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APA Referencing (APA 7th edition)

This guide shows students and staff how to reference using the APA Referencing style.


If you are quoting someone word-for-word or using someone else's ideas or statistics in your writing, you will need to reference it within the body of your work. Work the author’s surname or organisation’s name, the year of publication and the page number into the paragraph you are writing. The purpose is to give basic details so your reader can get more information from the list at the end.

Example 1: "The main subgroups of Flowering Plants are further divided into orders, families, genera (singular - genus) and species" (Clarke & Lee, 2019, p. 3)

Example 2: Clarke and Less (2019, p. 3) state that "the main subgroups of Flowering Plants are further divided into orders, families, genera (singular - genus) and species".

Example 3: In their 2019 text, Clarke and Lee explain that "the main subgroups of Flowering Plants are further divided into orders, families, genera (singular - genus) and species" (p. 3).

Note that page numbers are only necessary for in text citations when direct quotes or precise information is used. Also note in these examples the different ways the in-text citation can be worked into your sentences. You may use the author's name and the date of the work as part of your writing, or put the information all in brackets as in Example 1 above.

Direct quotations

  • should be used sparingly in an assignment
  • can be used if you need to record exact words or phrases
  • are useful if you find some writing which expresses exactly what you want to say very well
  • can be a phrase, a short sentence, or longer
  • must be checked carefully to ensure the version used matches the original exactly.

Small quotations (less than 40 words) are included in your writing with the text in double quote marks as shown above. 

If the quotation is longer than 40 words, set it out like this:

  Leadership is a critical element of successful placemaking.  As Mackintosh (2019, p. 212) states: 

This domain acknowledges the role of leadership in building relationships during the placemaking project. Task-oriented leadership in this domain... requires placemakers to bring stakeholders together through curated activities that prompt and build networks. Relationship-oriented leadership encourages stakeholders to form and build their own networks, looking beyond existing relationships, to include all stakeholders.

Points to remember for longer quotes:

  • place a colon (:) at the end of your writing before the quote
  • leave a space of one line before and after the quotation
  • do not use quotation marks around the quotation
  • indent the quote


Mackintosh, L. (2019). Leadership in placemaking. In D. Hes & C. Hernandez-Santin (Eds.), Placemaking fundamentals for the built environment (pp. 201-225). Palgrave MacMillan US.

Citing Someone Else's Quotation

Sometimes an author will cite another author and you may want to use this in your assignment.  Care needs to be taken with quotations and citations taken out of context.  It is a good idea to try to track down the original work.  If you are not able to find the original work, you may still use a quotation from or a reference to the cited work, making sure that you acknowledge both of the authors.


Some writers disagree with the idea that the mods were a male dominated subculture (Garber & McRobbie, 1979, as cited in Jenss, 2005, p. 192).


Garber & McRobbie (1979, as cited in Jenss, 2005, p. 192) claim that the mods were one of the first youth subcultures in which girls could participate more fully.

Note: Only cite the work you have actually consulted in your reference list

Reference list:

Jenss, H. (2005). Sixties dress only!. In  A. Palmer & H. Clark (Eds.), Old clothes, new looks: Second hand fashion (pp.191-199). Berg Publishers.

Personal Communications

References to personal communications such as letters, emails, interviews, or phone conversations can be included in assignments. The in-text citation should have the author's initials then surname followed by personal communication and the date in month day, year format.  These citations should not be included in the Reference List/Bibliography, as the data is not generally recoverable.

You should only use information from a personal communication if the same information cannot be found elsewhere - for example, you would quote your lecture notes, rather than your what your lecturer says in class.

In-text citation:

The patient valued the knowledge and experience of other cancer patients more than medical information (P.Wilson, personal communication, March 10, 2020).


When interviewed, Susan Jones said she found a lot of contradictory information when she researched her condition (S. Jones, personal communication, June 28, 2019).


If you are referring  to an organisation with a long name on numerous occasions, you may abbreviate the name if the abbreviation is well known. The first time you refer to the organisation, include the full name of the organisation, followed by the abbreviation in round brackets. Thereafter, the abbreviation can be listed on its own. Abbreviations (acronyms and initials)  are written without full stops in between.

In the reference list, write the name of the organisation in full. 


The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) believes that there should be laws protecting all animals from exploitation (RSPCA, 2019).


Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (2019, May). RSPCA Australia animals charter.

Common abbreviations used in APA style

  • ed.                         edition
  • 2nd. ed                  second edition
  • Rev. ed.                 revised edition
  • Ed. / Eds.               editor/ editors
  • n.d.                        no date
  • p. / pp.                   page/pages
  • para.                      paragraph
  • Vol.                        volume     
  • No.                         number (issue)