The other day, I was completing a short article for publication that had about 20+ citations in the document and I had an a-ha moment. One weakness of mine is citing work as I write. I always leave citing for after I finish the written work; and in the end, completing the references using APA Style is daunting.
When I completed my dissertation, my Program had someone that helped students specifically format papers using APA Style. Unfortunately, after graduating, that luxury went away, and I had to determine a way to cite my work with as little pain as possible. I have always had access or knowledge of APA referencing tools. However, I felt it was easier to reference after I finished writing a paper using just the APA manual, which becomes overwhelming when you have a large number of references. It was not until I was slogging through this latest article that I bit the bullet and decided to make use of the referencing tools available that makes referencing using APA Style, so much easier and faster.
EndNote I used EndNote to make my reference list in Word and it was truly a dream! If you have access to an EndNote license, which may occur through your school’s library or as part of your alumni privileges, do it. PSA: Many universities now allow graduates access to library services as a perk after graduation as long as you maintain your university email address. Use this privilege! I know it is tempting to not look back after graduating. But do not overlook the privilege of free access to research and library resources!
Using EndNote use to be quite difficult for me because it always felt like there was a lot that had to occur to import a reference from a database into EndNote. However, now, with a few clicks of very well-labeled buttons, you can export a citation from a database into Endnote with little to no effort. The second magic trick is when EndNote takes the references you import to make your reference list in Word, formatting and all! EndNote can also format in-text citations within your document, in real time, another benefit that makes life so much easier. Basically, if you use EndNote to cite as you write, when you’re done writing your paper, you are done writing your paper! The same functions can be done with a Mac operating system. Here is Endnote’s YouTube Channel: EndNote Training. On the YouTube Channel, these are great starters: How to use EndNote in six minutes: Windows for Windows users and How to use EndNote in six minutes: macOS for Mac users.
If you are completing a short or long writing project, EndNote is a great way to keep track of your references, in addition to a great tool to cite your references automatically in the document as you write.
If you do not have access to EndNote or you have not fully learned how to use the program, there are many other options available.
Purdue Owl Research This site provides a complete summary of formatting for different reference types. Purdue currently has APA 7th Edition and also has APA 6th Edition to see the differences between the two formats. There are some key differences between APA 7th Edition and APA 6th Edition, especially with in-text citation. Purdue has you covered with both versions.
Purdue also has a Citation Manager that can provide reference list and in-text citation formatting if the reference is contained within the many databases that are searched by this tool. Here are some screenshots of the tool at work:
Noodle Tools Express
Noodle Tools Express I learned of this reference tool from a student. This tool formats references when you input the information. The citation manager above is great when you have a reference type that is readily available such as a journal or book. However, what if the reference is a PowerPoint presentation or a podcast? Noodle Tools Express formats the reference based on information that is inputted. While inputting information, Noodle Tools Express also provides feedback if you are inputting information outside of the APA formatting parameters. For example, if you are capitalizing every first word in a title, you will get a message the capitalization is not following APA format. There are also pointers with copying and pasting the reference. The screenshots below provide a visual of the process.
APA Style Website This is from the publishers of the APA manual. This website provides resources to cite information. There is also information on the accepted format of writing the actual paper. For example grammar: APA Grammar Guidelines is covered and bias free language: Bias Free Language and much more. And since they literally wrote the book on APA formatting, this is a comprehensive source. In the past, the website was not too user friendly. But, with more online sources available, the website has really become more comprehensive and supportive.
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association: 7th Edition
The APA 7th Edition Manual is a reference that you will use throughout your writing career. The benefit of having the book is the organized presentation of writing and citing using APA Style. In the past, the book was not particularly user-friendly or informative for non-standard references. There were many gaps with how to format references that were not books or journals. In the APA 7th Edition, this has changed, and the information is presented in a clear manner with many examples of non-traditional references and the format to cite these references. This is a great book to have as the authority on how to cite in APA Style.
I hope you found these tools useful. If you know of any other referencing tools that should be on this list, please feel free to list them in the comments below.