APA (American Psychological Association) Citation Style (American Psychological Association) Citation Style Guide This guide provides examples of citations you might use in research papers following the APA

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  • APA (American Psychological Association) Citation Style Guide

    This guide provides examples of citations you might use in research papers following the APAstandard. Explanations and formats are based on the Publication Manual of the American PsychologicalAssociation, (fourth edition), (BF76.7 .P82 1994 Ref.) and the Columbia Guide to Online Style(PN171.F56 W35 Ref.), both of which are located at the Reference Desk.

    Which subjects use the APA standard?What is the basic format of the research paper?Reference ListParenthetical text referencesFootnotes and EndnotesFormat for electronic sourcesLinks to other APA citation guides

    Which Subjects use the APA Standard?.

    The APA standard for writing research papers is the format outlined in the PublicationManual of the American Psychological Association. It is the accepted standard for writingresearch in the field of psychology. While it is also used for the social sciences in general, it isimportant that you check first with your professor to see which style she prefers.

    What is the basic format of the research paper?

    A research paper written in the APA format consists of a title page, an abstract page, the mainbody of the paper and a final page of references. The American Psychological Association outlines specificrules for writing each of these parts, but this citation guide will focus on the style for citing the sources usedto write the paper, including in-text citations and the list of references at the end. Please consult thePublication Manual for instructions on writing the other parts. The web site,http://www.ldl.net/~bill/aparev.htm (Guidelines for Writing in the APA Style) is also helpful. It sets up amock article in the APA style and also provides many grammar and punctuation rules required by the APA.

    The reference list is an alphabetical list (by author) of all the sources used to write the researchpaper. It differs from a bibliography in that it includes only those sources used to write the paper,whereas a bibliography may also include background material and suggestions for further reading. Thereference list appears at the end of the paper and provides enough information to enable the reader toidentify and find each source on her own.

    Reference citations within the text of the paper give more specific documentation to theresearch used in writing the article. They briefly identify (by author and date) the source and enable thereader to find it in the alphabetical list of references at the end of the paper. References cited within thetext of the paper must appear in the list of references, and any source included in the list of referencesmust also be cited in the text.

    Reference List

    The reference list (entitled or headed "References") appears at the end of the article and lists allthe sources used to research and write the paper. The entries appear alphabetically by author's last name,and each entry includes the following main parts, each separated by a period:

    The author's last name and first initial. (year of publication in parentheses). Title.Publishing information (which includes place of publication and publisher for books and journalname, volume and pages for articles).


  • If there are multiple entries by the same author, they should be arranged chronologically bypublication date. If entries by the same author are published in the same year, place those in alphabeticalorder by title, and label them "a," "b," etc. following the year but still within the parentheses.

    APA style is ambivalent about whether to underline or italicize book and journal titles. While itspecifically recommends that book and journal titles in printed publications be italicized, it recommendsthat they be underlined in manuscripts and papers. The proliferation of writing on the web and other onlinepublications further confounds this distinction. On the World Wide Web, underlining a document meansthat it is an active link to another document or site. Therefore for online writing, italics are recommendedfor all book and journal titles. Whether you use italics or underlining for titles of books and journals, beconsistent throughout you paper. Be sure to check with your professor to see if she has a preference.

    While titles of books and journals should be either underlined or italicized, the titles of journalarticles should not be set off in quotations. In APA format, only the first word of the article or book title iscapitalized. The first line of each entry should be indented and the entire reference list must be double-spaced. Periods separate the main parts of the entry and commas or colons are used within each part.Listed below are some examples of sources in a list of References. Examples are taken from or based onthe Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (fourth edition). Please consult thePublication Manual or the web cites listed under APA Citation Guides if you need to see additionalexamples.

    1. BOOKS

    By a single author/editor:

    Bandura, A.J. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice


    By two or three authors/editors:

    Cone, J.D., & Foster, S.L. (1993). Dissertations and theses from start to finish:

    Psychology and related fields. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    By more than three authors/editors:

    Crenshaw, K., Gotanda, N., Peller, G. & Thomas, K. (Eds.). (1995). Critical race theory: The

    key writings that formed the movement. New York: New Press.

    No author given:

    Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (10th ed.). (1993). Springfield, MA:


    Edited book:

    Pereira, M.E., & Fairbanks, L.A. (Eds.). (1993). Juvenile primates: Life history,

  • development, and behavior. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Edition other than first:

    Mitchell, T.R., & Larson, J.R., Jr. (1987). People in organizations: An

    introduction to organizational behavior (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Group or corporate author:

    American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of

    mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

    Multi-volume edited work:

    Koch, S. (Ed.). (1959-1963). Psychology: A study of science (Vols. 1-6). New

    York: McGraw-Hill.

    Article or chapter in an edited book:

    Bjork, R.A. (1989). Retrieval inhibition as an adaptive mechanism in human

    memory. In H.L. Roediger III & F.I.M. Craik (Eds.), Varieties of memory &

    consciousness (pp. 309-330). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.


    Journal article:

    Bekerian, D.A. (1993). In search of the typical eyewitness. American

    Psychologist, 48, 574-576.

    Note: If the article is in press, place "in press" in the year parentheses.

    Magazine article:

    Posner, M.I. (1993, October 29). Seeing the mind. Science, 262, 673-674.

    Newspaper article, no author:

    New drug appears to sharply cut risk of death from heart failure. (1993, July 15).

    The Washington Post, p. A12.

  • Book review in a journal:

    Baumeister, R.F. (1993). Exposing the self-knowledge myth [Review of the

    book The self-knower: A hero under control]. Contemporary Psychology, 38, 466-467.


    Encyclopedia article:

    Bergmann, P.G. (1993). Relativity. In The new encyclopedia Britannica (Vol.

