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APA Citations Part 1: Methods to the Madness

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Presented February 5, 2019

Last updated 2/21/2019



Visual: Slide changes to the following: Housekeeping

  • Recording
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    • Now: Use the Q&A box.
    • Later: Send to or visit our  Live Chat Hours.
  • Help
    • Ask in the Q&A box.
    • Choose “Help” in the upper right-hand corner of the webinar room

Audio: Hi everyone and welcome. My name is Melissa Sharp and I am a writing instructor here in the Walden Writing Center. Before we begin and I hand the session over to Kacy I want to go over a few housekeeping items. First, we are recording this webinar, so you are welcome to access it at a later date through our webinar archive, in fact note that we record all of our webinars and you’re welcome to go through those for other webinars that might interest you. Also, if you are attending this webinar live or watching the recording, you'll find that we have some interactive elements like links, chats and the files which include a copy of the slides from today's webinar in the files pod. You can interact with all of these things throughout the webinar.

We also welcome questions and comments throughout the session and you can use the Q&A box for these. I will be watching the Q&A box and I’m happy and excited to answer your questions throughout the session as Kacy is presenting. You're also welcome to send any technical issues you have to me here as well but note there is a help option in the top right corner of your screen. This is Adobe’s Technical Support and it really is the best place to go if you need technical help. Alright, with that I will hand it over to Kacy.


Visual: Slide changes to the title of the webinar, “APA Citations Part 1: Methods to the Madness” and the speaker’s name and information: Kacy Walz,Writing Instructor, Walden University Writing Center

Audio: Thank you all so much for joining us. I know that APA citations may not seem like the most exciting topic but it was really nice to see all the chat going on in the chat box. I am sure you will be active which always makes these webinars more fun for me.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Webinar Objectives

  • You will be able to:
    • Understand the reasoning behind how APA citations and references are structured
    • Identify errors in reference list entries
    • Create citations based on reference list entries
    • Know where to go for APA help

Audio: Our webinar objectives, by the end of the webinar you will be able to understand the reasoning behind APA citations, why you are required to use them throughout your scholarly writing. You will be able to identify errors in reference list entries. And you will be able to create citations based on those reference list entries. You will also know where to go for some APA help. We will have links as pointed out with resources throughout the slides.


Visual: Slide changes to the following:

  • APA
    • Oyo, B., & Kalema, B. M. (2014). Massive open online courses for Africa by Africa. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 15(6), 1-13. Retrieved from
  • MLA
    • Oyo, Benedict, and Billy Mathias Kalema. “Massive open online courses for Africa by Africa.” International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, vol. 15, no. 6, 2014, pp. 1-13. Accessed 5 May 2015.
  • Chicago
    • Oyo, Benedict, and Billy Mathias Kalema. Massive open online courses for Africa by Africa.” International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning 15, no. 6 (2014): 1-13. Accessed May 5, 2015.

Audio: So, first of all, APA is just one form of citation. So, if you have maybe your background in a different field or from a different program you might be more familiar with MLA or Chicago. Those are the two other really popular forms. Here we have some examples of the same source, Oyo et al. in APA, MLA and Chicago styles. You can kind of see how these styles are similar but how they are different. We use APA here at Walden because it is the most common form used in the social sciences and that is what most of our students are working on. That is why we follow that citation style as opposed to MLA or Chicago.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat:

Why do scholars use APA (or any citation style)?
Why does Walden use APA?

Audio: So, why do you think that scholars use APA or any citation style for that matter? I might have given it away already but if you have any additional thoughts about why Walden asked you to use APA you can add that in the chat as well.

