Hollins University Writing Center

American Psychological Association (APA) Documentation

All information contained within this handout can be found in the 5th edition manual of Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.  This handout is intended only as a guide.  Please consult the manual for more detailed explanations.

What APA is:  APA is a form of documentation originally intended for the field of psychology.  It reflects the scientific nature of the field because it requires both text and reference list documentation of the source publication date.

When to use it:  APA is useful in the Psychology, Communication Studies, and Sociology departments.  Other departments may use it because of its inclusion of publication dates, which are necessary to express the currency of research often required by these fields.

Why you do it:  Unlike MLA and Turabian styles, the in-text APA documentation and reference list include the year in which the source was published.  This is especially important in scientific papers because outdated material can undermine the credibility of your paper.

It is important to consult outside sources in your quest for knowledge.  However, not crediting these sources is unethical.  Incorrectly cited work is also considered plagiarism.  To learn more about plagiarism, visit the Writing Center tutors, log on to the WC website, and consult the Honor Code.

How you do it:  APA was created for scientific use; think of citing sources as following a formula.  When using a formula it is important to follow the directions precisely.  This handout will teach you how to document books with one author, books with multiple authors, reference books, journals, electronic journals, anthologies, websites, and secondary sources both in-text and in the reference list.

In-Text Citations:  APA documentation pays close attention to the year in which the source was published.  Therefore, the year must always be documented in-text.  The page number should also be noted, however, it is not required unless there is a direct quote from the source.

Paraphrased-Text Formula:  According to Author (year of publication), paraphrased text. 

Ex:  According to Brown (2003), there was an abnormal level of brain activity (p. 3).

Direct Quote Formula:  Author (year of publication) “direct quote” (page number).

Ex:  Brown (2003) argued that the “abnormal levels of brain activity are directly related to fetal alcohol syndrome” (p. 72).

If the author and year of publication is not noted in the clause preceding the paraphrased section or direct quote, it must be referenced at the end of the sentence in parenthesis.

Formula: Quoted text (Author, Year of Publication, Page Number).

Ex:  It can be argued that “abnormal level of brain activity [is] directly related to fetal alcohol syndrome” (Brown, 2003, p. 72).

Secondary Sources: In order to cite secondary sources, you refer to both sources in the text.  However, you should include in the Reference List only the source that you actually cited from.

For example, suppose you were reading a text where the author referenced another author in his book. You wanted to use the cited author’s argument, but were unsure how to do this – should you include both the internal author and the actual author of the text itself?

In the text you essentially are citing both.

 For instance, suppose you read Feist (1998) and would like to paraphrase the following sentence within that book:

Bandura (1989) defined self-efficacy as "people's beliefs about their capabilities to exercise control over events that affect their lives" (p. 1175).

In this case, your in-text citation would look like this:

Bandura (1989) defined self-efficacy as "people's beliefs about their capabilities to exercise control over events that affect their lives" (p. 1175, as cited in Feist, 1998)."

Feist (1998) would be fully referenced within the list of References. Bandura (1989) would not be listed. For more information on citing secondary sources, see Example 22 on p. 247 of the Publication Manual.

Text in Electronic Material: (Note: The section is excerpted from the 5th edition of the Publication Manual (@ 2001). Some elements of the fifth edition's style guidelines for electronic resources differ from the newly revised guidelines located on the APA website – there is not a new edition of the Publication Manual printed to date.) 

To cite a specific part of a source, indicate the page, chapter, figure, table, or equation following the same format as citing authors in non-electronic sources.  Note that the words page and chapter are abbreviated in such text citations:

Stewart (2001) argues . . .

(Stewart, 2001)

(Cheek & Buss, 1981, p. 332)
(Shimamura, 1989, chap. 3)

If no page number or chapter number is given, use a paragraph number. In the citation the paragraph number is preceded by the paragraph symbol or the abbreviation “para.”  If neither paragraph nor page numbers are visible, cite the heading and the number of the following paragraph.  This helps direct the reader to the location of the material.

(Myers, 2000, ¶ 5)
(Beutler, 2000, Conclusion section, para. 1)

Block Quotations:  Quotations of 40 words or more should be placed in a block quotation.  The block quote should begin on a new line and should be indented ½ in. from the left margin.  Paragraphs within the quotation should be indented an additional ½ in.  The quote should also be double spaced.

Ex:

Midgett (1968) found that:

All other deferred items are adjusted in the same manner.  Only the names are different.  All accrued adjustments set up a new balance sheet accounts and should be reversed.  Some deferred adjustments, such as the second and fourth above, set up new balance sheet accounts and should be reversed. (p. 74)

Reference List:  A reference list is a compilation of all the sources you used in your paper.  Some professors may ask that you list sources you consulted but did not cite.  Talk to your professor about his/her preference.  You should alphabetize the reference list by the first letter of the source entry.  Reference lists are double spaced with hanging indents.  See the following pages for examples.

Capitalization and Formatting Rules in the Reference List: When listing periodicals or books, capitalize only the first word of the title and any proper nouns, and the first word after a colon (if any).  The exception is periodical titles, which follow standard capitalization (each word except for those like “and” are capitalized).  Do not italicize, underline, or place quotations around the article title.  Book and journal titles are in italics.

Ex (periodical): Deutsch, F.M., Lussier, J.B., & Servis, L.J. (1993).  Husbands at home: Predictors of paternal participation in childcare and housework.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 1154-1166.

