APA Research Style Crib Sheet

from http://www.psychwww.com/resource/APA%20Research%20Style%20Crib%20Sheet.htm#Index

APA Research Style Crib Sheet
by Russ Dewey

Georgia Southern University Psychology Department [Emeritus]

[This page is a summary of rules for using APA style, originally written by Russ Dewey, revised and updated by Bill Scott of the College of Wooster and Doc Scribe. We have made every effort to keep this document accurate, but readers have occasionally pointed out errors and inconsistencies which required correction. We are grateful to them and invite additional feedback. This document may be reproduced freely if this paragraph is included. –Russ Dewey, host of Psych Web]



APA style is the style of writing used by journals published by the American Psychological Association (APA). The style is documented in the APA Publication Manual (5th ed., 2001). The APA Manualbegan as an article published in Psychological Bulletin in 1929. That article reported results of a 1928 meeting of representatives from anthropological and psychological journals, “to discuss the form of journal manuscripts and to write instructions for their preparation” (APA, 2001, p. xix). By 1952 the guidelines were issued as a separate document called the Publication Manual. Today the manual is in its fifth edition, and the APA format is a widely recognized standard for scientific writing in psychology and education.Some of the more commonly used rules and reference formats from the manual are listed here. However, this web page is no substitute for the 440 page APA Manual itself, which should be purchased by any serious psychology student in the U.S., or by students in other countries who are writing for a journal which uses APA format. The APA Manual can be found in almost any college bookstore as well as in many large, general-purpose bookstores in the reference and style guide section. Used copies of the manual are commonly available at Amazon.com.
The most notable additions and changes to fifth edition of the APA Manual (2001) include:

  • Electronic sources require new formats in references. The formats previously featured on the APA Web site have been superseded. Several formats are included in the Crib Sheet.
  • Italics or underline? “Use the functions of your word-processing program to create italic, bold, or other special fonts or styles following the style guidelines specified in this Publication Manual” (APA, 2001, p. 286). However, underlining in place of italics is still acceptable when using a typewriter (see APA, 2001, p. 100). Always be consistent!
  • Hanging indents. “APA publishes references in a hanging indent format…. If a hanging indent is difficult to accomplish with your word-processing program, it is permissible to indent your references with paragraph indents” (APA, 2001, p. 299). Non-hanging indents (standard paragraph indents) are used in the examples at the bottom of this crib sheet for ease of web page coding.



Following is a summary of rules and reference examples in the APA style manual. The manual itself contains all this information and more, organized and worded differently, indexed and illustrated. If in doubt about a specific rule or example, consult the manual itself.


  • Avoid abbreviations (acronyms) except for long, familiar terms (MMPI).
  • Explain what an abbreviation means the first time it occurs: American Psychological Association (APA).
  • If an abbreviation is commonly used as a word, it does not require explanation (IQ, LSD, REM, ESP).
  • Do not use the old abbreviations for subject, experimenter, and observer (S, E, O).
  • The following abbreviations should NOT be used outside parenthetical comments:
    • cf. [use compare]
    • e.g. [use for example]
    • etc. [use and so forth]
    • i.e. [use that is]
    • viz. [use namely]
    • vs. [use versus]
  • Use periods when making an abbreviation within a reference (Vol. 3, p. 6, 2nd ed.)
  • Do not use periods within degree titles and organization titles (PhD, APA).
  • Do not use periods within measurements (lb, ft, s) except inches (in.).
  • Use s for second, m for meter.
  • To form plurals of abbreviations, add s alone, without apostrophe (PhDs, IQs, vols., Eds).
  • In using standard abbreviations for measurements, like m for meter, do not add an s to make it plural (100 seconds is 100 s); when referring to several pages in a reference or citation, use the abbreviation pp. (with a period after it and a space after the period).
  • Do not use the abbreviation “pp.” for magazine or journal citations; just give the numbers themselves. Do use “pp.” for citations of encyclopedia entries, multi-page newspaper articles, chapters or articles in edited books.
  • Use two-letter postal codes for U.S. state names (GA).

Avoiding Biased and Pejorative Language
In general, avoid anything that causes offense. The style manual makes the following suggestions:

DO NOT use . . . when you can use . . .
ethnic labels (e.g. “Hispanic”) geographical labels (e.g. “Mexican Americans” if from Mexico)
“men” (referring to all adults) “men and women”
“homosexuals” “gay men and lesbians”
“depressives” “people with depression”

Correct use of the terms “gender” and “sex”

The term “gender” refers to culture and should be used when referring to men and women as social groups, as in this example from the Publication Manual: “sexual orientation rather than gender accounted for most of the variance in the results; most gay men and lesbians were for it, most heterosexual men and women were against it” (APA, 2001, p. 63).The term “sex” refers to biology and should be used when biological distinctions are emphasized, for example, “sex differences in hormone production.”
Avoid gender stereotypes. For example, the manual suggests replacing “An American boy’s infatuation with football” with “An American child’s infatuation with football” (see APA, 2001, p. 66).

