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APA Referencing Information

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What is Referencing?

Referencing is a method used to identify where you have obtained information and ideas from for your assignments. The American Psychological Association (APA) provides a standardised format that ensures those references are accurate, complete and useful to the reader. APA requires two elements: an in-text citation and a reference list.

APA's style rules and guidelines are set out in a book called Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, which is available from EIT libraries.

 

Why is Referencing Important?

Referencing is necessary to

  • avoid plagiarism

  • verify quotations

  • enable readers to follow-up and retrieve the cited source.

If you quote or paraphrase someone else's work or ideas, you must acknowledge the author and source. If you don’t, you may be accused of plagiarism.

 

Steps Involved in Referencing

  1. In preparation for referencing, note down the full bibliographic details, including the page number(s) from which the information is taken.

  2. Insert the citation at the appropriate place within the text of the document. This is called an in-text citation (see examples below).

  3. Provide a reference list at the end of the document (see examples below).

 

In-Text Citation

Document your study throughout the text by citing the author (or brief title if there is no author) and year of the works you researched. The reader can then locate the complete source in the alphabetical reference list at the end of your work. The in-text citation is (Townley & Parsell, 2004) for this example:

Using technology to catch cheats is a common response to the problem of student plagiarism (Townley & Parsell, 2004).


Reference List

A reference list only includes the sources that are cited in the text. A list which consists of relevant sources that are not cited in the text is called a bibliography. The reference list is arranged alphabetically by surname of the first author. For example:

Townley, C., & Parsell, M. (2004). Technology and academic virtue: Student plagiarism through the looking glass. Ethics and Information Technology, 6(4), 271-277. Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global database.

 

Electronic Information

For all electronic information, in addition to the above, also note

  • the date that you accessed the information if it is content that is likely to change or be updated

  • its location - the web address (URL), Digital Object Identifier (DOI) or database name

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique alphanumeric string used to identify content, usually journal articles, and provide a persistent link to its location on the Internet. When a DOI is available, include the DOI instead of the URL or database name in the reference.

 

Final Check

When you have completed your reference list, check that:

  • each entry appears in both the text and the list

  • that the text citation and reference list entry match exactly in spelling and year

For the full EIT APA Referencing Guide (includes examples of APA Referencing) click here or go to the Official APA Referencing Website.