[silence as students respond]

You are very succinct in your answers. You are all on the right track here. There are a number of different reasons why scholars use citation styles as you guys are pointing out, it is to show that you are doing that scholarly work of finding sources and giving credit to those other authors, those other scholars. You want to make sure it’s consistent. A lot of people are talking about consistency because that allows other readers to be able to recognize those citations and understand exactly how to read them. Also talking about organization and just looking nicer when we can follow those very specific rules and I'd like to make our lives harder. That is hopefully not what you are really thinking but it kind of feels like that. I am really glad you guys are all here to talk about this Hopefully at the end of the webinar it will be easier for all of you to take it on. So, thank you so much for participating in that chat.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Dissecting a Reference Entry

  • General sections
  • Book, article, website

Audio: So, for our first portion of this webinar we are going to talk about dissecting a reference entry. Being able to look at the different sections of a reference entry and then how you can recognize a reference for a book, versus an article, versus a website and how those different forms will tell your readers something about that source.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Sections of a Reference Entry

Author’s Name. (Publication Date). Title of the source. Publication information.

Bold = Part that will change the most depending on the type of source

Audio: In general, you have these different sections for each reference entry. You will have the authors name. You will have a publication date in parentheses. The title of the source and then the publication information. Public information, oh sorry, Publication information is bolded here because that is kind of the trickiest portion, the thing that changes the most depending on what kind of source you are using. We bolded it here to draw your attention to that but in actual reference lists it will not be bolding that portion.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Author

Merriam, S., Courtenay, B., & Cervero, R. (2006). Global issues and adult education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishing.

  • Author’s (or authors’) last name(s), comma, and initial(s)
  • An organization or government group can be an author
  • Reference entries are alphabetized by author last name
  • Author’s name sticks out from rest of reference (hanging indent)

Audio: First part of any citation is or excuse me, any reference is the author's last name and in APA we use the author's last names followed by a comma and then initials. So, we have Merriam, S., Courtenay, B., & Cervero. And you’ll notice those authors names are not alphabetized but instead we follow the specific pattern or order that the publication has presented these authors. In scholarly writing that order is actually really, really important. You can also use an organization or government group name if there is no other author information. If the CDC has put something out and they have not credited any certain author, you could use the CDC for that author section, for that center for disease control, for that section.

Reference entries are alphabetized by author last name, but again not within the reference. So, in your full list when you have lots of different sources that you are including you will alphabetize based on the last name of the first author. And then in terms of formatting you want to use a hanging indent so that the author's last name sticks out from the rest of the reference. It makes it easier for your reader to identify which reference goes with which citation. And we’ll talk a little more about that connection a little later on in the webinar.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Publication Date

U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Three types of literacy. Retrieved from

  • Only need to include the year for most publications
  • Periodicals include month (magazines) and day/date (newspapers)
  • No year: use “n.d.”

Audio: The second part is the publication date and so in this example maybe the source does not provide a specific publication date. In which case you just put n. d. In those parentheses but you still need to include that just to let your reader know you have not forgotten that piece of information and you will also include that in your citation. But most publications will have a publication year.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Publication Title

U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Three types of literacy. Retrieved from

  • Follows capitalization rule: First word, first word after a colon, and proper nouns
  • Sources published as own entity are italicized (books, journals, DVDs).
  • Article titles and web page titles are not italicized

Audio: Following the publication year is the actual title. So, we use what we call a sentence level capitalization rule for titles of books and articles. Basically, what that means is you’re going to follow capitalization rules the same way you would with any sentence. So, the first word gets capitalized and then any proper nouns get capitalized but the rest of the words are in lowercase as they would be in a sentence. The one may be exception to that rule is if there is a colon you would capitalize the first word after the colon itself. Sources published as their own entity so if you are using a full book or maybe a full journal that gets italicized whereas article titles or if you are using a webpage the title of the webpage those are going to be in regular font. You only italicize those larger kind of umbrella sources that are containing smaller pieces.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Publication Information

U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Three types of literacy. Retrieved from

  • Depends on how the source was published
  • Depends on how you accessed the  source
  • Directs reader to how to find the source

Examples of common reference entries

Audio: And for the tricky part publication information. Depending on how the source was published or how you access the source will play into how you present that publication information. We have a link here to examples of common reference entries. I have this webpage bookmarked myself. I often recommend to my students that they bookmark as well. I think I checked this almost every day. It is so helpful. It will give you different examples of all the most common sources that Walden students are using and it will give you an exact format of how you should be presenting all of this information. Is a really helpful source.

