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Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism: APA

The American Psychological Association (APA) referencing style is most commonly used in the social sciences. It is currently used for courses such as Psychology, Education, and Learning and Teaching at National College of Ireland.

If you are required to use APA style referencing please ensure you follow the 7th edition guidelines. For more information regarding the 7th edition, you can borrow a copy of the APA Publication Manual from the library (check availability) or see the APA Style website.

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 Reference List.

NB: Other referencing styles such as Harvard or IEEE may be used by your course – please consult with your lecturer to confirm which style they require you to use.

Getting Started

According to the APA 7th edition guidelines, a specific format should be used throughout your document. It is recommended that the format includes the following:

  • 1 inch margins on all sides of the page (top, bottom, left, and right)
  • A legible font. For example: 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, 12- point Times New Roman, and 11-point Georgia
  • Use double-spacing for the entire paper (including block quotations and the reference list). Do not add blank lines before or after headings. Do not add extra spacing between paragraphs
  • Align paragraphs of text to the left margin. Indent the first line of every paragraph of text 0.5 in
  • Put a page number in the top right corner of every page, including the title page

You can also find an example of a student paper formatted using the 7th edition of APA here.

Also check out the Student Paper Setup Guide 

For further guidance on APA style, see these resources below:

When using the APA referencing style, a citation needs to be made at the exact point in your writing where you use or refer to information from another source. This consists of a short, basic reference (Author, Year) inserted every time you use or refer to someone else’s work in-text.

There are two ways to use in-text citations:

  • Parenthetical citation: (Santrock, 2015)
  • Narrative citation: Santrock (2019)

See here for more information on parenthectical and narrative citations. 

Example:

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

N.B. If you are using a direct quotation you must also include the page number (if the source has page numbers e.g. a book/eBook/journal article) that the original appears on in the in-text citation i.e. (Author, date, page number).

See here for more guidance on using direct quotations.

When using the APA referencing style, a corresponding reference for each source refered to in text needs to be included in the reference list at the end of your work. A reference list provides comprehensive details of the sources used throughout your assignment. 

If a reader wants to know the full details of a source you have used, they can refer to your reference list.

Example:

Reference List

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

Hanging Indentation:

In your reference list, if an reference entry spans across more than one line, all of the lines after the first line of the entry should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. 

Example:

Coghlan, D., & Coughlan, P. (2014). Effecting change and learning in networks through network action learning. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 51(3), 375-400. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021886314540210

APA - Core Sources

Book - Single author

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of book (in italics). (edition - only include if not the first.). Publisher.

Example

Howitt, D. (2018). Introduction to forensic and criminal psychology(6th ed.). Pearson.

Book - Two authors

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s)., & Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of book (in italics). (edition - only include if not the first.). Publisher.

Example

Goldstein, E. B., & Van Hooff, J. C. (2018). Cognitive psychology. Cengage.

Book - Three or more authors

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s)., Author Surname, Initial(s)., & Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of book (in italics). (edition - only include if not the first). Publisher.

Example

Coon, D., Mitterer, J., & Martini, T. (2022). Introduction to psychology: gateways to mind and behavior. (16th ed.). Cengage.

Book - Corporate author

APA 7th edition components

Company/Organisation Name. (Year of publication). Title of book (in italics). (edition - only include if not the first.). Publisher (only if different from company/organisation).

Example

American Psychiatric Association. (2022). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed., text rev.).

N.B. When the author and the publisher are the same (e.g. American Psychological Association), the name is listed as the author only to avoid repetition in the reference. 

Book - Editor(s)

APA 7th edition components

Editor Surname, Initial(s). (Ed.). (Year of publication). Title of book (in italics). (edition - only include if not the first.). Publisher.

Example

Davey, G. (Ed.). (2011). Applied psychology. BPS Blackwell.

Chapter of an edited book - Single author

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of chapter. in Editor Initial(s). Surname (Ed.), Title of book (in italics (edition - only include if not the first., pp. page numbers of chapter). Publisher.

Example

Preuss, T. M. (2009). The cognitive neuroscience of human uniqueness. In M. S. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The cognitive neurosciences (4th ed., pp. 49-66). MIT Press.

Chapter of an edited book - Two authors

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s)., & Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In Editor Initial(s). Surname (Ed.), Title of book (in italics) (edition - only if not the first., pp. page numbers of chapter). Publisher.

