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APA Citation Style (6th ed, 2010)

Citing sources is a two-step process. First of all, you make a parenthetical citation in your text to indicate that the material originated with someone else. That brief citation matches up with a complete citation in a list of references at the end of your paper.

We're going to talk about how to do both parenthetical citations and a reference list in APA style.

Parenthetical citations in APA style

When you make reference to another person's work in your writing, use a parenthetical citation to point the reader to the source of the material. Do this whether you directly quote the source or just describe that person's findings or ideas.

Here's an example of a parenthetical citation in APA style:

Rogers (2002) characterizes homeland security as a 21st century version of the Cold War concept of national security.

In this example, the author's name is included in the narrative, and the publication year given in parentheses immediately after.

Here's a variation, in which the writer actually quotes Rogers:

Homeland security has been described as "a 21st century version of the Cold War concept of national security" (Rogers, 2002, p. 397).

In the second example, the author's name is not used in the text but given along with the year and page reference at the end of the quotation. The page reference is required in this case because Rogers was directly quoted.

If the reader wants to know more about Rogers' ideas, she can turn to the reference list and look for this citation under "Rogers".

Rogers, H. (2002). Homeland Security. New York: Macmillan.

This citation gives the reader all the information she needs to locate Rogers' book, entitled Homeland Security, which was published in New York by Macmillan in 2002.

There are many possible variations and exceptions that you may run into when writing your parenthetical citations. Refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for guidance in special cases. We keep two copies at the Reference Desk and several are also on Reserve in the library.