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An Abridged Guide to the APA Referencing Style 6th Edition An Author-Date System based on American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

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Table of Contents
Using this guide Why reference/cite? How to reference/cite In-text references Author prominent Information prominent What is plagiarism? Paraphrasing or referring to an idea contained in another work Use of italics Use of quotation marks Quote within a quote Minimal capitalisation Quoting incorrect spelling, punctuation or grammar from an original source Quotations of 40 or more words Quoting online material that has no page numbers Use of city, state, country location information Difference between a reference list and a bibliography How to reference an example not covered by the APA manual Journal articles and periodicals A journal article with a DOI Electronic journal article with no DOI Journal and periodical articles in print Using URL references Unpublished sources Appendices When to use numbers expressed in words 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 9 9 10 10 10 10


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Using this guide
Disclaimer: This guide has been produced in good faith and is based on the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (the APA manual), 6th edition, published in 2010. While it will serve as a guide, and the principles of APA referencing style have been applied to some examples that traditionally do not appear in the hard copy APA manual, students with queries should consult the APA manual 6th ed. or their lecturers for clarification. The following points may be helpful to you when preparing citations or reference lists.

Why reference/cite?
References must be provided whenever you use someone else‘s opinions, theories, ideas, research, data or organisation of material. You need to reference information from books, articles, videos, computers, other print or electronic sources and personal communications. A reference is required if you: quote (use someone else‘s exact words) copy (use figures, tables or structure) paraphrase (convert someone else‘s ideas into your own words) summarise (use a brief account of someone else‘s ideas).

How to reference/cite
When referencing/citing a paraphrase within the text of your assignment, the surname of the author followed by a comma and the year of publication are given wholly or partly in round brackets. If referencing a direct quote add a comma and page number after the year. If the author‘s name is in the text itself then you only need (year) or (year, p. ) if a direct quote. At the end of the assignment provide a reference list with all the items referred to/cited in the text put in full detail in alphabetical order. See example on page 33.

In-text references
There are two ways of referencing (citing): author prominent and information prominent.

Author prominent
This way gives prominence to the author by using the author‘s surname (family name) as part of your sentence with the date and the page number in parentheses (round brackets). Direct quote example Unterhalter (2007, p. 5) argues that ―gender equality in schooling is an aspiration of global social justice.‖ Paraphrase example Unterhalter (2007, p. 5) suggests that equal treatment of the genders in education should be the goal of every just society. Note: Include the page number when quoting the author‘s exact words as well as when paraphrasing information that is on a specific page of a resource.

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Information prominent
The other way of referencing (citing) gives prominence to the information, with all the required referencing details in parentheses at the end of the citation. Direct quote example It has been argued that ―gender equality in schooling is an aspiration of global social justice‖ (Unterhalter, 2007, p. 5). Paraphrase example Equal treatment of the genders in education should be the goal of every just society (Unterhalter, 2007, p. 5). Note: Include the page number when quoting the author‘s exact words as well as when paraphrasing information that is on a specific page of a resource.

What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the presentation of work, ideas or data of others as one's own without appropriate acknowledgement. Read the CQUniversity Plagiarism Policy at If you want to use material from one of your previous assessment tasks in a current assessment task, you must ask your lecturer for permission to do so.

Paraphrasing or referring to an idea contained in another work The manual states, ―When paraphrasing or referring to an idea contained in another work, you are encouraged to provide a page or paragraph number, especially when it would help an interested reader locate the relevant passage in a long or complex text‖ (APA, 2010, p. 171, Section 6.04).

Use of italics
For the name of a journal, newspaper, magazine, book, film, etc., use italics. The exception is informally published materials. In blog posts, YouTube videos, message board posts, etc. nothing is in italics. (APA, pp. 104-106, Section 4.21)

Use of quotation marks
Double quotation marks are used around direct quotes of fewer than 40 words. (APA, 2010, p. 170, Section 6.03)

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Quote within a quote
When a quote appears within a quote use single quote marks. ―The first words of Melville‘s Moby Dick are ‗Call me Ishmael‘ and these words are full of significance‖ was the first statement in Smith‘s memorable speech (Johns, 1995, p. 43).

