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This guide introduces the APA referencing style and includes examples of citations

Introduction to referencing using APA

Welcome to the UCL guide to referencing with APA. This site contains an introduction to the basic principles of referencing and citation using the seventh edition of APA.  

Throughout this guide, we link to the APA style guide created by the American Psychological Association - the definitive source for information on referencing with APA.

This is also available online in textbook format, via UCL Explore. 

We have included some examples of referencing using the APA 6th edition for students who have been asked to use this edition in their work.

Official Guide to APA Style

Essentials for referencing with APA 7th edition

APA is a style that uses in-text citations, in an author-date format. This means that when citing a source in your work you will include:

  • author(s) or editor(s) surname or family name.
  • year of publication.
  • page number(s) if needed.

For example:

There is a broadly accepted view of the secondary school Maths classroom as one in which the didactic method reigns: an expert/teacher communicates subject-specific information and a room of pupils “sit in rows passively absorbing knowledge” (Wright, 2020, p. 735).  However this view is one that Wright challenges ...

The full reference to each source that you cite in your work should be included in a References section, at the end of the essay. This will list each source referenced, ordered alphabetically by author's surname. 

The information included will vary depending on the type of source, but will broadly include:

  • Who has ‘made’ the item (the author, creator, compiler…)?
  • What is it called?
  • If part of a larger work, what is that called?
  • Where was (is) it disseminated/published?
  • Who is responsible for the dissemination/publishing?
  • When was it disseminated/published?
  • A direct quotation, or allusion, should always include the page number(s).

Common examples

An example of a reference for a book:

Ronson, J. (2012). The psychopath test: a journey through the madness industry. Picador.

An example of a reference for a journal article

Skelton, A. (2011). Value conflicts in higher education teaching. Teaching in Higher Education, 17(3), 257-268.

A References list, that includes the two examples above, will look as follows:


Ronson, J. (2012). The psychopath test: a journey through the madness industry. Picador.

Skelton, A. (2011). Value conflicts in higher education teaching. Teaching in Higher Education17(3), 257-268.

Wright, P. (2020). Visible and socially-just pedagogy: implications for mathematics teacher education. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 52(6), 733-751.