Transition to APA 7th referencing style.

From September 2021 the standard referencing style at Sheffield Hallam University is APA 7th.

  • New enrolments will use APA 7th from September 2021
  • Continuing students, not expected to complete in 21/22, may submit work using APA 6th in 21/22 and will be expected to adopt APA 7th for 22/23.
  • Final year students may continue to use APA 6th.
  • Students engaged on long term projects, such as doctoral students who will not complete in 21/22, should consult with supervisors about the appropriate referencing style to use.

This will not affect students who currently use other referencing styles for consistency with subject or professional practice.  Subject and course teams will continue to advise these students.

Referencing is an essential part of academic writing. When writing an assignment you will be drawing constantly upon information you have read in books, journal articles and other sources. You are required to acknowledge these sources through referencing.  Accurate referencing is very important because;

  •  it demonstrates that you have researched or read around the subject which you are writing about.
  • it provides evidence for your arguments.
  • it allows any reader of your work to find the original sources you used.
  • it shows that you are not passing off someone else’s research as your own thoughts.

You should reference whenever you use someone else’s work in your own work, not only when you quote but also when you paraphrase or summarise someone’s ideas. At Sheffield Hallam University most courses use a style of referencing called APA 7th. However, some courses and subject areas use a different referencing style and you should advise your students on what style you are requiring them to use.

Assessing student’s referencing – there are a number of aspects to consider when assessing student referencing;

  • the range and quality of the sources that have been chosen.
  • how the information from the sources has been used and evaluated.
  • whether it is possible to understand which resources have been used and where to find them.
  • if references are clear and unambiguous.
  • that a consistent style has been maintained. 

Ideally, the references should be presented in the referencing style you have recommended, but functionality and consistency are the most important points. The presentation of references is much less important than the quality of the sources selected and how they have been used.

Referencing styles – students often find the presentation of citations and references difficult. They therefore need to be told clearly which referencing style to use and how they will be marked on using it. Ideally the same style should be used by all staff who teach on a course.

The APA 7th style of referencing is recommended, because it enables your students to use the many apps and tools available to help with referencing and for them to benefit from the wide range of support resources that are available for this style. However, if there is an academic reason why another style needs to be used instead, students should be given detailed guidance on how to cite and reference in that style.

It should be noted that different referencing tools and apps that use APA 7th can sometimes produce slightly different references. To ensure consistency in referencing, students are recommended to use only one referencing tool / app rather than a mix of different ones.

Guidance for staff and students on referencing and proofreading.

There are lots of resources to help you learn how to reference using APA 7th, including apps and online tools which make putting together a reference list quick and easier. Academic staff will also benefit from the guidelines as they clarify the acceptable level of proofreading and should therefore reduce the number of academic misconduct cases. Take a look at;

Feedback to students.

When providing feedback to students, they need very clear guidance to enable them to improve. If they are simply told that they have ‘poor references’, they may be unsure if their references are weak because of the sources of information used or because of how they have presented them.

Contacts and further guidance.