Note that the journal volume (in this case, 65) is also italicized. 

Ex (book): O’Neil, J.M., & Egan, J. (1992).  Men’s and women’s gender role journeys: Metaphor for healing, transition, and transformation.  In B. R. Wainrib (Ed.), Gender issues across the life cycle (pp. 107-123).  New York: Springer.

To cite information taken from an Electronic Journal in your Reference list, you would first cite the author, then year. Next you would include the title of the article. Then you would italicize the Journal Title, Journal Edition, and then the page numbers (not italicized). Finally you would write the words “Retrieved [Insert date data was retrieved here], from [Insert database journal was found]: http address.

Ex (electronic journal): Russell, T.D. (2000). The shape of the Michigan River as viewed from the land of Sweatt v. Painter and Hopwood. Law and Social Inquiry, 25, 507-519. Retried April 15, 2001, from INFOTRAC database: http://infotrac.galegroup.com


 

Reference List Formulas and Examples[1]

Book With One Author: pg. 248

Formula:

Author’s last name, first initial. (year of publication).  Title of work.  City of publication, State of publication: Publisher.

Ex:

Harris, T. (1988).  The silence of the lambs.  New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

Book With Multiple Authors: pg. 248

Formula:

Author 1’s last name, first initial. & Author 2’s last name, first initial. (year of publication).  Title of work.  City of publication, State of publication: Publisher.

Ex:

King, S., & Straub, P. (2001).  Black house.  New York, NY: Ballantine Books.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary: pg. 250

Formula:

Editor’s last name, first initial. (Ed.). (year of publication).  Title of reference (edition number ed., Vols. volume number).  City of publication: Publisher.

Ex:

Sadie, S. (Ed.). (1980).  The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians (6th ed., Vols. 1-20).  London: Macmillan


 

Journal Article, One Author: pg. 240

Formula:

Author’s last name, first initial. (year of publication).  Title of article.  Title of Journal, Volume (Issue), page numbers.

Ex:

Lofty, J.S. (1990).  Coming home to the national curriculum.  English Education, 22(4), 241-264.

Article or Chapter in an Edited Book: pg. 252

Formula:

Author’s last name, first initial. (year of publication).  Title of Article or Chapter.  In Editor’s last name, first initial (Ed.), Title of book (page numbers).  City of publication, State of publication: Publishing Company.

Ex:

De Quincey, T. (1848).  Literature of Knowledge and Literature of Power.  In Eastman, A.M. (Ed.), The Norton reader: An anthology of expository prose (p. 347-348).  New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

Internet Sources

There are many different types of internet documentation that address very specific types of internet documents.  Below are the types of documents that are used most often by students.  If your source does not fit into one of the categories below, come to the Writing Center.  We can help you find the right type of documentation for your source.

Electronic Copy of a Journal Article, Retrieved From Database: pg. 279

 

Formula:

Author’s last name, first initial (year of publication).  Title of journal article.  Title of Journal, volume, page numbers.  Retrieved date you accessed the database, from the electronic database you used.

Ex:

Borman, W.C. (1993).  Role of early supervisory experience in supervisor performance.  Journal of Applied Psychology, 78, 443-449.  Retrieved October 23, 2003, from Academic Search Elite.

Internet Article Based on Print Source: pg. 271

Formula:

Author’s last name, first initial. (year of publication).  Title of Article.  [Electronic version].  Title of Electronic Journal, Volume(Issue), page numbers.

Ex:

Lynch, D. (2003).  British Women Writers and the Writing of History: 1670-1820.  [Electronic version].  Modern Language Quarterly, 64(3), P. 393.

Multi-page Internet Document Created by Private Organization, No Date: pg. 273

Formula:

Private Organization (n.d.)  Title of document.  Retrieved the date you accessed the website, from the internet address.

Ex.

Great New Milford (Ct) Area Healthy Community 2000, Task Force on Teen and Adolescent Issues.  (n.d.).  Who has time for a family meal?  You do!  Retrieved October 5, 2003, from http://www.familymealtime.org

Sample Reference List

 

Reference List

Borman, W.C. (1993).  Role of early supervisory experience in supervisor performance.  Journal of Applied Psychology, 78, 443-449.  Retrieved October 23, 2003, from Academic Search Elite.

De Quincey, T. (1848).  Literature of knowledge and literature of power.  In Eastman, A.M. (Ed.), The Norton reader: An anthology of expository prose (p. 347-348).  New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

Great New Milford (Ct) Area Healthy Community( 2000), Task Force on Teen and Adolescent Issues.  (n.d.).  Who has time for a family meal?  You do!  Retrieved October 5, 2003, from http://www.familymealtime.org

Harris, T. (1988).  The silence of the lambs.  New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

King, S., & Straub, P. (2001).  Black house.  New York, NY: Ballantine Books.

Lofty, J.S. (1990).  Coming home to the national curriculum.  English Education, 22(4), 241-264.

Lynch, D. (2003).  British women writers and the writing of history: 1670-1820.  [Electronic version].  Modern Language Quarterly, 64(3), P. 393.

Midgett, E.W. (1968).  An accounting primer: The ABC’s of accounting for the aon-accountant.  New York, NY: A Mentor Book.

Sadie, S. (Ed.). (1980).  The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians (6th ed., Vols. 1-20).  London: Macmillan.


 

[1] See Chapter 4 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2001) for more information. Page numbers refer to the APA Manual.