Sample Paper


There are many writing guides, such as The UPI Stylebook: A Handbook for Writers and
(1986) that are widely adopted by specialty areas such as in the field of journalism. Yet, the use of reference notes and citations has been dominated by two different forms, often called MLA and APA style sheets. Except for a few publications dedicated to rhetorical studies, the APA format has been universally accepted. Thus, it is the one that we will review for you here. The best way to learn reference methods is by using them in your own work. This review will hit some of the high points for you so that you will have an idea how to write your own papers and complete application assignments. Even so, you would be well advised to buy a copy of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) to receive a comprehensive

Citation of Sources

You must indicate within the text every time you use ideas or words that are not original to you.  The APA method uses documentation notes contained within parentheses. Within the text you should include the last name of the author followed by parentheses containing a date, and a page or chapter number as required to make the reference clear.

A lot of people mistakenly assume that APA style does not include page numbers in text references. They are wrong. Unless you are referring to an entire article's findings, or to an entire book, provide the page numbers. Anytime you provide a quotation, you must include the page numbers.

For electronic sources, such as those obtained on the Internet, web pages typically are saved separately and page numbers may not always be meaningful.  Instead, writers are supposed to identify the paragraph numbers where the specific material is found on the web page.  The symbol "para." is employed

If the reference is the first reference to the source, place a parenthetical note immediately following the name of the author indicating the date of the publication, and place a page number immediately following any quoted material, such as:

Berlo (1960) explained that "meanings are in people" (p. 184).

Many electronic sources do not feature page numbers. If the source provides paragraph numbers, use them as you would use page numbers. Use the abbreviation "para." before the paragraph number.

If there are no paragraph numbers, "cite the heading  and the number of the paragraph following it to direct the reader to the location of the quoted materials" (Publication Manual . . ., 2010, p. 172). If headings and paragraph numbers are not present, use labels and then identify the number of the paragraph following the subheadings. For instance, consider this reference

Johnson (1999) warned "Statistical hypothesis testing has received an enormous amount of criticism, and for a rather long time" (Other comments on hypothesis tests, para. 1).

If the headings are too long, abbreviate them and insert the abbreviation in quotation marks. As in

"Mental health consumers routinely consider the question of whether or not to disclose their psychiatric disability . . ." (Mancuso, 1993, "Worker Decision Points," para. 1).

Only if the whole work is referenced, may the page numbers be omitted. If the reference is not a first note, or if the reference does not give a direct quotation, the date and the page may
be placed within the same set of parentheses, such as:

Berlo (1960, p. 1) attempted to apply communication theory to introductory communication classes.

For an electronic source, the following form could be used:

Boiarsky (1999, para. 2) recognized that many people are confused and distrustful when presented with mass media reports of research.

For several sources, all are indicated in the reference notes. If a single author has several listed publications, the dates of all these sources may be indicated in the note, as in:

McCroskey (1966, 1970) viewed ethos as an attitude audiences have toward the source of a message.

If a specific author (and co-authors, if any) published more than one source in the same year, the sources should be identified with a letter following the date. The sources within the same year should be placed in alphabetical order and the first of these indicated with the letter "a," the second one should be indicated by the letter "b," and so forth. Thus, the following citation might be used:

Some research indicates that friendships often take on dialectical qualities (Rawlins, 1983a,1983b).

In the text, make sure you give the names of both authors if there are two. In parentheses list the authors with an ampersand (&) between the names. Do not change the order of
the names when you cite them. Thus, you might reference a source such as:

Television news coverage often sets public opinion for public issues (Brosius & Kepplinger, 1990).

In parentheses, if there are more than five authors for a single work, identify the first author identify the first author followed by unitalicized "et al." (Latin for "and others") as in:

Some inquiry has suggested that compliance-gaining message research is plagued by item desirability confounding (Berleson et al., 1988).

If a work has fewer than six authors, the first parenthetical citation should list all names and subsequent citations may abbreviate the note by using the first name followed by "et al."  If a work has two authors "et al." is never used. 