Example

Reason, P., & Riley, S. (2008). Co-operative inquiry: An action research practice. In J. A. Smith (Ed.), Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods (2nd ed., pp. 207-234). Sage.

eBook – Single author

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of eBook (in italics) (edition - only include if not the first.). Publisher. DOI or URL (if applicable)

Example

Kalat, J. W. (2021). Introduction to psychology (12th ed.). Cengage. 

eBook – Two authors

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s)., & Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of eBook (in italics) (edition - only include if not the first.). Publisher. DOI or URL (if applicable)

Example

Howitt, D. & Cramer, D. (2020). Research methods in psychology (6th ed.). Pearson. 

eBooks – Three or more authors

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s)., Author Surname, Initial(s)., & Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of eBook (in italics) (edition - only include if not the first.). Publisher. DOI or URL (if applicable)

Example

Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., & Sommers, S. R. (2020). Social psychology (10th global ed.). Pearson.

N.B. If an ebook is from an academic research database (such as APA PsycBooksand has no DOI or stable URL (permalink) available, end the book reference after the publisher name. The reference in this case is the same as for a hardcopy book. See here for more information on including database information in references. 

Journal article – Single author

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of article. Name of Journal (in italics), volume number(in italics)(issue number), page numbers of article.

Example

Kowner, R. (2001). Psychological perspective on human developmental stability and fluctuating asymmetry: Sources, applications and implications. British Journal of Psychology, 92(3), 447-469.

Journal article – Two authors

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s)., & Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of article. Name of Journal (in italics), volume number(in italics)(issue number), page numbers of article.

Example

Coghlan, D., & Coughlan, P. (2014). Effecting change and learning in networks through network action learning. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 51(3), 375-400.

Journal article – Three or more authors

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s)., Author Surname, Initial(s)., & Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of article. Name of Journal (in italics), volume number(in italics)(issue number), page numbers of article.

Example

Wang, J., Zhang, Z., & Jia, M. (2017). Understanding how leader humility enhances employee creativity: The roles of perspective taking and cognitive reappraisal. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 53(1), 5-31.

Online journal article – Single author

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of article. Name of Journal (in italics), volume number (in italics)(issue number), page numbers of article. https://doi.org/xxxx

Example

Wood, W. (2017). Habit in personality and social psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 21(4), 389-403. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088868317720362

Online journal article – Two authors

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s)., & Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title fo article. Name of Journal (in italics), volume number (in italics)(issue number), page numbers of article. https://doi.org/xxxx

Example

Huppatz, K., & Ross-Smith, A. (2017). A discipline at the crossroads? Using a gender-inspired paradigm to reposition the sociology of work and employment. Journal of Sociology, 53(4), 756-770. https://doi.org/10.1177/1440783317743810

Online journal article – Three or more authors

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s)., Author Surname, Initial(s)., & Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of article. Name of Journal (in italics), volume number (in italics)(issue number), page numbers of article. https://doi.org/xxxx

Example

Hakanen, J. J., Peeters, M. C. W., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2018). Different types of employee well-being across time and their relationship with job crafting. Journal of Occupation Health Psychology, 23(2), 289-301. https://doi.org/10.1037/ocp0000081

N.B. If an online/electronic journal article does not have a DOI and is from an academic database accessed via the library (e.g. APA PsycArticles), end the reference after the page range do not include a URL. 

Conference presentation - Paper/poster etc.

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of conference, Month Day(s)). Title of paper/poster (in italics) [Type of contribution]. Title of Conference, Location. 

Example

Feeney, J. (2023, August 29-30). Using population cohort data to investigate the relationship between stress and healthy brain ageing [Conference presentation]. Neuroscience Ireland Conference 2023, Dublin, Ireland.

N.B. Describe the presentation in square brackets after the title (e.g. [Conference presentation], [Paper presentation], [Poster presentation] etc.).

Conference paper - Published in a journal/proceedings

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s)., Author Surname, Initial(s)., Author Surname, Initial(s)., Author Surname, Initial(s)., & Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Conference paper title. Title of Conference Proceedings (in italics)volume number(in italics)(issue number), page numbers of conference paper. https://doi.org/xxxx

Example               

Patil, G., Patil, T., & Wagh, K. (2023). Bridging neuroscience and minds: Exploring collective intelligence through brain duplication using AI. 2023 31st Irish Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science (AICS), 1-4. https://doi.org/10.1109/AICS60730.2023.10470727

Conference proceedings - Whole edited book

APA 7th edition components

Editor Surname, Initial(s). (Ed(s).). (Year of publication). Title of book series: Vol. (in italics). Title of proceedings. Publisher. https://doi.org/xxxx

Example

Tang, H. (Ed.). (2023). Lecture notes in computer science: Vol.13976. Research in computational molecular biology. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-29119-7