So here you can see that based on the formatting of this citation that we have been looking at throughout these examples, this is a webpage. Three types of literacy is the title of my webpage and I retrieved it from that address that I have included. When I include that web address, I want to make sure that word hasn’t automatically made the hyperlink active. None of the addresses in your Word document should be that light blue color or underlined. You want to make sure you right-click on all of those and remove the hyperlink.  But basically, this is letting my reader know that this is how they can get access to whatever information I have sourced from this specific webpage.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Comparing Different Sources in APA


Merriam, S., Courtenay, B., & Cervero, R. (2006). Global issues and adult education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishing.


Oyo, B., & Kalema, B. M. (2014). Massive open online courses for Africa by Africa. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 15(6), 1-13. Retrieved from


U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Three types of literacy. Retrieved from


What parts of the entries are formatted differently?

Audio: Looking at these different sources in APA we have an example here of a book, an article and a website and we’re going to do another chant here. I want you guys to point out what parts of these entries are formatted differently. Again, there's going to be some similarities but what do you notice is different about each of these three different references?

[silence as students respond]

A lot of people are pointing out italics in the book title and the Journal italicized that comes after the title of the article because this style is letting your reader know that the title of the article itself is the most important piece of this information so they don't have to look through this entire journal to find that information. Instead they are just going to be looking at this specific article whereas for the book since it is that larger text it is that kind of umbrella text, that gets italicized and that title is the most important part in this instance. Other people are pointing out that there are retrieved from and then website for the article and then the website. That will let the reader know that I retrieved the article online in terms of that journal article and then also how to access both of these sources. The fact that the book does not have that retrieved from information that tells us that this is a physical book. That the writer has held this book in their hands. They are citing a physical document rather than a web-based source. Awesome. Great job picking up on all of those. And these are really important skills to be able to identify the differences in the formats because in a traditional reference list it’s not going to say book, article or website. You are going to have to be able to identify the specific form based on how the references formatted. So, if you were able to identify those differences, that will really help you in your own reading when you are looking at reference pages of other scholars. Maybe you find something really interesting and you want to look into that other source, that source that some scholar has cited. Being able to identify the formatting will really help you further identify and find those sources.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Publication Information Zoom:

Journal Articles

Jenkins, R. (2005). Globalisation of production, employment and poverty: Three macro-meso-micro studies. European Journal of Development Research, 17(4), 601-625.

No DOI or URL = Print Publication

Audio: Because publication information can be a little bit confusing, we're going to take another minute here to just really zoom in on publication information for journal articles in particular. In this example you’ll notice there is no DOI or URL. DOI stands for a digital object identifier and it is a unique number that gets attached to online articles. And then the URL is that web address. Right? So, because there is no DOI or URL in this reference that tells me that this writer used the physical copy of this article. So, they had the European Journal of development research and they opened to page 601 and that is where they're getting all of their information. So, the fact that they don't have that information is telling. I think it was Sherlock Holmes that said the absence of evidence is in itself evidence.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Publication Information Zoom:

Journal Articles

Article with DOI Number

Jenkins, R. (2005). Globalisation of production, employment and poverty: Three macro-meso-micro studies. European Journal of Development Research, 17(4), 601-625. doi:10.1080/09578810500367557

Check for DOI: www.crossref. org/guestquery

Audio: The fact that we don't have that information is telling us something. If you have an article with the DOI number that’s really the best piece of retrieval information that you can give your reader because as I kind of mentioned before these are unique numbers and they are permanent. Someone could just put this string of numbers into their Google search and they will pull out this specific article. And it can make it a little bit easier. We have some articles with similar titles maybe you have the same author who wrote multiple different versions of an article. The DOI is going to make sure that your reader gets the exact version and the exact article that you used in your writing.

