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University of Newcastle Library Guides

APA 6th Style:  Secondary sources

UON Library guide for APA 6th

Secondary sources

Citing sources used in another publication


In your research you will often encounter resources where an author refers to another researcher's work. This source within a source is known as a 'secondary source' and is referenced in a particular way.

For example, the following image is from the first page of the journal article:

Featherstone, I. E. (1999). Physiological third stage of labour. British Journal of Midwifery, 7, 216-221.

Clip from Physiological third stage of labour













In this article, the author, Izumi Featherstone, refers to research undertaken in 1990 by Begley (see circled text).

If Begley's research was also relevant to your own assignment you might decide that you also need to refer to this author's research in your writing.

Where possible, you should try to obtain the original published work - in this case the 1990 journal article by Begley - and read through the article to form your own opinions on Begley's research.

Often, however, it may be extremely difficult to obtain the original publication - it may be published in another language, or in a book or journal which is difficult to access.

In these circumstances, you are permitted to include a citation to the secondary source, which in this case is the article by Featherstone.


In-text citation

In-text citations to secondary sources must name the original source, and also provide a citation for the secondary source. Using the example in the article above:


... research has been conducted studying the falling PPH rates in the third stage (Begley, as cited in Featherstone, 1999)


Begley’s study (as cited in Featherstone, 1999) ...


Reference list entry

Your reference list includes entries for sources you have read when completing your assessment tasks. In the case of secondary sources, you must include a reference to where you found the information.

Using the above example, you would not include Begley (1990) in your references - you would need to include Featherstone (1999) as this is what you read:


Featherstone, I. E. (1999). Physiological third stage of labour. British Journal of Midwifery, 7, 216-221.


As you included details of the secondary source within your in-text citation, readers of your assignment will know that this is the reference for the secondary source.

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