I'm writing a paper on a theme that has a lot of research. To define a concept, I use the definitions of several writers, all properly cited.

Then I define more related concepts, and then I want to add more to the definition I give before.

Eg. As established before "the first definition" and the previously exposed concepts, it can finally be defined as the final definition.

I have looked all through the APA 7th edition, and I must have skipped how this should be done appropriately.

  • 1
    Citing the paper you're currently writing makes no sense. If you use headings or numbered sections, you can refer back to a previous title or number. But if you add your own words to something you've defined in the paper itself, then just do that—you don't cite your own words unless those words of yours exist outside of the paper. Jun 12, 2020 at 4:29

1 Answer 1


As Jason has explained above, using numbed sections or distinct references to each subheading or section works very well. I have previously used numbered headings and when I would like to reference certain sections, I write:

"...as mentioned in 3.7.7, the ....".

and use formatting tools to provide a link to the quoted section. Hence, if your document were to be opened digitally (which is the case with most papers now), clicking the reference should take the reader to "Section 3.7.7".

My suggestion however would be to avoid repeating your previous words in your new citation. If you were to explain the said citation again, you might as well skip the reference and write it all over (which in my opinion is counter productive to the reader). A mere reference, followed by maybe a "TL;DR" should do the trick! Hope this helps. Cheers.

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