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APA referencing style

 
     
     
 

1. Introduction
2. In-text citations
3. Reference list
4. Additional information

Introduction

Why Should I Reference?

References are used to record or document the source of each piece of information in your paper obtained from other researchers and writers. If you fail to document information that is not your own, you have committed plagiarism, a form of stealing.


What Should I Reference?

You must reference all direct quotations; paraphrases of material; and summaries of opinions, ideas and interpretations obtained from other sources. If you fail to reference your information, you will be criticized for making statements that appear to be unsupported by evidence. It is not necessary to document information that is common knowledge (i.e., found in more than five sources), but remember that it is always better to overdocument than to underdocument.

You may be concerned that, if you reference too much, your instructors will think the paper is not your own work. That is not so. The method of organization is yours, as well as the purpose which ties the material together, the topic sentences, concluding sentences, analytical and evaluative comments which allow the reader to make sense out of the reference material, and probably most of the introductory and concluding paragraphs.


What Style Should I Use?

Always ask the professor which documentation style is required for the assignment. Styles can vary greatly between journals even within one scientific field. If no specifics are given, this Fastfacts can serve as a guide to one of the standard formats, described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (known as the APA style), used in psychology.

Remember to choose one style for a particular paper, and be consistent within that paper.


How Do I Reference?

The APA style uses the name-year system for referencing, not footnotes or endnotes. You will include an in-text citation (also called parenthetical references) in the text immediately following the information (e.g., title, word, or phrase) that is being referenced, as well as an entry in the Reference List. (Note: Footnotes in APA are used for content that supplements or amplifies important information in the text or for copyright permission.)

In-text citations include the author's last name and year of publication. These citations can be included within a sentence in various ways:

  • at the end of the sentence, in parentheses:

    This hypothesis was tested (Smith, 1970).

  • as part of the sentence, including whatever reference information is not in the sentence in the parentheses:

    Smith (1970) tested this hypothesis. OR
    Smith's (1970) study tested this hypothesis. OR
    In 1970, Smith tested this hypothesis.

Note: In the text of your paper, use "double quotation marks" for the title of an article or chapter, and italics for the title of a periodical or nonperiodical (book).

This handout provides examples of the APA format for citations within the text (see "In-Text Citations") as well as for your references (see "Reference List").


Aditional Resources

If you can't find what you're looking for here, the official APA sources have more complete information:

American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.) Washington: American Psychological Association.

APA Web site: http://www.apastyle.org/pubmanual.html



In-Text Citations

A basic citation includes the author's name and the year of publication, separated by a comma. The following list explains what information needs to be included for various specific citation situations. These formats apply to both electronic and print sources.

ONE AUTHOR

... was tested (Smith, 1970).
... (Statistics Canada, 1995).


TWO AUTHORS

... (Elias & Williams, 1981). BUT
Elias and Williams (1981) tested ...


THREE TO FIVE AUTHORS

For the first citation:

... (Franklyn, Rosen, Lock, Smith, & Chen, 1996).

For another citation in the same paragraph:

... (Franklyn et al.).

For another citation in a different paragraph:

... (Franklyn et al., 1996).


SIX OR MORE AUTHORS

... (Lui et al., 1995).


NO AUTHOR

Cite the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title of the article or book) and the year.

... (Studies of Alcohol, 1999).


MULTIPLE SOURCES, SAME AUTHOR

Order them chronologically, earliest to latest.

... (Jones, 1965, 1973, 1988).

If there are several in the same year, add a designator (a, b, c, etc.) to the year in the citation and the reference list.

... (Jones 1998a, 1998b).


MULTIPLE SOURCES, DIFFERENT AUTHORS

List them alphabetically, regardless of date, separated by a semi-colon.

... (Alberts et al., 2003; Jones, 1998a, 1998b; Klevezal & Thompson, 1980; Sergeant, 1973, 1975; Stanford, 2001).


