Old Sun Community College Website


Understanding the APA Citation Style: A Guide for Beginners

1. What is the APA Citation Style?

The APA citation style is a set of rules established by the American Psychological Association for formatting academic papers and citing sources. It provides guidelines for citing various types of sources, including books, journal articles, websites, and more. The style ensures consistency and clarity, allowing readers to easily locate and verify the cited sources.

1.1 Why is APA Citation Important?

Accurately citing sources is essential in academic writing for several reasons:

2. Formatting In-Text Citations

In-text citations are used within the body of your paper to indicate where you have used information from other sources. The APA citation style uses the author-date format, which consists of the author's last name and the publication year in parentheses.

For example:

According to Smith (2019),...


...(Smith, 2019).

2.1 Citing Direct Quotations

When directly quoting a source, you should also include the page number or paragraph number.

For example:

\"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit\" (Smith, 2019, p. 25).

3. Creating a Reference List

A reference list is a separate page at the end of your paper that contains the full bibliographic information for all the sources cited in your paper. The APA citation style has specific guidelines for formatting different types of sources such as books, journal articles, and websites.

Here is an example of how a book reference should be formatted:

Last Name, First Initial. (Year). Title of Book. Publisher.

3.1 Citing Journal Articles

When citing a journal article, include the author's last name and initials, the publication year, the article title, the journal title in italics, volume number in italics, and the issue number in parentheses.

For example:

Last Name, First Initial. (Year). Article Title. Journal Title, Volume(Issue), page range.


The APA citation style is a crucial aspect of academic writing. By following the guidelines for in-text citations and references, you can ensure that your work is properly formatted, credible, and free from plagiarism. Understanding and implementing the APA citation style will help you become a more effective and responsible academic writer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How long should the APA citation style guide for beginners be?

The APA citation style guide for beginners should be a minimum of 1200 words.

2. How many headings and subheadings should be included?

A minimum of three headings and subheadings should be included, including H1, H2, and H3, H4 headings.

3. How should the article be written?

The article should be written in a conversational style as if it were written by a human.

4. What should be included in the final paragraph?

The final paragraph of the article should summarize the main points and serve as a conclusion.

5. Why is it important to write unique content?

Writing unique content is crucial to avoid plagiarism and ensure the credibility of the article.