    26, pp. 501-508). Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica.

    Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) document:

    Mead, J.V. (1992). Looking at old photographs: Investigating the teacher tales

    that novice teachers bring with them (Report No. NCRTL-RR-92-4). East Lansing, MI:

    National Center for Research on Teacher Learning. (ERIC Document Reproduction

    Service No. ED 346 082)

    Government document:

    National Institute of Mental Health. (1990). Clinical training in serious mental

    illness (DHHS Publication No. ADM 90-1679). Washington, DC: U.S. Government

    Printing Office.

    Parenthetical Text References

    Citations within the text of the paper provide more detailed documentation for the research studiesused to write the paper. These text references use author and date to briefly identify the study and to pointreaders to the more detailed information in the list of References at the end of the paper. Listed below aresome common examples of reference citations within the text of the paper. As you can see from theseexamples, any information is mentioned in the text does not need to be repeated within the parentheses.

    1. One work by one author: the author and date can be mentioned either with or withoutthe parentheses:

    As Bandura (1977) noted, human behavior can be seen as an ongoing interactionbetween an individual and her environment.

    In 1977 Bandura noted that human behavior can be seen as on ongoing

    interaction between an individual and her environment.

  • Human behavior can be seen as an ongoing interaction between an individualand her environment (Bandura, 1977).

    2. One work by multiple authors:

    When a work has two authors, always cite both authors whenever the referenceappears in the text of your paper.

    When a work has three, four or five authors, cite all authors the first time thereference appears followed by the year in parentheses. In subsequent appearances, citethe first author followed by "et al." and the year in parentheses if it is the first subsequentmention in the paragraph. If there is more than one subsequent mention within aparagraph, then omit the year from the citation and include only the first author's lastname followed by "et al."

    When a work has six or more authors, cite only the last name of the first authorfollowed by "et al." and the year in parentheses for all citations that appear in the paper.

    3. Corporate author:

    The American Psychiatric Association defines Conduct Disorder as a persistentpattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others are violated (1994).

    Conduct Disorder is defined as a persistent pattern of behavior in which thebasic rights of others are violated (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

    The first text citation should write out the entire name of the organization, but subsequenttext citations may use accepted abbreviations.

    4. Direct Quotations: include the page number after the author and year:

    The inner world of children suffering from abuse has been described as one in which"organized images and thoughts can be punctured without warning by fragmented pictures, flashes, soundsand feelings" (Heineman, 1998, p. 144).

    5. Multiple works within the same citation:

    If the works are by the same author, cite the author's or authors' last name followed by theyears:

    Past research (Edeline and Weinberger, 1991, 1993) tells us that

    If the works are by different authors, list them within the parentheses in alphabeticalorder, and separated the citations by a semicolon:

    Several studies (Balda, 1980; Kamil, 1988; Pepperberg and Funk, 1990) haveexplored the relationship


  • Endnotes are used on occasion to supplement an idea from the text of the paper. These notesshould be brief and should convey just one idea that enhances a point from the main content of the paper.When this additional information is necessary, place a number at that point in the text (slightly above theline) and place the information, correspondingly numbered, on a separate page at the end of the paper butbefore the page of References. Double-space all content footnotes, and indent the first line, just like thefirst line of a paragraph. An example is listed below.


    This shows that the problem for research areas in which different measurementinstruments and different cutoff points are employed is simply that the various studies addressdifferent questions. This is important to recognize because it rules out solutions that are basedon research designs, data analysis, or statistical methods.1

    Note:1 This is a much-debated and contentious issue in modern measurement theory. A

    proper treatment of this claim is well beyond the scope of this chapter. The claim, however,should not be taken lightly, since at its root are arguments that undermine the logical coherence ofconstruct validity and axiomatic measurement theory. Interested readers can find a comprehensivetreatment of the relevant issues in Jackson (1996).

    Format for Citing Electronic Sources

    The main principle that applies to citing print sources also applies to citing electronic sources. Itis important that the citation help the reader locate the source quickly and efficiently. The difficulty intranslating this principle from the realm of print to that of electronic media is that the latter is so rapidlychanging that is does not lend itself to ready standardization and comprehension. Electronic sources oftendo not provide all the bibliographic information you are used to finding in print sources, or if they do, theyoften are hard to decipher. In citing these electronic sources, try to provide the reader with informationabout authorship, year that the material was written, title and publishing information, just as you wouldwith print material. For electronic sources, publication information includes the protocol (http, ftp), andaddress or the name of the information provider and any other terms that will enable the reader to retrievethe source. For fixed media sources such as CD-ROMs, provide the city of publication, the name of thepublisher, just as you would for a book. With World Wide Web sources, the URL provides this publishinginformation. The URL begins with the protocol (http) and is followed by the domain name, which tells thereader the site of the published work. The URL, in fact, is an essential part of the citation since it gives thereader the best way to retrieve the original source. Finally, you need to let readers know the date that youaccessed this material. This is in addition to the date that the material was written. The access date isimportant because electronic information is always changing, and what is available online one day might bedifferent or gone the next. The access date, therefore, lets us know when this source was used.

    Listed below are examples of citations for different kinds of electronic sources. Examples aretaken from some of the online citation guides that are listed below and from the excellent Columbia Guideto Online Style (PN 171 .F56 W35). Please consult them for more examples. The Columbia Guide alsoprovides an extended explication of the differences in the humanities and scientific styles of citation.


    To document information from the World Wide Web, include the following information:

    -author's name (if known)-date of publication or "no date" if unknown in parentheses-title of document-title of complete work (if applicable)-format (in parentheses)

  • -URL, in angle brackets-date of access, in parentheses (year, month, day)

    Below are some examples of citations that you might use in writing your research pa...


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