American Psychological Association Referencing Style

Table of Contents

Why is APA style used to document ideas in writing?

The most common and widely used style in writing is American Psychological Association (APA). It provides a standard system for acknowledging the works of other individuals for their contributions to the writer’s work. Arguably, APA style is used to document ideas in writing because it provides protection against plagiarism. It helps writers to escape being accused of plagiarism by giving credit to other works where necessary. Using APA writing format, writers are able to properly document any idea originated from somewhere else. APA enables readers to trace where the information in the text comes from and also know the original producer of the idea. Secondly, APA style establishes credibility, that is, it provides readers with cues that enable them to follow written ideas more efficiently. Moreover, APA format provides style guidelines on how the paper needs to be written in terms of voice, viewpoints, and flow of ideas.

What is the purpose of the in-text citation?

APA style follows the author-date method when providing in-text citations. Specific page numbers are only included in in-text citations if a direct quote has been used. The name of the author and date are the two main components of in-text citations in APA style. Generally, in-text citation in APA style has a signal phrase that alerts the reader about the source of information. Secondly, it has parenthetical citation which gives direction to the exact entry of the reference list from which the information was taken. Citations in the text normally appear at the end of the sentence, just before the period. For instance, there is a major decline in driving performance for all drivers who engage in texting while driving thereby causing dual-task related accidents (Pascual-Ferra, Liu, and Beatty, 2012). Basically, the citations in the text clearly point to specific sources in the reference list. This implies that for every reference in the text, there should be a corresponding citation on the reference page. The purpose of in-text citations is to inform the readers of someone else’s ideas and information used in supporting personal ideas in writing. It mainly aims at pointing the reader to the bibliography at the end of the paper to enable them to see the source of the quotations and ideas presented in the writing. An example of in-text citation in the summarized article for the week 2 assignment is: Pascual-Ferra, Liu, and Beatty (2012), show that unless drivers are sensitized on the dangers of switching concentration respectively they may not see the essence to restrain from such malpractice. Another example is, Pascual-Ferra, Liu, and Beatty (2012), suggest that in addition to attitude change towards driving performance, strict laws must also be effected and people take responsibility for inconveniences they cause on the road.

Citing direct quotations

The direct quotes are usually used where there are another individual’s original thoughts or ideas. When citing a direct quote using APA writing style, the page number where the quotation is found must be included. That is, when quoting directly from a given work, the writer has to include the last name of the author, followed by the year of publication then the page number preceded by letter “p”. For example, “many people text while driving prompting a growing concern that texting while driving poses a potential risk to public safety” (Pascual-Ferra, Liu, and Beatty, 2012, p.228). However, when citing a direct quote with more than forty words, the quote is placed on a new line with an indent of a half inch from the left margin. In this case, quotation marks are not used and the citation comes after the period at the end of the quote. Therefore, it is important to properly cite direct quotes in APA style by using quotation marks and following author-date-page number format.


Pascual-Ferra, P., Liu, Y., and Beatty, M. (2012). A meta-analytic comparison of the effects of text messaging to substance-induced impairment on driving performance. Communication Research Reports, 29 (3), 227–238.

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