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Introduction to the American Psychological Association (APA) Style: In-text Citations and References

by Bernadette M. López-Fitzsimmons | 10 Oct 2017
Resource Description: This lesson is integrated into a bilingual course on Intercultural Communication = Comunicación Intercultural. The lesson is introduced as learners prepare to cite sources in essays and oral presentations using presentation software like PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Prezi. Learners are former students with interrupted formal education (SIFE), higher education opportunity program (HEOP), or newcomers.  They are enrolled in a three-credit course in a two-year associate's degree program.
Learning APA style is important in this course and in their entire college experience.  Since APA is very tedious and complex, the lessons are integrated into the course syllabus. Each mini lesson is scaffolded according to the corresponding assignment such as an article analysis, summary and reflection, presentation, etc. Information literacy is important in college.  Therefore, introducing learners to APA style is important.
Audience: Teacher Training, University
Audience Language Proficiency: Intermediate
Duration: 30 to 45 minutes
Language Skill: Other, Reading, Writing
Language Skill Other:

1. Reading and Writing using APA citations and references.

2. Summarizing, paraphrasing, and direct quoting in writing and oral presenting

3. Listening and speaking during pair share and whole class share

4. Collaborating with group partners on their oral presentation and slides, including in-text citations and references.

Content Area: The course is about intercultural communication which intersects with linguistics, languages, history, cultural practices, politics, literature, sociology, and economics.  English is taught as English in the content areas -- integrating academic/professional English in an academic discipline.
Materials and Technology:

1. Computer, projector, screen, Google Chrome Books, Computer lab

2. PowerPoint Slides, Google Slides, or Prezi

3. Library Databases:  Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Proquest Central, and Proquest Historical Newspapers

4.  Database Tools: Email and Cite apps

5.  Citation Creator Software:  Knight Cite and Citation Machine or others

6.  APA sample citations to use as examples




1. Learn how to use in-text citations and references in presentations and essays

2.  Use in-text citations and references after paraphrasing, summarizing, and direct quoting.

3. Become familiar with software tools of databases such as citation creators and email apps.

4.  Develop organizational skills such as creating folders and filing articles in the folders which is necessary in academic courses.


1.  Learners will be able to use APA in-text citations and references in academic writing and speaking/presenting.

2.  Learners will become acquainted with the tools in library databases at the college level.

3.  Learners will be develop organizational skills necessary in academic and professional writing and presenting.



1. Give an overview of why APA Style is used in academic and professional writing and presenting.  Use examples from references in the textbook.

2. Walk learners through searching in general databases: Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Proquest Central, and Proquest Historical Newspapers.

3. Invite students to search for articles they can use in their presentations.

4. Ask learners to save articles in a folder, select the APA citation, and email them to themselves.

5.More advanced learners can create a log on and create folders within databases.  They can file their articles within the databases.  Learners must be organized in remembering their log-ons for each database.

6  Learners will have to use in-text citations and references in their next oral presentation assignment.




1. Presentation software: PowerPoint, Google Slides, Prezi

2. Computer and Projector: practice using technology in an academic and professional setting.

3.  Grammar and spelling in the slides.

4.  Speaking and listening skills during the presentation.

5.  Organizational skills in creating and delivering the presentation

6.  Collaborating with peers to deliver the presentation.




1. Advanced students can create folders within databases, filing articles according to topics for this and other courses.

2. This lesson is applicable to the other three courses learners are taking this semester.  They are required to search for articles and use APA.

3. Advanced students can use other resources such as ebooks, ebook chapters, streaming videos, etc. Proper citation is required for these sources as well.


Library Databases: Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Proquest Central, and Proquest Historical Newspapers

More advanced students: Ebook Collections such as Gale, Credo Reference, Springer, etc., and Kanopy Streaming Video Collection.

University log-ons are required for access to library databases.

Useful Links: 1. The Purdue OWL: APA
2. Knight Cite
3.  Citation Machine
Uploaded Files:
TESOL Interest Section: Bilingual Education, English for Specific Purposes, Higher Education, Intercultural Communication, Second Language Writing