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CDU APA Referencing: Pre-Submission Checklists

A guide to help you better understand CDU APA 7th Referencing

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In-text Citation Checklist

# Checklist item Further information
1 Has your lecturer asked you to include page numbers in all in-text citations where you paraphrased information from a resource?

When paraphrasing only include author and year in your citation – eg. (Jones, 2015).

However, your lecturer may request that you include a page number in your citation, even if you have paraphrased – eg. (Jones, 2015, p. 3).


Are your quotes in double quotation marks and have you included the page or paragraph number in the in-text citation?

(Quotes of fewer than 40 words)


Parenthetical Citation: Social workers are practice providers and “are frequently leaders in providing crisis intervention services to individuals, families, and groups" (Mirabito, 2017, p. 118).

Narrative Citation: Mirabito (2017) stated that social workers are practice providers and "are frequently leaders in providing crisis intervention services to individuals, families, and groups" (p. 118).


Have you used a quote of 40 words or more? Is this quote necessary or could you summarize or paraphrase the text?

Have you followed the rules on formatting a quote of 40 words or more?

Treat a quote of 40 words or more as a block quote.

Omit quotation marks and start the quote on a new line. Indent the whole block by about 1cm (or 5 spaces) from the left margin and double-space the entire paragraph. Add the citation after the quote’s final punctuation. Add a colon at the end of the line before the block quote.


They had a less good walk back, simply because

they hit the upper waters of the north west river at the

wrong place and had to walk two miles upstream to

cross it. In the middle of the crossing Thelma found

a thalloid liverwort and to Hugh’s astonishment stopped

to collect it. (Davies, 2010, p. 62)

4 Have you changed a quote to make it fit grammatically or because it contains irrelevant/unnecessary information? Have you followed the APA guidelines for changing a quote?

When leaving out information in a quote insert an ellipsis (three dots).

When adding or slightly changing words within a quote for reasons of grammar or clarity, indicate the change with square brackets.


“Drug prevention … [efforts] backed this up” (Gardner, 2007, p. 49).

5 Have you followed the ‘et al.’ rule when citing 3 or more authors?

When citing a resource with three or more authors, only show the first named author, followed by et al.


(Smith et al., 2019) / According to Smith et al. (2019) families are …

6 If you have two in-text citations in one parenthesis, are they in alphabetical order and separated by a semi colon?


(Miller, 2018; Smith, 2015)

7 Do you need to use a specific part of a resource with no page number or a specific section of a document?

Often electronic sources don’t include page numbers, or you want to use a specific section of a document.

It may be useful to include a paragraph number, section number or use the words the source uses instead, if the source is lengthy.


(ACARA, n.d., ACELA1443)

(Beutler, 2000, para. 5)

(NMBA, 2016, Standard 3.1, p. 4)

8 Have you used information that was already cited from another resource (secondary citation)? Have you checked if you could access the original resource?

If you can’t access the original resource, cite as a secondary citation.


You read Lister’s article. In that article Lister refers to Miller’s ideas. If you can’t find Miller’s work, cite Miller’s ideas like this:

… of social justice (Miller, 1984, as cited in Lister, 2007).


Miller’s (1984) simple definition of social justice (as cited in Lister, 2007) ...

You include the Lister article in your reference list:

Lister, R. (2007). Social justice. Benefits, 15(2), 113–125.

9 Do you have multiple resources with 3+ authors where the first named author is the same, and the resources have the same date?


Smith, A., Butler, J., Jones, T., & Walker, T. (2017).

Smith, A., Butler, J., Miller, S., Lowe, K., & Turner, J. (2017)

Both these citations shorten to (Smith et al., 2017)

To avoid confusion when citing them both, cite them as follows:

(Smith, Butler, Jones, et al., 2017)

(Smith, Butler, Miller, et al., 2017)


Have you used personal communications like conversations, personal interviews, phone conversations, emails, documents from an intranet (eg. hospital policy) etc. as resources for your assignment?

See: Personal Communication

‘Personal communications’ are resources that are accessible to you, but not your reader.

For this reason, you only cite them in-text, without including a reference.

Format: (Author, personal communication, Month date, year).

Example: …

as stated in the Infection control guideline (Royal Darwin Hospital, personal communication, September 4, 2019).

… guidelines were provided in a conversation with Director of Nursing (R. Smith, personal communication, October 18, 2019).

Any resource that your reader can access, will require an in-text citation and reference.

11 Have you used Traditional Knowledge or Oral Traditions that are not accessible by your reader, as a resource in your assignment?

If you speak with an Indigenous person directly, follow the ‘personal communication’ in-text citation example.

Format for in-text citation:

The person's full name, the nation or specific Indigenous group to which they belong, as well as their location and other relevant information, followed by "personal communication" and the date.

No reference entry is included.


We spoke with Tracy Woodroffe (Warumungu Luritja, lives in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, personal communication, April 4, 2019) about …

If Traditional Knowledge or Oral Traditions of Indigenous Peoples can be recovered by the reader (e.g. video, audio, interview transcript, book, article), cite it in-text and include a reference list entry in the correct format for the type of source.

12 Have you used an appropriate level of citation?

Consider the number of resources you have used for the assignment (always follow your lecturer’s guidelines).

When using information from a resource in your text, provide an appropriate credit to the source – an in-text citation.

Avoid undercitation and overcitation. Undercitation can lead to plagiarism, while overcitation is distracting and unnecessary.

For example, it is considered overcitation to repeat the same citation in every sentence when the source and topic have not changed.

Instead, when paraphrasing a key point in more than one sentence within a paragraph, cite the source in the first sentence in which it is relevant and do not repeat the citation in subsequent sentences as long as the source remains clear and unchanged.

