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APA Writing & Citing Guide

APA examples provided are not exhaustive. Students must seek assistance from the Writing Centre and/or their Professor for specific or problematic references. The library is not responsible for errors, omissions or problems of interpretation. Last Updated

Why do we need to cite, anyway?

Why should we cite?

You need to cite to ensure...

  • You give credit to the original authors/sources of information and avoid plagiarism
  • Your readers can quickly access your original sources
  • You add credibility to your assignments and help prove your arguments.

Colleges/Universities, subject areas and professions select and use a standard method of citation. Be sure to check with your Professor on what method to use.

 

Citations & Citing your work

Source: © Common Craft, 2018.

Transcript

If you think about it, much of the information that goes into a paper or article can be organized into three groups: “common knowledge” “my ideas”, and “other people’s ideas”. By understanding these groups, we can see why citations matter in our work. 


Let’s start with common knowledge, which consists of well established and reliable facts. For example, George Washington being the first US president is an established fact found in a variety of reliable sources. A year having 365 days is also considered common knowledge.

Next, let’s consider “my ideas”. This group consists of your personal thoughts, opinions, conclusions, and analysis of your topic. If you are conducting your own original research, it would also fall into this category.

And finally, there are other people’s ideas - and these deserve special care. When we research a topic, we’re likely to find and borrow helpful information and discoveries that came from the work of specific individuals or organizations whose work was published in reputable books, journals, articles and websites. 
“Other people’s ideas” also include quotes from other writing that support or debate points that you’re making. A paper or project may include all three types of information.

While common knowledge and your ideas don’t usually need special treatment, when other people’s ideas are included in your paper, readers do need to know. This can be done with citations. Using citations shows you’re responsible. You’ve done the research, given credit to the right people, provided the reader with resources for more learning and avoided plagiarism.

A citation consists of two parts that work together. These are the in-text citation and full citations. Here’s how they work…

When you use someone else’s ideas, the reader needs to know, but adding the required information into the middle of your paper would be annoying and hard to read.

So, we need a quick way to indicate when a section is based on someone else's ideas. This is done with an in-text citation. It’s a brief notification within the body of the text that specific words, ideas, figures, or images were taken from other sources. These point the reader to the second part of a citation--the full citation--which can be found either at end of the paper or at the bottom of the page. This way, the text remains readable and it’s clear when you use other people's’ ideas.

Often, full citations have all the information needed to find the original publication. These include author names, titles of books or journals, publishers, publication dates, page numbers and more.

Let’s look at two common ways to cite your sources in a paper:
 Imagine that you use an idea from a book in your paper and need to cite it.

An in-text citation could might include the author’s last name and year published, author’s last name and page number, or simply a number. These connect the reader to the full citation, which may be in a bibliography at the end of the paper, or in a footnote at the bottom of the page.

Using citations is part of being a responsible student and researcher, but it’s also a service to others. They acknowledge the people whose work helped establish what is known about the world and provides a way for your readers to dive even deeper into your subject.

Your APA Formatted Paper

APA format requires that your paper include:

  • A cover or title page
  • The paper itself (body/text)
  • A references page
  • Appendices (if necessary)

We strongly recommend that you:

  • Gather citations for the sources you plan to use as you do your research
  • Prepare your reference page BEFORE you write your paper
  • Check the Tips & Hints section for time savers
  • Use Citation Generators & database "Cite" features with caution - great as starting points, but not 100% accurate

With these two tasks done, you can simply insert your references as you cite them, greatly simplifying the task!

Review the sections of this box for specific tips about each section of your paper, more resources & helpful videos that explain how to apply APA formatting in Microsoft Word.

 

APA 6th edition does not typically include your course name, course code, date, or professor's name on the cover/title page. Cites & Sources recommends that students include this information. Please check with your professor for individual expectations.

To view a sample coverpage in APA format, click on the image below.

View a sample version of an APA formatted title/cover page

How to do it in Microsoft Word

The following videos, created by Walden University Academic Skills Center, may be helpful in applying the basic formatting needed for APA style, when using Microsoft Word.

To view a sample of what the body of an APA formatted paper looks like, click on the image below.

A sample of what the body/text part of an APA formatted paper would look like

How to do it in Microsoft Word

The following videos, created by Walden University Academic Skills Center, may be helpful in applying the basic formatting needed for APA style, when using Microsoft Word.

To view a sample of an APA reference page, click on the image below.

How to do it in Microsoft Word

The following videos, created by Walden University Academic Skills Center, may be helpful in applying the basic formatting needed for APA style, when using Microsoft Word.

To view a sample of an APA appendix page, click on the image below.

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Where to get more help

Consult the Writing Centre or your Professor for more help

The Writing Centre in Barrie provides drop in assistance with writing & citing.

Hours & availability:

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Consult the Writing Centre or your Professor for more help

Consult the Writing Centre or your Professor for more help

The Writing Centre in Orillia provides drop in assistance with writing & citing.

Hours & availability:

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Consult the Writing Centre or your Professor for more help

The Writing Centre in Owen Sound provides drop in assistance with writing & citing.

Hours & availability:

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The Learning Portal

The Portal provides shared access to resources from all Ontario Colleges. Please use an up-to-date browser to access all feature of the portal.

For Citation help select "Research" and "How to Cite". Video resources and citation tools are provided to help you with creating your citations.

How to cite module covers how to create citations

 

 

 

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