Citing Your Sources
Lesson 6

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APA Citation Style

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association provides instructions on how to cite material published in the social sciences.The Manual says:

"Rules for the preparation of manuscripts should contribute to clear communication.... They spare readers from a distracting variety of forms throughout a work and permit readers to give full attention to content." (p.11)

The Publication Manual of the APA is also available at the library Reference Desk, and online.

APA citation style is quite different from MLA style. Reference citations in the text are part of the narrative. Here are three examples of how you could cite the same research done by Dr. Smith:

  • Smith (1983) compared reaction times...
  • In a recent study of reaction times (Smith, 1983)...
  • In 1983 Smith compared reaction times...

APA citation style also arranges information differently in the list of works cited. Here are some examples.

Book with single author

Basic Format
Author's Last Name [space] Author's First and Middle Initial. (Date of Publication). Title of book [capitalize only the first word of the title and subtitle and any proper noun]. Place of Publication: Publisher.

Sample Citation
Bernstein, T. M. (1965). The careful writer: A modern guide to English usage. New York: Atheneum.
Journal Article

Basic Format
Author's Last Name [space] Author's First and Middle Initial. (Date of Publication). Title of article [capitalize only the first word of the title and subtitle and any proper noun]. Title of Journal, Volume, Page Numbers.

Sample Citation
Paivio, A. (1975). Perceptual comparisons through the mind's eye. Memory & Cognition, 3, 635-647.
Magazine Article

Basic Format
Author's Last Name [space] Author's First and Middle Initial. (Date of Publication). Title of article [capitalize only the first word of the title and subtitle and any proper noun]. Title of Journal, Page Numbers.

Sample Citation
Gardner, H. (1981, December). Do babies sing a universal song? Psychology Today, pp. 70-76.
Newspaper Article

Basic Format
Author's Last Name [space] Author's First and Middle Initial. (Date of Publication). Title of article [capitalize only the first word of the title and subtitle and any proper noun]. Title of Newspaper, Page Numbers.

Sample Citation
Lublin, J. S. (1980, December 5). On idle: The unemployed shun much mundane work, at least for a while. The Wall Street Journal, pp. 1, 25.
Web Page

Basic Format
Author/Editor. (Date of Publication). Title of Web page (Edition), [Type of medium]. Available: <URL> [Access date].

Sample Citation
Lehman, M. A. & Brown, R. H. (1994) Intellectual property and the national information infrastructure [Online]. Available: <http://www.uspto.gov/nii/ipwg.html> [1995, May 15].

When you are ready to cite social science research you will need to take a look at the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

 

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