A Quick Guide To Making Citations In An APA Research Paper

Research papers written following the American Psychological Association guidelines follow a detailed and specific way for making citations. These can become a little confusing, especially when you work with several different types of resources (e.g., books, journals, websites, etc.), so we’ve developed this hand quick guide to making citations in APA research paper correctly.

APA In-Text Citation Basics

All proper nouns, including author and editor names or initials, should be capitalized. If you include the title of the resource within the text of your research paper, you should capitalize all the words that are at least four letters long. Additionally, capitalize short words that are nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives. Always underline or italicize the titles of longer works (e.g., books, movies, documentaries, edited collections, etc.) and use quotations when citing shorter works (e.g., journal articles, series episodes, titles within edited collections, etc.).

Short Quotations in APA

Quotes that are three lines or less should be placed within your text using quotation marks to signal the precise beginning and end of the borrowed material. You can use either one of the following examples to include all appropriate parenthetical information.

Example 1) According to Robbins (1998) “Students working diligently will learn the appropriate scientific methods necessary to conduct their studies” (p. 200)

Example 2) She found that “student working diligently will learn the appropriate scientific methods necessary to conduct their studies” (Robbins, 1998, p. 200)

Long Quotations in APA

Generally, quotes that are four lines or more (about 40 words) should be placed in a free-standing block of lines, without any quotation marks. Starting from a new line, indent the quotation exactly ½ inch from the left margin. Type the rest of the quotation starting from this indented margin, while maintaining a double-space throughout. The parenthetical citation can be placed at the end of the quotation following the basic rules as described above.

Summaries or Paraphrase

When you include an in-text citation for a short summary or paraphrase you should include the following information following any one of these examples:

Example 1) According to Robbins (1998), appropriate learning of scientific methods can be achieved through diligent study.

Example 2) The appropriate learning of scientific methods can be achieved through diligent study (Robbins, 1998, p. 200).

References / Bibliography

Each line after the first line of individual entries should be indented ½ inch form the left margin. Include the author’s last name followed by the first. Next, comes the name of the work in quotations (if an article), followed by the name of the larger body of work, publication information, and page numbers where the resource appears.

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