DIFFERENT AUTHORS, SAME LAST NAME

Use initials to distinguish them, and place them in alphabetical order by first initial.

... (N. B. Smith, 2000; T. R. Smith, 1993). OR
N. B. Smith (2000) and T. R. Smith (1993) ....


NO DATE

... (Smith, n.d.).


A SPECIFIC PART OF A SOURCE

Add a comma and the specific location after the year. If there are no page numbers, use a paragraph number or the closest heading.

... (Alberts, 2001, fig. 6).
... (Zelickson & Robbins, 1986, p. 24).
... (Henricks, 2003, Conclusion section, para. 1).


ARTICLE REPRINTED IN A COLLECTION

Provide dates of original publication and publication of the collection, separated by "/":

... (Winston & Blais, 1996/2003).


ANOTHER CITATION WITHIN YOUR SOURCE

Try to avoid using "secondary" sources by finding and using the original source (e.g. Brown) whenever possible. If you can't find and use the original, list only your "secondary" source (e.g. Smith) in the reference list.

... Brown's study (as cited in Smith, 1995, p. 14).

If your quotation includes a citation, keep it in, but only include the source you are using (e.g. Lamont) in the reference list:

... several cases of "unusual side effects (Turner & Jones, 1989)" have been reported (Lamont, 2003).


UNPUBLISHED INFORMATION

Unpublished information that is not available to other scholars should be cited, but not included in your reference list:

... (J. R. Ewing, personal communication, November 16, 2003).


COURSE AND LECTURE MATERIALS

Course readers: Treat articles in course readers like articles reprinted in a collection.

Course manuals: Treat these like books or nonperiodicals with the instructor as author (unless another author is indicated).

Lecture notes: Treat these like books or non-periodicals if they are published, but like unpublished information if they are your own notes, or are unpublished. Lecture notes are considered published if they have been copied and distributed in print or on the web with the instructor's permission.



Reference List

The reference list comes at the end of your paper, on a separate page, entitled Reference List. Put the list in alphabetical order by author, and use a hanging indent to format all entries (as shown).

This list shows you how to format various kinds of reference list entries. Titles of books and periodicals should always be in italics; articles should be in regular type without quotation marks.

ONE AUTHOR

Author, A. (Date). Title. (Edition). Place: Publisher.

Rosenthal, R. (1987). Meta-analytic procedures for social research (Rev. ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.


TWO OR MORE AUTHORS

List up to six authors, then add "et al." if there are more than that:

DeMarcos, D. J., Alexander, T. G., Turner, W. G., & Zebrinsky, R. T., et al. (1998). Memory function in patients with Alzheimer's. New York: Harbinger Press.


GOVERNMENT OR GROUP AS AUTHOR

Organization. (Date). Title. Identification description. Place: Publisher.

Statistics Canada. (1995). National population health survey overview 1994-95. Catalogue No. 82-567. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry.


CHAPTER OR PART IN A COLLECTION

Author(s). (Date). Title of part. In T. H. E. Editor(s) (Eds.), Title of Collection (pp. page-page). Place: Publisher.

Talbot, R. S., & Rouleau, J.-C. (2003). Psychiatric care of adolescents. In A. C. Jones, T. R. Smith, & L. T. Tabitha (Eds.), Culture, adolescence, and mental illness (pp. 234-256). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.


COURSE AND LECTURE MATERIALS

Course readers: Treat articles in course readers like reprints in a collection, adding the original publication information in parentheses at the end:

Winston, A. S., & Blais, D. J. (2003). What counts as an experiment?: A transdisciplinary analysis of textbooks, 1930-1970. In M. Billig & H. Davis (Eds.), PSYCH*1100 Principles of Behaviour Course Reader (pp. 3-19). Guelph, ON: University of Guelph, Office of Open Learning. (Reprinted from American Journal of Psychology, 109[4], 599-616, 1996.)

Course manuals: Treat these like books or non-periodicals, with the instructor as author (unless another author is indicated).

