Guidelines for APA Documentation

Format for In-Text Citations

  • APA (American Psychological Association) recommends author/date style of in-text citations, that is the author's last name and date of publication, with a comma between, in the parentheses. For direct quotations, give a page number (preceded by a p.) as well.
  • If the author's name does not appear in a single phrase, follow this format for a quotation: "If the existence of the missing link were in doubt, there would not be ongoing research by such renowned scientists" (Smith, 1988, p.26).
  • If you use a source by one author and give credit in a single phrase, give only the date and page number.
    • Ex: According to Brown (1996), "men's standard of living generally rises after a divorce" (p.204).
  • For summary or paraphrase: Renowned scientists have continued their search for the missing link (Smith, 1988). Note: Page number is not required.
  • A work with two authors: Name both authors and use the ampersand.
    • Ex: The ape's ability to use sign language surprised the scientists (Thomas & Jones, 1987).
  • A work with three to five authors: Use all names the first time you cite the source. After the first time, use the first name followed by "et al."
    • Ex: Researchers have found that women are less reluctant to report abuse (Thomas et al., 1988). Note: Use a period and comma after "al.
  • Unknown author: Use the first two or three words of the title and the date. Do not use "anonymous" unless the author is specified as anonymous.
    • Ex: There is agreement that the research design was in error (Smith et al., 1971; Thomas & Jones, 1986).

APA References

  • Basic format for a book: Authors name (last name first). Date of publication. Title (capitalize only the first word). Place of publication: Name of Publishing Company. Using hanging indent.
    • Ex: Johnson, Patricia. (1993). The final frontier. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Two or more authors: Invert all authors' names, use initials instead of first names, and use the ampersand.
    • Ex: Bernard, T., Tippett, S.,& Sondheim, M. (1995). A decade of change. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Corporate Author: When the author is an organization, the publisher is often the same organization. If that is the case, give the publisher's name as "Author."
    • Ex: National Organization of Women. (1990). Legal rights in the workplace. Chicago: Author.
  • Article in a Periodical Magazine:
    • Ex: Coleman, J. (1998, March). New treatments for AIDS. Time, 44, 88-90.
  • Journal paginated by volume: Note: volume number is underlined.
    • Ex: Norwood, T. (1994). Against the phenomenology of consciousness. Behavioral Science, 18 214-221.
  • Journal paginated by issue:
    • Ex: Norwood T. (1994). Is the brain superior to the computer? Proceedings of American Psychological Association, 65(4), 21-26.
  • Aricle in a Newspaper: Note: use "p" with newspapers, but not magazine periodicals.
    • Ex: Davis, J. (1996), August 14). New hope for autistic children. The New York Times, pp. C1, C3.
  • Material from a Database: If there are 2 or more works by one author, list them in chronological order. Do NOT put the names of articles in quotation marks. Capitalize the major words in the titles of maganizes, newspapers and periodicals, but not in book titles or articles (except the first word or the word after a colon).

For more detailed APA documentation information, consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 4th ed. available in the ARC and in the Snowden Library.

Guidelines for Text of APA Essays

  • Use non-sexist language — use "he/she" or "they" instead of "he."
  • Use "participants" instead of "subjects" (which is considered too impersonal).
  • Use subheadings instead of transitions.
  • Use hedgewords: "results may indicate (instead of prove)," or "research suggests."
  • Use paraphrases instead of direct quotations.
  • Use frequent and plentiful citations, especially in intro and discussion sections.
  • Use multiple authors for citations.
  • Refer to yourself and fellow researchers in third person; don't personalize.
  • Language of disagreement should remain impersonal, not rhetorical.
  • Be fact-oriented.
  • Avoid footnotes.
  • The structure of an essay is like a story line: Abstract, Intro, Method, Results, Discussion. Use past tense for intro, methods, results; presentation for discussion.