Writing a Paper in APA Format Explained

APA citation style mainly deals with the rules and conventions established by the American Psychological Association for documentation of sources used in a research paper.

In this form of citation, only the author’s last name is written in full and initials are used for others. For example, Olawuyi, M. & Jobe, S., Naseer, H., etcetera. Hence, this guide is written to answer these questions: What does APA format entail?, Is there any difference between the two major forms of APA citation style?

Instructions

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    Broad Divisions of APA Format


    APA style is broadly divided into: In-Text Citations and Reference List. The former allows the reader to locate the full citations for sources in the latter at the end of your text.

    These show that they are interlinked and interdependent (i.e. where there is no in-text there can be no reference – though the degree of their dependency differs).

    Now, let’s comprehensively consider these two divisions of APA citation style.

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    In-Text Citations


    This form of citation answers the questions: Within sentences and paragraphs, what information is being quoted or rephrased, and whose information is being cited?

    Here's how these citations are presented in a research work:

    - Refer to the author’s name in the text or include it with the year in parenthesis: According to Naseer (2013), … or (Naseer, 2013). When quoting directly from a source, the researcher is expected to include the page number: (Naseer, 2013, p. 29). However, if there is no author, consider the title [in emphatic commas] and the year: (“The Intestines,” 2013).

    - For multiple works by the same author published in the same year, use the lower case letter assigned to the year in the reference list: (Jobe, 2014c).

    - When a work has two authors, cite both names and the year: (Naseer & Olawuyi, 2013). In case you have three to five authors, cite all authors in the first reference, and use the first author followed by “et al” for the subsequent ones: (Naseer, Jobe, & Olawuyi, 2013) or (Naseer, et al, 2013).

    - Use in-text citations for interviews and personal communications by providing the interviewee’s name, type of communication, and date: (H. Naseer, personal communication, April 30, 2014) or H. Naseer (interviewed by the author, April 29, 2014).

  • 3

    Reference List


    This form of APA style, conventionally placed at the end of a text/research work, provides all the details readers need to find the sources a writer /researcher used in his/her text.

    The pattern of referencing here depends on the kind of citation you are presenting to your reader i.e. the structural pattern of citing a book is completely different from that of an article from an electronic database.

    To have a holistic understanding of this, let’s consider the following guide:

    - Arrange the entries in alphabetical order by authors’ last names (or by title if a work has no author).

    Example:

    - Jobe, S. (2012). Power of Communication in Business Management. Banjul: Global Publishing.

    - Naseer, H. & Jobe, S. (2013). Multi-Level Marketing System. London: John-Jones Publisher.

    - Olawuyi, M. (Ed). (2014). Documentation in Business Management. Vancouver, BC: Akeem Publishing Company.

    - Sulaiman, B. & Olawuyi, M. (Eds.). (2010). Business Language. Ilorin: Book House.

    - For sources with up to seven authors/editors, use all authors’/editors’ names. For sources with eight or more, use the first six names followed by an ellipsis mark and the last author’s name.

    Example:

    - Gandhi, Y. M., Olawuyi, M., Naseer, H., Jobe, S., Abdoulie, K., Sulaiman, T., Mike, J., …, Augustina, L. (2000). The World of Ink Management. Bakau: Fuladu Publishing House.

    - Use volume and issue numbers only for journals that begin each issue with page 1; use the volume number alone for journals that number pages continuously throughout the volume.

    Examples:

    - Abubakar, A. (2003). Position of Women in Islam. Islamic Human Right Quaterly, 26, 423-486.

    - Abubakar, A. (2003). Islamic Approach to Business Management. International Journal of Business Management, 26(2), 23-34.

    -In online sources, use the Digital Object Identifier (DOI), when available, instead of Universal Resource Locator (URL).

    Examples:

    DOI Format

    - Olawuyi, M. (2015) Psychology of Reading and Writing. Journal of International English as a Foreign language Teachers, 5, i-iii. doi:11.2222/j.1629-1221.2015.00012.x

    URL Format

    - Olawuyi, M. (2015) Psychology of Reading and Writing. Journal of International English as a Foreign language Teachers, 15. Retrieved from http://jieflt.org.uk/psychology-of-reading-and-writing

    - To divide or break a URL or a DOI at the end of a line, break it after a double slash or before any other mark of punctuation. Do not insert hyphen; and do not add a period at the end of the entry.

    Wrong:

    - Olawuyi, M. (2015) Psychology of Reading and Writing. Journal of International English as a Foreign Language Teachers, 15. Retrieved from http://jieflt.org.uk/psychology-of- reading-and-writing.

    Correct:

    - Olawuyi, M. (2015) Psychology of Reading and Writing. Journal of International English as a Foreign Language Teachers, 15. Retrieved from http://jieflt.org.uk/ psychology-of-reading-and-writing

    - Give the retrieval date for a source only if the content of the source is likely to change. (Use “n.d.” if a source has no date.

    Example:

    Olawuyi, M. (n.d.) Common Errors in Gambian Spoken English. Retrieved from http://jieflt.org.uk/errors_gambian_spoken_english

    - Use the state abbreviation for all US cities or the country (not abbreviated) for non-US cities; also give the province for Canadian cities.

    - Naseer, H. & Jobe, S. (2013). Multi-Level Marketing System. NY: John-Jones Publisher.

    - Olawuyi, M. (Ed). (2014). Documentation in Business Management. Vancouver, BC: Akeem Publishing Company.

    - Do not list personal communications, unpublished interviews, or other unrecoverable sources in the reference list.

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    Found this useful? Now you should read about the Structure of APA-style for referencing here.

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