Academic Writing Guide

Please also refer to your Academic Writing Guide. It contains: 

  • study tips;
  • information on academic integrity; and
  • further details on referencing a wider variety of sources.

Please note that it is the student's responsibility to double check any referencing against the information given in the Academic Writing Guide.

APA 6th edition - General Rules

American Psychological Association (APA) 6th Edition

American Psychological Association (APA) style is the main referencing style used. 

The purpose of referencing is to:

  • Identify (cite) other people's ideas and information used within your assignments.
  • Indicate the sources you have used in a References list at the end of your paper.

This guide is based on the APA Manual (6th ed.).

The following sections provide you with information and examples that will help you to cite the sources that you come across for your study:

  • books
  • ebooks
  • journals
  • ejournals
  • websites
  • audio visual media
  • other sources

More specific details on a variety of sources can be found in your Academic Writing Guide. 

Reference list

The purpose of a reference list is to enable readers to locate sources. Therefore, details must be correct and complete. Every in-text reference requires a related reference list entry. Equally, every reference list entry requires at least one related in-text reference. Each in-text reference and related reference list entry should be identical in spelling and year.

A work appears only once in the reference list, regardless of how many times it is cited in the text. Works not cited in the text should not appear in the reference list. When compiling your reference list in accordance with APA 6th edition, you should:

  • list references on a new page (or pages) with a heading titled ‘References’;
  • include books, journal articles, online sources, etc. in one alphabetical listing;
  • order entries alphabetically by family name of author or name of organisation;
  • list works with no author under the first significant word of the title;
  • include all punctuation marks and italics as demonstrated in the examples;
  • use a hanging indent format, meaning that the first line of each reference is set flush left and subsequent lines are indented.

In-text citation

In the text of your paper, source material is cited briefly. Readers can use this citation to look up the material in your reference list, and then use the reference list to locate the actual texts for verification of what has been written or to read more fully an author’s argument. APA 6th edition encourages the use of page numbers, where they exist, to more directly show where an idea is from in a text.

There are two types of in-text referencing that need to be kept in mind as you write your paper – direct quotation (also known as direct referencing) and paraphrasing (also known as indirect referencing).

  • Direct Quotation is the exact use of an author’s own words (including quoted facts, figures and graphical information). Short quotations must be placed in quotation marks, and long quotations shown as specified in the Long quotations section.
  • Paraphrasing in contrast, means the rephrasing of an author’s ideas using your own words and sentence structures without changing the original meaning.

Direct quotations and paraphrasing are provided when referring to information from both published and unpublished works. Limit your use of direct referencing as the process of converting other’s concepts and words into your own words creates and demonstrates deeper learning. As a general rule, no more than 10% of any paper should consist of direct quotations.

Directly quoted text or idea

A direct quotation is the exact use of an author’s words from a publication or from a speech, such as a lecture.

Short quotations:

A short quotation should be incorporated into a sentence without disrupting the flow of the text and must show quotation marks. It will include the author/s surname, the year of publication and the page number/s, as demonstrated in the following examples.

Source as part of the sentence:

Crago (1998, p. 3) argued “it is hardly likely that the concept of psychotherapy could ever have arisen were it not for the concurrent development of a society based on free choice, consumer capitalism and mobility of labour”.


Source at the end of the sentence:

Changes in the social conditions in some countries have been pivotal factors in the change to psychotherapeutic practice. In fact, “it is hardly likely that the concept of psychotherapy could ever have arisen were it not for the concurrent development of a society based on free choice, consumer capitalism and mobility of labour” (Crago, 1998, p. 3).

Long quotations

A long quotation (40 words or more) is set out as a block quotation, using a separate indented paragraph. Single spacing is used for the block even if (as is usually the practice) the rest of the text uses wider spacing. You do not need quotation marks if you have indented it. Make sure all quotations are grammatically linked with the words that precede them.

The reference precedes the quotation (source as part of the sentence) or follows the quotation with the author, year of publication and page number/s in brackets (source at the end of the sentence after the final punctuation mark).


Source as part of the sentence:

Morley-Worner (2001) observed that academic writing demonstrates knowledge and understanding, and includes critical analysis and reflection, and that:
You will also gain a sense of the complexity of being an apprentice writer in an academic culture, or rather cultures,
where expectations may vary from discipline to discipline, even subject to subject and where yo can build a
repertoire of critical thinking and writing skills that enable you to enter the academic debates, even to challenge. (p. 6)


Source at the end of the sentence:

Existential therapy offers four givens:

I have found that four givens are particularly relevant to psychotherapy: the inevitability of death for each of us and for those we love; the freedom to make our lives as we will; our ultimate aloneness; and, finally, the absence of any obvious meaning or sense to life.  However grim these givens may seem, they contain the seeds of wisdom and redemption (Yalom, 1989, pp. 4-5).




Paraphrasing refers to using an author’s ideas but without an exact quotation. You must still give the correct reference. The author, year of publication and page number/s must be provided for any idea you express which has come from a source other than your own creation.

Source as part of the sentence:

Well-known strategic therapist Madanes (1990, p. 9) treats all symptoms as voluntary and under the control of the client.

Source at the end of a sentence:

A strategic therapist would treat all symptoms as voluntary and under control of the client (Madanes, 1990, p.9).

If you wish to outline somebody’s argument or describe his or her study but do not wish to quote it word for word, leave no doubt as to what you are doing.

Fruzzetti (2006, pp. 18-24) makes the point that…and he suggested that…

Corey (2005, p.184) made a useful distinction between…

Make sure your words make it clear that you are paraphrasing, condensing, or otherwise giving a modified version of someone else’s work. If possible indicate where their work ends and where your own material begins, as the following example demonstrates.

However, it could be argued that Corey (2005) did not consider the following points…

Note that the page number is not necessary in this reference to Corey, as you are now evaluating his overall ideas and, therefore, this cannot be narrowed down to specific page numbers. The distinction here is that this sentence is a reference to the whole resource, rather than a quotation or paraphrase of part of the resource.

Remember when paraphrasing, always acknowledge the source and always make it clear when you are summarising someone else’s text.

Note: If you use a direct quote, but leave out a section within a sentence or between sentences, use a series of three dots to indicate a section is missed  ("..." - called an ellipsis).

References including a range of sources

References may include a range of sources, where you have read similar ideas/theories. Note
that in the following example the authors are listed in alphabetical order. Also note that page numbers
are not required, as no quotation or paraphrase is being made.

Several studies in past decades have sought to explain the same point (Harring, 1969; 
Jones, 1956; Johnson, 1988 & Saunders, 1976).

Note: the semi-colons between references.