Fundamentals You Should Know about Research Paper Citations in the APA Format

You probably already know that the APA is the preferred style used when citing sources in a research paper for the social sciences. Here are some important fundamentals to know:

The Basics of APA Citation

The author-date method is preferred for all in-text citations (ex. (Davis, 2015)). This should appear within the text sentence along with a complete citation reference at the end of the paper in the bibliography. If the information is an idea, a fact or a paraphrase then you can simply follow the example above. However, if it is a direct quote from a resource you should also include the page number in which the quote originally appears (ex. (Davis, 2015, pp. 23)).

Capitalization, Italics, Quotation Marks

If your citation includes a title of a resource, capitalize the first letter of all words that are four or more letters long, with the only exceptions being short words such as nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives (ex. The Fall of Man and the Rise of Mankind). Use italics for titles of longer works, collected works, movies, documentaries, etc. and use quotation marks when you refer to a shorter piece within a collection (ex. Article titles, television episode, etc.).

Citing Short Quotations

If you include a short quote (three lines or fewer) it should be written directly into your text and include citation information that includes the author’s name, year of publication and the page number where the quote appears (ex. (Davis, 2015, pp. 23)). An alternative form of doing this is including the author’s name in a trigger phrase within your text. For example: As Davis (2015) states “there are many mistakes being made in APA citation today” (pp. 199).

Citing Long Quotations

When you have quotation that is four lines or more, you need to place it in what is a called a block quote. This should be indented 1-inch from the left text and be double-spaced. If there is no trigger phrase introducing the author of the quotation preceding it, then place his name, year, and page number where the quote appears in parentheses at the end of the block quote.

Citing Paraphrases

Finally, paraphrasing an idea from another work only requires you to include the author’s name and year of publication in parentheses at the end of the sentence before the period. APA does encourage you to include a page number of the idea is defined or clearly stated on a specific page, but this is not a requirement.