Why to Cite and How to Format Citations in APA Style

Last Updated on July 15, 2020 by Ayla Myrick

Why should you cite sources in APA dissertations and APA papers? One reason is because it’s the right thing to do—giving credit to the originator of the idea or fact. Another reason is to demonstrate your manuscript isn’t a cobbled collection of minimally camouflaged plagiarism. Just as you would not want your ideas stolen by someone else, you should not steal some other scholar’s work. In this digital era, most universities require students to submit their works electronically, facilitating the process of checking for plagiarism.

Even if your university does not rely on electronic checking to prevent plagiarism or require you to confirm by your signature that you have not plagiarized.

There are three types of citation: fully in text, partially in text/partially in parentheses, and fully in parentheses.

Fully in-text citations (e.g., “In 1997, Walter published . . .”) are rarely found in scholarly writing. Partially in text/partially in parentheses citations involve placing the source author’s name in the text and the publication date in parentheses (e.g., “Walter (1997) wrote . . .”).

Fully in-parentheses citations (e.g., (Walter, 1997)) are arguably the most readable of APA style citations and allow your writing to flow smoothly, without interruption.

Depending on how you format the first citation to a source in a paragraph, you might not need to repeat the date in subsequent citations, as long as not including that date will not cause confusion.

Ayla Myrick