Documentation Method and Bibliographic Format

The methods to document books and articles are different. Of course, these differences mean that the reader has no trouble figuring out what the source is and where to find it in libraries. The Table in this guide shows a summary of the guidelines to be used in major types of sources. You should use this table to check your own references.

References appear double spaced on a separate page at the end of your papers. The sources are arranged alphabetically according to the first author’s last name. You do not have the right to change the author order within a citation to make them alphabetical. If there is no author given, as in most general dictionaries and encyclopedias, the title of the work is used. In such cases, one alphabetizes by the title ignoring any initial articles (A, An, The). When the source is an organization, list the organization name just as though it were the name
of a person who authored a work.

For sources with more than one publication in a single year, sources should be arranged in alphabetical order according to titles. Then, an "a" should be placed next to the date of the first reference. A "b" should be placed next to the date of the next reference, and so forth, such as:

Rawlins, W. K. (1983a). Negotiating close
     friendship: The dialectic of
     conjunctive freedoms. Human
     Communication Research, 9
, 255-266.
     doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.1983.tb00698

Rawlins, W. K. (1983b). Openness as
     problematic in ongoing relationships:
     Two conversational dilemmas.
     Communication Monographs, 50, 1-13.

NOTE: The second entry had no doi (digital object identifier) and the article was retrieved from the actual hardcopy journal, not an electronic journal.

The following list shows ways to cite different sorts of reference materials. Review the Summary Table and then examine these examples for exceptions to the rules and special situations:

Books. There are several special forms of citation for books. These examples include some of the major varieties, starting with a standard form.

Book by single author:

Berlo, D. K. (1960). The process of
     communication: An introduction
     to theory and practice.
     Francisco: Rinehart Press.

Book by multiple authors:

Weaver, D. H., Graber, D. A.,
     McCombs, M. E., & Eyal, C. H.
     (1981). Media agenda-setting
     in a presidential election:
     Issues, images and interest
     New York: Praeger.

Book from corporate author:

Surgeon General's Scientific Advisory
     Committee on Television and 
     Social Behavior. (1971).
     Television and growing up: The
     impact of televised violence
     Report to the Surgeon General,
     United States Public Health
     Service. Washington, DC:
     Government Printing Office.

NOTE: When citing government documents, one must include the agency or unit of government involved prior to the citation of the city of publication.

Book other than first edition:

Kirk, R. E. (1982). Experimental
     design: Procedures for the
     behavioral sciences
(2nd ed.).
     Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

A chapter in an edited book:

Barker, D. A., & Barker, L. L.
     (1989). Survey research. In P.
     Emmert & L. L. Barker (Eds.),
     Measurement of communication
(pp. 168-196). New
     York: Longman.

NOTE: When citing a section from an edited book, one must include the page numbers for the chapter in parentheses prior to the citation of the city of publication.

An edited book:

Emmert, P., & Barker, L. L. (Eds.).
     (1989). Measurement of
     communication behavior
. New
     York: Longman.

NOTE: "Eds." is used instead of "Ed." because there is more than one editor.

A reissued book:

Mackay, C. (1980). Extraordinary
     popular delusions and the
     madness of crowds
. New York:
     Harmony Books. (Original work
     published 1841)

NOTE: In the text of the paper, the citation would be:  (Mackay, 1841/1980).

A translated book:

Perelman, C., & Olbrechts-Tyteca,
     L. (1969). The new rhetoric: A
     treatise on  argumentation

     (J. Wilkinson & P. Weaver,
     Trans.). Notre Dame, IN:
     University of Notre Dame

Other Forms.

Encyclopedia or dictionary (with no author):

Longman dictionary of psychology

     and psychiatry. (1984). New
     York: Longman.

Not all books called dictionaries are such resources. If possible, cite these sources as you would any other books, such as:

Bullock, A., & Stallybrass,O.
     (Eds.). (1977). The Harper
     dictionary of modern thought.
New York: Harper & Row.

          Brochures/flyers (treat them as if books):

Smith-Corona. (1976, July). Typing
     and improved academic
. [Brochure]. n.c.:

NOTE: Such sources often are incomplete. You must place all the information you can in the reference.  The abbreviations "n.c." and "n.d." stand for "no city cited" and "no date cited" respectively.

