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Selected Guide to Citing Resources

The American Psychological Association (APA) rules for citing resources used in research papers are provided in pages 193-224 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association Sixth edition. Copies of this book are available at the University Bookstore and behind the Reference Desk (4th floor of the Wilson Wing in Z. Smith Reynolds Library).

When citing resources, consider these important APA Format Issues.

When citing electronic documents, the goal is to direct readers to the information being cited. Reference specific documents rather than home or menu pages and provide URLs. For additional information on how to cite electronic resources appropriately, please refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) or the American Psychological Association’s APA Style Help page.

Consider the information here only as a starting point. If you encounter a case not covered in these examples, you are expected to consult the book for the correct answer.

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, & Books

Journals, Magazines, Newspapers, & Newsletters

Web Sites

References in Text

APA Format Issues

  1. All APA citations should be double spaced.
  2. The first line of an APA citation should be flush with the left margin. All other lines should be indented.
  3. Only the first and middle initial of author name(s) are used in APA [e.g. Smith, J.A.]
  4. Multiple authors are separated by an ampersand (&) not the word ‘and.’
  5. The publication date follows the author name(s) and is contained in parentheses [e.g. Smith, J.A. (2004)]
  6. Capitalize ONLY the first word of the title of a book or article, the subtitle, and proper nouns. Exception: Capitalize every important word in journal titles.
  7. Italicize titles of books and journals and the volume number of journals. DO NOT italicize or put quotation marks around the title of a book chapter or article in a journal.
  8. If the book has a subtitle, put a colon between the main title and the subtitle. Subtitles must be included in the citation.
  9. Give the location (city and state) where the publisher is located for books, reports, and other nonperiodical publications. Use the official two-letter U.S. Postal Service abbreviations. For cities outside the United States, spell out the country names. See p. 186-187.
  10. Include the digital object identifier (DOI) assigned to a source even if the print is available. DOIs may be searched using the registration agency CrossRef.org which will give you access to any online supplemental archives associated with the article.
  11. If you retreived a journal article electronically and there is no DOI, give the URL of the journal home page. If the journal is available in print, there is no need to include the URL.
  12. Usually, database information is not included as part of the citation. However, if a document is difficult to locate through its primary publishing channels, give the home page URL for the online service. Many ERIC documents and discontinued items in JSTOR meet this criteria. See pp. 189-192.
  13. Do not end the citation with a period if you include the URL.

Dictionary Entry or Encyclopedia Article

Lumiansky, R. M. (1998). Chaucer. In The new encyclopaedia Britannica (Vol. 15, pp. 745-748). Chicago, IL: Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Note: If an entry has no author listed, place the title in the author position.

To cite an entire dictionary, use the following form:

Smith, A. D. (Ed.). (2000). Oxford dictionary of biochemistry and molecular biology (Rev. ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

To cite an entry in an online reference work (not from a subscription database):

Yalowitz, S. (2005). Anomalous Monism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Fall 2007 ed.). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/anomalous-monism/

Books with an Editor

Tannen, D. T. & Saville-Troike, M. L. (Eds.). (1985). Perspectives on silence. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Sadie, S., & Tyrrell, J. (Eds.). (2000). The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians (2nd ed., Vols. 1-29). New York, NY: Grove.

Note: Use (Ed.) or (Eds.) to indicate editor(s). For major reference works with a large editorial board, list the name of the lead editor, followed by et al.

Book (single author)

Angelou, M. (1969). I know why the caged bird sings. New York, NY: Random House.

Book (two authors)

Sennett, R. A., & Cobb, J. R., Jr. (1972). The hidden injuries of class (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Note: When authors number eight or more, include the first six authors’ names, then insert three ellipses, and add the last author’s name.

Article in an Edited Book

Cassel, J. A., & Zambella, B. (1996). Without a net: Supporting ourselves in a tremulous atmosphere. In T. W. Leonhardt (Ed.), "LOEX" of the West: Teaching and learning in a climate of constant change (pp. 75-92). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

General Format for Citing Journals, Magazines, Newspapers, and Newsletters

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Vol., pages. doi:xx.xxxxxxxxxx

Scholarly Journal Article Without DOI (when DOI is not available)

Rickman, J. (1994). Adelicia Acklen: The ghost of Belmont University. Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, 56(4), 145-151.
Griffin, M. R., & Neuzil, K. M. (2002). The global implicaitons of influenza in Hong Kong. The New England Journal of Medicine, 347, 2159-2162.
Panoyan, L., Lee, S., Arar, R. Abboud, H. & Arar, N. (2008). The informed consent process in genetic family studies. Genomics, Society and Policy, 4(2), 11-20. Retrieved from http://www.gspjournal.com/

Note: If the pagination of each issue begins with page one, include the issue number in parentheses after the volume number. If the article is available through an online journal found on the Web, include the URL of the journal homepage. A retrieval date is not needed. See pp. 189-192.

Scholarly Journal Article with DOI (seven authors)

Hart, G. M., Johnson, B., Stamm, B., Robinson, A., Fagley, W. H., Lally, T., & Angers, N. (2009). Effects of video games on adolescents and adults. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12(1), 63-65. doi:10.1089/cpb.2008.0117

Note: If there are eight or more authors, list the first six authors’ names, then insert three ellipses, and add the last author’s name.

Magazine Article

Hayes, M. (2008, August 18). The Deacons have fought their way to the top. The Sporting News, 232(33), 34-35.

Newspaper Article

Gorman, J. (2003, August 29). Researchers say they’ve identified the kind of mercury in fish. The New York Times, p. A17.

Note: If the entry does not have an author listed, place the title in the author position. If the pages are not continuous, give all page numbers separated with a comma (e.g., pp. E1, E2, E4-E6).

Newspaper Article, Web Version

Broad, W. J. (2006, November 3). U. S. web archive is said to reveal a nuclear primer. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/

Government Web Sites

U.S. Office of Personnel Management. (2008, November). Report to Congress: The employment of veterans in the federal government, fiscal year 2007. Retrieved from http://omp.gov/veterans/dvaap.asp
National Park Service. (2006, July 24) Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site. Retrieved from http://www.nps.gov/abli/index.htm

Web Site with No Author or Page Numbers

Autism: The hidden epidemic? (2009). Retrieved August 28, 2009, from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6844737/ns/health-mental_health/

Note: If no date is given, put n.d. in the parentheses.

Document on a Larger Web Site

Chou, L., McClintock, R., Moretti, F., & Nix, D. H. (1993). Technology and education: New wine in new bottles: Choosing pasts and imagining educational futures. Retrieved from Columbia University, Institute for Learning Technologies website: http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/publications/papers/newwine1.html

Note: If a document is contained within a complex Web site (such as that for a university or a government agency), identify the host organization and the relevant program or department (if it is not listed as the author) before giving the URL for the document itself. Precede the URL with a colon.

Citing References in Text

Quoting from a source

Use the author-date format to cite references in text. When quoting directly from a source, include the author’s name, year of publication, and page number. For example:

Research shows that "questioning can have a positive effect on learning" (Campbell & Mayer, 2009, p. 756).

When paraphrasing

Provide the author’s last name and year of publication. For example:

Duncan (2006) found that students are more motivated and engaged when they use clickers to respond to questions.

Conceptual change is a trademark in teaching chemistry (Duit, 1996).

In 2005, Harris conducted a study that included over 500 students.


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