Referencing Websites & Web Documents

Web QuoteWhen a writer is following copyright law and standardized conventions, APA referencing is used. Here is a description of what that is and some examples of how it is used.

The APA style began in 1929 by the American Psychological Association and was used in common references by 1952. It was created to show the references that must be cited for a publication that requires it. It is always used in a Thesis or Dissertation.

It references the acknowledgement of the true author of the content. APA referencing also allows the reader to search for more information on the given subject that is covered in the article or document. There are various means to which to write using APA referencing. All it really takes is to get the basics in place so you can proceed to use it any time that is should be required. Every quotation and summary has to be set in a way which the reader can understand what is being referenced and how it applies to the text at hand.

When done properly, it offers a language in which the reader knows what is intended. Think of it like a code to a language, such as an abbreviation. If you don’t understand what the abbreviation is, then it means nothing. At that point your communication has failed and will land you in a state of no communication.

This means of referencing information also allows the writer to present information as a source from more than one place. Again, this is for the purpose of offering the reader a better understanding of how to get the information that they seek. Here is a basic look at the guidelines.


The authors must be listed by the author’s last names. Then the initials should be placed immediately after. Each author should be listed individually. When you have listed six authors, then the writer should use “et al.” Additionally, the list of authors should be documented with the ampersand of (&) instead of “and.”


After each source is listed the next line should be documented by an indention of approximately one inch. This should be done for every source thereafter.


Every author should be listed in alphabetical order by his or her last names. After that, order them according to their placement in the article or document.

Punctuation All major parts of each citing from journals of the article should be capitalized. Never italicize essays.

Reference Listing Examples

Now to show some examples of what all this looks like for each part of listing sources. This should help process how all of this works.

Electronic Sources

Place the author’s name followed by the date of the publication. Then the title of the web page or volume of that publication should follow.

Author name, (2009). Place the title of the web page here. Used May 23 2009, from (web address).

Book References

List the name of the year that the book was published. The book title should follow. The publisher place and name and the author’s name are listed last.

Name of the book. (2011). Name of the book, Place: Name of author

Document from the Government

When there is no author, list the division of the government division in the alphabetical list.

Department of Defense. (Year of the publication). The title of the publication should be placed here, 2010-2011 (Publication number). Location of the publication: Location where the document was printed.


When a newspaper or magazine is listed as a source, place the author, date of the publication, the title and the page number where the citing was listed.

Author name (year and date of the publication). Periodical title. p. where the publication is listed


When a movie is listed as a source, the producer should be listed, director, date of the publication, title of the movie, country where it was produced, and the studio where it was filmed. Television shows are listed in the same format.

Producer’s name, (director), (date of the production). [Title of the movie] Country of filming: Studios where it was produced.

Oddities That May Occur

In the odd situation where the same author is used, in the same year, a letter should be used to show the first, second and third citing has occurred.

Name of the author. (Date of the publication a) Title of the publication, page, publication listing.

Name of the author, (Date of the publication b) title of the publication, page, publication listing.

Secondary Source

Any secondary source should be listed referencing your first source.

Here are some rules to remember

  • Capitalize any author name and initial.
  • Any word that is greater than four words long must be capitalized.
  • Capitalize the first word after any colon or dash.
  • When using hyphens, always capitalize each word.
  • Place quotation marks around titles of magazines and journals.

This style should be used when citing sources in psychology and other scientific references. It has grown to be commonly used by others.

While it might seem difficult at first, it really is not as hard to follow the APA style of writing as it might appear. It helps to maintain the order that is required for complex ordering of references for any publication.

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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