In order to find a DOI that is not easily, readily available with your article, you can check, if you scroll down a little bit on the page there is a place to type in the author's last name and the title of the article and if there is a DOI I pull it up for you through that query.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Publication Information Zoom:

Journal Articles

Article with DOI Number

Jenkins, R. (2005). Globalisation of production, employment and poverty: Three macro-meso-micro studies. European Journal of Development Research, 17(4), 601-625. doi:10.1080/09578810500367557

Article without a DOI Number

Oyo, B., & Kalema, B. M. (2014). Massive open online courses for Africa by Africa. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 15  (6), 1-13. Retrieved from

  1. Check foACr DOI: www.crossref. org/guestquery
  2. Search for journal’s home page

Audio: If the journal article does not have a DOI number then you want to include the homepage for the journal that published that article. So, you don't want to just copy paste the whole long thread of the web address that maybe is directly connected to that journal, that journal article. Instead you want to just provide the homepage. The reason for that is because websites get updated, sometimes the formatting changes a little bit. So, you want to make sure it’s as easy as possible for your reader to find that article. The best way to do that when you don't have a DOI is to just give the Journal homepage.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Common Errors for Journal Articles.

  • Incorrect: Leaving out the DOI or URL
    • Correct: Include the DOI; if no DOI, include a URL
  • Incorrect: Using a Walden library URL (“waldenu” “ezproxy”)
    • Correct: Use the journal’s home page URL
  • Incorrect: Including a retrieval or access date
    • Correct: Retrieval or access dates aren’t necessary

Check out our short video series

Audio: These are three of the most common errors for journal articles that writing instructors have seen in reference lists. The first being leaving out that DOI or the URL. Of course, there are going to be situations where maybe you actually use that physical journal article and that is what your references going to be telling your reader. But I think I can pretty confidently say that the majority of your sources you are going to locate online. So, you want to include that DOI, that’s again the best form that you can provide. But if there is no available DOI then you want to include that URL of the Journal homepage. Just to clarify for your reader that’s where you accessed it and how you got that information.

Another error that I see a lot is that I mentioned you don't want to just copy paste that whole string of the web address whatever you have. And oftentimes what happens is the web address tries to route your reader through a database or through the Walden library and not all of your readers are going to have access to the same resources. So, you want to make sure you are using the Journal homepage URL and not the long weaving direction that you went to, to specifically locate this journal article. But how someone could directly access the journal itself.

And then also including a retrieval or access date is something that a lot of students tend to do. I think this is in because in other citation forms that is an important piece. But for APA, retrieval or access dates are not necessary. The one exception for this would be if you are citing something that has a pretty good chance of changing. Maybe you are talking about census numbers or you’re talking about a poll that is still active. You want to make sure your reader does not check that source to find a different piece of information and then question your credibility as a scholar. Rather including that retrieval or access date will let them know that you are aware this might change and if they do access that source and it’s different, there is a reason for that. But generally, you are not going to need to include that retrieval or access dates because the sources you use aren’t going to change. If you have any questions about these kinds of errors you can check out our short video series and those will give you more insight and more tips and a few more examples of common errors.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Your “Aha” Moment!

  • APA rules aren’t random.
  • It’s the publication information format that changes from entry to entry


Audio: Hopefully you are having an aha moment right now and you’re understanding that APA rules are not random. We didn’t just make them up and force you to use them to try to make this whole process more difficult for you. But that it’s the publication information that can be the most confusing and so that is what you really want to focus on. The rest of the information stays pretty much the same but again you can bookmark that page, that common reference examples page and that’s going to help you format almost every different source that you're going to use for your Walden assignments.

So, I just want to take a quick moment to see, are there any questions that might be helpful to go over before we move on?

Melissa: I am getting a lot of just general APA questions and a lot them about the reference entry themselves. Maybe it would be a good idea if you shared a couple of your favorite resources and then I could add those links to the question box.

Kacy: My favorite resource for APA and also for some other topics like grammar and academic paragraphing are interactive modules. I think I am a little biased toward our interactive modules because I used them myself when I was training for my position. I actually come from a MLA background so coming to Walden I was learning all of these citation rules that you are learning right now I was trying to familiarize myself with them as well so I used those interactive modules because my own learning style I need to put things into practice and kind of quiz myself in order to really get that information solidified in my brain so I really love our modules and I try to recommend them to students all the time. Because I think they are so awesome, I even think they are fun. I know that sounds nerdy but I thought they were kind of fun. That would be one of my favorite resources. I have a common reference list examples page bookmarks because I use it pretty much every single day so that definitely is a favorite resource of mine. And then one thing you can do if you are struggling and you have no idea how to format a specific source, you can reach out to us in our live chat. We have hours when writing instructors are available through an instant message platform and you can ask that way. Or you can send those messages to that’s our email and you will get a response within 24 hours. If you look at the common reference list examples and you’ve have tried some different areas yourself and you just cannot figure out how to format it those are some really helpful resources you can use.

