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APA Citation Style

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, second printing, is located in the Reference section of the Library and in the stacks (AC1.P83 2010). APA format is used in the social sciences, including education, adventure education, and psychology; check with your professor if you're not sure which style format to use for a particular class.  APA format uses an author-date, in-text citation, meaning the author's last name and the year of publication for the source appear in parentheses in the text, and a complete citation is given in the "References" page.  This handout is intended to be a brief overview of APA style. APA has very specific rules about punctuation, quotation marks, etc. - please refer to the manual for details not covered here! APA provides detailed examples and a tutorial for using the 6th edition; other helpful online sites for examples of APA citation and writing style are Prescott College's APA 6th edition Summary and the OWL at Purdue.


In-Text Citations       The References Page       Electronic References


Documenting Sources in the Text 

The information you provide in the text will lead your reader to the full citation on the REFERENCES page. All of your in-text citations provide the same information, whether you're citing a journal article, book, web site, etc. For more information, see Chapter 6, pages 169 - 179.

Basic In-Text Citation Examples:

Kessler (2003) found that among...  
In 2003, Kessler's study showed that...
as Kurtines and Szapocznik (2003) demonstrated...  
as has been shown (Joreskog & Sorborn, 2007)...

Two Authors: always cite both names

Three to Five Authors: List all authors in the first reference, but in subsequent references list only the first author followed by et al. and the year. Example: Kisangau, Lyaruu, Hosea, and Joseph (2007) found...  [THEN] Kisangau et al. (2007) found...

Six or More Authors: cite only the surname of the first author followed by et al.

Organization as Author: ...(National Institute of Mental Health, 1999). Spell out the full name the first time; you may abbreviate the name of the organization in subsequent citations as long as it is recognizable
No Author
: Use the first few words of the title, plus the year. Use quotation marks around article title, chapter, or web page; italicize the title of a book, periodical, brochure, or report. When a work is actually designated "Anonymous," cite in text as (Anonymous, 1998).
Works by the Same Author, Same Pub Date
: Use suffixes a, b, c, etc. Example: Several studies (Derryberry & Reed, 2005a, 2005b, in press-a; Rothbart, 2003a, 2003b)...

Unknown Author and Unknown Date: If no author or date is given, use the title in your text, or the first word or two of the title in the parentheses and use the abbreviation "n.d." (for "no date"). Example: Another study of students and research decisions discovered that students succeeded with tutoring ("Tutoring and APA," n.d.).

Personal Communications, Twitter, Facebook, Entire Web Sites:

For interviews, letters, e-mails, and other person-to-person communication, cite the communicator's name, the fact that it was personal communication, and the date of the communication. Do not include personal communication in the Reference List. Examples: T.K. Lutes (personal communication, April 18, 2001) OR  (V.-G. Nguyen, personal communication, September 28, 1998)

When discussing a twitter or facebook feed in general, give the site URL in-text; do not include it in the Reference List . Example: President Obama uses Twitter (http://www.twitter/com/barackobama) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/barackobama) to keep citizens up to speed on ...

When referring to a web site, in general, give the URL in-text. Example: Kidspsych is  wonderful interactive website for children (http://www.kidspsych.org).  


Citing Indirect (Secondary) Sources  If you use a source that was cited in another source, name the original source in the text, list the secondary source in your reference list, and include the secondary source in the parentheses. Example: Allport's diary (as cited in Nicholson, 2003).

Long Quotations: If longer than 40 words, omit quotation marks and start the quotation on a new line, indented five spaces from the left margin. Double space. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark. Example:
Jones's (1998) study found the following:
Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citing sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p. 199)

NOTE: Use "&" between author names in parentheses!

NOTE: If you are directly quoting a source or referring to a specific part of a source, include the page number, or specific chapter. Examples:
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005, p. 10). OR (Shimamura, 1989, Chapter 3).

 The References Page 

References include all (and only) the sources cited in your paper, and provides the information necessary for a reader to locate your sources.

General Rules
See Chapter 6, p.180-187 for details, and Chapter 7 for more examples

  • Authors' names are listed last name first, in alphabetical order; if there is no author, alphabetize by title of the book or article, excluding "A" "An " and "The"
  • Multiple Works by One Author: Arrange by year of publication, earliest year first
  • Indent  the 2nd and subsequent lines of the citation (this is called a "hanging indentation")
  • Capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle of books, articles, or web pages; the first word after a colon or dash in the title; and all proper nouns in a title
  • Capitalize and italicize titles of books and journals (extend the italics to include commas, periods, and/or journal volume - but not issue - number)
    Interviews & Personal Communications should be cited in the paper but not listed in "References"
  • Additional Rules for ELECTRONIC Sources 
    See Chapter 6, p. 187- 192 for details. and Chapter 7 for more examples

