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Tutorial: Basics of Seventh Edition APA Style
Academic Writer Tutorial: Basics of Seventh Edition APA Style
This tutorial is designed for writers new to APA Style. Learn the basics of seventh edition APA Style, including paper elements, format, and organization; academic writing style; grammar and usage; bias-free language; mechanics of style; tables and figures; in-text citations, paraphrasing, and quotations; and reference list format and order.
What is APA?
APA (American Psychological Association) is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences.
When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, E.g., (Jones, 1998), and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.
If you are referring to an idea from another work but NOT directly quoting the material, or making reference to an entire book, article or other work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference.
APA style requires authors to use the past tense or present perfect tense when using signal phrases to describe earlier research. E.g., Jones (1998) found or Jones (1998) has found...
- As with any citation stystem using it correctly protects the writer from accusations of plagiarism. As mentioned earlier in this guide proper citation builds credibility to the paper by demonstrating accountability to source material.
If you are asked to use APA format, be sure to consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition
Descriptions for Style Guides (APA)
Russell, T., Angeli, E., Wagner, J., Lawrick, E., Moore, K., Anderson, M., Soderland, L., & Brizee, A. (2010, August 1, 2010). General format. Retrieved from https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_style_introduction.html
You may also wish to visit the APA Style blog at http://blog.apastyle.org/, where the publishers interact with readers daily to clarify difficult points of style.
Best Practices for Avoiding Plagiarism
There are many ways to avoid plagiarism, including developing good research habits, good time management, and taking responsibility for your own learning. Here are some specific tips:
Don't procrastinate with your research and assignments.
Good research takes time. Procrastinating makes it likely you'll run out of time or be unduly pressured to finish. This sort of pressure can often lead to sloppy research habits and bad decisions. Plan your research well in advance, and seek help when needed from your professor, from librarians and other campus support staff.
Commit to doing your own work.
If you don't understand an assignment, talk with your professor. Don't take the "easy way" out by asking your roommate or friends for copies of old assignments. A different aspect of this is group work. Group projects are very popular in some classes on campus, but not all. Make sure you clearly understand when your professor says it's okay to work with others on assignments and submit group work on assignments, versus when assignments and papers need to represent your own work.
Be 100% scrupulous in your note taking.
As you prepare your paper or research, and as you begin drafting your paper. One good practice is to clearly label in your notes your own ideas (write "ME" in parentheses) and ideas and words from others (write "SMITH, 2005" or something to indicate author, source, source date). Keep good records of the sources you consult, and the ideas you take from them. If you're writing a paper, you'll need this information for your bibliographies or references cited list anyway, so you'll benefit from good organization from the beginning.
Cite your sources scrupulously.
Always cite other people's work, words, ideas and phrases that you use directly or indirectly in your paper. Regardless of whether you found the information in a book, article, or website, and whether it's text, a graphic, an illustration, chart or table, you need to cite it. When you use words or phrases from other sources, these need to be in quotes.
Understand good paraphrasing.
Simply using synonyms or scrambling an author's words and phrases and then using these "rewrites" uncredited in your work is plagiarism, plain and simple. Good paraphrasing requires that you genuinely understand the original source, that you are genuinely using your own words to summarize a point or concept, and that you insert in quotes any unique words or phrases you use from the original source. Good paraphrasing also requires that you cite the original source. Anything less and you veer into the dangerous territory of plagiarism.
For more information visit the Seaver College's Academic Integrity Policies.
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