Integrating Academic Sources in APA Style

The fact that academic writing adopts an objective tone makes it important to integrate reliable sources as evidence to support the main ideas/arguments of writing. In the process of integrating sources, a new writer should learn to select relevant sources and avoid ‘plagiarism’.

With regard to the selection of sources, academic textbooks and journal articles are generally considered more reliable than other general sources such as articles or videos from general websites, as the former is scholarly sources which are peer-reviewed and edited by professional editors. 

As for avoiding plagiarism, it is important to direct quote, paraphrase or summarize the source and add citation information to the source you integrate into your writing. In the writing process, you should follow formats such as MLA, APA, Harvard and Chicago for guidelines on how to format the paper, especially on how to write citations and references. 

For early childhood education students and professionals, American Psychology Association (APA) style is specified as the guideline for the purpose. APA style is created not only to help writers present ideas in a clear, concise and organized manner but also guide authors to fully disclose essential information of the sources they integrate into their writings and format their writings in a reader-friendly manner. Refer to the latest APA publication manual - the 7th version for details.

Many beginner writers may find it challenging to write APA citations and references correctly. To solve this problem, an increasing number of reference management software has been developed to simplify the process and improve accuracy. Our university library offers free RefWorks, one of the reference management software, to all students and staff of the Education University of Hong Kong. You are recommended to use this tool to generate your reference list. Watch the video to learn more about how to integrate academic sources in APA style.

Now that you understand how to integrate sources in APA style, you can go ahead and taking the challenges. 

Challenges for integrating source with A

There are three levels of challenges designed for learners with different levels of confidence with English writing. However, feel free to attempt any level of challenges according to your own learning pace. 


If you are less confident and would like to start from a less challenging exercise, take the Bronze challenges. In the Bronze challenges, you will learn to judge which in-text citation is written correctly.

Click here to start the Bronze challenges


This challenge is for students with medium levels of English proficiency, the sentences are more difficult than the Bronze level ones. Read the ‘References’ section of an article and point out the mistakes.

Click here to start the Silver challenges



For students with good general English writing skills, this Gold challenge gives students an opportunity to select an academic source and integrate it into a given excerpt of writing using APA in-text citation format.

Click here to start the Gold challenges

Good Luck!

Additional Learning Resources

APA Official Website – this is the official website of APA style by American Psychology Association.

Purdue OWL is one of the pioneers in helping students with academic writing with APA style. Their website below gives detailed instructions on how to write APA in-text citation according to the 7th edition of APA Publication Manual. You may also use their automatic APA citation generator to write APA citations.