Things To Remember About APA Referencing In A Phd Dissertation


If you’re conducting a PhD dissertation in any of the social sciences or natural sciences, you will be required to use APA formatting. This format, developed by the American Psychological Association, has become the gold standard for science and social studies, from nuclear physics to sociology. It emphasizes the avoidance of personal bias, and is designed for rigorous empirical research. It involves a special part of the paper called the “abstract,” which summarizes the main research findings of your paper. It is usually around two hundred words long, and consists of a single paragraph.

Referencing all of your sources is extremely important in the APA style. There are numerous guidelines for correct citations, and they are updated every few years. Up to date referencing is absolutely crucial for your PhD dissertation. It’s important to follow the APA guidelines precisely, avoiding even minor mistakes. Your references page goes at the end of the paper, on a separate page. It’s one of the most important pieces of your dissertation paper.

Things to Remember about References and Citations

For your APA style PhD dissertation, you will include citations within the text, with a list of all of your references at the end. In-text citations have a particular format, which differs from other styles like MLA and Chicago. Within the text, you generally use “author-date” citations. An example would be: (Smith, 2013). These in-text references direct the reader to the full reference list in the back. When the name of the source of mentioned in your text, you use italics for longer works, and quotation marks for shorter works. Shorter quotations go in quotation marks, and long quotes are indented and set apart from the main body of the text.

For your references page, different types of media are cited differently. Here are the basic rules for your References page:

  • After the first line of a citation, all of the other lines should be indented.
  • Author’s names are arranged with the last name first (e.g., “Smith, John.”)
  • References are alphabetized by the last names of the authors.
  • Journal article titles should be presented in full.
  • All major words in article titles should be capitalized.
  • The titles of longer works, like books and journals, should be italicized.

Here is an example format of a journal article cited in the APA style:

  • Author, A.A., Author, B.B., & Author, C.C. (Year.) Article title. Periodical Title, volume number (issue number), pages.

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