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APA 7 for Health Sciences Research

Introduction to Citing in APA

APA format is the recommended style format used in the nursing profession — at this point, you might have had to use it for a class already! But why do we have all these rules about citing?

To not get in trouble?

Yes, by not properly citing your resources, you are plagiarizing. Plagiarism is an ethical issue that most institutions treat very seriously, and people have lost positions due to plagiarism scandals. But that isn't the only reason to cite your sources correctly.

To give attribution to authors

Definitely! When authors and researchers create new evidence, they deserve credit for their work. Attribution holds them accountable, but we are also giving credit where it is due. No one wants to put in a ton of work just to have it repackaged by someone else without acknowledgment.

It allows others to follow up on your work

When you are creating content, citing allows people who are interested in what you have to say to follow up on your research. They can go back to your original source and read it themselves. Maybe they agree with you, or maybe they think your interpretation is bogus. Either way, it provides a level of accountability.

You can follow a research conversation through time

Fully understanding a topic means being able to follow a research conversation through time. You can see how how public opinion or the language we use to describe the topic may have morphed, or how we treat a disorder might have changed. If you see a big spike in research published during a certain time period, this might indicate that people felt the topic to be particularly relevant at the time, or that organizations were willing to fund research on this issue. Proper citations allow scholars to follow the research conversation forwards and backwards in time.

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