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The College of Nursing at the University of Southern Indiana has adopted the American Psychological Association's Publication Manual as the guide for written assignments. The publication manual provides guidance about writing style, the form of the assignment (i.e. margins, spacing, etc) and reference citations in the text and on the reference page. This manual is written to aid those who are considering publication of scholarly work but provides the basis for consistency in writing and citing and thus is a useful tool for student writers also. The writing style suggestions are referenced in another section of this writing assignment section.


The manual provides specifics guidelines for margins, page length, spacing, etc., in the early sections of the book. The editorial guide section establishes rules for the use of numbers (7 or seven?), capitals, etc. as well as providing a consistent method for using headings within a written assignment. Please see specifics sections of the APA Manual which provide details about these topics and more. Students are expected to use the editorial style presented in the APA Manual.

Citations using APA

Citations are used in written assignments to give credit to an author or authors for ideas or data. The cite provides the reader with specifics about the source of the information shared and gives "credibility" to support contentions or assertions. Correct citation will help students avoid plagiarism (see another link in the section for information about plagiarism). The American Psychological Association's Publication Manual is the guide for reference citations. This manual should be used regularly when submitting writing assignments. Students should not expect to "read" and remember the citation guidelines, but should plan to have it readily available for each writing assignment. The book includes topics of interest about writing in general as well as specific recommendations for citing of sources. The sections which cover the citation of information are the primary focus of this section, but other sections of the book provide excellent suggestions for writers. When citing, remember that there are two forms of citation-text citation and the development of the reference page. The text citation portion is what goes within the written paper to tell the reader where the information within the text comes from while the reference page is a compilation of all the sources used within the paper. Each type of citation has a certain form and those are found within the APA book itself. Summaries of the guidelines for the most frequently used types of references are available at the links below. However, please know that the faculty will expect you to consult your APA manual for specifics in circumstances not provided in the links. In the event that the kind of source you have used is not listed specifically in the APA Manual, the manual also provides general guidelines for citation which should be followed. It is also important to remember that the citations in the text of the paper must agree with what is recorded on the reference page. For example, if your paper has a citation which is (Jones, 1999), the reader should be able to go to the reference page and find a source listed by Jones with a publication date of 1999. Use the same words in the text for citation that are found on the reference sheet. The manual gives specific instructions for what to do if an author has written more than one article in a given year, if there are several authors with the same name, if a specific author is not listed, etc. The basic rule is that the reader should easily be able to go to the reference list and find the source that is being cited in the text.

The links below provide further information and examples which you may find helpful.

The APA method of citation

Rice Library LibGuide: How to Cite Sources