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Research Paper – APA Style

Research Paper – APA Style

Author: Kristina Jacobs

How to write a paper using APA style and how to cite references using APA style.

This packet goes over the basics of using APA style in text citations and how to create a reference page using APA formatting.

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APA (The Basics)

Dog with a headache

Sometimes citations can give us a headache, but these APA basics should help!

General Information on APA Style

APA style is a form of academic writing guidelines that has been created by the American Psychological Association. There are many editions of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA manual for short); the current edition as of 2010 is the 6th edition. This style has been created for use in the Social and Behavioral Sciences and is used by a variety of fields including by writers in the fields of Psychology, Counseling and Education.


APA Style Requirements for Citing Research

APA style requires that an author provide a formal reference to all works that have been consulted in the process of researching a topic. This includes any information that is used to support or refute the arguments you make in your paper or in a presentation format.

APA In Text Citations and References Page

APA style requires both a list of references at the end of a paper as well as "in text" citations following a specific format that lists the author or authors and the year that the work was published.

APA Examples- In Text Citations

    * For books, you must cite the author or authors by their last name within the sentence where you refer to their work. You must also include the year that the work was published in parentheses.

    * You must also cite the author or authors by their last name and refer to their work in past tense as in, "Smith and Jones (1996) found..." or "Johnson (2010) discovered..." or in past perfect tense such as "Jones (2008) has found...".

    * You can also cite in text by placing the reference in parentheses directly after the sentence where you refer to their work. (Jones & Provost, 2008). When listing more than one author in parentheses at the end of a sentence you should use the & [ampersand] instead of writing out the word "and".

    * If you use more than one source to support the same idea, listed the citations alphabetically by last name separated by a semi-colon directly after the idea that you are presenting.  (Coney & Parker, 2008; Lile & Marks, 2000).

  * When quoting from a source you must put the quoted information in quotations and cite the page number where the information can be found directly after the quote. For example, your paper might look like this: According to Smithwick (2009), "Educators often cited lack of motivation as the explanation for low standardized test scores at their school in areas of Math and English" (p. 78).


APA Reference Page Formatting

Person typing on a computer keyboard


How to Format Your Reference Page in APA Style

The reference page be placed at the end of your paper and should be formatted according to APA style. References should be listed in alphabetical order by the author's last name and first initial. The word "References" should appear at the top of the page, centered. If the reference is long and takes up more than one line, every line after the first should be indented 10 spaces. The references page should be double spaced. The title of a journal and the issue of the journal should appear italicized. There should be a single space in between each reference.

Tip: If you are a visual learner then the easiest way to learn to format your APA references page is to find a citation of the same type as yours and copy the formatting for your own reference.


Here is an example of a reference page in APA format.




Abowitz, K.K., & Harnish, J. (2006). Contemporary discourses of citizenship. Review of

          Educational Research, 76(4), 653-690.


Adeyemi, M.B., Boikhutso, K., & Moffat, P. (2003). Teaching and learning of citizenship

          education at the junior secondary level in Botswana. Pastoral Care, June, 35-40.

Anderson, L. (1977). Global education: An overview. Social Education, 41(1), 35-36.

Anderson, J.L., Levis-Fitzgerald, M.R., & Rhoads, R.A. (2003). Democratic learning and

          global citizenship: The contribution of one-unit seminars. The Journal of General

          Education, 52(2), 84-107.

Apikul, C. (2006). Enabling public schools - Paraná, Brazil. A description of the United

          Nations Development Programme’s International Open Source Network.

          Retrieved April 5, 2007 from

Bacharach, S.B. (1989). Organizational theories: Some criteria for evaluation. Academy

            of Management Review. 14(4), 496-515.

Barbosa, R., Jofili, Z., & Watts, M. (2004). Cooperating in constructing knowledge: case

         studies from chemistry and citizenship. International Journal of Science

          Education, 26(8), 935–949.

