In scholarly writing and publishing, certain academic conventions and copyright laws require students, professors, and writers to acknowledge all of the citation sources of ideas and information that they use in preparing their written work. The American Psychological Association (APA), an organization of psychologists, medical researchers and practitioners, established and developed the APA format for structuring essays and research papers, and the APA citation style for documenting citation sources into formatted APA references.
In the APA, several types of various print and electronic media can be considered as citation sources, and they serve as resources in which the information from an original author can be borrowed to support the arguments that you pose in your paper. Print sources typically include media that are generally found in a library, such as books, journals, magazines, encyclopedias, and newspapers. Electronic sources, on the other hand, include media that are found online, on websites, and databases, or they may come in the form of CDs and DVDs.
Citations pertain to the brief notes consisting of relevant bibliographic data that give credit to the original sources of ideas, information, and quoted passages used in a research paper. A complete APA reference or citation typically includes the author’s name, the complete title of the work being cited, the name of the publisher, the year of publication, and other relevant information to help readers locate and identify the original source. An APA reference is structured with a hanging indent, which means that the second and consecutive lines of an APA citation are indented by five spaces more than the first line, which is flushed to the left margin of the page, as the following examples show:
Grunberger, B. (1979). Narcissism: Psychoanalytic Essays. New York: International Universities Press.
Mailloux, S. (1982). Interpretive Conventions: The Reader in the Study of American Fiction. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
In the APA format, each entry is listed alphabetically in the APA reference page, which is located at the end of an essay or a research paper. To make this page, create a new, separate page in your word processor. The word “References” (without the quotation marks) should be typed at the topmost of the page, and aligned to center. Immediately on the next line, type all of your APA citations, and arranging them in alphabetical order by the authors’ last names, and chronologically (earliest publication date first) for each author, where more than one work by a single author is cited.
As shown in the above example, the author’s last name is placed first, followed by his initials, and then the year of publication, which is enclosed in parentheses. The complete title of the work being cited follows this data, and is typed in italics, and followed by the location of the publisher and the name of the publisher, which ends the entry. Remember to double space all reference entries. For citation sources that do not have attributed authors, the title of the work takes place of the position of the author, as in the following example:
A Rhetoric of Motives. (1969). Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.