APA Tool Kit
This tool kit provides support to the authors through the scholarly writing process.
For more detailed guidelines see publications manual of American Psychological Association (APA), seventh edition (2020) at https://apastyle.apa.org/
APA Style citations consist of two parts, in-text citations and reference list entry.
In-text citations are included throughout the course of writing, to acknowledge the sources of information you have used to build and support your ideas. An in-text citation provides information about the author, the year the information was published, and sometimes location information such as a page number.
An in-text citation can be presented in different ways:
Paraphrasing is when you present the ideas of others, in your own words. The in-text citation includes author and year of publication
Parenthetical citation: Water is a necessary part of every person’s diet and of all the nutrients a body needs to function, it requires more water each day than any other nutrient (Whitney & Rolfes, 2011).
Whitney and Rolfes (2011) state the body requires many nutrients to function but highlight that water is of greater importance than any other nutrient. or
Water is an essential element of anyone’s diet and Whitney and Rolfes (2011) emphasise it is more important than any other nutrient.
Quoting (40 words or less)
Quoting is when you copy the exact words from another source into your work.
- Place quotation marks around the quote
- The in-text citation includes author, year of publication and page number
- Use the paragraph number for sources where the page number is not available
Narrative Citation: According to Palladino and Wade (2010), “a flexible mind is a healthy mind” (p. 147).
Parenthetical Citation: In fact, “a flexible mind is a healthy mind” (Palladino & Wade, 2010, p. 147).
Quoting (more than 40 words)
Use a free-standing block of text which:
- Starts on a new line
- Is indented from the left margin
- Does not include quotation marks
- Your in-text citation will appear in brackets after the final punctuation mark and will include the author, year of publication, and page/paragraph number
In-text citations are important in academic writing, drawing the parallel between the author’s work and the sources which support it:
The function of any citation-signaller is to alert the reader to some kind of association between the citing text and the cited text. Citation-signallers may additionally, by using page references or chapter numbers, single out a particular part of the text as especially relevant. (Langham, 2005, p. 361)
Multiple sources for the same information
When including multiple sources to support a particular point in your writing or demonstrate a consensus:
- The in-text citation includes all sources in the same set of brackets, ordered alphabetically. Separate the citations with semicolons
- Include a reference list entry for each source
There is an established consensus that the current trend towards a warming climate is directly linked to human activity (Hegerl, 1996; Levitus et al., 2017; NASA, n.d.; Robinson et al., 2014; Santer et al., 2003).
Multiple works by the same author(s)
Order chronologically in the reference list. References with no date (n.d.) precede references with dates.
Bull (n.d., 2008, 2010) states that the current trend towards a warming climate is directly linked to human activity.
Multiple works by the same author(s) – published in the same year
- Add a, b, c after the year to differentiate works by the same author(s) published in the same year
- Order alphabetically by title of the work in the reference list
- For references that have no date (shown by n.d.), use the following forms for the date in the in-text citation and reference list: (n.d.-a), (n.d.-b) etc.
Research by Berndt (1981a) revealed strong correlations. However, a parallel study (Berndt, 1981b) resulted in inconclusive findings.
Authors citing other authors
When citing a secondary source:
- The in-text citation should include author details from the primary source, as well as the author, year of publication and page/paragraph number from the secondary source
- Only the secondary source is included in the reference list
Narrative citation: Philippe (2008, as cited in Maldonado et al., 2013) states "we are part of the land, it is part of us" (p. 610).
Parenthetical citation: "We are part of the land, it is part of us" (Philippe, 2008, as cited in Maldonado et al., 2013, p. 610).
If no personal author is given, check to see if an organisation has acted as the author. Where there are no authors and you are sure that your source is credible, follow the guidelines below:
- Use the title of the work in place of the author in the in-text citation and in the reference list
- If the title is too long, shorten it in the in-text citation
- If the title is italicised in the reference also italicise it in the in-text citation
- If the title is not italicised in the reference, use double quotation marks around it in the in-text citation
- Use headline-style capitalisation (all major words start with a capital letter) for the title for in-text citations and in the text of your manuscript
Narrative citation: In the article “A Higher Education Return” (2016)…
Parenthetical citation: ….(“A Higher Education Return,” 2016). OR
- List authors in every citation
- Spell ‘and’ if you include two authors as part of the sentence (outside of brackets) in your manuscript
Narrative citation: Zhang and Webb (2019) noted that students who read bilingual books performed better in vocabulary tests.
