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APA Style Guide: 7th Edition

Introduction to APA Style

APA style is a set of rules used to write correct citations and references. APA style is most commonly used when citing references within the social sciencesThere are many rules involved and they change depending on the source type. For example, writing a citation or reference for an article with no known author will be different than a citation or reference for a government website.

A paper written in APA Style generally consists of the 4 following sections:

  1. Title Page
  2. Abstract
  3. Body
  4. References

When using APA Style to reference your work, you are required to credit your sources in two places:

  1. In-text citations in the body of the paper
  2. A reference list at the end of the paper

A citation, or in-text citation, is a quotation from or reference to a resource that was used to research and write a paper. A citation is made within the body of text of an academic essay to inform the reader where the information originated.  

A reference provides the necessary information required for a reader to locate any source you cite in the body of a paper. References appear at the end of an APA style paper on a separate page. They must be listed in alphabetical order by author.

Both in-text citations and references must be used to credit your sources when using APA style.

When you are writing a research paper it is important to clearly point the reader to the place that the information originated from in order to avoid plagiarism. Remember, plagiarism is theft, whether it is intentional or not.

Whenever you use, read, or borrow from any works or ideas which are not your own--including information, facts, statistics, opinions, hypotheses, graphics, etc.--you need to identify and give credit to those outside sources.

Outside sources might include:

Books, websites, magazines and newspapers, material from electronic databases, radio or television, films, plays, podcasts, Youtube, music, interviews, speeches, letters and correspondence (including emails), government sources, etc.

Your documentation of these sources must be thorough. It needs to be correctly placed within the body of your paper as well as in the list of references at the end.

Please note that this information was adapted from: Stern, L. (2007). What every student should know about avoiding plagiarism. New York: Pearson.

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