To the uninitiated, referencing and formatting may seem like a trivial matter. Surely it is only what you write that counts right?  No, it is true that the ideas and the writing are the difficult part, but formatting and referencing are important as well. It is impossible to get a good grade without good ideas and clear writing, but a poorly referenced and formatted paper will have the same effect. In the worst cases, bad references could cause you to fail.  You would therefore be extremely foolish to attempt to undertake academic studies without learning this basic skill.

Referencing can seem complicated and scary, but  it is actually very straightforward.  While writing well and coming up with good ideas takes years of practice and study, referencing is only marginally more difficult than tying your shoelace.  Which is exactly why you should take the time to learn to format and reference perfectly. Imagine spending hours and weeks over your life writing a superb paper, only to receive a poor grade because you failed to reference correctly. It has happens to thousands of students every year, including to this idiot writer once or twice as well.

Luckily, the good people of Harvard University have provided a free online tutorial in the APA style, that explains and demonstrates everything you need to know in 40 minutes.  Even if you think you know everything already, this video is extremely thorough, and worth watching  just to confirm that you know what you think you know.

In addition, we recommend that when you reference and cite that you double check your formatting with the Purdue APA formatting guide. Here you will find numerous examples of how to correctly reference every conceivable source, including those things we all find tricky such as books with several authors, internet resources etc.