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APA: mini-workshops, exercises, examples, and more!

Getting Started

Sometimes when students first encounter the apparent need for a list of references, they might rightly question its value.  Writing in college is different than much of their previous encounters with processing text on a screen or putting pen to paper.  Letter, resume and memo writing, creative and reflective writing, and journaling do not usually require input from the writing of others.

In college, thinking carefully and carefully writing about those thoughts takes on new meaning.  Students are asked to look outward from the self, and discover the wider world, the one that is populated by new ideas, fascinating individuals, propaganda, charlatans, and the great mediocrity.  And it has to be documented, somehow!

Writing in college means that bits and pieces of this wider world land in your essays, reports, and proposals.  You have brought them there, in a thoughtful manner, to carry on the great conversation with them, with your readers and with yourself.  While there is an exciting conversation going on in your own paper, between you, the other authors you have included in the conversation, and your readers, it is vital to show the origins of those other, separate strands of intelligence.

While blending your own voice with that of other authors may yield a beautiful harmony, the list of references is the formal tool in APA that reveals the separate strands of intellect even though there is a wonderful choir in your paper.  Citations within the text (in-text citations) keep the strands separate at the level of the individual sentence, paragraph or page.

The list of references and in-text citations are the calling cards of writing with Clarity and Honesty in college.  The APA rules for reference list entries and in-text citations are standardized, and applied everywhere in the same way to boost clarity in writing.


What follows in the next box is a reference list exercise.

Class Exercise

This exercise has the following aims:

1. Building familiarity with basic reference list entry forms.

2. Students will work with the structure of a list of references.


With these exercise sheets in hand (see below), students will do the following:

1. Using point form, identify the mistakes in the individual entries.

2. Using point form, identify the mistakes in the structure of the list of references.

3. Write a corrected version of the reference list.

4. (you may want to refer to the completed exercise example box below)


Exercise Sheet 1


Viscusi, W. K., Huber, J., & Bell, J. (2015). The private rationality of bottled water: a national survey and its findings. Contemporary Economic Policy, 33(3), 450-467, doi: 10.1111/coep. 12088

JACOBSEN, J. (2016, October). The ascension of bottled water. Beverage Industry, 33(10), pp. 14-18. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database.


Exercise Sheet 2


Fishbach, Ayelet. (Nov/Dec 2018). How to Keep Working When You're Just Not Feeling It. Harvard Business Review, 96 (6), pp. 138-141.

Andrew Parker and Alexandra Gerbasi. (2017, March). ENERGY: its role in the workplace. Training Journal, 16-19.

Alhassan, N. & Greene, E. (2020, June). Individual Approaches To Employee Motivation: is it worthwhile in the 21st century? International Journal of Global Business, Volume 13 Issue 1, pp. 16-24. 8p.

Exercise Examples

This completed exercise example may be used as a guide to complete the two exercises above.



Brandert, K. T., & Matkin, G. S. (2019). When the crisis is personal: A phenomenological study of women in leadership. Journal of Leadership

Studies,13(3), 56-61. doi: 10.1002/jls.21663

Haudan, J. (2020, April). Leading your people in a time of crisis. Leadership Excellence, 37(4), 6-8.

Macaulay, S., & Cook, S. (2019, May). Coaching leaders through a crisis. Training Journal, 14-15.

Prager, H. (2016, March). How do we fix our leadership crisis? Talent Development, 70(3), 30-34.

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