APA citation is simply a way of listing references in a paper. This is done in order to properly quote the words, phrases, sentences or even paragraphs of another author. It is important to learn the basics of the APA citation to add weight and validity to your work.
The APA citation format, in particular, is widely used in academic papers in Psychology or the Social Sciences. APA stands for the American Psychological Association, which pioneered and established the rules on documenting sources and listing the references used for the research paper. The APA citation style uses a combination of in-text or parenthetical citations as well as a reference list or a bibliography. There is a general format in citing APA for every kind of source like books, periodicals or websites.
References are listed in the APA works cited page, includes in-text citations, which are used in the paper to make sure that the reader knows you are using information from another source. Whenever you make an in-text citation, you should also put in the complete source in the reference list or bibliography. One cannot do without the other for the in-text is simply a reference to finding the source in the APA works cited page.
For every in-text citation like this one:
From the concept of operant conditioning (Skinner, 1938)
A matching APA citation would appear:
Skinner, B. F. (1938). The study of Behaviorism. New York, NY: Harper Collins.
More often than not, sources come from books or publications that have authority on the subject matter tackled in your paper. The following are the basic information you need to retrieve for the APA citation style:
In an APA citation, the full details of the source will be included in the reference list or bibliography, again, conforming to the APA citation format bearing in mind the following guidelines:
The standard APA citation format for books is the author/s, publication date, title, publication place, and publisher.
Baum, W. M. (1994). Understanding Behaviorism: Science, behaviour and culture. New York, NY: Harper Collins.
Bornstein, M.H. & Lamb, M.E. (2005). Developmental Science: an advanced textbook. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Reid, V., Striano, T., & Koops, W. (2007). Social cognition during infancy. Chicago, IL: Psychology Press.
Reynolds, W. M., Weiner, I. B., & Miller, G. E. (2003). History and study of Behaviorism: Educational Psychology. (Vol. 7). Mayfield, KY: Bluegrass Publishing.
Mitchel, J. (1979). Infancy: The first crucial stage. The inner child: Understanding the intricacies of childhood (pp. 54-72). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Berger, A. (2007). The principle of social conditioning. Retrieved from http://www.girschner.org/catalog/world/readfile?fk_files=44092
Periodicals pertain to scholarly works covering journals, magazines and newspapers. In conforming to the APA citation for journals or magazines, indicate the volume number if the work has pages in every volume. Moreover, when each issue of the volume starts with page 1, you should indicate the volume as well as the issue numbers. In parentheses, you need to italicize the volume number, but not the issue number, which should also be indicated.
References sourced from journals, magazines, newspapers in print must follow this APA citation format:
Authors, publication date, article title, journal title, volume number, issue number (if applicable), and page numbers.
The names of authors are listed similar to the APA citation style for books.
Below are a few samples of reference sourced from periodicals in print and online:
Author’s names, publication date, title of the article, name of the journal, volume number, issue number, pages, digital object identifier:
Cespon, M.F. (2009). Empiric study on reverse logistic strategies in the manufacturing sector in the central area of Cuba. Journal of Operations and supply chain management, 14 (9), 72-82.
Guy, M. (2007). Leadership in an organization: The effects of strategic planning and workforce projectionS. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 105(2), 221-232. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2007.08.002
APA citation for newspapers is different from other periodicals because of the use of p. or pp. preceding the page numbers.
Author’s name, publication date, title of the article, name of the newspaper, page numbers
Schausen, M. (1984, September 26). Impacts of economic status on morality. The Washington Post, pp. A3, A7.
Delaney, K. J., Karnitschnig, M., & Guth, R. A. (2008, May 5). Microsoft ends pursuit of Yahoo, reassesses its online options. The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, A12.
Schwartz, J. (1993, September 30). Obesity affects economic, social status. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http:www.washingtonpost.com
Author’s name, publication date, title of the article, name of the magazine, volume no., issue number (if available), pages
Pearson, W. A., III. (1982, May 9). Conforming to peer pressure. Time, 135, 28-31. Guthrie, L. (2001, October). Rediscovering the atom for today’s students. National Geographic, 212(5), 37-47.
Macpherson, K. (2006, March/June). Healing the inner child. Psychology Today, 42(3). Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com
Author’s name, publication date (or “n.d.” if there is no date), title (in italics), and URL.
Reverse Logistics Association. (2008). After-sales support. Retrieved May 3, 2005, from http://www.rfl.abs/learning/re_biofuels.html
Ashe, D. D., & McCutcheon, L. E. (2001). Shyness, loneliness, and attitude toward celebrities. Current Research in Social Psychology, 6, 124-133. Retrieved from http://www.uiowa.edu/~grpproc/crisp/crisp.html
When adding an online source to the APA works cited page, there are two key issues you should include:
The following are examples of the variations in using the APA citation format for in-text citations with a basic APA citation style of including only the author’s name and publication date.
From the concept of operant conditioning (Skinner, 1938)
Skinner (1938) further illustrates
as was illustrated in the experiment (Watson & Rayner, 1920)
as Watson and Rayner (1920) discovered
as stipulated in the theory (Rayner, Skinner, & Watson, 1931)
Rayner, Skinner, and Watson (1931)
postulated that contributing to the study of Behaviorism (Rayner et al., 1931)
for “learning can occur through reinforcement an punishment” (Skinner, 1935, p.112).
In the study of classical conditioning, Pavlov (1930) states that “extinction occurs when an association disappears” (p. 96).
For every child, there is a desire to please the primary caregiver or parents for classical conditioning begins as early as infancy where the action of the child causes an effect on the parents (Schultz and Morris, 2005, para. 12).
APA citation is relevant because the work of another author backs up or supports your paper. This will give weight to your methodology, findings or recommendations not that much different in seeking a second medical opinion just to be sure that the first diagnosis is valid.
Equally important, citing APA sources and authors, is the professional and ethical way of giving credit where it is due. We all know that scholars work very hard on their research and the only reward they often get is an acknowledgment of their valuable contribution. In addition, proper citation will protect you from accusations of plagiarism. In the academic world, authors are very serious in protecting their work, that a few copied words or a single sentence can very well mark you as a plagiarist. This will not bode well for your record and perhaps your future as an academician or scholarly author. Equally important, APA works cited page guide your readers to further learning by following the references you indicated. In this way, APA citation is truly a tool for those in real pursuit of knowledge, making use of all the rich sources available.