Dr Abel Scribe PhD

3.0 Text Citations & Reference Lists

APA style uses the author-date or parenthetical system of citation. These have been used throughout APA Basic. They take the form (Author, Date, Page [if relevant]). This must agree with the author and date in the corresponding reference.

APA Basic Table of Contents
1.0 Mechanics of Style
  • 1.1 Abbreviations
  • 1.2 Capitalization
  • 1.3 Emphasis (Italics)
  • 1.4 Common Numbers
  • 1.5 Precise Numbers
2.0 Page Layout
  • 2.1 Title & Text Pages
  • 2.2 Headings & Lists
  • 2.3 Quotations
  • 2.4 Tables
  • 2.5 Figures & Graphs
4.0 Reference Examples
  • 4.1 Articles in Periodicals
  • 4.2 Books & Compilations
  • 4.3 Reference Works
  • 4.4 Monographs & Websites

3.1 Text Citations (TOP)

square APA style uses the author-date or parenthetical system of citation . These have been used throughout APA Basic. They take the form (Author, Date, Page [if relevant]). This must agree with the author and date in the corresponding reference.

Placement. Citations to references follow their referral in the text. For example, American Psychological Association journals use the author-date style of citation (APA, 2009, p. 174).

  • Text citations do not repeat information. If an author's name is mentioned in the text, it is not repeated in the citation. If no specific page is cited, none is noted. For example, the APA Publication Manual (2009) is largely focused on preparing manuscripts for publication. The citation immediately follows the author's name.
  • Page numbers are required with all direct quotations. The citation comes immediately after the quote, even when it is not at the end of the sentence. For example, changes to APA style "are not only permissible but also desirable" (APA, 2001, p. 322) when preparing college papers.
  • When the author's name and the quote are separated, the citation is also separated. For example, the APA Manual (2001) advises that changes to the style "are not only permissible but also desirable" (p. 322) when preparing college papers.

Pointer   Do not drop digits from (elide) inclusive pages numbers, do not write pp. 1234-38, write pp. 1234-1238.

Basic Citation Format

Rules for Citations

  • Three to five authors list all authors in the first citation; the lead author et al. (and others) in subsequent citations: first, (Smith, Jones, Andrews, Baker, & Charles, 2001); next, (Smith et al., 2001).
  • Six or more authors list the lead author et al. in all citations.
  • Corporate author. If a group is readily identified by an acronym, spell it out only the first time. For example, "As reported in a government study (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 1991) . . . ." The next citation gives just the initials and year, (NIMH, 1991).
  • No author. If the author is unknown, use the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title), for example: ("Study Finds," 1992). Use heading caps in the text when noting a title (sentence caps in references)!
  • Anonymous. If the work specifically carries the designation "Anonymous" in place of an author's name, use Anonymous as the author. Otherwise, the work has no author.
  • Reprints cite the original publication date and reprint date if both are known, for example: (James, 1890/1983). Translations of classics note the date of the translation: (Aristotle, trans. 1931).
  • Personal communication. E-mail and other "unrecoverable data" are cited as personal communications, for example: (C. G. Jung, personal communication, September 28, 1933). These sources do not appear in the reference list.
  • Always cite page numbers after quotations. For example, the author noted, "The rats fell asleep within minutes" (Jones, 2003, p. 76). Or, Jones (1993) found "the rats fell asleep within minutes" (p. 76).
  • E-documents. When quoting electronic documents without page numbers, cite paragraph numbers if given, after the paragraph symbol or abbreviation para. (e.g., Smith, 2000, 17). If there are no paragraph numbers, cite the nearest preceding section heading and count paragraphs from there (e.g., Smith, 2000, Method section, para. 4).
  • If the citation is repeated in the same paragraph, the year may be omitted. For example (Smith et al., 2002, p. 22), then (Smith et al., p. 23).
  • Use an ampersand (&) in references and parenthetical citations only; write and in plain text, for example, Smith and Sarason (1990) explained . . . . Or write: (Smith & Sarason, 1990).
  • If there are two or more citations that shorten to the same lead author and date, give as many additional names as needed to identify them, e.g., (Smith, Jones, et al., 1991) and (Smith, Burke, et al., 1991).
  • When citing multiple works by the same author, arrange dates in order. Use letters after years to distinguish multiple publications by the same author in the same year, e.g., (Johnson, 1988, 1990a, 1990b).

3.2 Reference Lists (TOP)

square List references alphabetically by author. Spaces or punctuation precede letters after last names, Smith comes before Smithson, but note 2 below. Use first initials as appropriate, Smith, A. comes before Smith, B. When there are multiple works by the same author, list references by date, the most recent last.

  1. Use prefixes if they are commonly part of the surname (e.g., de Chardin comes before Decker, MacGill comes before McGill. But do not use von (e.g,, write: Helmholtz, H. L. F. von).
  2. Disregard apostrophes, spaces, and capitals in alphabetizing; D'Arcy comes after Daagwood, Decker comes after de Chardin. Single-author citations precede multiple-author citations (Zev, 1990 then Zev et al., 1990).
  3. Alphabetize corporate authors by first significant word. Do not use abbreviations in corporate names.

Reference Lists (APA Final Manuscripts)

Figure 9. Reference Lists

Figure 10. List of references in block format. References are arranged alphabetically by author. Block spacing single-spaces within references, but double-spaces between references (see APA, 2001, p. 326).

Rules for References

  1. Authors & editors. (New!). List up to seven authors to a work; if there are more than seven list the first six, insert an elipsis, then the last author. Invert all authors' names, using first & middle initials. With two or more authors place an ampersand> & < before the final name. Note, unless they are serving in place of authors in a reference, editors' names go in their normal order (First. M. Last).
  2. Character Spacing. Space once after all punctuation except inside abbreviations, ratios, and URLs where no space is required (APA, 2009, p. 87). Space once after the periods in references and initials.
  3. City, State. City and state, province, or country are now required for all cities. Write: Baltimore, MD; New York, NY; Boston, MA; London, England; Paris, France. Use postal abbreviations for states, provinces.
  4. Date. Use the month-day-year format for full dates, but see the sample references for newspapers.
  5. E-mail and other "unrecoverable data" are cited as a personal communication, for example: (A. B. Carter, personal communication, April 1, 2005). These do not appear in the reference list.
  6. Titles of Works. All titles require sentence caps (all words lowercase except for the first word, first word after a colon, and proper nouns). Article titles are not placed in quotes in references (they are when mentioned in the text). Italicize titles of books, reports, working and conference papers, dissertations, and similar documents.
Pointer  Do not drop digits from (elide) inclusive pages numbers, do not write pp. 1234-38, write pp. 1234-1238. The volume number in references to periodicals is placed in italics (but not the issue number, if any).

Title notations. A note is added to a reference to help identify a source when it is not a conventional article or book. This follows the title after any material in parentheses, placed in brackets, with the first word capitalized in plain text (APA, 2009, p. 186).

Title notes

Abbreviations  Use the abbreviation p. (pp.) before page numbers in encyclopedia entries, newspaper articles, chapters or articles in edited books, but not in journal or magazine article citations, where numbers alone are used. The following abbreviations are commonly used in APA references:

List of Abbreviations for References