Conference proceedings - Chapter of an edited book

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s)., Author Surname, Initial(s)., & Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In Editor Initial(s). Surname (Ed(s).), Title of book series: Vol. (in italics). Subseries (in italics) (pp. page numbers of chapter). Publisher. https://doi.org/xxxx

Example

Mahmud, T., Barua, K., Barua, A., Das, S., Basnin, N., Hossain, M. S., Andersson, K., Kaiser, M. S., & Sharmen, N. (2023). Exploring deep transfer learning ensemble for improved diagnosis and classification of Alzheimer’s disease. In F. Liu, Y. Zhang, H. Kuai, E. F. Stephen, & H. Wang (Eds.), Lecture notes in computer science: Vol. 13974. Brain informatics (pp. 109–120). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-43075-6_10

Psychological test/scale - Three or more authors

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s)., Author Surname, Initial(s)., Author Surname, Initial(s)., & Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of Test/Scale (in italics) [Database record]. Name of Database. https://doi.org/xxxx

Example

Pekaar, K. A., Bakker, A. B., van der Linden, D., & Born, M. P. (2018). Rotterdam Emotional Intelligence Scale [Database record]. APA PsycTests. https://doi.org/10.1037/t66601-000

Webpage

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication, plus Month Day if available). Title of webpage (in italics). Website name. URL

Example

Santoro, H. (2023, January 1). The push for more equitable research is changing the field. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2023/01/trends-inclusivity-psychological-research

Document from a webpage (PDF etc.)

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Webpage document title (in italics). Publisher/Website Name. URL

Example

Sweeney, J. (2013). A strategic review of further education and training and the unemployed. Department of Education and Skills. https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Education-Reports/A-Strategic-Review-of-Further-Education-and-Training-and-the-Unemployed.pdf

N.B. For corporate/organisational authors, if the author of the webpage and the site name are the same, omit the publisher/website name to avoid repetition in the reference.

Newspaper article – Print

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year, Month and Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Newspaper (in italics), Title of Supplement (if applicable, also in italics), page number of article.

Example

McConnell, D. (2014, April 19). What are we and where are we going? The social conquest of Earth. The Irish Times, Weekend, 12.

Newspaper article – Online

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year, Month and Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Newspaper (in italics). URL

Example

O’Connell, J. (2018, May 19). Jennifer O’Connell: Why do we live in a culture that venerates stress? The Irish Times. https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/jennifer-oconnell-why-do-we-live-in-a-culture-that-venerates-stress-1.3491747

Case study – Online

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year). Title of case study. Name of Journal (in italics), volume number(in italics)(issue number), page numbers of case study. https://doi.org/xxxx

Example

Durrani, H. (2014). Facilitating attachment in children with autism through art therapy: A case study. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 24(2), 99-108. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0036974

APA - Additional Sources

Blog - Single author

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Date of publication). Title of blog post. Blog name (in italics). URL

Example

Shepard, B. (2022, December 15). How does music affect your brain? Livescience. https://www.livescience.com/how-does-music-affect-your-brain

Facebook - Post

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Date of publication). Title of post (first 20 words in italics) [Description of content] [Post type]. Site name. URL

Example

Psychology Today. (2023, February 1). Developing greater self-discipline, research shows, can deliver benefits including better health and a reduced propensity for risky behavior. [Image attached] [Status update]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/15687708844/posts/pfbid02dmRXgCsvjTr9SqXnkJAtH2Qndu
7AHr8CSGboDsE73jTXKEVwsA68pRyhGtNdTMkUl/?sfnsn=mo

X (formerly known as Twitter) - Post

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s) [Twitter handle]. (Date of publication). Title of post (first 20 words in italics) [Description of content] [Post type]. Site name. URL

Example

Psychological Society of Ireland [@PsychSocIreland]. (2023, January 27). The PSI welcomes the publication of the report on #MentalHealth supports in schools and tertiary education & the recommendations to [Image attached] [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/PsychSocIreland/status/1618942492778569729?cxt=HHwWgoDRndTn0fcsAAAA

N.B. The referencing format used for X (Twitter) is also used for Instagram and TikTok.

Youtube - Video

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Date of publication). Title of video (in italics) [Video]. Site name. URL

Example

Little, B. (2016, July 19). Who are you, really? The puzzle of personality [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYvXk_bqlBk

TV - Series

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Executive Producers). (Date aired). Title of series (in italics) [TV series]. Production company or companies (separated by a semicolon).

Example

Lynch, D. & Frost, M. (Executive Producers). (1990–1991). Twin peaks [TV series]. Lynch/Frost Productions;
Propaganda Films; Spelling Television.

