APA Referencing

The APA referencing style is one of several different referencing styles used for publications, papers, essays and books. This particular style is established by the American Psychological Association, and used by professionals in psychology and many other sciences. 

Please note that these pages are based on the 6th edition of the APA style. A 7th edition has since been produced.  Details of this 7th edition can be found on the APA web pages:

Cite Them Right Online (Bloomsbury Publishers) also uses the 7th Edition of the APA style:

  • Login via the top right link if prompted and enter 'University of Birmingham'
  • Find ‘APA 7th’ under ‘Choose Referencing Style’

Using the APA style of referencing, you must acknowledge the source within the text by citing the author’s last name and date of publication in parentheses, e.g. (Jones, 2015). Moreover, you must give full details of each item in an alphabetical reference list at the end of your assignment. You may also include a bibliography, although it is not a necessity.

As of the creation of these guidelines, the courses at the University that use the APA style include Psychology and some modules within SportExR. If you are still not completely sure which referencing style to use, consult your tutor. Undergraduates can contact the Academic Skills Centre, and research students and academics can contact the Research Skills Team

  • APA Quick Referencing Guide
    This is a quick guide to the APA referencing style. It contains only the most commonly used sources along with information on how to reference using this style, and with examples of how to reference in-text and using the reference list and bibliography.
  • APA Referencing Handbook (Word - 108KB)
    This is the much longer handbook for the APA referencing style. It contains over 150 source types, along with examples of how to reference in-text and using the reference list and bibliography. This handbook allows you to effectively create your own Guide to this style, taking out the sources you will definitely never use and leaving you with a more substantial Guide than the aforementioned Quick Guide. Note: this handbook is extensive, and at nearly 100 pages long it would be unwise to print it all in full. 

Quick guide to APA referencing

This is an introductory guide to citing and referencing using the APA system. For more detailed examples go to our A-Z guide or Cite Them Right Online

Citing in text

A citation is an abbreviated indication of the source(s) you have used in text, use the authors (s) or editor, date of publication, and page numbers if required. Example, (Smith, 2010).

Examples of citing in text

  • One Author/ Editor: Marks (2011) states that ...OR...(Marks, 2011)
  • Two Authors/Editor: Bee and Boyd (2010) state that...OR (Bee & Boyd, 2010)
  • Three, four or five Authors/Editors: (Rolfe, Jasper, & Freshwater, 2010) first cite, (Rolfe et al., 2010) subsequent cities
  • Six or more Authors/Editors: Cite the first name listed in the sources followed by et al. For example,... Yamada et al. (2003) OR...(Yamada et al.,2003)
  • No Author/Editor: Use the Italics; do NOT use 'anonymous' or anything similar, for example, It is maintained that medicine has greatly improved (Medicine in old ages, 1985, p.74)...
  • No Author and No date: Use the title and 'no date'. For example, Thunderstorms have become increasingly common (Trends in atmospheric pressure, no date)... 

Citing multiple sources

If you cite two or more works within the same parentheses they should be in alphabetical order of author.

....(Philips, Ajrouch, & Hillcoat- Nalletamby, 2010: Rolfe, Jasper, & Freshwater, 2010).

Arrange two or more works by the same authors (in the same order) by year of publication. Place in-press citations last. Give the authors' last name once; for each subsequent work, give only the date.

...(Davies, 2003, 2010, 2012)

Citing sources published in the same year by the same author

Use lower case letters (a, b etc.) to distinguish between works published in the same year by the same author(s). 

...Hewitt (2010a) states that...this was supported by Hewitt (2010b)...

The suffixes are assigned in the reference list, where these kind of references are ordered alphabetically by title (of the article, chapter, or complete work).


A reference gives the full details of the brief citation you have referred to in a text and is shown at the end of your essay. A reference will include authors, titles, editions, publisher details or journal details. 

Examples of References

  • Author/Editors: All authors'/editors' names should be listed in your reference list (no matter how many there are).


Author/Editor, year of publication (in round brackets), Title (in italics), Edition (only include the edition number if it is not the first edition, Place of publication: publisher Series and volume number (where relevant).

  • One Author: Guy, J. (2001). The view across the river: Harriette Colenso and the Zulu struggle against imperialism. Charlottesville, Virginia: University Press of Virginia. 
  • Two Authors: Banerjee, A., & Watson, T.F. (2011). Pickard's manual of Operative dentistry. (9th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
  • Three to seven Authors: List all the authors and always separate the final two authors with & as shown below.

Dym, C.L., Little, P., Orwin, E.J., & Spjut, R.E (2009). Engineering design: a project based introduction. (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

  • Eight or more Authors: List the first six authors then an ellipsis (i.e. three dots) then the last author in the reference.

Standing, S., Ellis, H., Healey, J.C., Johanson, D., Williams, A., Collins, P.,...Shah,P. (Eds.). (2004). Grays anatomy: The anatomical basis of clinical practice (39th ed.). Edinburgh, Scotland: Churchill Livingston. 

  • Edited Book: Al-Sabbagh, M. (ed.). (2015) Complications in the implant dentistry. Series: Dental clinics of North America. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
  • Chapter in a Book: Sparkes, V. (2010) Function of the Spine. In T.Everett &C.Kel (eds.), Human movement: an introductory text (pp.191-209) (6th ed.) Edinburgh: Churchill Livingston Elsevier.
  • Ebook: Wear, A. (2000). Knowledge and practice in English medicine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/bham/detail/.action?docID=5004608


  • Journal (Print): Author, year of publication (in round brackets), Title of article, Title of journal (in italics), Volume number (in italics), Issue (in round brackets), page numbers. 

Knapik, J.J., Cosio-Lima, L.M., & Reynolds, K.L. (2015) Efficacy of functional movement screening for predicting injuries in coast guard cities. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29(5), 1157-1162. 

  •  Journal (Electronic): Same information as above, but if doi available include at the end of reference. 

Kanpil, J.J., Cosio-Lima, L.M., and Reynolds, K.L. (2015) 'Efficacy of functional movement screening for predicting injuries in coast guard cadets', The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29 (5), pp. 1157-1162. EDUC 1028: E- learning. Retrieved from http://intranet.bir.ac.uk

Web pages

 If you need any further help with referencing our Academic Skills Centre with be able to assist you with any help, advice or support you need. 




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