The different editions in the APA Referencing format tend to confuse students. References are used in acknowledging the source of the idea, data, concept, model, method, technique, words, among others, used in an academic write up.

Referencing is giving honour to whom honour is due. Honour to researchers, writers, among others, that worked to find out, analyse, create and work on a hypothesis, concepts, models, among others. Failure to “give honour to whom it is due” is very wrong and is known as plagiarism.

However, there are different ways of “giving honour” (referencing). A notable example is the style of the American Psychological Association which is explained in this text using numerous examples.

Also, references also exit both in the text (in-text references) and as a list at the end of the literature (reference list)

  1. In-text references: These are citations within the main body of a text. There are “quoted” or paraphrased and must correspond to a reference in the reference list. For in-text reference, mainly the surname of the author(s) and date are used. An exception is when the words are quoted word-for-word. In this case, the page number of the piece quoted is added.


  1. Reference List: This a complete list of all sources used in writing. In the APA style, the reference list is ordered based on the surname of the first authors and begins on a new page.



Direct Quote: The reference should be placed after the quote must follow. It should also have a page number and a date, e.g. (Leonard, 2005, p.1346). However, the page number is not needed if parenthesis is used.

Two Authors: In citing two authors,  their surnames are present with and or “&”.E.g.: Michael and Sam (2003) states Or (Howard & Sam, 2017).

Three to Five Authors: When citing for the first time list the surname of all the authors, e.g., Michael, Sam and Howard (2003) posit that Or (Michael, Sam, & Howard, 2017). However, for further citations, used the first authors’ name alone along with “et al.”: Miranda et al. (2010) state… Or (Miranda et al., 2010).

Six plus Authors: Use the first authors’ surname along with “et al.”. Similar to the second cite for three to five authors

No Authors: In this situation, use the first few words of the work or writeup. However, the title of the work is used on most occasions.

When citing books, report among others, without a known author, italicise the title. For example: (Nigeria’s Education State, 2019).

However, when citing an article, a book chapter or a web page, used quotation marks to enclose the title. E.g.: (“The fall of the giant”, 2018).

Same Author with Multiple Works in the same year: Citing works from the same year requires the use of “a, b,c” following the date. Also, the “a,b,c” is attached in an alphabetical order based on the surname of the first author, for example (Michael, 2017a) Or (Michael, 2017b).

Multiple Works: Citing works by the same author across years requires the use of a comma in arranging the works in chronological order. For instance:

Michael (2007, 2013, 2017) Or (Michael, 2007, 2013, 2017). However, when citing works written by various writers and researchers over a period arrange the references or citations in alphabetical order. E.g.:  (Michael & Smith, 2017; Timothy, Moses, & Davis, 20o5).

A Group or Organisation: When citing for the first time, use the full name of the group or organisation. However, afterwards, you can shorten it or used a recognised abbreviation. E.g.

First cite: (American Psychology Association, 2015)

Further Cites: (APA, 2015)

A Secondary Source: The example below shows how to cite a secondary source. Mitland (2017) is the secondary source in this example. For example, Lola (1990) as cited in Mitand (2017) Or (Lola, 1990, as cited in Mitand 2017)

A Book: An example is shown below: Mike, M.A., Thompson, M.O, & Cory, R.I. P. (2006). Research in Nigeria. New Delhi, India: Freemanbiz Publisher

James, A.J & Wanle, T. (2011). Sakkiya: Neglected public health issue (3d ed.). Lagos, Nigeria: Freemanbiz Publisher

An Edited Book: The basic format is as follows: Wilfred, H.Y. (Ed.). (1995). Politics of policymaking, implementation and evaluation in Ghana. (3rd ed.). Accra, Ghana: Myriad Publishers

A Chapter in an Edited Book: Eg: Tony, C.P. (2017). APA Edited Book. In S.T, Adegbola (Ed.). Citation 101 (5th ed., pp. 59-90). Port Harcourt, Nigeria: New Access Publishers

An E-Book:  An example is shown below:

Mikell, J.A., Thompson, M.A, & Coral, R.U. (2007). A citation guide book. Retrieved from https://howtociteanebookchapter

An E-Book Chapter: The structure is as follows: Tola, B.N. (2007). APA citation Book. In S.Y, Williams (Ed.). A guide to APA citation  (3rd ed., pp. 40-105). Retrieved from https://citingwithapa

A Journal Article (Print or Online): An example is shown below

[Print article] Mihell, F.A. (2003). Harvard: A prominent citation style. References Journal, 9(3), 79- 99.

[Online article] Mihell, F.A. (2003). APA: Why is it so important. References Journal, 9(3), 79- 99. Retrieved from https://www.references-journal/apa-why-is-it-so-important

Newspaper Article (Print or Online): For example, Miguel, G.A. (2008). Nigeria’s closes border. The Daily Press News, pp.27. Retrieved from  https://www.dailypressnews/nigeria-closes-border-economic-meltdonw-ensues

Magazine Articles (Online or Print ): Eg Michelle, J.A. (2017). The Black Magazine. Magazine Pride, pp. 62-82.

An Image: For example, Matthew, J.M. (1201-1202). The new dawn[painting]. Retrieved from www.muuseum-of-new-york/Matthew-j-m-the-new-dawn

A Film: For example, Diana, L. (Producer), & Halstead, J. (1964) The twins: Dispelling African Myths: Tunde Kosojo Productions.

TV Programme: For example, Tobi, A., and Folake, Oyelade (Writers), & John, S (Director). (2002). Flyman [Television series episode]. In Schewssa, A. (Executive Producer). The King Liar. Ibadan, Oyo: Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State

A Song: For example, Will, D, Jay, K, E., Hallie, E., Tubman, J., and Rhods, D.C. (2006) Sing high [Recorded by Will D]. On Leptoss [visual album]. London, Uk: Plongherhood Records (June 16, 18)

A Website: For example: Michael, M.A. (2019, Aug 21). How to cite in APA format. Retrieved from: https://www.

Do you have an input or a question on academic paper APA Reference format? use the comment box and we will respond to it as soon as possible.

error: Content is protected !!
Open chat
WhatsApp Now
We can get that stress off your shoulder.

width 400 alt_text

You can call now on +2347010711012 or +2348060755653 or click below to chat.