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Language & Communication Studies

About Citation Styles

The School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences recommends that students use an author/date style (otherwise known as an inline style or Harvard style).  APA is a popular choice and works well with EndNote.

APA uses a brief summary of the reference in the text (author and date) with the full reference stated at the end of the chapter or work. This final list is called a reference list or bibliography and is in alphabetical order by the first author's surname.

A short and concise guide to referencing styles, including APA 6th, has been produced by librarians at the National College of Ireland.

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) has some very detailed information on how to format your references using APA 6th both in-text and in your reference list.

The print volume of the American Psychological Association style manual is in the Library:


We are going to see what a reference looks like using using different citation styles. Here's the information we want to reference:

  • Reference Type: Journal Article
  • Authors: Adrian Stagg, Lindy Kimmins, and Nicholas Pavlovski
  • Year: 2013
  • Article Title: Academic style with substance: A collaborative screencasting project to support referencing skills
  • Journal Title: The Electronic Library
  • Volume: 31
  • Issue: 4
  • Pages: 452-464
  • DOI: 10.1108/el-01-2012-0005

We demonstrate how this appears in a variety of different referencing systems, namely the APA 6th Edition, MLA 8th Edition, Vancouver; and Chicago 17th Edition.

Example with APA

In the text, first example:

"As the global information landscape increasingly facilitates the sharing, re-purposing and dissemination of information, the ways in which students are accustomed to interacting with information resources are also changing" (Stagg, Kimmins, & Pavlovski, 2013).

In the text, later example:

"Referencing, like research and other academic learning skills, has often not been taught explicitly, or within a discipline context prior to tertiary education" (Stagg et al., 2013).

The APA has very specific rules regarding numbers of authors and using "et al.", how that is formatted, and so on. For an article with three authors, for example, it lists all three the first time it is mentioned but uses "et al." for subsequent mentions. This is something that is often incorrect in essays and theses.

Reference list:

Stagg, A., Kimmins, L., & Pavlovski, N. (2013). Academic style with substance: A collaborative screencasting project to support referencing skills. The Electronic Library, 31(4), 452-464. doi:10.1108/el-01-2012-0005