Psychology Subject Guide: APA Referencing

This guide will give information on books, ebooks, databases and other useful resources.

The American Psychological Association (APA) referencing style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. It is currently used for courses such as Psychology, Education, and Learning and Teaching in the National College of Ireland. The APA style is based on an author-date system which includes in-text referencing throughout the written work and then full referencing details are provided at the end of the work in a list titled the Reference List.

See the APA section of the NCI Library Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism LibGuide for further details on how to use the Harvard referencing style.

Harvard and IEEE may be used by your course - please consult with your lecturer to confirm which style they require you to use.

Getting Started

Following the publication of the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association in October, 2019, some changes have been made to the APA referencing style. Below is a list of the main changes:

Sources with 3 or more authors
If your source has three or more authors, use the first author's surname followed by et al. for all mentions in-text.

Examples of in-text citations:

  • One author - Smith (2019) or (Smith, 2019)
  • Two authors - Jones and Brown (2019) or (Jones & Brown, 2019)
  • Three or more authors - Wilson et al. (2019) or (Wilson et al., 2019)
No longer required to include the terms 'doi:' or 'Retrieved from' in the full reference of electronic sources.
Only the hyperlink for the doi or the URL are required to be included in the full text reference of an electronic source.

DOI example:

Wood, W. (2017). Habit in personality and social psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 21(4), 389.403.

URL example:

American Psychological Association (2019). About APA.

The place of publication is no longer required in the full text reference of books.
It is no longer required to include the place of publication followed by a colon before the name of the publisher in the full text reference of a book.


Santrock, J. W. (2015). Life-span development. McGraw-Hill.

For more information regarding the 7th edition of the APA manual, you can borrow a copy from the library (check availability) or take a look at these sources: or

APA referencing consists of two components:

  1. In-text citations in your written work
  2. The reference lists at the end of your paper

The examples given below are for books with a single author.

In-text citations:

When using the APA referencing style, a reference needs to be made at the point at which a source is referred to in the text of your work. This consists of a short, basic reference (Author, Year, page number) inserted every time you use or refer to someone else’s work in-text.


Santrock (2015) suggests that young adults realise that thinking cannot just be conceptual, but rather has to be more pragmatic (p. 420).

Direct Quote

Young adults “understand that thinking can't always be abstract. In many instances, it must be realistic and pragmatic” (Santrock, 2015, p. 420).

NB: When a direct quote is used, include the page number(s) the quote was taken from and add it to the in-text citation as show above. If you are paraphrasing, you do not need to include the page number(s) in your in-text citation.

Reference list:

Santrock, J. W. (2015). Life-span development. (15th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.

NB: If your bibliographic details for source span over more than one line, you will need to insert a hanging indentation. For more information, see the APA section of the NCI Library Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism LibGuide.

As an NCI Student you have access to the online referencing tool CiteThemRight. To get started check out the following links:

*NB: You will need to login to CiteThemRight when first accessing the links above.

Take the steps below when logging into CiteThemRight for the first time:

Go to the CiteThemRight homepage here


Select 'LOGIN' button on the top right of the page


Select 'National College of Ireland' from the list of institutions


Use your college email as your username ( and your network password to sign in

Need advice for your assignments or research?
The Library Help Centre currently offers online appointments as well as remote assistance via email.

Request an appointment or email us:

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Whilst every possible effort has been made to accurately and consistently reflect the APA, Harvard and IEEE styles in the examples provided, small errors may occur. This LibGuide is regularly revised and any errors which are identified will be rectified immediately. Please note, there are also variations within these styles regarding certain details – should your reference vary slightly from an example contained within this LibGuide, it is important that you are consistent with the variation when presenting and formatting your references, as long as it does not follow a contrary style to the one you should be using.

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