Writing a Reference for Research Paper in APA Style Format

Writing a Reference for Research Paper in APA Style Format


When someone hears the word “Research Paper”, he must think it of a massive process of research, reading and writing. It truly involves a great amount of work that includes accessing and reading of hundreds of articles, books, magazines, newspapers, websites, blogs and other sources to learn others’ thoughts, assumptions and opinions about a certain topic. In short, you can’t make a simple image in your mind that shows something like a poem from Shakespeare’s work, or a soulful song that you listen to while resting and recalling beautiful memories from your past. Rather you see a stack of books all around you, unlimited bookmarks in your internet browser, 8-10 hours of work every day, restless nights, unsocial life and a lot of other things that you would never like to do in your normal life.

What is APA Citation?

APA is the abbreviation of American Psychological Association which is responsible to create APA style and format. The association mainly focuses on psychology but it is not limited to it. It is also used in social sciences and behavior subjects and most researchers, scholars and authors prefer to use this formatting style. APA citing or APA style is undoubtedly the most popular way of making citations in a research papers. Though, there are various other formats like Chicago and MLA, science fields usually prefer APA formatting and style.

Why Citation is Important?  

One must keep in mind that a research paper is not just a combination of information on a certain topic but it is much more than this because it basically comes up with analysis and arguments on a certain point of a topic. No matter what type of paper you are working on, when you give your opinion, it must be backed up by proofs and opinions of others which should be properly cited in your paper by using APA, MLA or Chicago styles. When you use someone else work, you must give them credit for their work or when you want to let the people know that from where you take content to use as a reference in your paper, you have to use citation.

There are things which require sources because the readers might have to go and find the information again in future. For example, if the writer is telling about his personal life experiences, that does not have to be supported by citation because it may be a onetime event but on the other hand if the writer is giving some kind of statistic from other sources which also have the additional information for the readers if they are interested to get more, that may be given citation.

Why to Cite a Source? 

The 6th Edition of Publication Manual of APA tells us the most appropriated ways to structure a research paper and organize everything so effectively. It also contains grammar guidelines which will help you do everything as per standard grammatical rules. Here you can also find APA citations. As there are various good reasons to cite a source, some of them are as follow:

  • Credits: You should give credit to those who have created some information and the same you are using in your paper to support your research work.
  • Plagiarism: Another major reason to cite is to avoid plagiarism. The most important advantage of citation is that it helps you avoid plagiarism in your paper. Otherwise the duplicate content is considered as plagiarism which can be quite harmful for your paper. You should also try to know how you can avoid plagiarism as there are a number of good techniques.
  • Understanding: The third important reason is that in this way, other find can easily understand the way you have given the information if they are familiar with the information you have put in your paper.

Major Types and Elements of APA Citation Style

4 Major Elements of APA Citation

  • New Page: When you start writing your citation, use a new page to give references that should begin with running title.
  • Title: Type the title “References (it should be bold and centralized. It should not include any underline italics or quotation marks.
  • Entries: All entries should be double space and alphabetized
  • Source of Info: Each and every source of information that you have used in your paper should come in this section with a reference.

2 Main Types of Citation

  • In-Text Citation

This kind of citation is found in body of the paper and it is commonly used when you give a direct paraphrase or quote in your paper.

  • Reference citations

The second type is called reference citation which is basically a reference list inserted at the end of your paper. This list contains all of the sources that you have already used in different parts of your paper. One has to use variety of sources in a paper such as an article, a book, a website etc. It is important to note here that every time a different style is used as per the type of source.

What Can Be Cited?

  • Digital Book
  • Encyclopedia
  • Films
  • Interviews
  • Journal Articles
  • Lecture
  • Magazine
  • Newsletter
  • Photograph
  • Printed Book
  • Radio Broadcast
  • TV Show
  • Website

How to Cite a Book with APA Style?

Citing a Printed Book

Below you can check out the elements along with an example to cite a printed book in APA format. It is also important to note that:

  • The 1st letter of 1st word of each title that might also have some subtitles should be capitalized.
  • If you have proper nouns, make sure to capitalize 1st letter of each PN.
  • Full title as well as subtitles of referred book should be italicized and stated.




*  Author of the book

*  Year of publication of the book

*  Work Title

*  Name of Publisher






David, T.J. (1989). The Journey of Harry to Grave of Ghosts. US: Futuristic Inc.




Citing a Digital Book

If you have to cite a digital book that could be read on an electronic device such as computer, Ipad, Kindle etc, you will follow this pattern:






*  Author

*  Publication Yearn

*  Work Title

*  Player Type

*  Retrieved from http://aaabbbccc.com






Nixon, S.D. (2001). The Secret of Simple But Happy Life (Book 2) [Kindle Version]. Retrieved from https://www.aaabbbccc.com/The-Secret-of-Simple But-Happy Life-Book/dp/0552243598



Note: The above given are just examples to help you understand how things get cited in APA style. Everything is cited with the help of proper APA Citation methods and you should learn each one of them to cite everything correctly.