Parenthetical citation: Students who read bilingual books may perform better in vocabulary tests (Zhang & Webb, 2019).
In your reference list:
Zhang, Z., & Webb, S. (2019). The effects of reading bilingual books on vocabulary learning. Reading in a Foreign Language, 31(1), 109–139. http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/rfl/April2019/April2019/articles/zhang.pdf
Three to 20 authors
When you have 3 or more authors, you only use the first author's surname in the text, and abbreviate the rest of the list with "et al." (Latin for "and others"). In your reference list, you list all of the authors (up to 20).
Narrative citation: Boers et al.'s (2017) research into the use of pictures in glosses found they may decrease the amount of attention given to the words.
Parenthetical citation: Using pictures to illustrate glosses may, in fact, decrease the amount of attention given to the words (Boers et al., 2017).
In your reference list:
Boers, F., Warren, P., He, L., & Deconinck, J. (2017). Does adding pictures to glosses enhance vocabulary uptake from reading? System, 66, 113-129. 10.1016/j.system.2017.03.017
More than 20 authors
When you have more than 3 authors (regardless of how many), you only use the first author's surname in text, and abbreviate the rest of the list with "et al.". In your reference list, you list the first 19 authors and the last one, using ellipses (...) to show that some authors have been omitted (do not use an ampersand &).
Narrative citation: Tobler et al.'s (2017) research found genetic evidence that suggests Australian Aboriginal people have inhabited the Australian landmass for approximately 50,000 years.
Parenthetical citation: Genetic evidence suggests the Australian Aboriginal people have inhabited the Australian landmass for approximately 50,000 years (Tobler et al., 2017).
In your reference list:
Always include no more than twenty names, the first 19 and the last one:
Tobler, R., Rohrlach, A., Soubrier, J., Bover, P., Llamas, B., Tuke, J., Bean, N., Abdullah-Highfold, A., Agius, S., O'Donoghue, A., O'Loughlin, I., Sutton, P., Zilio, F., Walshe, K., Williams, A. N., Turney, C. S. M., Williams, M., Richards, S. M., Mitchell, N. ... Cooper, A. (2017). Aboriginal mitogenomes reveal 50,000 years of regionalism in Australia. Nature, 544(7649), 180-184. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature21416
Organisation as author
Write the organisation name in full in text and in the reference list
- Organisation names should be written in full in the first in-text citation and may be abbreviated thereafter, as shown in the example below
- Where multiple departments are listed, use the organisation most responsible for the information as the author. In government documents particularly, the hierarchy is often displayed, for example, Government of Pakistan, Department of Education.
First in-text citation
The World Health Organization (WHO, 2018) reports that approximately 91% of the world population do not breathe in clean air.
Approximately 91% of the world population do not breathe in clean air (World Health Organization [WHO], 2018).
Narrative citation: WHO (2018) highlights that More than half of the urban population is exposed to outdoor air pollution.
Parenthetical citation: More than half of the urban population is exposed to outdoor air pollution (WHO, 2018).
In your reference list:
World Health Organization. (2018). Global status report on road safety 2018.https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/road_safety_status/2018/en/
- The reference list starts on a new page, after your assignment and before any appendices. Place the word "References", centred, at the top of the page.
- Each entry in the reference list has a hanging indent so that the first line of the entry is flush with the left margin, but all other lines are indented (this is the opposite of the paragraph structure in the body of your essay). You can do this easily by selecting your references, and pressing Ctrl + T on a PC
Order of references:
- For APA the reference list is arranged in alphabetical order of authors' surnames.
- Arrange by first author's name, then by the second author if you have the same first author, etc.
- If a reference has no author, list it alphabetically according to the title. Ignore the words 'A', 'An' and 'The' at the beginning of a corporate author or title for deciding where it fits alphabetically.
- If there are two references by the same author, list them in order of publication date with the older one first.
Bloggs, J. S. (n.d.)...
Bloggs, J. S. (2016)...
Bloggs, J. S. (2018a)...
Bloggs, J. S. (2018b, September)...
Bloggs, J. S. (in press)...
- If references by the same author have been published in the same year, list them alphabetically by title. Letters 'a', 'b', etc. are placed after the year, e.g. (2019a), (2019b).
Format of titles:
- APA uses sentence case for all titles except for journal titles.
- Begin each title and subtitle with a capital letter, but only names should be capitalised for all titles other than journal titles.
