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Referencing (TAFE)

American Psychological Association (APA) - Basic Information

Using the APA referencing style

APA is an "author-date" style. All information used in your work either as a direct quote, paraphrase or summary, obtained from another author or source needs to be correctly referenced in APA style.

The in-text citation briefly tells the reader where the reference comes from using the author and date within the text of the document.

The reference list placed alphabetically at the end of the essay, provides the reader with the full details of all sources cited in-text.

All in-text citations must have a corresponding reference list entry, similarly all reference list entries should have a corresponding in-text citations.

The rules of APA style are detailed in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 6th edition. The APA style was first developed in 1929 by a group of social scientists. Since then it has been adapted by many disciplines and is used by writers around the world.

This guide is based on more detailed information in:

  • American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).
  • American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). 
  • American Psychological Association. (2010). Concise rules of APA style (6th ed.).
  • American Psychological Association. (2019). Archival Documents and Collections
  • or otherwise stated on the specific pages.

In general, a reference should contain four elements, which you can remember as the four W's:

Who - author (who is responsible for the work?)

When - date the work was published

What - title of the work

Where - source (where can I retrieve this work?)

Example of Where to Find Reference Information 

Where to find reference information

(Source: American Psychological Association, 2020, p. 283)

There are two parts to referencing: the citations within the text of your paper (in-text citation) and the reference list at the end of your paper. There are several referencing styles.

APA Style is a new online resource designed to assist in the application of APA style formatting rules.




  For the edition of a book

  For example Drugs and life (4th ed.).

  Ed. or Eds.


  When a book includes editors rather than authors

  For example Robinson, D. N. (Ed.). (1992).

  et al.

  This means 'and others'

  This is used in in-text citations when there are 3 or more authors.
  NOTE: full stop only after 'al.', not after 'et'.

  Use the first author's surname in the first in-text citation, followed by et al. e.g. (Alberto et al., 1993).

  Follow this format in subsequent citations.

  End-text reference - all authors must be included.


  no date

  For sources that do not have a date of publication, substitute ‘n.d.’ (no date) after the name of the author.

  For example:

  In-text citation
  (Southey, n.d.)

  End-text reference
  Southey, R. (n.d.). The life of Nelson. Blackie.


  no page numbers
  For example:

  Mathews' use of ... (2010, n. p.).
  NOTE: Instructions for electronic sources without page numbers
  If page numbers are not given use approximate page number (p. 3 of 9); or paragraph number for short text (para. 2); or the heading given in the source for the particular section. For example:       

 The ABS (2004, p. 1 of 4) defines residents as "economic entities (persons, organizations or enterprises) which have a closer association with the territory of Australia than with any other territory".
  Flitton (2012, para. 1) reports "Australia is about to confront the biting reality of US military decline".



  Use in your end-text referencing when the resource incorporates a number that represents the

  accession, order, catalogue, or other number

  For example:

  Australian National Accounts: National income, expenditure and product (Cat. No. 5206.0).

  Dissertation Abstracts International (University Microfilms No. 82-06, 181).

  p. or pp.


  These are included in the in-text citation. If one page number is being referred to, use the          abbreviation  p. for page. If referring to multiple pages use pp. to represent pages.

  For example:

  According to Gibbs (2009, pp. 34-35)

  (Ezzy, 2002, p. 30)

  para. or paras.

  paragraph (s)

  For electronic sources that do not provide page numbers, use the paragraph number and, if available, preceded by the abbreviation ‘para.’

For example:

(Clarkson, 2001, para. 2)

  Rev. ed.

revised edition

Used in end-text referencing when item is identified as being a revised edition.

For example:

Referencing guide (14th Rev. ed.).



 Name the translator or editor only in the end-text reference, immediately following the title. In the case of translated works, cite the title in its translated form, not in its original form.

  For example:

  In-text citation
  (Genet, 1966, p. 61)

  End-text reference
  Genet, J. (1966). The balcony (2nd ed.). (B. Frechtman, Trans.). Faber.

   Vol. or Vols.


  Include in end text referencing if books include volume information

  For example:

 Robinson, A. (1994). The principals of genetics and heredity. In The new encyclopedia Britannica (Vol. 19, pp. 699-740). Encyclopedia Britannica.


American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

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