Convention papers:

Conway, J. R. (1979,February). An
     experimental study of the effect
     of prejudice in a persuasive
     communication setting
. Paper
     presented at the Western Speech
     Communication Association
     Convention, Los Angeles.

NOTE: When an abstract was obtained online, add a statement after listing the city of publication stating, "Abstract retrieved from xxxx//" without a closing period.


Andrews, F. M. (1981). The influence
     of evidenciary[sic.] and
     extraevidenciary[sic.]factors on
     decisions in a simulated rape
     trial. Dissertation Abstracts
     International: Section B,
     Sciences and Engineering, 43

NOTE:  This source was a dissertation whose abstract was obtained from Dissertation Abstracts.  If you secured the dissertation from University Microfilms Inc., include the UMI number in parentheses following the citation and after the final period (e.g., UMI No. 1234567B).

Brown, L. M. (1985). A content
     analysis of anti-Catholic
     documents circulated through the
     mails during the 1960
     presidential election campaign
     Unpublished master's thesis,
     University of Iowa, Iowa City.

NOTE: This source was not abstracted in Masters Abstracts International.  Thus, M.A.I. was not identified in a way similar to Dissertation Abstracts International for doctoral dissertations.  If the source is outside the United States include the city, province, and country after a comma and before the final period.


                Use of the APA Form for Books and Articles

              Books                                                          Articles                         

                                             Authors of the work *
                  (last name first, followed by initials; if more than one author,
    the second author’s name also is presented last name first, followed by initials)

                               Date of publication in parentheses *
(if more than one publication occurred by the same author(s) in a single year, add the
    letter "a" to the first example, the letter "b" to the second example, and so forth)

Title of book
(italicized)*                                     Title of article (not italicized) *
(aside from proper nouns, only the first letter of the first word of the title is capitalized;
                  if the work has a subtitle, the subtitle begins after a colon;
            the first letter of the first word in the subtitle is capitalized)

Edition of book *                                                    Title of journal (italicized) **
(placed in parentheses; the edition                           (aside from articles [words such as
number is identified in ordinary Arabic                    "an," and "the"] capitalize the
numerals, such as "2nd ed.," or "5th ed.")                first letter of each word in the title)

Name of editors, or translators *                         Volume number (
italicized) **
placed in parentheses; the first initial of                 (volume numbers are placed in
each editor or translator precedes the last                ordinary Arabic numerals, not Roman
name; following a comma, the abbreviation             numerals; if a journal has
"Ed.," "Eds.," or "Trans." appears)                         continuous pagination through the
                                                                                 volume [if each issue in the volume 
Volume number, if book is a multivolume          does not start on a new page 1], do
work *                                                                     
not include the issue number;  if
(placed in parentheses, in the form of                       issue numbers must be included, 
"Vol. 1" or "Vols. 1-2")                                            put them in parentheses 
immediately following the volume
City of publication (followed by a colon)              
(list the city of publication; if several                        
cities are listed on the title page, use the                  Page numbers *  
first city on the list; if the city is not widely              (if the volume number is not
known or if there is more than one city with             included in the reference, place
the same name, also add a comma and the                "p." or "pp." before the page
postal abbreviation for the state; if the city is            numbers; otherwise, simply list
outside the U.S., add the name or standard               the page numbers themselves)
abbreviation for the country) 

                                                                                  doi (digital object identifier) 

Name of publisher *                                               (if the article has a doi, include it
(just the major parts of the publisher’s name            at the end of the reference; [without a
should be mentioned—thus list "McGraw-Hill,"     closing period]; "If there is no DOI .
not "McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.")                       assigned, and the reference was retrieved

                                                                                 online, give the URL of the journal home
                                                                                 page" (Publication Manual . . ., 2010, p.
                                                                                 199). If there is is no DOI and you did
                                                                                 not retrieve the article online (you used
                                                                                 the actual hardcopy article of record), do
                                                                                 not include URL information. NOTE:
                                                                                 "In general, it is not necessary to include

                                                                                 database information. Journal coverage

                                                                                 in a particular database may change over
                                                                                 time; also, if using an aggregator such as
                                                                                 EBSCO, OVID, or ProQuest (each of
                                                                                 which contain [sic] many discipline-specific
                                                                                 data bases, such as PsychINFO, it may be
                                                                                 unclear exactly which database provided
                                                                                 the full text of an article"(Publication
                                                                                 Manual . . .
, 2010, p. 192) .


