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PSYC 437 (Sia) - History and Systems of Psychology

Tutorial 4

Tutorial 4: What are the biggest citation mistakes? APA citation

How to cite your work in APA style

  • Keep note of your sources as you go along. When you're reading something, don't just copy the URL - you'll need the title, author, date, and publication information. 
  • Plug the source information into the APA format. 
    • Basic format for in-text citation: (Author, Year, p. 5)
    • Basic format for reference page, articles: Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages. 
    • Basic format for reference page, books: Author, A. A. (Year). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.
    • The definitive guidelines can be found in the hard-copy Publication Manual of the American Psychology AssociationYou can find it in the library Reference section at call number REF BF76.7 .P83 2020. The Purdue Owl is a trustworthy online source for guidelines.
  • Many databases have a Cite button that will create a citation for you. These can have errors, so you always need to proofread them. However, in Prof. Koford's experience, the citations generated by library databases, Google Scholar, or WorldCat are usually more accurate and complete than those generated by websites like Citation Machine. Below is an image of the Cite feature in WorldCat. 

APA citation from WorldCat

Why bother with citations?

Formatting citations can be tedious. Why should you bother learning to cite correctly? Here are some reasons: 

  • Incorrectly citing your sources puts you at risk for unintentional plagiarism, which has serious consequences. 
  • When psychologists and other professionals read each other's work, they give less respect and credibility to articles with sloppy citations.
  • Professors are training you for professional jobs. Even for those of you who won't need APA style in your careers, it's likely that you will need to follow detailed guidelines and professional conventions of some sort. College is the place to practice doing that. 
  • Citations make it possible to find any published work, even if that work is rare, in a different language, or not available online. Citations are maps in the vast universe of published information. 
  • Once you learn what an APA citation should look like, writing them can be strangely satisfying. 

Some common citation mistakes

Here are some of the most common citation mistakes that Dr. Sia and Prof. Koford see: 

  • Listing a web URL with no other citation information
  • Not citing something at all because you're not sure how to cite it. Not citing it at all is MUCH WORSE than citing incorrectly!
  • Parenthetical citations that include the author's initials. The initials go in the References, but not in the in-text citation.
  • Lack of hanging indents. Items in the References should use a hanging indent. 
  • Article title in quotes - This is a feature of MLA and Chicago styles, but not APA
  • Capitalization errors - APA uses sentence case 
  • Date in the wrong place - it goes in parentheses, after the author's name
  • Author's name spelled out - APA uses initials only

How should you cite your sources when you are playing a role?

In History and Systems of Psychology, you will be asked to take on the role of an important psychologist. Thinking about plagiarism and citation might get confusing, because you will be quoting and paraphrasing from "yourself." You should still cite your sources in all of your written work.

Your speech will be a collage of primary sources. It will not include your own perspective and opinion, just quotes from your psychologist's writings and transitions between quotes. 

  • All quotations should be in quotation marks.
  • In-text citations are in APA format. If it's a republished work, they look like this: (Author, 1912/2010, p. 10)
  • Use ellipses (...) to indicate where you have removed a few sentences from the quotation. 
  • The paper should have transitions between quotations, but they should be non-substantive. They should provide context and flow.
  • Your title is in your own words. It can be a full sentence that makes your argument about the relationship between your work and the nature/potential of humanity. 
  • You can add endnotes at the end of the paper that discuss your secret missions and what you did accomplish them. These are in your own words. 
  • The speech should be approximately 6 minutes long. Practice it. 
  • Check your assignment sheet to see how many sources to use in your speech.
  • You will be turning in the following things:
    • Your written speech, including a references page
    • Copies of your sources (the actual article or photocopies of book pages) with your highlighting and notes. If you make copies from a book, try to include the title page. 

Citing a republished work

Write the later date first - the date of the physical copy you used. In parentheses at the end of the Reference List entry, add a note that says when the original work was published.


Freud, S. (2011). Beyond the pleasure principle. (T. Dufresne, Ed., and G. C. Richter, Trans.) Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview Editions. (Original work published 1922).


Note: When you cite a republished work, like the one above, in your text, it should appear with both dates: (Laplace, 1814/1951, p. 53).