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APA 7 Referencing

Round or square brackets?

Round brackets (parentheses).

Abbreviating a term within the text:

The abbreviation must be written out in full the first time.


First time: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a term used to encompass several conditions...

Second time:  One of the symptoms of COPD is breathlessness.

NOTE:  Abbreviations should generally only be used for recognised terms and must be able to be understood by the reader. 

(APA manual, 2020, p. 189)


Abbreviating the author in a citation within the text:

When abbreviating a group author within the text, the abbreviation is placed with the year in round brackets.


"Ministry of Health, 2019 states that ..." becomes "Ministry of Health (MoH, 2019) states that..."

(APA manual, 2020, p. 268)

Square brackets

Abbreviating a term within the in-text citation:

Square brackets are used to abbreviate groups or corporate authors or to add information within citations.

First use includes both the full name and the abbreviation.

Example: Health in New Zealand is delivered by a complex set of groups (Ministry of Health [MOH], 2019).

Second and subsequent citations use the abbreviation only.

Example: These groups include 20 local boards (MOH, 2016).

Note:  In the reference list, the group or corporate author are written out in full.

(APA manual, 2020, p. 160).


Kia ora, welcome to the UCOL Library APA 7 referencing guide. 

This guide is intended to assist you to correctly cite and reference sources of information used in your assignments.

Please be aware that external resources (including referencing tools) may not be updated to APA 7

so you may need to make the changes yourself.

If you need further help, come and ask us in the library.

What is APA referencing?

  • one of many academic referencing styles
  • devised by the American Psychological Association
  • UCOL currently uses the 7th Edition of the APA style.

Why reference?

  • It is morally and legally right to acknowledge that you have used someone else's idea or words
  • demonstrates you have undertaken research and located relevant information
  • enables readers to locate the source of your information
  • enables readers to read further on the topic
  • verifies the information
  • allows you to retrace your steps and locate information you have used
  • failure to acknowledge the work of others that you have used is considered to be plagiarism and can result in negative consequences.

Structure of Referencing

There are two parts to referencing:

1.  In text citation - This is where you acknowledge a source of information within the body of your assignment. 

     In-text citations are used to support your ideas and opinions. 

2.  Reference list - This is a list of all the sources of information you have used.

     The reference list appears in alphabetical order at the end of your assignment.

Before you reference, be sure to identify what type of resource you are using.  Is it a book, an article, image? 

Each type of resource uses a different structure for referencing.         

Choose the type of resource from the tabs on the left side of this page to check you are using the correct structure.


  • Every source of information you have cited in text, appears in your reference list.
  • List only those sources you have actually used in your assignment.

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