Cairncross, A., Ariff, M., Helleiner, G.K. & Nandan, S., et al. (1982). Protectionism: Threat to

           International Order. The impact on developing countries. London: Commonwealth.

Central Intelligence Agency. The world factbook 2007. Retrieved between April 7 and

         April 9, 2007 from

Commission of the European Communities. (2006). Communication from the commission

          to the council: On European policies concerning youth participation and

         information. Retrieved April 9, 2007 from

Davies, I, & Issitt, J. (2005). Reflections on citizenship education in Australia, Canada

          and England. Comparative Education, 41(4), 389-410.

Davies, L. (2006). Global citizenship: abstraction or framework for action? Educational

          Review, 58(1), 5-25.

Dongpoing, Y. (2005). China’s education in 2003: From growth to reform. Chinese

          Education and Society, 38(4), 11-45.

Doty, D. H. & Glick, W. H. (1994). Typologies as a unique form of theory building:

        Towards improved understanding and modeling. Academy of Management

         Review, 19(2), 230-251.

Dubin, R. (1976). Theory building in applied fields. In M.D. Dunne (Ed.), Handbook

          of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 17-39, Chicago: Rand McNally.

Fearnley-Sander, M., Moss, J., & Harbon, L. (2004). Reading for meaning:

         problematizing inclusion in Indonesian civic education. International Journal of

         Inclusive Education, 8(2), 203-219.

Gibbs, P., & Angelides, P., (2004), Accreditation of Knowledge as Being-in-the-world.

          Journal of Education and Work, 17(3).


Goedegebuure, L., Kaiser, F. & Maassen, P., et al. (Eds.) (1994). Higher Education Policy: An

            International Perspective. Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Pergamon Press.

Heidegger, M. (1962) Being and Time, Trans J. MacQuarrie and Robinson

         Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Cultures Consequences. UK: Sage Publications.

Jarvinen, A. (2001). VET under review in Finland: The impact of VET on secondary

          education. European Journal of Education, 36(1), 55-65.

Law, W.W. (2004). Globalization and citizenship education in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

          Comparative Education Review, 48(3), 253-273.

Lynham, S. A. (2002a) Theory building in applied disciplines. Advances in Developing

          Human Resources, 4(3).

Lynham, S. A. (2002b). The general method of theory-building research in applied

          disciplines. Theory Building in Applied Disciplines: Advances in Developing Human

             Resources. 4(3), 221-255.

Miele, Carol. (2004). Building community by embracing diversity. Community College Journal

          of Research and Practice, 28, 133-140.

Olafson, F.A. (1998) Heidegger and the Ground of Ethics: a study of Mitsein,

          UK: Cambridge University Press.

Queen’s University International Training Center. Advanced topics in international

         education: competencies checklist. Teacher training document. Retrieved April 5,

         2007, from

Swanson, R.A. (2001). Human Resource development and its underlying theory. Human

          Resource Development International. 4(3), 299-312.

Swanson, R., (2007). Theory Framework for Applied Disciplines:

         Boundaries, Contributing, Core, Useful, Novel, and Irrelevant Components.

         Retrieved March 30, 2007 from

Tamatea, L. (2006). Ghandian education in Bali: Globalisations and cultural diversity in a

         time of fundamentalisms. Compare: A Journal of Comparative Education, 36(2),



Tasneem, I. (2005). Global citizenship education: mainstreaming the curriculum?

          Cambridge Journal of Education, 35(2), 177-194.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (2005). Towards

          Knowledge Societies. Retrieved March 23, 2007 from

United Nations Development Programme. (2006). Human development report 2006.

          Retrieved April 7, 2007 from

Van de Ven, A.H. (1999). The buzzing, booming, confusing world of organization and

          management theory. Journal of Management Inquiry, 8(2), 118-125.

World Economic Forum. (2006). Global competitiveness report 2006-2007.  Retrieved

           April 7, 2007 from


Let's Break it Down! APA example done step-by-step

This PowerPoint presentation shows a typical APA citation broken down with step-by-step formatting instructions and examples.