A QUICK SUMMARY OF APA STYLE SHEET USE
There are many writing guides, such
as The UPI Stylebook: A Handbook for Writers and
Editors (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 treatment.
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.
double spaced on a
separate page at the end of your papers. The sources are arranged
alphabetically according to the first authors 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.
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. San
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
behavior (pp. 168-196). New
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
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
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
Encyclopedia or dictionary (with no author):
Longman dictionary of psychology
and psychiatry. (1984). New
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
performance. [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.
Conway, J. R. (1979,February). An
experimental study of the effect
of prejudice in a persuasive
communication setting. Paper
presented at the Western Speech
Convention, Los Angeles.
NOTE: When an abstract was obtained online, add a statement after listing the city of publication stating, "Abstract retrieved from xxxx//:xxxxxx.xxx" without a closing period.
Andrews, F. M. (1981). The influence
of evidenciary[sic.] and
decisions in a simulated rape
trial. Dissertation Abstracts
International: Section B,
Sciences and Engineering, 43(02),
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
Authors of the
(last name first, followed by initials; if more than one author,
the second authors 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) **
doi (digital object identifier)
Name of publisher *
(if the article has a doi, include
(just the major parts of the publishers name at the end of the reference; [without a
should be mentionedthus 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
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,
4, 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,
As may be observed from the citation form above, this source had no DOI and was not
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
Republic, p. 9.
Articles from newspapers:
Scott, J. (1993, May 25). Publicity wars
rage unabridged. Los Angeles Times, p.
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,acjournal.org/holdings/
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
questions. Retrieved from
Chapter of an authored report from governmental organization:
Mancuso, L. L. (1993, June). Disclosure. Case studies
on reasonable accommodations for workers with
disabilities. 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 http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/
Webpage from a website maintained at an institutional or university archive
(rather than by a
Jay Verlinden. (n.d.) Argumentation and critical thinking
tutorial. Retrieved from Humboldt State University
For a message posted to a newsgroup, the following form may be used:
M. (2002, May 2). China and press leaks.
[Number 6708]. [online newsgroup]. Retreived from
Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.).
Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
The UPI stylebook: A handbook for writers and editors (rev. ed.). (1986).
DC: United Press International.
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