Sensitivity to labels

Be sensitive to labels. A person in a clinical study should be called a “patient,” not a “case.” Avoid equating people with their conditions, for example, do not say “schizophrenics,” say “people diagnosed with schizophrenia.” Use the term “sexual orientation,” not “sexual preference.” The phrase “gay men and lesbians” is currently preferred to the term “homosexuals.” To refer to all people who are not heterosexual, the manual suggests “lesbians, gay men, and bisexual women and men” (APA, 2001, p. 67).In racial references, the manual simply recommends that we respect current usage. Currently both the terms “Black” and “African American” are widely accepted, while “Negro” and “Afro-American” are not. These things change, so use common sense.
Capitalize Black and White when the words are used as proper nouns to refer to social groups. Do not use color words for other ethnic groups. The manual specifies that hyphens should not be used in multiword names such as Asian American or African American.
Labels can be tricky, and the manual has a lot to say about them. For example, “American Indian” and “Native American” are both acceptable usages, but the manual notes that there are nearly 450 Native American groups, including Hawaiians and Samoans, so specific group names are far more informative.
The terms Hispanic, Latino, and Chicano are preferred by different groups. The safest procedure is use geographical references. Just say “Cuban American” if referring to Americans from Cuba.
The term Asian American is preferable to Oriental, and again the manual recommends being specific about country of origin, when this is known (for example, Chinese or Vietnamese). People from northern Canada, Alaska, eastern Siberia, and Greenland often (but not always!) prefer Inuk (singular) and Inuit (plural) to “Eskimo.” But some Alaska natives are non-Inuit people who prefer to be called Eskimo. This type of difficulty is avoided by using geographical references. For example, in place of “Eskimo” or “Inuit” one could use “people from northern Canada, Alaska, eastern Siberia, and Greenland.”
In general, call people what they want to be called, and do not contrast one group of people with another group called “normal” people. Write “we compared people with autism to people without autism” not “we contrasted autistics to normals.” Do not use pejorative terms like “stroke victim” or “stroke sufferers.” Use a more neutral terminology such as “people who have had a stroke.” Avoid the terms “challenged” and “special” unless the population referred to prefers this terminology (for example, Special Olympics). As a rule, use the phrase “people with _______” (for example, “people with AIDS,” not “AIDS sufferers”).
In referring to age, be specific about age ranges; avoid open-ended definitions like “under 16” or “over 65.” Avoid the term elderly. Older person is preferred. Boy and Girl are acceptable referring to high school and and younger. For persons 18 and older use men and women.


  • Capitalize formal names of tests (Stroop Color-Word Interference Test).
  • Capitalize major words and all other words of four letters or more, in headings, titles, and subtitles outside reference lists, for example, “A Study of No-Win Strategies.”
  • Capitalize names of conditions, groups, effects, and variables only when definite and specific. (Group A was the control group; an Age x Weight interaction showed lower weight with age.)
  • Capitalize the first word after a comma or colon if, and only if, it begins a complete sentence. For example, “This is a complete sentence, so it is capitalized.” As a counter example, “no capitalization here.”
  • Capitalize specific course and department titles (GSU Department of Psychology, Psych 150).
  • Do not capitalize generic names of tests (Stroop color test). “Stroop” is a name, so it remains capitalized.
  • Capitalize nouns before numbers, but not before variables (Trial 2, trial x).
  • Do not capitalize names of laws, theories, and hypotheses (the law of effect).
  • Do not capitalize when referring to generalities (any department, any introductory course).


  • Do not use commas to separate parts of measurement (9 lbs 5 oz). Use the metric system, as a rule.
  • Use commas before “and” in lists, for example, height, width, and depth.
  • Use commas between groups of three digits, for example, 1,453.
  • Use commas to set off a reference in a parenthetical comment (Patrick, 1993).
  • Use commas for seriation within a paragraph or sentence. For example, “three choices are (a) true, (b) false, and (c) don’t know.” Use semicolons for seriation if there are commas within the items. For example, (a) here, in the middle of the item, there are commas; (b) here there are not; (c) so we use semicolons throughout.
  • Use commas in exact dates, for example, April 18, 1992 (but not in April 1992).


