How to Cite APA Style

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Aug 15, 2019

American Psychological Association (APA) is the formatting used by adult undergraduate students at CCU. When using APA formatting for citations, there’s a lot to remember. The difference between a proper citation and improper citation is plagiarism. Yikes!

Here are 4 helpful tips for becoming confident in citing using APA style:

Format, Format, Format

One of the most important pieces of APA citation is formatting. At CCU Online, we recommend printing off a list of formatting requirements and keeping it next to you while you are writing. This can act as a check-list while formatting your paper and citation. Having a visual of the formatting style can make it easy to do a quick check on whether you have it right or not.

Digital vs. Printed

Journal articles, textbooks, white pages, blogs, or news articles are great resources for you to use in your essays and school papers. Digital resources might be more accessible to you, than printed materials, but remember that there is a difference between citing digital sources and citing from printed materials. Digital materials will have an in-text citation that will include the last name of the author, year published, and paragraph you are citing. Printed materials will have an in-text citation of the last name of the author, year published. An in-text citation looks a bit like this parenthesis and year at the end of this sentence (Smith, 2019).

In-Text Citation vs. Reference Page

Do you plan to quote an author in your paper? Or do you want to use the author’s research or ideas in your paper? Either way, you will need to cite the information from these sources. If you are directly quoting an author in your paper, you will need an in-text citation and a citation on the reference page. If you are using an author’s research and information (and that is the point of a paper), you will want to make a reference page with a full citation. This gives credit directly back to the author for their work and ideas.

Memorize the individual components of an APA citation

Memorizing the format of the different types of citations will allow you to power through your citations, whether in-text or on your reference page. Let’s break down the components:

  • Reference Page Citation:
  • Author (Last Name), (First Name Initial). Year of Publication. Title of Work: Subtitle. Location: Publisher or Retrieved From
  • In-Text:
  • Author Last Name, Year

Need a great resource to help you? Become a citation expert! Watch this Colorado Christian University APA citation video we’ve put together for you! 

When in doubt, your best reference is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Be sure to use the latest edition, which you can find here.

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