Melissa: Thank you so much for that. And that is the only question I have right now. I will let you know if we get more later.

Kacy: [Indescribable] Please do keep sending questions in.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat Practice #1:

What errors do you see in this reference entry?


Cox, M., Ortmeier-Hooper, C., and Tirabassi, K. E. (2009). Teaching writing for the “real world”: Community and workplace writing. The English Journal, 98(5), 72-80.

Audio: We are going to do a little practice here to see if you were paying attention. What errors do you see in this reference entry? You can type out whatever errors you see.

[silence as students respond]

You guys were definitely paying attention because you were so quick with these responses. The first error is that "and" a lot of you pointed out that, the and should be an ampersand. It looks like squiggly I think it looks kind of like a half-eaten pretzel. When using reference lists, we use the ampersand instead of "and" and people also pointed out there was no DOI or URL. There was no retrieval information for an online source.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Correction:

Cox, M., Ortmeier-Hooper, C., & Tirabassi, K. E. (2009). Teaching writing for the “real world”: Community and workplace writing. The English Journal, 98(5), 72-80. Retrieved from

Audio: Here's the correct version. We have our ampersand. We replaced the written word "and" with the ampersand and we also included the retrieval information with the web address for the homepage of this journal. I did see a few people commented on the use of quotation marks and I know that can be confusing again because of some of the ways that different citation styles do things but in this case the quotation marks are appropriate and they are correct because that is how these authors decided to present their title. Where it gets a little confusing, I think is for APA journal articles are not in quotation marks generally while I know in MLA that’s how you present a journal article. But if the authors have included a quotation in their title you want to make sure that you are maintaining that formatting. So, in this instance this is how the title appeared in the journal and so we are just resenting it as they did.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat Practice #2

What errors do you see in this reference entry?

Guffey, M. E., & Loewy, D. (2015). Business Communication: Process & Product (8th ed.). Cengage Learning: Stamford, CT.

Audio: But that is a really good catch.

Number 2. What errors do you see in this reference entry?

[silence as students respond]

This is an example of why it’s so important to be able to recognize the different formatting. A lot of you right away noticed that this is formatted like a book so that title business communication process and product should be italicized to let my reader know because that’s how we format book titles. A lot of you also pointed out that it is not following that sentence level capitalization that APA uses in reference examples. And then a few people put, noted what I think is kind of a sneaky trick. When you are referencing a book, you need to include the publisher information. Here we have the name of the publishing company coming before the city and state and it should be reversed.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Correction

Guffey, M. E., & Loewy, D. (2015). Business communication: Process & product (8th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Audio: We can look at the correct version so here as you all pointed out we have italicized the book title. We have used sentence level capitalization rather than capitalizing every word and then that location versus actual name of the publishing company, that order has been changed around. Great job everybody.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat Practice #3:

What errors do you see in this reference entry?

American Accounting Association. (2015). About the AAA.

Audio: And this is our third practice so you want to make sure we get all the different styles. All the different forms. What errors do you see in this reference entry?

[silence as students respond]

A little bit trickier. A lot of you have pointed out that we don't have retrieved from which is correct. We actually can use that AAA abbreviation here because that’s the way that this webpage has their title presented. And then I think maybe the question mark is that about the italicized title. Some other people put that the website title should not be italicized and that is absolutely correct.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Correction:

American Accounting Association. (2015). About the AAA. Retrieved from

Audio: A website title is not italicized. In terms of the author if you remember earlier, we said that an organization can serve as an author name if no other author information is provided. In this case this webpage does not have a specific individual or scholars getting credit for the information so we would just give that credit to the organization that published or created the webpage. So, we have about the AAA we have in non-italicized form and then we added that retrieved from. Great job putting all those issues out.