  • Do not hyphenate -ly and superlative words (widely used test, best informed students).
  • Do not hyphenate common prefixes (posttest, prewar, multiphase, nonsignificant) unless needed for clarity (pre-existing).
  • Do not hyphenate foreign, letter, numeral terms (a priori hypothesis, Type A behavior) when the meaning is clear without it (least squares solution, heart rate scores).
  • Do not hyphenate if a noun comes first (a therapy was client centered, results of t tests).
  • Hyphenate adjectival phrases (role-playing technique, high-anxiety group, two-way analysis).
  • Hyphenate compound adjectives preceding nouns (client-centered therapy, t-test scores) unless the compound adjective involves a superlative (best written paper).
  • Hyphenate if the base is an abbreviation or compounded (pre-UCS, non-college bound).
  • Hyphenate if the base word is capitalized or a number (pre-Freudian, post-1960).
  • Hyphenate if the words could be misunderstood without a hyphen (re-pair, un-ionized, co-worker).
  • If in doubt, consult a recently published dictionary. Standards change. For example, “data base” is now “database,” and “life-style” is now “lifestyle.”

Italics (Underlining)

  • Do not italicize or underline common foreign abbreviations (vice versa, et al., a priori).
  • Do not italicize or underline for mere emphasis.
  • Italicize or underline the titles of books and articles, species names, introduction of new terms and labels (the first time only), words and phrases used as linguistic examples, letters used as statistical symbols, and volume numbers in reference lists.

Miscellaneous: Colons, dashes, parentheses, numbering paragraphs

  • Do not use “and/or.” Write things out. For example, “Monday, Tuesday, or both” is preferable to “Monday and/or Tuesday.”
  • Do not use a colon or other punctuation after an introduction which is not a complete sentence such as

    this one, or any other sentence in the body of text which flows into an extended quote. The quote “picks up where the sentence leaves off” and provides the punctuation.

  • Use a dash (rendered on typewriters and some word processors as a double hyphen) when there is a sudden interruption like this one–zoiks!–in the flow of a sentence. Overuse “weakens the flow of the writing” (APA, 2001, p. 81).
  • Use parentheses to introduce an abbreviation, for example, the galvanic skin response (GSR).
  • Use appendixes (appendices) as the plural of appendix. Use datum as singular, data as plural. Use matrix as singular, matrices as plural. Phenomenon is the singular form of the plural phenomena. Use schema as singular, schemas (not schemata) as plural.
  • When listing separate paragraphs in a series, use a number and a period, not parentheses.
    1. The first paragraph goes here.
    2. The second paragraph goes here.


  • Spell out common fractions and common expressions (one-half, Fourth of July).
  • Spell out large numbers beginning sentences (Thirty days hath September . . .).
  • Spell out numbers which are inexact, or below 10 and not grouped with numbers over 10 (one-tailed t test, eight items, nine pages, three-way interaction, five trials).
  • Use numerals for numbers 10 and above, or lower numbers grouped with numbers 10 and above (for example, from 6 to 12 hours of sleep).
  • To make plurals out of numbers, add s only, with no apostrophe (the 1950s).
  • Treat ordinal numbers like cardinal numbers (the first item of the 75th trial . . .).
  • Use combinations of written and Arabic numerals for back-to-back modifiers (five 4-point scales).
  • Use combinations of numerals and written numbers for large sums (over 3 million people).
  • Use numerals for exact statistical references, scores, sample sizes, and sums (multiplied by 3, or 5% of the sample). Here is another example: “We used 30 subjects, all two year olds, and they spent an average of 1 hr 20 min per day crying.
  • Use metric abbreviations with figures (4 km) but not when written out (many meters distant).
  • Use the percent symbol (%) only with figures (5%) not with written numbers (five percent).

Quotation Marks

  • Use quotation marks for an odd or ironic usage the first time but not thereafter, for example, “This is the “good-outcome” variable, but as it turns out, the good-outcome variable predicts trouble later on . . .”
  • Use quotation marks for article and chapter titles cited in the text but not in the reference list. (In Smith’s (1992) article, “APA Style and Personal Computers,” computers were described as “here to stay” (p. 311).)

