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APA Citation Style: Start Here

This guide provides information on the 7th edition of APA Citation Style as used at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

How to Use This Guide

1. Check that your instructor has asked you to use APA citation style for your assignment. They have? Great! Continue on...

2. Read the 'APA in a Nutshell' section below to ensure you know you need both in-text citations and reference list entries in your assignment.

3. Find the source type you are trying to cite in the tabs at the top. Is it a book, a magazine, a website? Once you've found your source type, look for the option that best describes your source (e-book instead of print book, for example). 

4. Use the template for your source type to create your in-text citation(s) and your reference list entry for that particular source. If you run into a scenario that isn't covered in the template or in the example, scroll down to the "What if" section for detailed information on how to incorporate this information. Examples of such scenarios are multiple authors, a source without a publication date, etc.

Have questions about citations that aren't covered in this guide? Check out the 'Additional Help' tab or meet with your librarian for in-depth support.

Have questions about writing (paraphrasing, summarizing, directly quoting)? Connect with a writing specialist for support.

APA in a Nutshell

An APA citation has two parts:

In text (immediately after a paraphrase or a direct quote) - to let the person who's reading your work know that this isn't your idea and to give them a quick way to know whose idea it is and where to find it in your reference list

Reference list (at the end of your assignment) - to allow the reader to find where the idea came from. This will give them enough information that they can locate the source and find the information that you included in your assignment. Reference list citations are typically double spaced with a hanging indent, but your instructor may have different expectations.

Anytime you use someone else's words, ideas, opinions, or illustrations, you need to show where you first retrieved or read that information. You need to provide both the in-text citation whenever you use that source in your paper, and a single reference list entry at the end of your paper for each source that you use. This guide provides examples of APA citations for various resources.

Why Cite Your Sources?

In all types of research and scholarly writing, it is important to cite your sources in order to:

  • Help readers identify and locate the source you used.

Readers may want to locate a source you have cited to verify the information or to learn more about the topic. A proper citation includes all of the information necessary for a reader to locate a source.

  • Provide evidence that your position is well-researched.

Professional and academic writing is grounded in research. Citations allow you to demonstrate that your position is thoroughly researched.

  • Give credit to the author of ideas which are not your own, and thereby avoid plagiarism.

Giving proper credit to those work or ideas you use is not only respectful to those authors, but is required to avoid plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism occurs when a student submits work in respect of which ideas or words are taken from another source and presented as if they are the student’s own, without appropriate acknowledgement of the original source.  It is the act of presenting another’s materials as one’s own without appropriate acknowledgement that constitutes plagiarism, whether or not the student does so intentionally. 

Learn more about SAIT's policy on plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct.

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