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Referencing in APA 7th Style


This guide is for APA 7th style referencing only. You must check which referencing style you are expected to use on your course, if you are not sure please speak to your programme leader or supervisor.

There are many different types of assignments used across courses and you need to reference sources in all academic work as part of good academic practice.

There are two parts to APA 7th referencing: in-text citations and a list of references. The in-text citations tab shows you how to format in-text citations for all source types. The reference list tab gives guidance on formatting the full reference list and reference list entries more generally.

For examples of how to reference individual source types click the tabs for the relevant type of source. This guide covers the most common types of sources.


  • To give credit and acknowledgement to the work of others, in order to avoid plagiarism.
  • To demonstrate that you have read widely and the quality of the sources that you have used.
  • To support, back up, and give credibility to your arguments with evidence from sources.
  • To separate your thoughts and analysis from the sources you have used.


Academic Integrity Video

This is a short video to help you understand how to complete your assessments at university with honesty and integrity. You will learn about the importance of acknowledging your sources in your work and referencing accurately. Watching this video is important in helping you avoid plagiarism in your assignments.



A set of rules which tells us:

  • What details should appear in a reference to a resource e.g. author, title, publisher etc.
  • How we need to format and present our references e.g. the order of the components and punctuation.

It is a way of allowing us to present our references in an orderly, professional, neatly formatted, and consistent way.

It allows the reader/marker to find our references themselves using the details included.

Reference management is the act of organising references and generating reference lists or bibliographies in a variety of styles e.g. for a thesis, or for journal or book publishing. 

Many researchers now use software to do this – this can store both the reference and the PDF of the paper you are reading. 

Edinburgh Napier offers training & support with Endnote and Mendeley reference management software - use the one which suits your needs best, or choose another reference manager.

Please see the full Reference Management guide for more information and support.

Generating References

Instead of typing out a reference from scratch, LibrarySearch, most databases and Google Scholar all provide a function to generate a reference in specific referencing styles which can save a huge amount of time. These references can be copied and pasted into your own documents for your own records.

While this is an extremely useful tool, it is important that automatically generated references are always checked to ensure they follow the guidelines specified for your particular referencing style, as errors do occur.   


Generating a reference from LibrarySearch

To create a citation reference for a resource found in LibrarySearch, click on the 'Citation' button in the record.

Screenshot of book information record on LibrarySearch. The 'Send to' choices feature, with the 'Citation' icon circled in red to indicate this needs to be selected.


On the left-hand side, you can select the referencing style you require. 

You can then click on 'Copy Citation to Clipboard'and use the 'Paste' function to paste the reference in another document.

List of referencing styles is circled with APA 7th highlighted and the reference example in the box to the right is laid out in APA 7th style. the left e APAhighlighted


Further information

If you would like to reference a source not in this guide or have further questions you can:

Check the APA Style blog.

Have a look at the reading list of APA guides. These are physical copies you can borrow from the library.

Get in touch with the Library by emailing us at 


We have also created the printable quick guide below which covers the basics of in-text citations and referencing.

Further reading

Book cover of Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 7th Edition

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 7th Edition

This is most recent edition of APA. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition, or APA 7th as it is normally called, is the most commonly used referencing standard at Edinburgh Napier University. In addition to providing guidance on referencing, this manual offers an authoratative voice on grammar, the mechanics of writing, and APA style, as well as the treatment of numbers, statistical and mathematical data, tables and figures