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Citation Style - APA

What is a Citation?

A Citation is a reference to the original source of information you used and included in your research. This original source can be many different things, like a book (print or electronic), an article from a print or online newspaper, magazine, journal...etc. It can also be an article from a website, a government report, a video, thesis or dissertation. Regardless of the type of the information source you have used, it needs to be cited in your paper.

When you cite, you are giving credit to the original author(s) for their creative and intellectual works that you utilized to support your research. Failing to do so is considered as “plagiarism”.

Plagiarism: "Is the unethical practice of presenting oneself as the author of some work that is in fact the work of someone else. Plagiarism is unacceptable, and usually punishible in academia". (Pickering, 2008)*

When do you Need to Cite?
  • When quoting text directly from a source.
  • When you reword or paraphrase sentences or phrases from a source.
  • When summarizing a particular idea or argument from a source
Why do you Need to Cite?
  • For Ethical Considerations & Academic Integrity: - Ethical considerations are an important element of academic integrity, citing your sources comes on top of it. This has to do with giving credit to others' ideas and research, not claiming anyone else’s ideas or research as your own, and always acknowledging where the information you have used has come from.
  • Demonstrates your Awareness of the Research Field: - Citations indicate that you have conducted thorough research and are aware of the major currents, scholars, and theories in the field you are researching.
  • Research as a Conversation: - Conducting research is engaging in a conversation with all interested researchers and scholars in this field. In doing so, you are contributing and adding to the human knowledge in this field. Scholars often build upon each others work, that's why when you cite you help other researchers to use the same sources you depended on. Citation connects both the scholars and their researches as well.

*Pickering, J. W. (2008). Plagiarism. In V. N. Parrillo, Encyclopedia of social problems. Sage Publications. Credo Reference:

Citation Styles

A citation usually includes reference to the folowing information:

  • Author(s)
  • Publication Date
  • Title (and subtitles if any)
  • Publisher
  • Retrieval date (not for all resources)
  • DOI (not for all resources)

Each citation style differs in arranging the order of the above mentioned elements and their punctuation. Some of the most common citation styles used in academia are:

  • APA (American Psychological Association)
  • MLA (Modern Language Association)
  • Harvard
  • Chicago
  • And others

Disciplines differ in their preference of which citation style to apply. The general practice is that Education, Psychology, and Sciences prefer using APA, while MLA is typically used in the Humanities. Chicago style seems to be widely used by Business, History, and the Fine Arts.

Citation Types

A Citation has different types, this refers to where the citation will be located within your paper. The common citation types are In-text, footnote, and bibliography (end-of text).

  • In-text Citation: Typically located within the body of your text, it briefly acknowledges the source of your information. The main role of an in-text citation is to both inform and direct readers of your paper on where to look in the list of bibliography located at the end of your paper for the full details of this particular resource you used.
  • Footnote: Typically located in the footer of a page. It is used by some citation styles instead of the in-text citation.
  • Bibliography (list of references): Located at the end of a research paper it includes the full details of any information source that you have used in your research and previously mentioned in the in-text citation or footnote.

Ask Yourself When Citing

Elements to consider when citing:

  • What is the source I’m citing (book, article, website, video...etc.)
  • The data or essential information (Author(s) name - Title - Publisher - Journal Title - Date of publication - URL Link...etc.)
  • What citation style will I be using because this will affect the elements of your citation when it comes to:
    • How to order them
    • The Capitalization, Punctuation & Spacing


More than One Author

In the Bibliography:

Whether for books or articles, it is common to have more than one author (editor). The number of authors (editors) you are allowed to mention is set by the APA rules. There is a difference between the number allowed in your reference entry (bibliography) and the one allowed for your in-text citation.

* As a general rule, You need to mention the names of all the authors (editors) in your bibliography. The maximum number of names allowed in a citation entry is 20.

* In case a book, an article, or any source has more than 20 authors (editors), list the first 19 by last names and initials; commas separate author names. After the first 19 use an ellipsis (i.e., …) in place of the remaining names. Thereafter, end with the final author's (editor's) name (do not place an & before it). 

Example referencing an article with more than 20 authors:

Wiskunde, B., Arslan, M., Fischer, P., Nowak, L., Van den Berg, O., Coetzee, L., Juárez, U., Riyaziyyat, E., Wang, C., Zhang, I., Li, P., Yang, R., Kumar, B., Xu, A., Martinez, R., McIntosh, V., Ibáñez, L. M., Mäkinen, G., Virtanen, E., . . . Kovács, A. (2019). Indie pop rocks mathematics: Twenty One Pilots, Nicolas Bourbaki, and the empty set. Journal of Improbable Mathematics27(1), 1935–1968.


For the In-text Citation:

* For the in-text citation you can mention maximum 5 names in your entry. If a book or an article has 6+ authors, mention only the Surname of the 1st author followed by (et al.)

  • Parenthetical citation: (Wiskunde et al., 2019)
  • Narrative citation: Wiskunde et al. (2019)