And I did notice someone mentioned a retrieval date. So that is not necessary for an APA reference. It’s rather something that you would add on if you think that the information might change between when you publish or submit your paper versus when somebody would be reading it so in this case this is an about the organization page. Probably not going to change too much, at least not that we need to be really concerned about specifically including that retrieval date. So, it is okay to not have the retrieval date in this example but that is another good catch and I think it is always helpful to go over that.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions?

Audio: We have another break for questions. I feel like you guys just blew through those examples. Any other questions that came in?

Melissa: I did have a couple of style related questions come in and a few students did ask how do we determine what goes in italics, especially when you’re referencing webpages and other sources that we might find outside of the library.

Kacy: That’s a good question and it can seem again like that’s one of those things that we are trying to trick you with but the italics in that format is really meant to be helpful rather than hurtful. You can think about italicizing those larger texts. I kind of think of them as umbrella texts so if I am using a specific chapter let's say from an edited book, in my reference list the focus is going to be on that chapter and I am going to provide that title and the author or authors of that specific title first, but, because I want to give the full retrieval information for my reader I also want to include that book title since that is what is going to be easiest to find generally. So, they can find that book and then they can open that book to find the chapter in it. So that umbrella source, that book that goes in italics. Whereas the title of the chapter would not be in italics.

Similarly, with journal articles the journal article title is in regular font, but the journal title, so the umbrella source that houses all these different articles, that is going to be in italics. Webpages do not get italicized so you don't really need to worry about that as much you’re your dealing with webpages because you are generally just using a title of a webpage and providing that author information whether it be scholars or an organization. So, with websites you don't really have to worry about it but with other sources think of it as those larger umbrella documents. Those are the ones that are going to get that special attention and get italicized.

Melissa: Great thank you, and I have one more question for you. When it comes to including the URL webpages should we include the full address or just the shortened homepage?

Kacy: You have to include that homepage and it can seem counterintuitive especially since I keep pressing about how important it is to include all the retrieval information so that your reader can easily access these sources. But when it comes to online articles that do not have DOI you want to just include the journal homepage rather than the full screen because that whole long web site address is trying to route your reader through the different ways that you access to that article. So maybe you used a specific database or you used the Walden library and your reader might not have access to those same sources. So instead you just want to send them to that journal homepage because that’s how they are going to most easily be able to locate that information or find out what they need to do to locate that information whether they need to go through a database or they need to locate the hard copy or whatever the case may be. So that’s why you want to include that shorter journal homepage. I also think it just looks neater in your reference list when you don't have to see huge long web address but I know that is just my own bias. And not part of the rule.

Melissa: Thank you so much. Those are the only questions that I have right now.

Kacy: And thank you and thank you all for continuing to ask those good questions.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Create your reference entry first…

then create your citation.

  • Last name(s) of author or authors, or authoring organization/government dept.
  • Publication year
  • Page or paragraph number

(Author, Year)               (Author, Year, p. xx)

Audio: Now we are going to move on from reference entries to citations and here the advice is to create your reference list first and then create your citation. I don't know that the order necessarily matters as much as just understanding that there is a relationship between your reference list and your citations and you want to be very clear about making those connections and you want to make sure that you are matching up your reference list with your citations. So, if you think it is easier to give a reference list first, by all means but if you think writing your citations first that’s going to be easiest for you, you just want to make sure that connection is there and we will talk about what I mean by that relationship.

When you are creating a citation, you are using the last name of the author or authors, or if there is no author, you will use the organization name that is getting credit. You will include the publication year and then if you are using a direct quotation you want to include a page number or if a page number is not available you want to include a paragraph number. If it’s just maybe just some information you found on a webpage and that webpage does not have page numbers you help your reader out by letting them know the specific paragraph number that quotation comes from.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Citation Foundations


  • Hewett (2010) found that writing centers help students.


  • Writing centers help students (Hewett, 2010).

