Background of the APA system
The American Psychological Association is actually a professional association for psychology. The guidelines were therefore initially developed for this field. However, due to their clarity and practicability, the guidelines quickly found their way into other disciplines as well. This style is particularly popular in the humanities and natural sciences. APA is a very popular guide for scientific articles and research reports and is one of the most widely used, especially in the English-speaking world.
This article is about how to cite correctly in APA style. We briefly address the guidelines for layout, which are primarily for typesetters, the people who prepare a text for printing, towards the end. Often, however, instructors of courses themselves provide these specifications, so it is a good idea to check your own materials first.
What do citations look like in APA style?
In principle, the APA citation style does not differ from the German citation style. It allows both direct and indirect citations. However, unlike the German citation style, the references are not noted with the help of a footnote at the bottom of the page, but APA citation style is used in the text itself. In principle, this is initially done in two different ways.
Note: Footnotes in APA citation are used only to enrich the text with additional information.
Indirect citation in APA style
First, in indirect citations, the author can be noted after the cited passage in parenthesis along with the year (Author, Year). On the other hand, the author can already be named in the text itself. In this case, the year is noted after the author’s name (year). The paraphrase in APA style thus dispenses with naming the exact source.
If the requested citation itself has already been cited in the source from which it was found, it is considered a secondary citation. In this case, a reference is made to the source in which it is found. According to APA, the original work is cited in the text, but the reference (cited in author, year) is added.
Direct citation in APA format
In the case of indirect citations, the page number on which the cited passage can be found is also added. In this case, there are three possibilities. On the one hand, the already noted possibility of the parenthesis at the end of the sentence “citation” (author, year, p.XX). Furthermore, it is possible to name the author: Author (Year) “Quote” (p.XX) or else Author (Year, p. XX) “Quote”. Is conceivable. The main thing to note at this point is that the citation is part of the sentence and thus the period in the APA citation style is to be placed only after the source of the citation.
Important: If a direct quotation exceeds forty words, it is indented as a block. In this case, quotation marks are not used. The above rules are still used.
Thus, we have already covered the principles for citation in the paper itself. In the APA citation style, the heart is the list of sources. So, in the following, we will discuss the different types of media. It will be shown how these are correctly cited in the list of sources. Afterward, special cases and abbreviations will be discussed, so that citing in the APA format can be done without problems.
If a source has two authors, both surnames are connected with an &-sign or can be noted in the body text as in the case of single authors, but then connected by a capital “and”. Publications with three or more authors will have the abbreviation et al. added. This is Latin for et alii, which means “and others”. This applies to the note in the body text as well as to the parenthesis.
Otherwise, unlike many other citation styles, APA does not use the abbreviations ibid. or ibid. but always uses the full abbreviated reference, even when referring to the same passage. The same applies to the cf. frequently used in other citation styles. APA does not use this abbreviation either.
And how does the APA method work in the bibliography?
Of course, with the APA citation style, all sources cited in the text must be noted in the bibliography. In order not to cause chaos here, we will first explain the basic rules. Furthermore, we will explain in detail how to note the authors, because the APA uses clear guidelines there. Subsequently, we will discuss the various conceivable types of sources that are used in a scientific paper.
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