Radio - Broadcast

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Date aired). Title of broadcast (in italics) [Radio broadcast]. Name of Radio Station. URL (if online)

Example

Wright, E. (2012, June 24). Crowd psychology [Radio broadcast]. BBC Radio 3. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01jyzf

Podcast 

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Host(s)). (Date aired). Title of episode (in italics) [Audio podcast]. Name of Podcast. URL

Example

Vedantam, S. (Host). (2018, May 15). The surprising benefit of moving and grooving with your kid [Audio podcast]. National Public Radio. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/05/15 /610448906/the-surprising-benefit-of-moving-and-grooving-with-your-kid

Computer Software

APA 7th edition components

Corporate Author or Named Author. (Year of release). Title of Computer Software (in italics) (Version number) [Computer software]. URL

Example

IBM (2022). IBM SPSS Statistics (Version 29.0) [Computer software]. https://www.ibm.com/ie-en/products/spss-statistics

N.B. Generally, common or standard software (e.g. SPSS, Word, Excel, Java, Adobe, Photoshop etc.) does not need to be referenced.

Encyclopedia/Dictionary - Print 

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of entry. In Editor Initial(s). Editor Surname, & Editor Initial(s). Editor Surname (Eds.) (if applicable), Name of Encyclopedia or Dictionary (in italics) (edition if given). Publisher.

Example

Gorman, L. (2011). Online social networking. In G. Ritzer, & J. M. Ryan (Eds.), The concise encyclopedia of sociology. Wiley-Blackwell.

Encyclopedia/Dictionary - Online

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of entry. In Name of Encyclopedia or Dictionary (in italics). Retrieved date, from URL

 

Example

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Anxiety. In APA dictionary of psychology. Retrieved June 16, 2023, from https://dictionary.apa.org/anxiety

N.B. When an online reference work (e.g. APA Dictionary of Psychology) is continuously updated, use "n.d." as the year of publication and include a retrieval date. 

Legislation - Act

APA 7th edition components

Title (include section of legislation if specified in-text), Source (if available), (Year of publication). URL (if available)

Example

Social Welfare Act, Government of Ireland, (2017). http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2017/act/38/enacted/en/html

Legislation - EU Directive

APA 7th edition components

European Union Author(s). (Year of publication). Title of Directive (in italics). [Details of Directive]. URL

Example

European Parliament, Council of the European Union. (2014). Directive 2014/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 amending Directive 2013/34/EU as regards disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large undertakings and groups. [EU Directive 2014/95/EU]. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legalcontent/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32014L0095

Thesis/Dissertation - Print

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of submission). Title of thesis/dissertation (in italics). [Unpublished doctoral/master’s/bachelor’s thesis/dissertation]. Name of Institution.

Example

Campbell, H. (2015). Educational techniques: The effects of questioning on the recall of information [Unpublished bachelor's dissertation]. National College of Ireland.

Thesis/Dissertation - Online

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of thesis/dissertation (in italics) [Doctoral/Master’s/Bachelor’s thesis/dissertation, Awarding institution]. Database/repository. URL

Example

Matthews, J. (2022) The impact of access to verbal language on working memory: A study of working memory on profoundly deaf adults [Bachelor's dissertation, National College of Ireland]. NORMA. https://norma.ncirl.ie/5662/

N.B. It is generally not recommended to reference undergraduate or postgraduate theses/dissertations – it is better practice to access the sources they have used and reference those sources directly.

Diagram/Chart/Image/Table - Print/Online

APA 7th edition components

Follow the format for the type of source from which the diagram/chart/image/ table is taken, i.e. a book, journal article, (document from a) webpage etc.

Example

Sweeney, J. (2013). A strategic review of further education and training and the unemployed. Department of Education and Skills. https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Education-Reports/A-Strategic-Review-of-Further-Education-and-Training-and-the-Unemployed.pdf

Lecture Notes

APA 7th edition components

Author Surname, Author Initial(s). (Year of notes). Title of lecture (in italics) [Format]. Faculty/School, Institution.

Example

Hargreaves, A. (2017). Social psychology [Powerpoint slides]. School of Business, National College of Ireland.

N.B. It is not recommended to directly reference lecture notes or slides; ideally, you should be using these as a starting point to explore the resources discussed and highlighted in class. 

NCI Library Referencing Guide,
5th edition

*For the 7th edition of APA referencing, please consult the online guide.

The NCI Library Referencing Guide provides further details on how to reference sources throughout your written work.

You can collect a hard copy of our guide at NCI Library or access the pdf by selecting the title or the icon of the guide above.


APA Referencing Quick Guide

*For the 7th edition of APA referencing, please consult the online guide.

Need advice for your assignments or research?
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For more details about how we can help you, see here.

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Disclaimer

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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