apa documentation style
"when in doubt, document it."

In the social sciences, you will usually be asked to use the American Psychological Association (APA) style of in-text citations. These citations refer readers to a list of references at the end of the paper. The following models are consistent with advice given in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (4th ed., 1994).*

For fine arts and humanities, try MLA.

Parenthetical Citations:

The APA's in-text citations typically provide the author's last name and the date of publication. For direct quotations, a page number should be given as well.


    As Sandford (1986) reported, "If the existence of a signing ape was unsettling for linguists, it was also startling news for animal behaviorists" (p. 26).

    Note: When the author's name does not appear within the text, place the author's last name, the date, and the page number in parentheses at the end of the quotation. Use commas between items in the parentheses: (Sandford, 1986, p. 26).

Summary or paraphrase:
     According to Sandford (1986), when they learned of a crab's ability to use sign language both linguists and animal behaviorists were taken by surprise.

    When they learned of a crab's ability to use sign language, both linguists and animal behaviorists were taken by surprise (Sandford, 1986).

A work with two authors:
     Results varied depending on how much lemonade the mice had consumed (St. Clair & Vaitheswaran, 1981).
A work with three to five authors:
     The study noted afluctuating divorce rate in Hiawatha from the 1920s to the 1970s (Chaimov, Benda, Burke, Knott & Lemos, 1992).

    Note: In subsequent citations, use the first author's name followed by "et al." within the text or in the parentheses.

A work with six or more authors:
     Communes in the 1960s functioned like extended families, with child-rearing responsibilities shard by all adult members (Nesmith et al., 1971).

    Note: Use only the first author's name followed by "et al." in all citations.

Unknown author:
     TheUFO reported by the crew of a Japan Air Lines flight remains a mystery. Radar tapes did not confirm the presence of another craft ("Strange Encounter," 1987).

    Note: If the author is not given, use the complete title within the text or use the fist two or three words of the title in the parenthetical citation. If "Anonymous" is specified as the author, treat it as if it were a real name: (Anonymous, 1987). In the list of references, also use the name Anonymous as the author.

Two or more works within the same parentheses:
     When your parenthetical citation names two or more works, put them in the order that they appear in the list of references, separated by semicolons: (Owen et al., 197 1; Smith, 1995).
Personal communication:
     D. Jobe (personal communication, October 12, 1995) predicted that government funding for this type of research will end soon.

    Note: Do not include personal communications in your list of references.


A paper's cited works are listed in a final alphabetized page entitled "References." List all citations except for personal communications that cannot be obtained by the reader. The general principles are as follows:

  • Invert all authors' names and use initials instead of first names. With two or more authors, use an ampersand (&) rather than the word "and." Separate the names with commas. 
  • Use all authors' names; do not use "et al." 
  • Place the date of the publication in parentheses immediately after the last author's name. 
  • Underline titles and subtitles of books; capitalize only the first word of the title and subtitle (as well as all proper nouns).
  • Do not place titles of articles in quotation marks; capitalize only the first word of the title and subtitle (and all proper nouns). Capitalize names of periodicals as you would capitalize them ordinarily. Underline the volume number of periodicals.
  • Use the abbreviation "p." (or "pp." for plural) before page numbers of newspaper articles and works in anthologies, but do not use it before page numbers of articles appearing in magazines and scholarly journals. 
  • You may use a short form of the publisher's name as long as it is easily identifiable. 
  • Alphabetize your list by the last name of the author (or editor); if there is no author or editor, alphabetize by the first word of the title other than a, an or the. 
  • Unless your instructor suggests otherwise, indent the first line of an entry (one-half inch or five spaces) but do not indent any additional lines.

1) Book with one author:

     Johanson, R. (1993). The last panda. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
2) Book with two or more authors:
     Goodwin, D. F & Horowitz, S. (1992). Educational psvchology: Classroom connections. New York: Merrill.

     Lemos, J., Heller, T., Hammond, J., Hansen, D. H., & Hoffman, R. (1982) Hiawatha families: Fifty years of change and continuity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

3) Two or more works by the same author:
     Use the author's name for the first and subsequent entries. Arrange the entries by date, the earliest first.
      Fowler, J. (1993). Has pen, will sign. Iowa City: Univeristy of Iowa Press.
      Fowler, J (1996). Follow me, I'm the man who knows. Des Moines: Meredith Publishing.
4) Unknown author:
     The Times atlas of the world (9th ed). (1992). New York: Times Books.
5) Editors:
     Fisher, R. A., & Dobrian, S. (Eds.). (1993). The power of culture: Critical essays in American history. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
6) Translation:
     Burke, E. (/ 990). The untouched key.- Tracing childhood trauma in creativity and destructiveness. (K. Weaver, Trans.). New York: Doubleday. (Original work published 1988)
7) Work in an anthology:
     Pufall, M., & Wolverton, S. (1984). Language acquisitions and socialization: Three development stories. In C. Aukema & M. Bayles (Eds.), Culture theory: Essays in mind, self, and emotion (pp. 2 76-320). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Articles in periodicals:

1) Article in a journal paginated by volume:

     LeRoy, D.J (1992). Begging the question: Against phenomenal consciousness.Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 15. 05-206.
2) Article in a journal paginated by issue:
     Mason-Brown, N. (1990). Is the brain a digital computer? Proceedings of the American. Phrenology Association, 64 (3), 21-3 7.
3) Article in a magazine:
     Jasperse, S. (1995, February). Manic-depressive illness andcreativity. Scientific American: 272, 62-67.
4) Article in a daily newspaper:
     Gitzy, D. (1995, May 23). Pathways to college. The Boston Globe. pp. 1, 12-13.
5) Unsigned article in a magazine or newspaper:
     EMFs on the brain. (1995, January 21). Science News, 141, 44.

Other sources:

1) Material from an information service or a database:

     Horn, P. (1989). The Victorian governess. History of Education, 18, 333-344. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ 401 533)
2) Government document:
     US. Bureau of the Census. (1989).Statistical abstract of the United States (109th ed). Washington, DC,- US Government Printing Office.
3) Computer program:
     Notebuilder [Computer software]. (1993). Palo Alto, CA: Pro/Tem.
4) Videotape:
     National Geographic Society (Producer). (1987). In the shadow of Vesuvius [Videotape]. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society.
Note: References cited in text must appear in the reference list; conversely, each entry in the reference list must be cited in text. The author must make certain that the text citation and the source in reference list are identical in spelling and year.

This website created and maintained by the Coe Writing Center. Copyright 2001.
Email Dr. Bob Marrs with any questions, comments or suggestions.