Term Paper Writing Aid: Citations and References

When you get to the College or University level, all of your writing assignments will likely be written in APA format. APA is an academic standardized writing format that requires students to cite their sources and references in a certain fashion. We've discussed in the past the importance of following the APA format accurately if you want to land a fantastic grade on your next research paper. In order to make the reference citing process for APA writing a bit easier to understand we have prepared this writing tip sheet.

Understanding APA: The Basics

First things first, if you are using APA and referring to an idea from a piece of work but not quoting the material directly you still need to make a reference to the publication. This means, that even if you have re-written the idea in your own words if the concept is original it must be cited. A mistake that many students make is simply rewording a research idea and then claiming it as their own. The general rule of thumb here: If you didn't come up with it CITE YOUR SOURCE.

Rules For Text Citation, Capitalization, Quotes, Italics, and Underlines

  1. Capitalize proper nouns including the author name: J. Smith.
  2. If you are referring to a source within the paper capitalize words that are four letters long or more.
  3. Capitalize titles, Capitalize both words if the title is a compound word.
  4. Always capitalize a word if it appears after a dash or a colon.
  5. Use italics for the titles of longer works such as, collections, movies, television series, documentaries, albums, etc.
  6. Only place quotation marks around the names of shorter works such as, news articles, episodes, song titles, short stories, etc.

How To Quote

Short Quotations

When quoting (word for word) you will need to include the author, page number and year. Start the quotation with a phrase that includes the author's last name and finish with the publication date.

Long Quotations

When a quotation is more than 40 words, then the quote should be included in a block of text without quotation marks. You can type (or paste) the entire quotation into a separate indented paragraph, concluded with the direct page reference of the work that you are referencing.

Paraphrasing

With APA citations and references paraphrases (written in your own words) only need to reference with the author and publication date as well as a page number. You do not need to include the title of the works.