Audio: There are two different forms of citations and we call them narrative and parenthetical. To differentiate between the two. You might see those terms if you have a paper review or if you are looking at resources on our webpage. A narrative citation basically is when you include the author's name in the sentence. So that name is grammatically important for the sentence to make sense. Here it doesn’t make sense to just say "found that writing centers help students." I need to include the author's name for this sentence to be complete. In a narrative citation because the authors name as part of the sentence you only need to include the publication year in parentheses. So, you are going to include that year still but you just include that in parentheses and you also want to include it right after that author last name. This makes it easier for the reader to identify the source and it will help them connect that citation to the reference entry. In a parenthetical citation you do not have the authors name in your sentence so you need to include that within the parentheses along with the year. Here we have writing centers help students. And I need to let my reader know that the author because if I just put that year in parentheses, I might have multiple different sources that were published in 2010. So, I need to clarify that with the name of the author when it already hasn’t been presented in the sentence.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Refence to Citation

Oyo, B., & Kalema, B. M. (2014). Massive open online courses for Africa by Africa. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 15(6), 1-13. Retrieved from

In Africa, massive online courses are currently popular (Oyo & Kalema, 2014).

Oyo and Kalema (2014) noted, “today massive open online courses are becoming increasingly popular, with 20% more use in the last year alone” (p. 5).

Each year, more students are completing massive online courses (Oyo & Kalema, 2014).

Audio: Here we have a couple more examples of narrative verse parenthetical citation. And in this first example we also have a direct quotation so because there is a direct quotation, we need to include a page number and that can seem a little confusing particularly because in this narrative citation we still want to make sure that the publication year directly follows the authors names but the page number information is not going to appear until after the quotation. So, we have Oyo and Kalema, 2014 noted, and we have our quotation mark, sorry, our quotations and then the page number where our readers can find the direct quotation.

On the other hand, if we are doing a parenthetical citation you might just present this is just a paraphrase of information from this source so I don't need to use quotation marks and I don't need to include a page number. I’ll just include, again those authors names and the publication year.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Refence to Citation

American Accounting Association. (2015). About the AAA. Retrieved from

The American Accounting Association (2015) proposed revisions to the ethics guidelines including specifics on how and when to release client papers.

Client papers should be released only “under directions of law or the client” (American Accounting Association, 2015, para. 5).

Audio: These are some more examples. Please excuse the typo in reference to citation. You can again see hopefully that connection that gets made between the reference list entry which is that part that’s on the top and then the in-text citation. In this first one we have a narrative citation, the American accounting association proposed revisions and if I am a reader, I can look at that and see American accounting association 2015 and I can flip to the reference page and I can match it up with this specific reference so now I have some more information. I have the specific title of the webpage and then I have the webpage address.

Additionally, here is a quotation with a parenthetical citation so here I am not paraphrasing I am using a direct quote so I need to give the authors that credit by including quotation marks around whatever it is I’ve taken from the source and then I’m going to include that organization name because I don't have specific authors. I have American accounting association again the year and then paragraph five. This is a webpage they don't have page numbers but the direct quote I used can be found in paragraph five. And again, you’ll note here because I have not used a narrative citation all of that information gets included within a single pair of parentheses. You don't need to separate out the year and the author name and the paragraph number in different parentheses. It all gets contained in a single pair.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Citation Management Software

“These programs can be helpful shortcuts in organizing research, but keep in mind that the program’s formatting is often imperfect when used for your references list.” (Walden University, n.d., para 1)

Audio: So, I often get asked by students about citation management software. I think citation management software such as one note, [indescribable] these can be really great resources and they can be really helpful but I also want to present the caveat that these are formulas in a machine so they are helpful shortcuts. They can help you make sure that you are organizing all of the research that you have, but you always want to make sure that whatever formatting you have used from those programs, you want to make sure those are actually correct often times because that formula or programming is not going to pick up on all the different subtleties. Additionally, APA style changes and you don't want to necessarily just assume that that software has been updated to follow all of those potential changes in the APA rules. My suggestion is always to just use those programs if they are helpful and if they can help you get started with your citation reference list but just know that you are still going to need to go back and double check and use the APA manual and use our resources to make sure that the software has cited and referenced correctly.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions?

Audio: Alright, so we have another break for questions. Did anything come in?