Reference list components with example
Author Surname, Initial(s). (year). Title of article: Subtitle. Title of Journal, volume(issue), page range. https://doi.org... or URL
Burns, T. (2015). Philosophy and poetry: A new look at an old quarrel. The American Political Science Review, 109(2), 326-338. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055415000076
Journal article – Advance online publication
Author Surname, Initial(s). (year). Title of article: Subtitle. Title of Journal. Advance online publication. https://doi.org... or URL
Campa, D., & Zijlmans, E. W. A. (2019). Corporate social responsibility recognition and support for the arts: Evidence from European financial institutions. European Management Journal. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emj.2019.01.003
Journal article published in a supplement
Author Surname, Initial(s). (year). Title of article: Subtitle. Title of Journal, volume(Suppl. x), Spp-Spp. https://doi.org... or URL
Lock, M. (2015). Eclipse of the gene and the return of divination. Current Anthropology, 46(Suppl. 5), S47-S70. https://doi.org/10.1086/432452
Newspaper or magazine article
Author Surname, Initial(s). (year, Month day). Title of article: Subtitle. Newspaper or Magazine Title. URL
Beilfuss, L., & Terlep, S. (2015, October 10). Business news: Yahoo, NHL curb fantasy sport play. Wall Street Journal. http://search.proquest.com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/docview/1720957794?accountid=10382
A higher education return. (2016, August 18). The Australian. https://search-proquest-com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/docview/1811922139?accountid=10382
Author Surname, Initial(s). (year). Title of book: Subtitle (# ed.). Publisher Name. https://doi.org... or URL
Crawford, L. A., & Novak, K. B. (2018). Individual and society: Sociological social psychology (2nd ed.). Routledge. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/curtin/detail.action?docID=5323290
Doyle, T., McEachern, D., & MacGregor, S. (2015). Environment and politics (4th ed.). Routledge.
Chapter in an edited book
Chapter Author Surname, Initial(s). (year). Title of chapter. In Editor Initial(s). Editor Surname (Ed.), Title of book: Subtitle (# ed., pp. chapter page range). Publisher Name. https://doi.org... or URL
Kaye, J. (2014). The regulation of human genomics research. In D. Kumar & C. Eng (Eds.), Genomic medicine: Principles and practice (2nd ed., pp. 259-269). Oxford University Press. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/curtin/detail.action?docID=1780390
Conference paper or poster
Author Surname, Initial(s). (year, Month day). Title of paper [Type of presentation]. Title of Conference: Subtitle of Conference, Location. https://doi.org... or URL
Novak, D., & Verber, D. (2015, July 21). Assessment of the influence caused by random events within a real-time strategy game engine on a game bot gameplay [Paper presentation]. 8th Annual International Conference on Computer Games, Multimedia and Allied Technology, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.5176/2251-1679_CGAT15.27
Author Surname, Initial(s). (year). Title of dissertation or thesis [Doctoral dissertation or Master’s thesis, Name of Institution Awarding the Degree]. Source Name. URL
Gao, W. (2018). Fuel properties and thermal processing of bio-oil and its derived full mixtures [Doctoral dissertation, Curtin University]. espace. https://espace.curtin.edu.au/handle/20.500.11937/75545
Ling, J. (2015). Lords and ladies of the modern age [Master’s thesis, Mills College]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. https://search-proquest-com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/docview/1676462563?accountid=10382
No reference list entry is required
Webpage on a website
Author Surname, Initial(s) or Organisation Name. (year). Title of webpage. Site Name. URL
Department of Education and Training. (2016). Improving Australian and European mobility. https://www.education.gov.au/news/improving-australian-and-european-mobility
Webpage on a news website
Author Surname, Initial(s). (year, Month Day). Title of webpage. Site Name. URL
MacLennan, L. (2019, October 25). Michael McIntyre ticket scalping highlights the need for on selling crackdown. ABC News. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-25/michael-mcintyre-ticket-scalping-highlights-onselling-problem/11640714
Online dictionary or encyclopaedia entry (e.g. Wikipedia)
Author Surname, Initial(s) or Organisation Name. (year). Title of entry. In Title of dictionary or encyclopaedia. Publisher Name. Retrieved Month day, year, from URL
Ecology. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 9, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecology
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Behaviourism. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved November 20, 2019, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/behaviorism
Author Surname, Initial(s). (year). Title of lecture [Format]. Site Name. URL
Leaver, T. (2012). Social media rivers [iLecture]. Blackboard. https://echo.ilecture.curtin.edu.au
Author Surname, Initial(s). (year, Month day). Title of the blog post. Blog Name. URL
Tay, A. (2019, January 15). Why our citation practices make no sense. Musings About Librarianship. http://musingsaboutlibrarianship.blogspot.com/2019/01/why-our-citation-practices-make-no-sense.html
Tables and Figures
Tables and figures enable writers to present a large amount of information efficiently and to make their data more comprehensible.
