Citation and referencing

Topics: Citation, Psychology, Reference Pages: 8 (1893 words) Published: September 25, 2013
(2nd Revision)


This guide was originally compiled by S. Sparrius with contributions from Prof. A.J. Gilbert, J. Rankin and D. van der Want in 1997. It was revised by C .van Ommen and C. Macleod in 2001, and by J. Marx in 2007.

Some examples were drawn directly from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (1994).


In the Department of Psychology we mostly use the citation and referencing guidelines established by the South African Journal of Psychology (SAJP), which are in turn taken from a universal standard: the guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA). These guidelines may differ from those that you use in other academic disciplines; and it is therefore important that you familiarize yourself with the requirements of the Department of Psychology.

There are 2 major objectives of a citation and referencing system:

1. To give formal acknowledgement of the original sources of ideas, arguments, theories etc. presented in your written work. Failure to do this is called “plagiarism”. Plagiarism is regarded by the University as seriously as piracy in the music industry and forgery in the financial world. For further information on this, please refer to the Psychology Departments s document on plagiarism.

2. To enable the reader, by means of a standard system of referencing, to identify easily what material (written or otherwise) you have used in your work and to locate the source of this material.

This document is only a brief guide. For further information you can consult:

Plug, C. (1993). Guide to authors. South African Journal of Psychology (2’” ed.). Pretoria: Psychological Association of South Africa.

American Psychological Association. (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Both guides are available from the Fort Hare Library (East London). In addition, examples of appropriate citation and referencing can be found in the Louw & Edwards textbook and in copies of the SAJP in the library.


At the end of each piece of academic written work which you submit to the Department of Psychology, you must have a section entitled “References”. Here you must list full details of all the texts you consulted and which are referenced in the text of your assignment.

“References” are different to a “Bibliography”. A Bibliography contains details of materials other than those actually cited, but which may be relevant to your work. You do NOT need to include a bibliography. Bibliographies are normally only used in full-length books and in dissertations.


You should use citations whenever:
You are using a direct quotation from a book or journal article or any other source of material; or You are not quoting directly but you are using a fairly specific argument, idea or piece of information from a book or journal or any other source of material.

Author and the year of publication are inserted in the text at the appropriate point.

Example 1
Rogers (1994) compared reaction times ….

Example 2
In a recent study of reaction times (Rogers, 1994) …
Note that the author’s name and date are separated by a comma.

Example 3
In debates about the interconnectedness of thought and language, “the strong evidence” previously discussed for the functional interconnectedness of human language and thinking does not fit well with Chomsky’s hypothesis that… (Chomsky, 2000, p.113). Note that this is a “direct quotation” and therefore the page number must be given. The author’s name, the date of publication and the page number are separated by commas. The page number is abbreviated to “p” followed by a full stop. Where there are multiple pages (e.g. 113-116), the abbreviation becomes “pp”...

References: to on-line information
Surname, initials. (date). Title of article. Name of source [On-line]. Available: Supplier/Database identifier or number. Site/Path/File [access date].
Parker, I. (1990). Discourse: noun, verb or social practice? Philosophical Psychology, 3, (2/3) [online],
p.205. Available: ++psych [2005, April 4].
American Psychological Association (1994). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Plug, C. (1993). Guide to authors: South African Journal of Psychology (2” ed.). Pretoria: Psychological Association of South Africa.
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