This guide will explain how to cite information sources using the APA style. It will also provide many examples of properly cited paper and electronic sources. If you do not find what you need in this guide, the links at the right side of the screen may provide more assistance. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition) is the best place to look when online guides do not help. Ask at the desk and we will show you where it is located. If you cannot come to the library, call us and we will help answer your question.
APA style has two elements:
1. Reference cited in the text
For example, this sentence would appear in my paper:
The courts in Helena provided a liberal definition of mental cruelty which then provided women with a path out of unhappy marriages (Petrik, 1987).
Paula Petrik (1987) found that the courts in Helena provided a liberal definition of mental cruelty which then provided women with a path out of unhappy marriages.
If quoting directly from a source, give page or paragraph number:
According to Petrick (1987) "the partnership between the courts and female petitioners ... transformed divorce law to include a liberal definition of mental cruelty" (p. 541).
2. Reference List
For example, this reference would appear at the end of my paper, arranged in alphabetical order by author’s last name, along with all the other references I used:
Petrik, P. (1987). No step backward: Women and family on the Rocky Mountain mining
Each reference cited in the text must also have a full citation in the reference list at the end. You only need list the reference once at the end. For example, if I cite several pages in the Petrik book, I only need list the full citation once in the References list.
Follow the style guide – ALWAYS. This is not the time to be creative. Don’t agonize about why the guide tells you to do something, just do it!
Be consistent. If the style guide says to use italics for the title of the book or journal (and APA does) use italics ALWAYS.
Don’t mix style guides. APA and MLA cannot be used simultaneously in a paper. Choose one and stick to it.
If you don’t know how to cite a particular source, look it up. The style guide has thought of nearly every type of source.
Print off the citation of the source you consulted, when you consult it. Don’t say, “I’ll do it later,” or “I am not sure I want to use this source, I’ll go back to it if I do.” Going back later without the citation is often impossible.