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Documentation Style

If you are asked to use APA format for a paper, the book to consult is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th edition), which the American Psychological Association has recently updated. Citing electronic sources was a major part of this update as these types of sources are increasingly common in research within the social sciences. Below, you will find some examples of these updated citation styles. If you want to order an APA manual or view the latest updates about electronic sources in more detail, visit the new APA style web site at The documentation style of the American Psychological Association.

Essay Writing

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association offers complete guidelines for manuscript style and citation in APA, the documentation style of the social sciences. This handout illustrates the most commonly used types of sources with examples drawn from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 4th ed. and The Bedford Handbook for Writers, 4th ed. If you have a source not illustrated here,

Points to remember about APA:

 APA uses an author/date style of in-text citations, referring by the author's last name to the References page at the end of the text.

 All references are double-spaced.

 For manuscripts submitted to journals, APA requires the form illustrated here (with the first lines of reference entries indented and subsequent lines flushed left). The hanging indent form (first line flushed left, subsequent lines indented) is customary for student papers. Check with your instructor to determine which form is appropriate.

 Capitalize only the first word of an article title and of the subtitle, if any, and any proper names. On the references page, do not underline the title of an article or place quotation marks around it.

 Capitalize significant words in the title of a journal.

 Capitalize only the first significant word and only proper names within book titles. Capitalize the first significant word of the subtitle, if any.

 Because personal communications (letters, memos, telephone conversations, interviews) do not provide recoverable data, they are not included in the reference list. Cite personal communications in text only. Example: (K. W. Schaie, personal communication, September 28, 1993)


Essay Writing

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (1994). Title of article.
Title of Periodical, xx, xxx-xxx.


Author, A. A. (1994). Title of work. Location: Publisher.

 Journal article, one author:
Bekerian, D. A. (1993). In search of the typical eyewitness. American Psychologist, 48, 674-576.

 Journal article, two authors:

Klimoski, R., & Palmer, S. (1993). The ADA and the hiring process in organizations. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research,
45 (2), 10-36.

 Magazine article:
Posner, M. I. (1993, October 29). Seeing the mind. Science, 262, 673-674.

 Daily newspaper article, no author:

New drug appears to sharply cut risk of death from heart failure. (1993, July 15). The Washington Post, p. A12.

 Daily newspaper article, discontinuous pages:

Schwartz, J. (1993, September 30). Obesity affects economic, social status. The Washington Post, pp. A1, A4-5.

 Monthly newspaper article, letter to the editor:

Markovitz, M. C. (1993, May). Inpatient vs. outpatient [Letter to the editor]. APA Monitor, p.3.

 One author:
Shaller, G. B. (1993). The last panda. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 Two or more authors, Jr. in name, third edition:

Mitchell, T. R., & Larson, J. R., Jr. (1987). People in organizations:
An introduction to organizational behavior (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

 Corporate author:

National Head Start Association. (1990). Head Start: The nation's pride, a nation's challenge. Report of the Silver Ribbon Panel. Alexandria, VA:

 Unknown author:

The Times Atlas of the World (9th ed.). (1992). New York: Times Books.

Fox, R. W., & Lears, T. J. J. (Eds.). (1993). The power of culture:
Critical essays in American history. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 English translation of a book:
Laplace, P. (1951). A philosophical essay on probabilities (F. W. Truscott & F. L. Emory, Trans.). New York: Dover. (Original work published 1814)
In the text, cite the original publication date and the date of the translation: (Laplace, 1814/1951).

 Work in an anthology:
Ochs, E., & Schieffelin, B. (1984). Language acquisition and socialization: Three developmental stories. In R. Schweder and R. Levine (Eds.), Culture theory:
Essays in mind, self, and emotion (pp. 276-320). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Essay Writing

Harrison, J. (Producer), & Schmiechen, R. (Director). (1992). Changing our minds: The story of Evelyn Hooker [Film]. (Available from Changing Our Minds, Inc., 170 West End Avenue, Suite 25R, New York, NY 10023)
· Television broadcast:
Crystal, L. (Executive Producer). (1993, October 11). The MacNeil/Lehrer news hour. New York and Washington, DC: Public Broadcasting Service.

 Music recording:
Writer, A. (Date of Copyright). Title of song [Recorded by artist if different from writer]. On Title of album [Medium of recording: compact
disk, record, cassette, etc.]. Location: Label. (Recording date if different from copyright date)


National Geographic Society (Producer). (1987). In the shadow of Vesuvius [Videotape]. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society.


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.

 Report from the Government Printing Office (GPO):
National Institute of Mental Health. (1990). Clinical training in serious mental illness (DHHS Publication No. ADM 90-1679). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

 Report from the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC):

Mead, J.V. (1992). Looking at old photographs: Investigating the teacher tales that novice teachers bring with them (Report No., NCRTL-RR-92-4). East Lansing, MI: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 346 082)

 Government Report not available from GPO or ERIC:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1992). Pressure ulcers in adults: Prediction and prevention (AHCPR Publication No. 92-0047). Rockville, MD: Author.

 One work by one author:
Rogers (1994) compared reaction times
In a recent study of reaction times (Rogers, 1994)
Within a paragraph, subsequent references to a study need not include the year.

 One work by multiple authors up to five:
Wasserstein, Zappulla, Rosen, Gerstman, and Rock (1994) found [first citation in text] Wasserstein et al. (1994) found [subsequent first citation per paragraph thereafter]

 Groups as authors:

(National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 1991)
Subsequent references
(NIMH, 1991)

 Works with no author:

("Study Finds," 1982)
Article titles are quoted.
(Science, 1993)
Book and journal titles are underlined.
· Specific parts of a source:
(Cheek & Buss, 1981, p. 332)
(Shimamura, 1989, chap. 3)See APA Style Sample

See APA Style Sample

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