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People use the American Psychological Association (APA) documentation technique in a variety of academic disciplines. Basically, one feature of the APA referencing that stands out is the freedom of authors in providing locators such as page numbers. In this case, plagiarism is slowly creeping into the academic sphere because of the optional incorporation of page numbers in the APA in-text citations. Unfortunately, it undermines future scientific research.

General Aspects

The APA format uses relatively loose language in describing the circumstances for including the page numbers in in-text citations. In particular, the incorporation of page numbers in in-text citations is limited to direct quotations alone. However, it lacks the documentation of page numbers for summaries and paraphrases in the APA referencing. In this case, the wording of this guideline suggests that the inclusion or exclusion of page numbers for summaries and paraphrases is not mandatory. Besides direct quoting, people do not practice the provision of page numbers in other instances of in-text citations. Consequently, this feature of the APA style has created a sanctioned loophole that authors may use to mask inconsistencies in their arguments or outright plagiarise another author’s work. Unfortunately, the failure to indicate page numbers significantly undermines the rules for citing in APA format.

APA referencing

Plagiarism in APA Referencing

Plagiarism in works that lack page numbers in the APA 6th edition may manifest in various forms. Firstly, it occurs through patchwriting. Basically, the lack of a page number in the APA referencing tasks the reader to read through entire sources. In this case, plagiarism software cannot detect patchwriting. It is because the syntax is altered although no actual paraphrasing has been done to the original text. Secondly, the issue is the authors’ wrongful use of intellectual property due to the lack of page numbers. In turn, they may need to encounter some ideas in the previous reading, not finding cited evidence. Hence, authors may use the wrong citation details in the APA format of writing. However, the plagiarism is not noticed because the readers will not task themselves to read a complete source to confirm a piece of information, which they are sure is right.


Documentation of sources without page numbers undermines scientific research and development. Basically, page numbers are crucial details that allow for systematic progress in research. It yields cumulative knowledge. Then, the academic community prides itself in advancing research in the APA referencing from the endpoint of the previous researcher’s outcome. This trend may not be sustainable because tracking the progress that is occurring in particular research is becoming increasingly difficult with the author-year style, especially in cases where sources are relatively large. Moreover, the process of verification of an author’s work is cumbersome or impossible for the APA style paper. Hence, an author’s interpretation of a source can be faulty in the APA referencing. Thus, the correctness of an interpretation may only be determined if all the page numbers are provided to ensure that the specific location of the information is determinable.

Conclusion on APA Referencing

Page numbers are an invaluable detail in an in-text citation. The leniency of the APA referencing concerning the provision of page numbers has created a platform for widespread plagiarism. Therefore, the next edition of the APA citation must include page numbers in in-text citations. People need it to facilitate validation and tracking of research findings. However, also should know how to cite APA style, principles of the APA format book, and rules for APA format website.

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