Posted in 2 SBI4U Biology

SBI4U APA Citation

RefWorks and Zotero are services you can sign up for and it will format your references for you to generate a proper References (bibliography) list.  Noodle Tools is another one you can use.  Click on the APA citation style guide which came from our school library and follow the formats therein when making your list of references.  For end-of-text citation, APA lists them in alphabetical order by author or publisher.

As you do research to find answers to questions in science, you must credit the authors(s) who published the idea first within your response as well as at the end.  You are quite familiar with citing at the end.  You will know this as making a bibliography.  In research papers the word “References” is used instead of bibliography.

Before becoming a teacher I worked in a research lab at The Lawson Health Research Institute.  The lab I worked in was studying the receptor protein for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) called Flt-1.  In a small study I got to collaborate with the lab across the hall.  We looked at the effect of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) on FRTL-5 thyroid cells.  In our article, we had to generate an “Introduction” section which explained to the reader the rationale for our experiments.  We based our hypotheses on the work of other groups and so had to give credit to them. For example:


You will see that several ideas exist in that first paragraph of the background.  Every new idea within a paragraph has to be credited to the authors (researchers) who made those discoveries.  So we credited Denef, Mahmoud and Wollman in this first section.  The et al in the citations means “all the other people who worked with the first author”, but the props go to the first author who was the scientist who did the most work.  My colleague in the lab across the hall named JiaFang Wang was the lead investigator of this study. This is why he was the first author.  He was a good guy who had the following picture posted beside his lab bench:


After we published our results, other groups have used what we have found in their articles and so have had to cite our work as well.  So our in-text citation in their papers would be (Wang et al. 1998).  Notice that the in-text citation goes before the period at the end of the sentence that the idea comes from.  The more a scientist gets cited the better they do.  It’s kind of like having the most “likes” on your social media.  This will literally lead to an increase in their reputation and funding.  More recognition and funding means they can keep making important discoveries.

At the end of the article you will see the reference list.  The citations are listed alphabetically by the first author’s last name, not in the order in which the papers were cited in the article itself.  Each scientific journal has its own style of setting up end-of-text citations.  So when you submit your work you have to follow their rules.

We will follow the APA method of citation which uses the same in-text method as shown above.

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