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How to cite?

APA citation format

As you format citations and reference lists, you need to adhere to certain rules and follow the practice used in scientific texts. This article outlines how this is done in psychology. Other scientific fields may use different styles.

The manner of formatting which is used in psychology is called the APA style. The abbreviation refers to the American Psychological Association. The next paragraphs specify how to format quotes according to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition, in short APA 6th (VandenBos, 2010). You find further information on the APA style blog. Parts of the following material were adopted from Prof. Dr. Rainer Greifeneder with his kind permission.

Citations consist of two parts
Citations are marked by a short mention of author(s) and year in the main text and a full reference to the complete source in the section ‘References’ at the end of the paper. The APA defined rules for formatting both, and your references need to adhere exactly to these rules. Rules ensure the standardization of references across all psychological research articles; this helps readers to orient themselves quickly.

Paraphrasing versus direct quotation
You can explain others’ ideas, theories, results, etc. either by describing the content in your words (paraphrased) or you can quote them word by word (directly quoted). Paraphrasing is more common.
➔ Every paraphrase should be followed by an expression in brackets that contains the family name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication, for instance (Herzog & Hertwig, 2013).
➔ When quoting directly, set the text in quotation marks. After a direct quote, you always cite the exact page number, for example: ‘. . . we thought that we would have no difficulty in finding an unambiguous answer . . .’ (Herzog & Hertwig, 2013, p. 191). Please note: direct quotes that are longer than 40 words are indented and the quotation marks are omitted.

Citing in parentheses or embedded
In a text, the authors can either be written in parentheses or can be embedded in the text itself. In German (GER) versus English (EN) texts, the commas in citations differ with more than two names. The following decision diagram helps you to find the correct formatting for your references.

Finding the correct format
In the ‘downloads’ section below you will find a PDF with a format guide. It helps you to find the correct format for different scenarios.

References (in English APA style)

VandenBos, G. R. (Ed.). (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Herzog, S. M., & Hertwig, R. (2013). The ecological validity of fluency. In C. Unkelbach & R. Greifeneder (Eds.), The experience of thinking: How the fluency of mental processes influences cognition and behavior (pp. 190-219). Hove, United Kingdom: Psychology Press.


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