Referencing 101 – APA Style tips

It's still puzzling me

In the library we get a lot of questions about referencing – so here are some handy tips to get you on the way with citing in APA Style (remember to check with your tutor or lecturer for what referencing style you need to use in your assignments).

APA (American Psychological Association) is one of the four main referencing styles used at QUT.  It follows what is known as the author-date system and is pretty simple once you figure out the rules.

When gathering information to format your reference you need to think about four key parts:

  1. Author name or organizational body
  2. Date/year the work was published
  3. Title of the work
  4. How/where the work was published

If you can find those four parts of the reference then you are ready to go! It’s just a matter of piecing it all together to fit with the style rules of APA – this means things like knowing when to put titles in italics or where to put a comma.


Neal, M. J. (2005). Medical pharmacology at a glance (5th ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell   Publishing.

Queensland Rail. (n.d.). Queensland Rail free wi-fi. Retrieved January 6, 2011, from   

Look at the above examples, can you recognize each of the four key parts that make up the reference?

If you need some more specific help on the rules of APA style the APA Style Blog is a good resource which answers some of the trickier aspects of APA.

Make sure to always check QUT CiteWrite for examples of how to cite different types of sources.

You can borrow a copy of the APA Style manual (6th edition) from the library

Or, you can ask a librarian through any of our usual contact points.

QUT’s Ask a Librarian Chat Service.

QUT Library offers the Ask a Librarian online chat service, between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Friday.

Did you know? If you are in need of assistance from the Library, but are unable to visit one of the Library’s Learning and
Research Desks, QUT Library offers the Ask a Librarian online chat service, between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Friday.

Hit the chat button on the Library Home Page

Fill in some basic information and you’ll instantly be in real time contact with a living, breathing librarian.

We can help with referencing, research, and other library based queries. You can obtain help with locating
resources for your assignment, assistance using electronic resources, and advice on referencing materials for
assignments. Try it out now!

Outside of Ask a Librarian online chat hours (10am-6pm Mon-Fri) there’s a ton of handy information available
online 24/7. The Ask QUT Library FAQ is a great way to find quick answers to frequently asked library questions.

If you don’t find answers there you can submit your own questions here :

Ask a Librarian Chat /Library FAQ / Ask QUT /