Welcome to the RGU APA referencing guide!

We hope that this referencing guide, complete with examples and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section, will help you reference your course assignments correctly.

APA format is produced and standardised worldwide by the American Psychological Association in their Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, often simply referred to as the “APA Manual” (copies in RGU Library).

The APA Manual is a style guide that covers all elements of producing a manuscript, including citing and referencing, and is used in psychology and a number of other disciplines. The current version is the 6th edition (2010), which included some small changes over the previous 5th edition (2001), but you are unlikely to be penalised if you use the 5th edition and it is still covered in some textbooks. This guide covers the 6th edition.

If you are new to the APA system of referencing, introductory material can be found on this page and in the Plagiarism, APA Basics, Citations & reference list and Elements in references pages. You may benefit from taking the APA’s free online Basics of APA Style tutorial.

Examples for the most commonly referenced types of material now have their own pages - just choose the tab for Books, Chapters of edited books, Journal articles or Web pages.

If you want to jump straight to an example of how to reference another type of material just hover over the relevant alphabetical tab and choose the type of material you require.

Remember that you need to follow the examples exactly - using capital letters, italic and the correct punctuation as shown in the examples.  Failure to follow the examples is very likely to mean you lose marks.


Why do I need to reference?

Referencing is necessary

  •     to support your arguments by referring your reader to academic sources which confirm what you are saying;
  •     to give credit to the other authors whose work you have quoted, or to whose work you have referred;
  •     to avoid a charge of plagiarism;
  •     to allow the reader of your work to find the books, journal articles, web pages etc which you have read; and
  •     to demonstrate that you understand the conventions of academic writing.

When should I reference?

You must provide a reference

  • every time you quote directly from the work of someone else;
  • every time you refer indirectly to the work of someone else, eg if you
    • paraphrase (put into your own words) what they have said;
    • summarise their arguments or ideas;
    • quote case studies, statistical data, known phrases, definitions etc; or
    • use information which you have obtained from their work; and
  • when you wish to provide sources of further information, clarification of points you have made in your text, or additional evidence to support your arguments.