Minimal capitalisation
Capitalise only the first word of titles of books and articles. If there is a subtitle, capitalise the first word after the colon. For example, The hero within: Six archetypes we live by. This is minimal capitalisation. Capitalise the first word and all important words in the names of journals, newspapers and magazines. For example: Peterson, J., & Schmidt, A. (1999). Widening the horizons for secondary schools. Journal of Secondary Education, 3(8), 89–106.

Quoting incorrect spelling, punctuation or grammar from an original source The manual states, ―Direct quotations must be accurate. . . . If any incorrect spelling, punctuation, or grammar in the source might confuse readers, insert the word sic, italicized and bracketed, immediately after the error in the quotation.‖ For example, ―… italicized [sic] and bracketed‖ (APA, 2010, p. 172, Section 6.06).

Quotations of 40 or more words
These should be formatted as a freestanding block of text as follows: omit quotation marks indent the block 1.25 cm from the left margin (the same indent used for a new paragraph) use double line spacing use the same font and size as the text give the source and page number in brackets after the final full-stop. (APA, 2010, p. 171, Section 6.03)

Quoting online material that has no page numbers
Normally, direct quotations of online material are cited with author, year, and page number in brackets but many electronic sources do not provide page numbers. In this case, if there are paragraph numbers, use the paragraph numbers in place of the page numbers, with the abbreviation para. For example, (Smith & Jones, 2009, para. 3). If there are no paragraph numbers but there are headings, cite the first three or four words of the heading and the number of the paragraph following it. You will need to count the paragraphs yourself, for example, (Education for Change, 2009, ―Our growth plan‖, para. 2). (APA, 2010, pp. 171-172, Section 6.05)

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Use of city, state, country location information
Provide city and state for US and Australian publications (e.g., Princeton, NJ; Rockhampton, Qld). Provide city, state and country for all other publications. (APA, 2010, pp. 186, Section 6.30)

Difference between a reference list and a bibliography
A reference list includes all the sources of information that have been cited (referenced) in-text in a piece of work and is located at the end of the piece of work and arranged in alphabetical order. A bibliography lists all specific details of all works consulted when preparing a piece of work whether or not the work has been cited in the document. This means that all the works referred to within the document as well as all works consulted but not referred to would appear in the bibliography in alphabetical order. Unless your assignment instructions specifically request a bibliography, a reference list is generally all that is required. If your assignment task specifies there is no need for in-text referencing but asks for a bibliography, the bibliography will list in alphabetical order the resources which were consulted but of course not used as a reference in the document.

Referencing a source not covered by the APA manual
This will happen rarely, but should it happen to you, this is what the manual has to say: “Because one purpose of listing references is to enable readers to retrieve and use the sources, each entry usually contains the following elements: author, year of publication, title, and publishing or retrieval data – all information necessary for unique identification and library search” (APA, 2010, p. 193, Section 7). You can also find additional examples on the APA web site: See especially the tutorial on The Basics of APA Style.

Journal articles and periodicals A journal article with a DOI Many journal articles and other online documents are assigned a Digital Object Identifier, or DOI. A DOI is a unique string of letters and numbers that identifies a document. All DOIs begin with the number 10. They can often be found on the first page of a journal article, or in the database citation information. A DOI can be used in two ways to find an online version of a document. First, it can be entered at the CrossRef web site ( Second, it can be appended to the following Web address: Note: If you are searching for an article with a DOI, it is usually better to search for the journal by title in the CQUniversity Library catalogue rather than use the DOI as described above. If the journal is available through the Library, you will be able to access the article free of charge, while a DOI search is likely to take you to a commercial web site. If the article or other document you are citing has a DOI, this should be included at the end of the reference. No other retrieval information is then necessary; there is no need to provide a database n...

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