Many different systems and formats are used for citing sources. The APA format originates from psychology, and is becoming increasingly popular within the social sciences – both in academic journals and on degree programmes. Our programme also uses this format. The principle of this format is that the text refers to the bibliography at the end.
On this page is described how to reference sources and write the bibliography according to the APA format. You will find guidelines for the most common publication types. If you have a source type that is not mentioned, you can find a complete overview in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010). Copies of this are available from the University Library. There are also many websites which provide more information about this format. You can also use the following website to create title descriptions in APA format: http://apareferencing.ukessays.com/
The importance of citing sources
You must always carefully specify the sources you used to formulate your opinion. Firstly, you obviously do this to indicate where you got the described ideas and insights from – you do not want to plagiarise other peoples’ ideas. Secondly, science is all about verifiability. By accurately quoting the source, you give the reader more information about the source.
The reader can use this information to:
- Get an idea of the reliability of the source.
- Read more about a topic (think of the snowball method when looking for sources).
- Check whether a direct quotation is correct and complete and whether it has been interpreted correctly.
- To assess whether the author has taken into account the context of the original text in which the information was included.
Failure to cite sources correctly and completely, or even not to do so at all, constitutes plagiarism or fraud. Plagiarism is forbidden and is a mortal sin in academia; after all, you are passing someone else’s ideas off as your own. So make sure you handle sources with due care and attention. Plagiarism is punishable on our degree programme. You can read more about this issue in the Education and Examination Regulations (OER).
It is very important that you are consistent in the way you reference your sources and write your bibliography. All references must be written according to the same rules. This handbook outlines the rules for the APA format. If, later on, you write an article for a journal that uses other rules, the same applies; you must be consistent in the way you reference sources and write your bibliography.