* followed by a period
** followed by a comma

Articles. Articles are found in journals, newspapers, and magazines. These examples will
show you ways to identify article sources.

Articles from journals with continuous pagination through the volume are most common
in communication research. Continuous pagination means that each issue does not start
with a new page 1. When journals are bound into large books, students do not have to
thumb through each issue separately. The following form is used:

     Burgoon, J. K. (1978). A communication model of
         personal space violations:  Explication and
         initial test. Human Communication Research,
, 129-142.
doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.1978.tb00603.x

NOTE: You may presume, until good and sufficient reason exists to the contrary, that
professional journals have continuous pagination through the volume (usually the high
page numbers reveal this fact).

Articles from journals that do not paginate continuously through the volume start each
issue with a new page 1. The issue number is added to the references in these cases, as
in the example:

Browning, T. (1976). Reasoned discourse or
        "tea party." Journal of the Arizona
     Communication and Theatre Association,
(1), 29-32.

     As may be observed from the citation form above, this source had no DOI and was not
     retrieved online.

Articles from weekly or monthly magazines:

Aldrich, N. W. (1986, February). How to read
     a business best-seller. Inc., pp. 31-33.

            NOTE: When the volume number is missing, pages are preceded by "p." or

Articles from weekly or monthly magazines with no author identified:

 The gerund gap. (1993, May 31). The New
, p. 9.

Articles from newspapers:

  Scott, J. (1993, May 25). Publicity wars
     rage unabridged. Los Angeles Times, p.

Electronic Media. As far back as 1994, the American Psychological
Association recognized: "If print forms and electronic forms of the material are the
same, a reference for the print form currently is preferred [at least for the moment]
. . . " (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 1994, p. 218).
Thus, if you can cite a hardcopy source, do it. 

In general, following typical identification of names and article titles, retrieval information
is included. Following any other citation information, a statement is provided to specify
the method used to find the item including the protocol [e.g., www, FTP, Telnet], the
directory, and the file name.
Here is an example of an entry from an electronic journal:

Burke. B. R., & Patterson-Pratt, J. R.  (2002,

     Winter).  Establishing understandings: Teaching
     about culture in introductory television
     courses.  American Communication Journal, 5(2).
     Retrieved from http://www,

If one cited an abstract from such a site, the statement would say "Abstract retrieved"
rather than simply "Retrieved."

You will notice that the title of the publication is underlined, just as if it were the title
of a  published book.  If you do not have an electronic publication name, the title of
the particular Web page is treated as the title.

For the date of publication, you should include the date the electronic source indicated for the
material. But sometimes it can be difficult to find dates on electronic sources since authors may
not indicate such information.In such cases insert "n.d." in place of an actual date. In previous
versions of APA style, writers were told to insert the date they made the search (the retrieval
date) when the electronic publication date was not available. This practice no longer is
recommended.  Here are some citation forms for other online sources.

        A webpage with no individual author:

Pace University School of Law Battered Women's
     Justice Center. (1998, March 15). Voir dire
. Retrieved from

   Chapter of an authored report from governmental organization:

Mancuso, L. L. (1993, June). Disclosure. Case studies
     on reasonable accommodations for workers with
U.S. Department of Health and Human
     Services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health
     Services Administration. National Mental Health
     Information Center (Publication number: CS00-0008).
     Retreived from


        Webpage from a website maintained at an institutional or university archive (rather than by a
        commercial site).

Jay Verlinden. (n.d.) Argumentation and critical thinking
. Retrieved from Humboldt State University

For a message posted to a newsgroup, the following form may be used:

    Roth, M.  (2002, May 2).  China and press leaks.
         [Number 6708].  [online newsgroup]. Retreived from


Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.).  (2010).
        Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

The UPI stylebook: A handbook for writers and editors (rev. ed.). (1986). Washington,
        DC: United Press International.


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