APA Referencing

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 man with book open and computerWelcome to APA referencing where you'll find answers to frequently asked questions, including information about plagiarism, as well as guides and further resources.

What is referencing?

When writing assessments, it is often necessary to read and include information from other sources, whether from a book, article, website, or somewhere else.
Referencing is a formal way of showing when you have used information from somewhere else. It is often a key requirement in writing your assessments.

The Open Polytechnic uses the APA 7 style of referencing (APA stands for the American Psychological Association who developed the style). A "style" of referencing is a system to follow. It means  your references must be formatted in a particular way. That's why using an APA 7 guide is essential. 

Why do I need to reference?
  • To give credit to the original author.
  • To give evidence to support points you make in your assessments.
  • To avoid plagiarism.

If you are new to the concept of plagiarism, it is important you understand what it is and how to avoid it.


  • Plagiarising occurs when you copy or paraphrase the words of others and use them as your own, without acknowledging the original source.
  • Referencing the sources of information you've used shows that you are not plagiarising.
  • If you are found to be plagiarising, you could be accused of academic misconduct as defined in the Open Polytechnic Academic Statute.

Also see
Referencing and plagiarism
Academic integrity

How do I reference?

APA referencing involves two essential parts: in-text citations and a References list. Both are needed, whether you are quoting or paraphrasing.

Watch the short videos below to learn more, then check out the further resources that follow:

Introduction to how to reference in APA 7th ed. style [3.47 mins]

How to quote or paraphrase in APA 7th ed. style [5.38 mins]

Further resources

How to reference - information on the Open Polytechnic website

Study Toolkit - your free toolkit includes sections on referencing, and plagiarism & academic integrity.
Access via iQualify, your learning platform. Contact us if you can't access it.

Have a go Quick drag n drop exercises - (Worthington et al., 2022)
These are a fun way to test yourself on the correct format for different source types.


Referencing guides

Below we have listed three APA referencing guides.

Different formats suit different learning styles. We recommend checking out each one and seeing which format works best for you.
Each guide provides standard APA formatting information, but presents it in a different way.

Open Polytechnic guide (printable)

Online guide in a directory format - AUT

Online guide in an interactive format - Massey University