Melissa: Most of the questions that came in you answered as you went. We did have a couple questions come in about accessing the information from this webinar at a later date so wanted to remind everybody that in the files pod near the bottom of your screen you will find a copy of the slides and all of the links will be active in there and also the recording from tonight's webinar will be ready in about one day and you can find that on our webpage as well. Other than that, I don't have any other questions for you.

Kacy: Great. And along with this webinar recording you’ll also find a lot of other recordings about different APA rules, different writing techniques so I definitely recommend you check out that archive even if you decide you don't want to listen to me yell all over again we have lots of other great resources there.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Recap

  • There is a method to the madness
    • Social sciences use APA
  • Know the sections of a reference entry
    • Pay attention to the publication information
    • DOI versus URL for articles
  • Craft citations from reference entries

Audio: For a quick recap just know that there is a method to this madness. There is a reason that your faculty members are asking you to use APA. It’s not just to make the assignment more difficult. It’s not just so they can take off points arbitrarily. This practice is really important for you as scholars to get into the habit of following these rules. When you are publishing a lot of you mentioned in the beginning that it looks professional, it makes the writing look more reliable, it makes the authors seem more reliable and all of these things are really important when you’re publishing your work, when you are presenting your projects to your committee members. So, you really want to make sure that you get these skills down.

You want to know the different sections of the reference entry so particularly pay attention to that publication information because that’s going to be the place that is the most variation between the different forms. And knowing the difference between a DOI or a URL for articles. Knowing when to include those and how to include those.

And then really, really important you want to make sure that your citations are match up with your reference entries. There shouldn’t be any question from your reader about which reference entry matches which citation in your text. And we have a lot of really great resources and our website about different tricks that might come up let's say you have two different sources by the same author. There’re ways to distinguish between those even if it is the same publication. You want to make sure that that relationship between your in-text citations and reference entries is really clear for your reader. That’s how they know which specific information came from which specific source.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Resources

Audio: And if you are looking for some of those resources that I mentioned we have a couple listed here. We have some webpages again that common reference list examples is so, so useful. And I also want to point out I already have said that I have it bookmarked but also, you’re not really expected to memorize this. Nobody wants to test you on the street come up to you and just say quickly how would you format a journal article in APA style? You have these resources. I check them like I said every single day so use them, double check, make sure that you are creating those proper references.

We also have links here to our electronic source references. I know it can be a little bit confusing. We had the questions about how much of the web address should I include in the reference list? How do I find the DOI information? All of those questions you can get some more information about them at that electronic reference source page.

The modules are what I was talking about before I said that I use them when I was training in for this job so they will help you practice all of these APA skills that you have taken from this webinar and you even get an option at the end to interact directly with some people on our editing team and I know that can be really useful. And then we also have that citation formatting and frequency module which again so, so helpful. And even kind of fun. I think you'll find it entertaining hopefully.

And then of course, you can ask us. You can reach out to us through that live chat option or emailing us at  Like I said you’ll get a response within 24 hours.  So if any questions come up later on or if you’re watching this recording and you have questions definitely reach out to us through our webpage. Now I will turn it over to you Melissa to see if there any other questions and to close us off.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions: Ask Now or Later •  Live Chat Hours

Learn More:

“Reference List Checklist” and “Using and Crediting Sources in APA”

APA References and Citation Self-Paced Modules


Make a Paper Review Appointment!

Assist students in becoming better academic writers by providing online, asynchronous feedback by appointment.

Audio: Melissa: Thank you so much Kacy. You covered everything in such great detail I do not have any last-minute questions for you to answer. However, if you are joining us today and you have APA questions you are welcome to email those to us at or of course if our chat is live you can pop in and speak to a writing instructor there. We are very happy to help you format any specific reference entries or citations that you may have. If you're looking for more information, we have a couple links here including a reference list checklist and using accrediting sources in APA and of course once again those modules. Do note that if you make a paper review appointment with us, we will help you with your entire document whatever it is you are working on and that does include APA. I want to thank everybody for joining us to hear today and I want to thank Kacy for this wonderful presentation. I hope that you had a lot of information to soak in about APA references and citations and please join us in the future. Have a good night.


[End of webinar]