Citing Psychology Papers – In-text citation approach for Psychology Papers

Citing Psychology Papers – In-text citation approach for Psychology Papers

Referencing correctly is one thing and another is knowing the reference pattern or style that is applicable to a field of study. Citing Psychology Papers correctly can be done using the approach suggested in this post.

Referencing and citation are important aspects of academic writing. This is so because it gives the written piece a huge amount of credibility, it makes the piece more insightful and, it serves as an antidote for plagiarism. Alternatively, it is vital to note that, in order to maintain some sort of order in the academic field, the citation or referencing styles which are used by scholars in different disciplines tend to vary.

For instance, scholars in the legal field make use of the Bluebook or (in the case of Nigerian Universities), the NALT guidelines. Similarly, in the Arts, English and other related disciplines, scholars make use of the Modern Language Association(MLA) referencing style.

In this regard, it is most prevalent to note that Psychologists ought to make use of the American Psychological Association (APA) format for publications in the field of study. In addition to that, the APA format is usually used in the Social Sciences(like Sociology, Anthropology, Economics and so on) as well as other medical-related fields like Nursing. APA formatting style usually consists of In-Text citations and References or a List of References. Similarly, it is eminently used when;

  • One directly quotes the written work of another writer or scholar
  • One paraphrases the written work of another writer or scholar.
  • One summarizes the written work of another writer or scholar.
  • One makes use of tables and/or figures belonging to another writer or scholar.


Simply put, an in-text citation is a text, usually inserted in the body of an academic piece which makes reference to the source or original owner of a phrase or sentence used in an academic piece.

An in-text citation is usually brief and, it points the readers to more complete information regarding the cited source in the reference list. The mode of writing an in-text citation may tend to vary depending on the referencing style used in the academic piece.

In this regard, when providing an in-text citation in APA format, the writer ought to state (1)The last name of the Author and, (2)The year of Publication. For instance, if the name of the author in a scholarly work is Karl Vaughan and, the work was published on the 6th day of June 2002, the piece will be cited as Vaughan(2002).

Alternatively, in a situation whereby there are multiple publishers (that is, more than two authors), the writer will only input the last name of the first author alongside ‘et al’ and the date of publication. For instance, Vaughan et al(2002). Similarly, in the case of two authors, the writer will simply input ‘and’ or ‘&’ in between the last names of the author. For instance, Vaughan and William(2002). In addition to the proposed guidelines, it is vital for the writer to take note of the following;

  • If the writer of the academic piece decides to consult an Author who published similar scholarly works in the same year, the writer ought to differentiate the works with alphabets such as a,b,c and so on. For instance: ‘The Second World War has been regarded by different scholars over the century as the democratic war or ‘ the war on democracy’(Vaughan, 2002, a p.2).
  • In a situation whereby there is no author included in the cited piece, this usually occurs when the writer consults blog posts, white papers or old textbooks on the internet. However, regardless of the work being cited, it is vital to input the title of the piece and the year the piece was published. If the title of the piece is too long, the writer can provide an abbreviated version of the title. For instance, (The Democratic War, 2002)
  • Alternatively, in extremely rare occasions whereby an organization claims a written piece and fails to provide the name(s) of the author(s) of a written piece, the writer ought to provide the name of the organization and the year of publication in the in-text citation. For instance; (Blackwell Publishers, 2002).
  • In a situation whereby two authors may have the same last name, the writer is permitted to make use of the initial of the first name of both authors. For instance; (Vagner. H, 2002, Vagner. P, 2012).
  • Lastly, when making reference to other sources cited in a scholarly piece(excluding books, blog posts, journals and so on), such as Emails, Online Chats, Lectures, Webinars, Online Bulletin Boards and so on, it is vital for the writer to cite the last name of the communicator along with the phrase ‘ personal communication and the date the communication took place. For instance; Chinonso(Personal Communication,2003). It is vital to note that the term ‘personal communication’ is only used in instances whereby a recoverable source is not available. For example, if the writer got a vital piece of information in a classroom via a lecture which was not recorded but contained original content which was not published elsewhere, the lecture will be cited as personal information.


References or list of References

In a nutshell, a list of references can be regarded as the alphabetical representation of all the sources cited or used in an academic piece. The aim of a list of references in academic writing is to provide the reader(s) with proper information regarding the scholarly works which were consulted during the course of academic research or paper. While compiling the list of references in APA format, it is vital to take note of the following points.

  • This particular list ought to commence on an entirely different or new page directly under the conclusion, appendix or summary of the academic piece. The title of the list ought to be ‘References’ and not ‘Works Cited’.
  • The names of the authors cited in the piece ought to be arranged alphabetically and, not by their first names but their last names.
  • Each scholarly work in a reference list ought to include and, is not restricted to (1)The name of the Author, (2)The year of publication, (3)The title of the publication and, (4)The source of the publication. However, the mode in which this information is provided in the reference list tends to vary depending on the type of the work cited. In this regard, it is vital to cite the following items in the following manner;

A printed book;

Last name of the Author, Initials.,(Year of Publication), Title of the book. Name of publisher.

For instance;

Larsson, S., (2004). The Girl with the dragon tattoo. Mackelhose Press.

Chapter in an Edited Book;

Last name of the Author, Initials.,(Year of Publication). Title of the Article or Chapter. Initials/Last name of the editor(Ed.), Title of the book. (edition, page, range of chapter). name of the publisher.

For instance;

Zhang, L. F.,& Stenberg, R. J.(2010). Learning in a cross-cultural perspective. In V.G Aukrust (Ed), Learning and Cognition in education. (3rd ed, pp. 16-22). Elsevier.


Last name of the Author, Initials.,(Date of Publication). Title of web page. Title of Website. Website link.

For instance;

Carl, B(2017, September 25th). An overview of performance in a workplace.Investopedia.

Online Journals:

Last name of the Author, Initials. (Year of Publication). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Volume, (issue), page number. DOI.

For instance;

Salander, L.,(2006). The law of demand and supply. Review of Agricultural Economics, 28(2), 263-271. https://doi/org/10.111/j.1467-9353.2006.00286.x



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