Extended quotations

  • If you use italics to add emphasis to part of an extended quotation put [italics added] immediately afterward.
  • Brackets are not necessary when changing the first letter of a quotation to upper case.
  • For quotations over 40 words in length, indent the whole quoted passage. This is called a block quotation or block indent. APA policy allows quotation of up to 500 words from copyrighted articles in APA journals without obtaining permission.
  • If the paper will be reviewed or edited prior to publication, double space the extended quotation. The APA manual encourages single-spaced block indents only in final publications, which are the final printed copies of a paper. (See Chapter 6 of the APA manual.) Some professors expect single-spaced abstracts, block indents, and references in the final print-out. Others want their students to practice the rules for submitting a article to a publication, in which case double spacing is expected throughout. If in doubt, ask your professor.
  • If there are paragraph breaks within an extended quotation, indent the first line after the paragraph break five more spaces (one-half inch, 1.25 cm).
  • Always provide author, year, and page citation.
  • Expand or clarify words or meanings in a quotation by placing the added material in quotes. For example, “They [the Irish Republican Army] initiated a cease-fire.”
  • Reproduce a quote exactly. If there are errors, introduce the word sic italicized and bracketed–for exammple [sic]–immediately after the error to indicate it was part of the original source.
  • Use three dots with a space before, between, and after each dot (ellipsis points) when omitting material. Use four dots, with no space before the first, if the omitted material includes the end of a sentence. Do not use dots at the beginning or end of a quotation unless it is important to indicate the quotation begins or ends in mid-sentence.

Do NOT use quotes to . . .

  • . . . cite a linguistic example; instead, underline or italicize the term (the verb gather).
  • . . . hedge, cast doubt, or apologize (he was “cured”). Leave off the quotes.
  • . . . identify endpoints on a scale; underline or italicize instead (poor to excellent).
  • . . . introduce a key term (the neoquasipsychoanalytic theory).


The APA Manual notes that “the size of the type should be one of the standard typewriter sizes (pica or elite) or, if produced from a word processing program, 12 points” (2001, p. 285). The body of the paper should be in a serif typeface (like Courier or Times Roman) with lettering on figures in a sans serif typeface (such as Helvetica or Arial).[Note from Dr. Dewey: When Doc Scribe generated the following helpful images, he used single spacing in the abstract and the extended quotation. APA style encourages this within final publications, which are print-outs in their final form such as term papers. However, many professors expect students to follow the rules for articles submitted to journals. In those manuscripts, everything is double spaced, including the abstract, extended quotations, and reference lists.]

APA title & text page format


APA headings follow a complex hierarchy, with provision for up to five levels. These come, in descending order, as levels 5, 1, 2, 3, 4. But, if one, two, or three levels of headings are required in a paper, use levels 1, 3, and 4, in that order. If four levels are required, interleave level 2 between levels 1 and 3. If five levels are required, start with level five and work down the remaining hierarchy in order (5, 1, 2, 3, 4). Confused? Most papers will need no more than three levels. To avoid confusion these are labeled A, B, and C below (APA levels 1, 3, and 4 respectively) (see APA, 2001, pp. 114-115).

Level A Headings are Centered and Set in Heading Caps
Level B: Flush with Left Margin, Italicized, Set in Heading Caps
Level C headings: Indented, italicized, sentence caps, end with a period.These headings are sometimes referred to as paragraph or run-in headings. Although they end with a period (or other punctuation) they need not be complete sentences or grammatically correct.

Use headings in the order presented. If you need just two levels, use Level A and Level B headings. Level A and B headings do not end with punctuation except to add emphasis with an exclamation point or question mark. Do not begin a paper with the heading Introduction. It is understood that all papers begin with an introduction.
Text details

  • Abstracts are limited to 120 words (APA, 2001, p. 13).
  • If in doubt, double space everything. Your professor may give you different instructions, however. If yours is a “final publication” which will not be edited or submitted to a journal, such as a term paper, the APA Manual says that single spacing is preferred in several places: the abstract, extended quotations, tables, and reference list items. See Chapter 6 of the APA manual. Your professor may want you to treat a term paper as a final publication, with single spacing in the areas mentioned, or your professor may want you to practice using the rules for articles submitted to journals, in which case you should double space everything.
  • Footnotes are rarely used in APA papers, except for author affiliation and contact information–the author note visible at the bottom of title pages.
  • Hyphenation should not occur at the end of lines, only between words when necessary.
  • Indent paragraphs, block quotes, and hanging indents one-half inch (1.25 cm or five to seven spaces).
  • Justification should be set to “off” or “left margin only” (the right margin should be uneven, a ragged right margin).
  • Keyword emphasis requires the use of italics, but only the first time a term is used.
  • Margins should be at least 1″ all around (about 2.5 cm).
  • Page numbers are required on every page. Number pages consecutively.
  • The page header summarizes the title in a few words. The header and page number go inside the margin space, double spaced above the text, next to the right margin.
  • Word processor features–such as bold and italic fonts and hanging indents–should be used as appropriate.