Stengos, T. (2003). ECON*4640 Applied Econometrics course manual. Guelph, ON: University of Guelph.

Lecture notes: Treat these like books or non-periodicals if they are published, but like unpublished information if they are your own notes, or are unpublished. Lecture notes are considered published if they have been copied and distributed in print or on the web with the instructor's permission.

Stengos, T. (2003). ECON*4640 Applied Econometrics course notes. Guelph, ON: University of Guelph.

Stengos, T. (2003). ECON*4640 Applied Econometrics course notes. Guelph, ON: University of Guelph. Retrieved November 23, 2003, from http://www.uoguelph.ca/econometrics.htm


NEWSPAPER ARTICLE

Author(s). (Date). Title of article. Newspaper title, p. page.

Stevenson, J. T. (2003, December 17). Depression contributes to weight gain in adolescents. The Toronto Star, p. D17.

If there's no author, start with the article title (your in-text citation should use the first words from the title).


ARTICLE IN A PERIODICAL

Author(s). (Date). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume[issue], page-page.

Sobell, L. C., Cunningham J. A., & Sobell, M. B. (1996). Recovery from alcohol problems with and without treatment: Prevalence in two population surveys. American Journal of Public Health, 86, 966-972.


ARTICLE IN AN ONLINE PERIODICAL

Author(s). (Date). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume. Retrieved month day, year, from source.

Le, H.-N., Munoz, R. F., Ippen, C. G., & Stoddard, J. L. (2003, September 15). Treatment is not enough: We must prevent major depression in women. Prevention and Treatment, 3, Article 10. Retrieved January 12, 2004, from http://journals.apa.org/prevention/volume6/pre0060010a.html

If the online article is an electronic reprint of a print article, add "[Electronic version]" after the title of the article:

Patterson, Q. S. (1999). Psychology and the student [Electronic version]. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 23, 225-227.


ONLINE DOCUMENT

Author, A. A. (Date). Title of work. Retrieved month day, year, from source

Stevenson, R. T. (2003). Helping children help themselves. Retrieved November 23, 2003, from http://www.children.com/articles/

If there's no author, start with the title (your in-text citation should use the first words from the title).

Depression drug causes legal furor. (2004, March 16). Retrieved March 24, 2004, from http://news.ninemsn.com.au/Health/story_35725.asp


WEB SITE

When you are citing an entire Web site (not a document found on the Web site), APA style suggests you should provide the address (URL) of the site within the text, and not include it in the reference list. For example,

"Kidspsych is an interactive Web site for children (http://www.kidspsych.org)."

Subsequent references, if close enough to the first to be clear, can refer simply to the title of the Web site rather than repeating the URL. Note: If referencing a specific document found on the Web site, use the format provided above under Online Document (Nonperiodical).


ELECTRONIC MESSAGE POSTINGS

Author. (date). Subject line of message [number]. Message posted to List name, archived at location

Simon, M. N., Jr. (2003, July 23). Finding resources for psychology [Msg. 4]. Message posted to References for Psychology mailing list, archived at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/psychologyres/msg000999.html


SOME GUIDELINES FOR REFERENCING ELECTRONIC SOURCES

  • When an Internet document (nonperiodical) comprises multiple pages with diff erent URLs, provide a URL that links to the home (or entry) page for the document.

  • For an online periodical, the URL should link directly to the specific article whenever possible.

  • Use the complete publication date given on an article or document. Use n.d. (no date) when a publication date is not available.

  • Because page numbers may not be available in an online source, nor volume and issue numbers, provide as much information as you can about the closest heading and paragraph number.

  • Break a URL after a slash or before a period. Do not insert (or allow your wordprocessor to insert) a hyphen at the break.

  • If the author of a document is not identified, begin the reference with the title of the document.

  • If the document retrieved is an abstract rather than a full paper, begin the retrieval statement with "Abstract retrieved..."



 

 
 

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