This guide is a starting point only. For full details on correctly citing resources and creating references, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. (2020).
It is important to remember that Library staff do not teach APA, and will not evaluate or correct work. If you need help with APA Style, contact your instructor, or contact the Student Success Hub to request a meeting with a peer tutor or the Writing Clinic.
APA Style refers to a set of guidelines created by the American Psychological Association. These guidelines help writers, including students, to format written work and citations in a consistent way. APA Style is one of the most common citation and formatting styles, and it is used in many disciplines.
This guide outlines the basics of the seventh edition of APA Style, including formatting and the most common citations that students will use. If you have questions about anything in this guide, or if you would like more information on APA Style, please contact the Library, or contact the Student Success Hub.
It is not possible or necessary to memorize the correct way to cite every kind of source. Looking up how to cite something is expected, and encouraged! What is important is remembering to give credit for information and ideas that are not your own.
Why should I use APA Style?
Using APA Style helps writers, including students, to present their ideas in a clear, consistent way. APA Style also helps the writer to cite all of their sources appropriately and consistently.
What does "citing a source" mean? Why do I need to cite sources?
When an instructor talks about citing a source, or creating references, they're talking about giving credit for the information that students use in an assignment. It is expected that all writers, including students, give credit for information that is a) not their own original idea, or b) not common knowledge. If a student is unsure if information is common knowledge, they should check with their instructor. When in doubt, provide a citation.
Giving credit for information that was taken from other sources is important. Failure to correctly cite sources is considered plagiarism, which is a serious offense. Students at Loyalist College who are found to have plagiarized may fail the assignment or the course, and if plagiarism occurs multiple times, students may be removed from their program. More information about Loyalist's policies on academic integrity and student conduct can be found at the links below.
This guide is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. A copy of the Publication Manual is available in the Parrott Centre Library. There are citations, definitions and links throughout this guide to help users to find more information.
Finding More Information
Wherever possible, there is a note indicating where in the Publication Manual a piece of information is found. This is done with the chapter and section number. For example, if you see (1.10), you know that the information can be found in chapter one, section ten of the manual.
If you see a term in this guide that you are unfamiliar with, check the Definitions tab.
Links to external resources appear in bold blue font.
If you have additional questions about anything in this guide, please contact the Library. We'll be happy to help.
There are several services available at Loyalist College to help students with citations, and with improving their writing.
There are several changes in the new 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2020)! Below are the changes that are most relevant to students and instructors. To see all of the changes, consult the Publication Manual.
Formatting: Fonts & Spacing
Language & Writing Style
The following sources were used to create this guide:
This guide is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. (2020). Library staff have reviewed the information in this guide, and to the best of our knowledge, it is accurate. However, mistakes do occur. Students bear sole responsibility for ensuring that their citations are correct, and that their assignments meet the criteria laid out by their instructor. Students are encouraged to contact Peer Tutoring or the Writing Clinic for assistance.