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Information Studies - APA Citations

Notes and Quotes from
APA Style, 3rd ed. (1983)


ex.-- In a recent study of reaction times (Smith, 1983), it was....

If two to six authors, list all of their names the first time, subsequently use "et al." ex. (Williams et al., 1983).

If there is no author, list the first two words in the reference list entry. ex. (Study finding, 1982).

Reference to two works, same authors. ex. (Jones & Smith, 1982, 1987).

Two or more works by different authors need to be listed alphabetically by last name. ex. (Dorow & O'Neal, 1979; Mullaney, 1978; Talpers, 1981).

For quotes, list page numbers. ex. (Wilmoth, 1980, p.10).


(Journal Articles)
Kipnis, D., Schmidt, S. M., & Wilkinson, I. (1980). Intraorganizational influence tactics: Explorations in getting one's way [Letter to the editor]. Journal of Applied Psychology, 65, 440-452.

(Magazine and Newspaper Articles)
Pyle, K.B. (1991, November/December). Japan's Pacific overtures: How Japan sees itself at home, in Asia, and around the world. American Entrepreneur, 2(3), pp. 29-37.

American Psychiatric Association (Eds.). (1980). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

(Articles in a books)
Hartley, J.T., Harker, J.O., & Walsh, D.A. (1980). Contemporary issues and new directions in adult development of learning and memory. In L.W. Poon (Ed.), Aging in the 1980s: Psychological issues (pp. 239-252). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

(Abstracted dissertations)
Pendar, J.E. (1982). Undergraduate psychology majors. Dissertation Abstracts International, 42, 4370A-4371A. (University Microfilms No. 82-06, 181).

(Unpublished dissertations)
Ryerson, J.F. (1983). Effective management training: Two models; Unpublished master's thesis, Clarkson College of Technology, Potsdam, NY.


Quotation limit without permission is 500 words.

All quotes must include a source reference and page number. ex. Smith (1982) found that "the 'placebo effect' was never exhibited again [italics added], even when reel [sic] drugs were administered" (p.276).

Numbers--Use figures for 10 and above. Use words for numbers below ten.

Statistics. Always use statistical terms in a narrative. Never use the symbol except in formulae.

Use the percent (%) symbol only when it follows a numeral. Otherwise, use the word "percentage."

Reference list should be alphabetized letter by letter. Same authors are arranged by year of publication, earliest coming first.


(Most common mistakes in APA)

Elements of the APA Citation

  1. AUTHOR. Last name first, in alphabetical order (letter by letter). Invert every author's name, no matter how many are listed. Use "&" before last author listed. List all authors in the reference list. In text, list the first author and then "et al."

  2. DATE. Place only the year of publication in parentheses if a journal. If a magazine, newspaper, or other type of serial, include month and day after the year and a comma.

  3. TITLE. Capitalize only the first letter in the first word of the title and the first word of the subtitle. For edition number, place in parentheses after title and before any punctuation. For more than one volume:

    • Wilson, J.G., & Fraser, F.C. (Eds.). (1977-1978). Handbook of teratology (Vols. 1-4). New York: Plenum Press.


    • Wilson, J.G., & Fraser, F.C. (Eds.). (1977). Handbook of teratology (Vols. 2, pp. 3-66). New York: Plenum Press.

  4. PUBLICATION INFORMATION. If pagination is discontinuous, list the pages, e.g., pp. 1, 25-6. If the work is republished:

    Freud, S. (1961). The ego and the id. In J. Strachey (Ed. and Trans.). The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 19, pp. 3-66). London: Hogarth Press. (Original work published 1923)

    ---or, for an article in a book

    Sluzki, C.E., & Beavin, J. (1977). Symmetry and complementarity: An operational definition and a typology of dyads. In P. Watzlawick & J. H. Weakland (Eds. and Trans.), The international view (pp. 71-87). New York: Norton. (Reprinted from Acta Psiquiatrica y Psicologica de America Latina, 1965, 11, 321-330)

    Note: Following the title, stop the underline, a comma and space, and then give the volume number and underline it. Give NO issue number unless every issue begins with page number one. If so, place the issue number in parentheses immediately following the volume number, but not underlined. After a comma give the page numbers. Use "pp." before the page numbers in references to newspapers and magazines, but not in references to journal articles.

    Citation of a work discussed in a secondary source:

    Give the secondary source in the reference list and cite the original work with the secondary source in the text. For example, if Johnson's unpublished manuscript is cited in Beatty, cite Beatty in the reference list. In text, use the following citation: Johnson's study (cited in Beatty, 1982).

    Practice by converting these records to the APA format:

    Japan's Pacific overtures: how Japan sees itself at home, in Asia, and around the world. K.B. Pyle. Am Enterp 2:29-37 N/D '91

    Pyle, K.B. (1991, November/December). Japan's Pacific overtures: How Japan sees itself at home, in Asia, and around the world. American Entrepreneur, 2, 29-37.

    America and Japan: two can play [CIA report,Japan 2000] Economist 319:29-30 Je 15 '91

    America and Japan: Two can play. (1991, June 15). The Economist, 319, 29-30.

    Carrots for Gorbachov: Japan finds its voice on Soviet aid issue [G-7 summit] J. Bartholomew. Far East Econ Rev 153:13 Jl 25 '91

    Bartholomew, J. (1991, July 25). Carrots for Gorbachov: Japan finds its voice on Soviet aid issue. Far East Economic Review, 153, 13.


    • Correctness of MLA style
    • Number of citations (35 minimum, up to around 45)
    • Breadth of formats represented in sources listed
      • Encyclopedias
      • Almanacs
      • Dictionaries
      • Magazine articles
      • Journal articles
      • Newspaper articles
      • Electronic databases
      • Books
      • Govt. documents
    • Quality of the annotations
    • Quality and appropriateness of the sources chosen
    • Currency or appropriateness of sources chosen (appropriateness here--or a reason for including an older source--would be the source's seminal nature; ie., it is a "key" work in the field)


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    Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS

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