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Referencing at MIT: APA Style

A guide to plagiarism and referencing in APA and IEEE styles

APA Style guide

Other guides

APA and numbers of authors

APA Style has different rules for how to format in-text citation and reference list entries, depending on how many people wrote the document being referenced.

1 - 2 authors

In-text: Provide all the authors' names in all in-text citations

Reference list: Provide all the authors' names in the reference list

3 - 5 authors

In-text: Provide all the authors' names in your first in-text citation, then the first author's name and et al. in subsequent citations.

Reference list: Provide all the authors' names in the reference list

6 or more authors

In-text: Provide the first author's name and et al. in all in-text citations.

Reference list: Provide the first six authors' name, then . . . then the last author's name

Introduction

A referencing style is a standard way of structuring and formatting references for publishing. At MIT, the School of Business uses APA Style, formulated by the American Psychological Association (APA), and widely used across many disciplines.

Use the tabs in the box below to see some examples of APA Style referencing.

APA Style examples

In text

According to Al-Emran, Mezhuyev, Kamaludin, and Shaalan (2018), knowledge management processes can be positively linked to business information systems.

Reference list formula

Author, A., & Author, B. (year). Article title. Title of Journal, vol.(no.), pp-pp. URL or DOI

Reference list

Al-Emran, M., Mezhuyev, V., Kamaludin, A., & Shaalan, K. (2018). The impact of knowledge management processes on information systems: A systematic review. International Journal of Information Management, 43(Dec2018), 173-187. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2018.08.001

Don't forget to create hanging indents for your reference lists. Select the reference and press Control+T on Windows or Command+T on Mac

In text

Additionally, Wachter-Boettcher (2017) examines the way different skin tones are perceived by AI systems developed by exclusively white teams.

Reference list formula

Author, A. (year). Title of book. Location: Publisher.

Reference list

Wachter-Boettcher, S. (2017). Technically wrong: Sexist apps, biased algorithms, and other threats of toxic tech. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.

NOTE: Publisher states are only required for USA publishers. For outside the USA, just use the city and the country (eg. Frenchs Forest, Australia; London, England).

Don't forget to create hanging indents for your reference lists. Select the reference and press Control+T on Windows or Command+T on Mac

In text

Stegmaier (2015) provides some fundamental rules that everyone looking to crowdfund their next project should follow.

Reference list example

Author. (year). Title of book [version]. URL or DOI

Reference list

Stegmaier, J. (2015). A crowdfunder’s strategy guide [Safari ebook]. Retrieved from https://www.safaribooksonline.com/library/view/a-crowdfunders strategy/9781626564107/xhtml/ch004.html

Don't forget to create hanging indents for your reference lists. Select the reference and press Control+T on Windows or Command+T on Mac

In text

In contrast, science students have more specialised information needs (Berman, 2013).

Reference list formula

Author. (year). Chapter title. In A. Editor (Ed.), Book title (pp. xx-xx). Location: Publisher.

Reference list

Berman, E. (2013). Scientific literacy. In P. Ragains (Ed.), Information literacy instruction that works: A guide to teaching by discipline and student population (2nd ed. pp. 217-228). Chicago, IL: American Library Association. 

Don't forget to create hanging indents for your reference lists. Select the reference and press Control+T on Windows or Command+T on Mac

Use this format if your source is readable online in HTML format.

In text

Employees should talk to management regarding their physical activity needs at work (Heart Foundation, n.d.).

Reference list formula

Author. (year). Title of webpage. Retrieved from URL

Reference list

Heart Foundation. (n.d.). Active workplaces. Retrieved from https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/active-living/active-workplaces

Don't forget to create hanging indents for your reference lists. Select the reference and press Control+T on Windows or Command+T on Mac

Use this format if your source is available as a downloadable file, such as a PDF.

In text

According to Cancer Council NSW (2013), fast food chains that signed on to the voluntary Australian Quick Service Restaurant Industry (QSRI) Initiative for Responsible Advertising and Marketing to Children are still advertising during children's programming.

Reference list formula

Author. (year). Title of document. Retrieved from URL

Reference list

Cancer Council NSW. (2013). Fast food: Exposing the truth. Retrieved from https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Fast-Food-Exposing-the-Truth-22-February-2013.pdf

Don't forget to create hanging indents for your reference lists. Select the reference and press Control+T on Windows or Command+T on Mac

In text

There are four major negotiation strategies, with win-win being the one most likely to lead to a happy ending for all parties (Muskat, 2019). 

Reference list formula

Author, A. (year). Title of lecture [file type]. Retrieved from URL

Reference list

Muskat, M. (2019). BB101 Business Communication: Lecture five - Negotiation and conflict management [PowerPoint presentation]. Retrieved from https://moodle.mit.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=172783

Don't forget to create hanging indents for your reference lists. Select the reference and press Control+T on Windows or Command+T on Mac

When to reference

A comic panel from the website XKCD showing a person speaking on a stage in front of a crowd, with one audience member standing up holding a sign that reads "citation needed" in the format used by Wikipedia.
Fig.1. Wikipedian protester, by R. Munroe, n.d., retrieved from https://xkcd.com/285/ Used under Creative Commons A-NC 2.5 license.

But when should I reference?

We know that we should insert a reference when we use another person's:

  • words
  • ideas
  • facts, or
  • statistics

but what does that mean?

It means that when another person (like a lecturer or tutor) reads our work, they can ask "how do you know that?" and be pointed to the source of information that we used, as shown below.

Body of document

APA Style is an author-date system of referencing (American Psychological Association, 2009). In APA Style, in-text citations include the author's name and date (McAdoo, 2017), which point readers to the relevant reference list entry, ordered alphabetically. This is in contrast to IEEE Style, which is a numerical system that uses numbers in square brackets to perform the same function (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2018).

 

References

American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. (2018). IEEE Reference Guide. Retrieved from https://ieeeauthorcenter.ieee.org/wp-content/uploads/IEEE-Reference-Guide.pdf

McAdoo, T. (2017). References versus citations. Retrieved from https://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2017/09/references-versus-citations.html

Munroe, R. (n.d.). Wikipedian protester. Retrieved from https://xkcd.com/285/

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