Welcome to the Box Hill Institute Guide to APA Referencing. This guide provides rules and examples of how to reference printed and electronic materials that you use in your work. The guide is based on the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition.
Most assignments require you to list the resources you have used for researching a topic and every item used, regardless of format, must be acknowledged. Listing resources correctly is called referencing, citing (citation) or compiling a bibliography. Several referencing styles are used at Box Hill Institute. It is best to ask your teacher or teaching centre which style they prefer.
There are two parts to referencing:
- An In-text citation. When you use a direct quote or someone else's idea or image in your assignment, you have to make it clear that it belongs to them, e.g. Smith (2009, p. 1) emphasises the importance of correct referencing.
- A reference list or bibliography. It includes works you have cited and may also include works you looked at but did not cite. Items are listed alphabetically at the end of your work, with a space between each item.
APA is known as an Author-Date system because that's the format it usually follows. There are different versions of APA referencing style and you may find small differences in examples depending on which style guide you look at. Generally, these minor alterations are acceptable as long as they are used consistently throughout your work. If you have any doubts it is best to check with your teacher and check examples in this guide.
An Important note on using the Discovery catalogue cite function:
When you search for books or articles in the Discovery catalogue and select a resource, there is an option on the right hand side to get a citation for the resource in various fomats including APA. This can be useful for cutting and pasting a citation into your reference list, but please be aware that the formatting given in these citations is different from the BHI APA style. You can still use this function, but please refer to this Libguide and adapt the citation as necessary. This may be the case with any automated citation software that you use, so please check your final references against the examples in this guide. If unsure, please contact your teacher or Library staff, and always aim to be consistent in your formatting.
Failing to reference the resources you have used to complete an assignment may result in penalties. Claiming the work of others as your own (by quoting from books, websites or other sources without acknowledging them with an in-text citation and a reference list) is a breach of copyright law called plagiarism. Referencing correctly is a way of showing your teacher what is your work and what is supporting material drawn from another source. It also shows the depth of your research and allows your teacher to check the sources you have used.