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APA Referencing

APA (American Psychological Association) is an author/date referencing style that is commonly used in the RCSI School of Nursing.

  • It consists of two main elements:

Citations: Source material must be documented in the body of the text (paper/project) by citing the author(s) and date(s) of the sources.

References: appear listed at the end of the essay/dissertation giving complete details of all the works referenced in the text.

Example of in text citations:

If the author's surname is part of the sentence you only put the date in brackets: (Date of publication)

In a study by Smith (1997) coping with illness was investigated... or According to Smith (1997) coping with illness...

If the author's surname is not part of the sentence you put the author's surname and date in brackets: (Name, Date or publication)

The skills and expertise required to reflect effectively are often misunderstood and are poorly developed (Johns, 2002).

When you have more than two authors of one article or book, use et al. (et al. with a full stop after al)

Traynor, Boland, Buus (2010) identify the implications for practice... [Use as first citation in text.]

Traynor et al(2010) identify the implications for practice... [Use as subsequent citation thereafter.]

Another approach

Additional implications for practice  have been identified... (Traynor et al., 2010)... [et al. followed by comma and year]

References (at end of paper)

Arrange entries in alphabetical order by the surname of the first author followed by initials of the author’s given name.


Tutorial on APA Referencing

Referencing Common Sources

1. Printed book

Reference elements

Author / Year / Title / Place of publication / Publishers 


Murray, P.R., Rosenthal, K.S., & Pfaller, M.A. (2009). Medical microbiology. Philadelphia, PA.: Mosby Elsevier.                                                   

2. Electronic book

Reference elements                  

Author / Year of Publication  / Book title / Edition/ Place of publication / Publisher / Available : www...​ 

Reference Foley, K.M., Gelband, H. (2001). Improving palliative care for cancer. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, Retrieved April 9, 2019 from 

3. Chapter of an edited book

Reference elements                 

Author / Year / Title of Chapter / Editor / Title of book / Page numbers / Place of publication / Publishers 

Reference Eagan, S. M. (2018). Ebola response and mandatory quarantine in the US military. In D.Messelken & D.Winkler (Eds.), Ethical Challenges for Military Health Care Personnel (pp. 132-143). Cornwall, UK: TJ International Ltd  


Reference elements Author / Year / Article title / Journal Name  / Volume (Issue) / Page Numbers 
Reference  McCutcheon H. & Pincombe J. (2001). Intuition: an important tool in the practice of nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 35(3), 342–348. 


Reference examples

Reference elements Author / Year / Title / Report No. / Location:Publisher/ Retrieved from Agency name website: http://www.xx 
Corporate author, government report U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes for Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2003). Managing asthma: A guide for schools (NIH Publication No. 02-2650). Retrieved from
Corporate, task force report filed online American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. (2007). Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.  Retrieved from 
Authored report, from nongovernmental organization Kessy, S.S.A., & Urio, F.M. (2006). The contribution of microfinance institutions to poverty reduction in Tanzania (Research Report No. 06.3). Retrieved from Research on Poverty Alleviation website:

From an Institutional Repository

Reference elements  Author / Year Title / Form of Work / University/ Location / Retrieved from 
Reference  Claro, T. (2012). Molecular mechanisms underlying staphylococcal induced osteomyelitis. 
(PhD Thesis). RCSI, Dublin, Ireland. Retrieved April 9, 2019 from 


Reference elements Author/Owner of the Image / Year / Title [type of image] / Retrieved Month Day Year / from: http://www … 
Reference  Southern California Orthopedic Institute. Fracture of the Talus [image], Retrieved November 4, 2019 from:


RCSI Printable Guide: APA Referencing

Additional Resources

This guide is based on the following source:

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). (2009). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 

The 7th Edition is available in York St and Beaumont Libraries - search the Primo Library Catalogue and select the Books and E-books option.

The APA provides an online guide to the 7th edition which includes a list of over 100 reference examples in the APA style