Add a citation after a few sentences and again at the end.

See Appropriate Levels of Citations for more information.

13 Have you correctly used parenthetical and narrative citations?

In-text citations have two formats: parenthetical and narrative.

Parenthetical citation: Both the author and the date, separated by a comma, appear in parentheses (brackets). A parenthetical citation can appear within or at the end of a sentence.


Research indicates that workplace health is a significant social problem (Schofield & Germov, 2017).

Narrative citation: The author is incorporated into the text as part of the sentence and the date appears in brackets immediately after the author’s name. If you have multiple narrative citations to one resource within a single paragraph, the year can be omitted after the first complete narrative citation showing author and year.

Example: Schofield and Germov (2019) state that workplace health is a significant social problem. Schofield and Germov provide many examples and statistics indicating that workplace injuries, illnesses and death occur extensively. They found that workplace deaths are not randomly distributed but are more pronounced in certain industries and professions. Most severe workplace accidents occur in workplaces that involve a high degree of manual labour and in hazardous conditions (Schofield & Germov, 2019).

Always include the year in parenthetical citations.

Reference List Checklist

# Checklist item Further information
1 Have you checked if your lecturer has any special referencing requirements, for example page numbers for all citations or no hyperlinks? If your lecturer states specific requirements for referencing, these override APA style, and you must incorporate them in your assignment. Check in your Learnline unit information, or with your lecturer directly.
2 Do your references appear at the end of your document, on a new page? References are listed at the end of your document. Insert a page break to start the references on a new page.
3 Are your references headed by the title References, centred and bold? This is the exact formatting required.
4 Are your references in alphabetical order by first named author, or title if there is no author (Listed sequentially – top to bottom)? Ignore the words ‘A’, ‘An’, and ‘The’ when alphabetising by title.
5 Are your references double spaced? Regardless of spacing required for assignments, your reference list must be double-spaced.
6 Are your references left aligned? Regardless of alignment required for assignments, you must left align the references.
7 Do your references have a hanging indent of 5-7 spaces?

FAQ What is a hanging indent?

FAQ How to create a hanging indent?

8 Have you followed the APA examples in this guide, including punctuation, spaces, italics, parenthesis etc.? Video – Punctuation Pitfalls:
9 Have you cited and referenced all resources used?

Whenever you use information from a resource in your text, an in-text citation is needed to show your reader where you found the information.

An in-text citation consists of author family name/organisation name and year, while the reference added at the end of your document includes full details of the resource.

10 Do all your references have a matching in-text citation and vice versa?

References cited in text must appear in the reference list and vice versa. The only exceptions to this rule are ‘Personal communication’ and ‘Traditional knowledge’.

11 Are your URLs and DOIs hyperlinked?

All URLs and DOIs should be hyperlinked eg.

12 Have you shortened URLs that are longer than two lines, using a URL shortening service?

URL shortening service:

Reminder: check ALL URLs work before submitting


Have you followed the rule of capitalisation for your titles and journal titles?

Video – A capital idea:

Capitalisation in APA style is very specific:

- In titles and subtitles of articles, chapters, books, reports and webpage titles, capitalise only the first letter of the first word of the title, the subtitle and any proper nouns.

- For journal titles you must capitalise the first letter of every word (except for words like ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘of’, ‘the’, ‘and’).


Where you have an author with multiple middle names, only include the first two initials of an author’s first names.


Robert Mark Smith: Smith, R. M.

Roberta Mary Cordelia Sanderson: Sanderson, R. M.


If your resource did not have a date, did you use n.d. (no date)?

Example of reference:

Author. (n.d.). Title. Publisher. DOI/URL

Example of in-text citation:

(Author, n.d.)


If you have resources with the same author, but different dates, have you listed the references in chronological order (oldest first)?

Example of reference list entry:

Jones, J. (2012). Travel tips. Publisher.

Jones, J. (2016). Worst holidays ever. Publisher.

Example of in-text citation:

Jones (2012) stated that…


If you have resources with the same author and the same date, have you added a letter after the date?

Have you added the same letter after the date in the matching in-text citation?

Example of reference:

Smith, J. (2014a). Best food ever. Publisher.

Smith, J. (2014b). Chocolate is great. Publisher.

Example of in-text citation:

(Smith, 2014a)


If you have resources with the same author and no date, have you added a hyphen and a letter after n.d.?

Have you added the same letter after the date in the in-text citation?

Example of reference:

St John. (n.d.-a). Burns. URL

St John. (n.d.-b). Scalds. URL

Example of in-text citation:

(St John, n.d.-a)


Have you explained all your abbreviations before using them?

It is possible to use an abbreviated version of an organisational author in text, but you must use it in full the first time.

In-text example: (World Health Organization [WHO], 2014). Use square brackets if it is within parentheses. Show subsequent citations as (WHO, 2014). In your reference list use the full name of the author.


Have you provided a DOI or URL wherever required for your electronic resources?

If your electronic resource has a DOI, add the DOI to your reference.

A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is a series of numbers, letters, and symbols, used to uniquely identify a resource and provide a permanent address. Format:

If your electronic resource was accessed through Library Search or a CDU Library database and does NOT have a DOI, do NOT add a URL to your reference.

If your electronic resource was accessed through a search engine like Google, add the resource URL to your reference.

FAQ: What is a DOI and where can I find it


Have you changed all your DOIs to the correct format?

DOIs should be in link form and clickable.

Examples of changes:

DOI on article: doi:10.1037/arc0000014

DOI changed to:

Charles Darwin University acknowledges the traditional custodians across the lands on which we live and work, and we pay our respects to Elders both past and present.
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