  • Include the same elements, in the same order, as you would for a print source.  Add additional electronic retrieval information as needed so your reader can locate your sources
  • Provide a retrieval date only if the information is likely to be updated or changed (as in the case of blogs, wikis, and personal web pages); most online journal articles or books will not need a retrieval date
  • Use the home URL for full-text works available by subscription only, and for online dictionaries and encyclopedias
  • You do not need to include the name of a journal database in the References; if you do include it, do not include the URL
  • Always include the volume number of a journal, magazine, or newsletter.  If each issue of a journal begins on page 1, also include the issue number (in parentheses).  If there is no volume number, include the month, season, or other designation, plus the year

Examples of PRINT materials:


Journal article, one author
Psychological Bulletin, 126, 910-924

Book, one author
Parke, R.D. (1981). Fathers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Book with editors
Gibbs, J.T., & Huang, L.N. (Eds.). (1991). Children of color: Psychological interventions with minority youth.  San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Chapter in an edited book
Haybron, D.M. (2008). Philosophy and the science of subjective well-being. In M. Eid & R. J. Laresen (Eds.), The  science of subjective well-being (pp. 17-43). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Newspaper article
Schwartz, J. (1993, September 30). Obesity affects economic,social status. The Washington Post, pp. A1, A4.

Dissertation abstracted in DAI and obtained from the university (i.e., not from UMI)

Ross, D.F. (1990). Unconscious transference and mistaken identity: When a witness misidentifies a familiar but innocent person from a lineup (Doctoral dissertation, Cornell University, 1990). Dissertation Abstracts International, 51, 417.

Report from a private organization
Employee Benefit Research Institute. (1992, February).  Sources of health insurance and characteristics of the  uninsured (Issue Brief No. 1243). Washington, DC: Author.

Proceedings of Meetings and Symposia
Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (1991). A motivational approach to self: Integration in personality. In R. Dienstbier (Ed.),  Nebraska Symposium on Motivation: Vol. 38. Perspectives on motivation (pp. 237-288). Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press.

Unpublished paper presented at a meeting
Lanktree, C., & Briere, J. (1991, January). Early data on the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSC-C). Paper presented at the meeting of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, San Diego, CA.

Examples of ELECTRONIC materials:

Article without DOI
Sillick, T. J., & Schutte, N. S. (2006). Emotional intelligence and self-esteem mediate between perceived early parental   love and adult happiness. E-Journal of Applied Psychology, 2(2), 38-48.  Retrieved from http://ojs.lib.swin.edu.au/index.php/ejap

Article with DOI
Herbst-Damm, K. L., & Kulik, J. A. (2005). Volunteer support, marital status, and the survival times of terminally ill pateints.  Health Psychology, 24, 225-229. doi:10.1037/0278-6133.24.1.225

Abstract from a journal database
Lassen, S. R., Steele, M. M., & Sailor, W. (2006). The relationship of school-wide positive behavior support to academic achievement in an urban middle school. Psychology in the Schools, 43, 701-712. Abstract retrieved from Wiley Interscience database.

Online magazine content not found in print version
Gutierrez, D. (n.d.). On state political torture [Online exclusive]. Tikkun. Retrieved January 28, 2007 from http://www.tikkun.org/magazine/specials/statetorture

Article on web site
Dvoretsky, D. P. (n.d.). History: Pavlov Institute of Physiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Retrieved January 27, 2007, from http://www.infran.ru/history_eng.htm

Newspaper article
Brody, J. E. (2007, December 11). Mental reserves keep brain agile. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

E-Book (entire book)
Berger, W.  (2009). Ocean: Reflections on a century of exploration. Berkeley, CA: University of   California Press.  Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/prescott/Doc?id=10343484

E-Book (chapter)
Mitchell. H. W. (1913). Alcoholism and the alcoholic psychoses. In W. A. White & S. E. Jelliffe (Eds.), The modern treatment of nervous and mental diseases (Vol. 1, pp.287-330). Retrieved from PsycBOOKS database.

Dissertation/Thesis retrieved from a database
McNiel, D. S. (2006). Meaning through narrative: A personal narrative discussing growing up with an alcoholic mother (Master's Thesis). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 1434728)(AAT1434728)

Online dictionary
Heuristic. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster's online dictionary (11th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/heuristic

Online encyclopedia
Graham, G. (2005). Behaviorism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Fall 2007 ed.). Retrieved from htp://plato.stanford.edu/entries /behaviorism/

Technical or research report
Kutner, M., Greenberg, E., Jin, Y., & Paulsen, C. (2006). The health literacy of America's adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (Report No. NCES 2006-483). Retrieved from National Center for Education Statistics: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006483.pdf

Blog post
MiddleKid. (2007, January 22). Re: The unfortunate prerequisites and consequences of partitioning your mind  [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/01/the_unfortunate_ prerequisites.php

Van Nuys, D. (Producer). (2007, December 19). Shrink rap radio [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.shrinkrapradio.com

Twitter/Facebook when citing in Reference List (not always necessary - see in-text examples)
BarackObama. (2009, July 15). Launched American Graduation Initiative to help.... [Twitter post]. Retrieved from http://twitter.com/BaracObama/status/2651151366

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