The goal of any table or figure is to help readers understand your work. The best tables and figures are also attractive and accessible to all users. The APA Style guidelines for tables and figures help ensure your visual displays are formatted clearly and consistently, thus contributing to the goal of effective communication.
APA Style tables have the following basic components:
- number: The table number (e.g., Table 1) appears above the table title and body in bold font. Number tables in the order in which they are mentioned in your paper.
- title: The table title appears one double-spaced line below the table number. Give each table a brief but descriptive title, and capitalize the table title in an italic title case.
- headings: Tables may include a variety of headings depending on the nature and arrangement of the data. All tables should include column headings, including a stub heading (heading for the leftmost, or stub, column). The heading “Variable” is often used for the stub column if no other heading is suitable. Some tables also include column spanners, decked heads, and table spanners; these are described in the Publication Manual. Centre column headings and capitalize them in sentence case.
- body: The table body includes all the rows and columns of a table (including the headings row). A cell is the point of intersection between a row and a column.
- The table body may be single-spaced, one-and-a-half-spaced, or double-spaced.
- Left-align the information in the leftmost column or stub column of the table body (but center the heading).
- In general, center information in all other cells of the table. However, left-align the information if doing so would improve readability, particularly when cells contain lots of text.
- note: Three types of notes (general, specific, and probability) appear below the table as needed to describe contents of the table that cannot be understood from the table title or body alone (e.g., definitions of abbreviations, copyright attribution, explanations of asterisks used to indicate p values). Include table notes only as needed.
- Limit the use of borders or lines in a table to those needed for clarity.
- In general, use a border at the top and bottom of the table, beneath column headings (including decked heads), and above column spanners. You may also use a border to separate a row containing totals or other summary information from other rows in the table.
- Do not use vertical borders to separate data, and do not use borders around every cell in a table.
- Use spacing between columns and rows and strict alignment to clarify relations among the elements in a table.
Long or Wide Tables
- If a table is longer than one page, use the tables feature of your word-processing program to make the headings row repeat on the second and any subsequent pages. No other adjustments are necessary.
- If a table is too wide to fit on one page, use landscape orientation on the page with the wide table. It does not matter if the page header also moves when switching to landscape orientation.
Placement of Tables in a Paper
There are two options for the placement of tables (and figures) in a paper.
- To embed tables in the text after each is first mentioned (or “called out”)
- To place each table on a separate page after the reference list.
All types of visual displays other than tables are considered figures in APA Style. Common types of figures include line graphs, bar graphs, charts (e.g., flowcharts, pie charts), drawings, maps, plots (e.g., scatterplots), photographs, infographics, and other illustrations.
APA Style figures have the following basic components:
- number: The figure number (e.g., Figure 1) appears above the figure title and image in bold font. Number figures in the order in which they are mentioned in your paper.
- title: The figure title appears one double-spaced line below the figure number. Give each figure a brief but descriptive title, and capitalize the figure title in an italic title case.
- image: The image portion of the figure is the graph, chart, photograph, drawing, or other illustration itself. If text appears in the image of the figure (e.g., axis labels), use a sans serif font between 8 and 14 points.
- legend: A figure legend, or key, if present, should be positioned within the borders of the figure and explains any symbols used in the figure image. Capitalize words in the figure legend in the title case.
- note: Three types of notes (general, specific, and probability) can appear below the figure to describe contents of the figure that cannot be understood from the figure title, image, and/or legend alone (e.g., definitions of abbreviations, copyright attribution, explanations of asterisks use to indicate p values). Include figure notes only as needed.
Principles of Figure Creation
When creating a figure, ensure you meet the following standards:
- images are clear
- lines are smooth and sharp
- the font is legible and simple
- units of measurement are provided
- axes are clearly labelled
- elements within the figure are clearly labelled or explained
Placement of Figures
There is only one option for the placement of figures (and tables) in a paper.
- To embed figures in the text after each is first mentioned (or “called out”).
- To place each figure on a separate page after the reference list.