References and tables
Again, the following image shows single spacing within the table and within the individual reference items, as would normally be allowed in a final publication such as a student term paper. (See Chapter 6 in the APA manual.) In papers submitted for publication or review, which are subject to editing, everything must be double spaced. This includes all text within tables and all reference items. Many professors prefer that students practice formatting papers as if they will be submitted to a journal. In that case, double space everything.

APA reference page and table

Table notes

Number tables consecutively as they appear in your text. Use only whole numbers, no 5a, 5b, etc. See recent issues of the American Psychologist or other APA journals for more complex table layouts. “Tables are efficient, enabling the researcher to present a large amount of data in a small amount of space” (APA, 2001, p. 147).

  • Place tables close to where they are first mentioned in your text, but do not split a table across pages. (Tables in papers submitted for review or publication are placed on separate pages at the end of the paper.)
  • Label each table beginning with the table number followed by a description of the contents.
  • Horizontal rules (lines) should be typed into tables; do not draw them in by hand.
  • Each row and column must have a heading. Abbreviations and symbols (e.g., “%” or “nos.”) may be used.
  • Do not change the number of decimal places within a column.
  • Do not change the units of measurement within a column.
  • “Use a zero before the decimal point when numbers are less than one” (APA, 2001, p. 128). Write “0.23” not “.23” unless the number is a statistic that cannot be larger than one, for example a correlation r = .55, or a probability p < .01.
  • Add notes to explain the table contents. These may be general notes or footnotes. The latter are labeled “a, b, c, etc.”
  • Use asterisks to indicate statistical significance explained in the probability level note at the bottom of the table. “Assign a given alpha level the same number of asterisks from table to table within your paper, such as *p < .05 and **p < .01; the largest probability receives the fewest asterisks [the smaller probability get more asterisks]” (APA, 2001, p. 170).
  • In “final publications” (see above) you may use single spacing and double spacing as appropriate within a table to achieve a pleasing appearance and clarity. Tables in papers submitted for review or publication must be double spaced throughout.


Use the author-date format to cite references in text. For example: as Smith (1990) points out, a recent study (Smith, 1990) shows. . . . Every source cited in your text–and only those sources cited in your text–are referenced in the reference list.

APA text citations

  • For two-author citations, spell out both authors on all occurrences.
  • For multiple-author citations (up to five authors) name all authors the first time, then use et al., so the first time it is Smith, Jones, Pearson and Sherwin (1990), but the second time it is Smith et al., with a period after “al” but no underlining.
  • The first time an “et al.” reference is used in a paragraph, give the year, thereafter (if the citation is repeated in the paragraph) omit the year.
  • For six or more authors, use et al. the first time and give the full citation in references.
  • Include a page reference after the year, outside quotes. For example: The author stated, “The effect disappeared within minutes” (Lopez, 1993, p. 311), but she did not say which effect; Lopez found that “the effect disappeared within minutes” (p. 311). The sentence quoted is capitalized only if it follows a comma, and is a complete sentence not merged into the flow of the text.
  • If two or more multiple-author references which shorten to the same “et al.” form, making it ambiguous, give as many author names as necessary to make them distinct, before et al. For example: (Smith, Jones, et al., 1991) to distinguish it from (Smith, Burke, et al., 1991).
  • Join names in a multiple-author citation with and (in text) or an ampersand (&) in reference lists and parenthetical comments. For example: As Smith and Sarason (1990) point out, the same argument was made by in an earlier study (Smith & Sarason, 1990).
  • If a group is readily identified by its initials, spell it out only the first time. For example, “As reported in a government study (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 1991), blah blah . . . ” and thereafter, “The previously cited study (NIMH, 1991) found that . . .
  • If the author is unknown or unspecified, use the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title), for example: (“Study Finds,” 1992).
  • If citing multiple works by the same author at the same time, arrange dates in order. In general, use letters after years to distinguish multiple publications by the same author in the same year. For example: Several studies (Johnson, 1988, 1990a, 1990b, 1995 in press-a, 1995 in press-b) showed the same thing.
  • For old works cite the translation or the original and modern copyright dates if both are known, for example: (Aristotle, trans. 1931) or (James, 1890/1983).
  • Always give page numbers for quotations, for example: (Cheek & Buss, 1981, p. 332) or (Shimamura, 1989, chap. 3, p. 5).
  • For e-mail and other “unrecoverable data” use personal communication, for example: (V.-G. Nguyen, personal communication, September 28, 1993). These do not appear in the reference list.
  • For quoting electronic documents without page numbers, cite paragraph numbers if given, indicated by the paragraph symbol or the abbreviation para. in the citation (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).


Your text and the reference list must agree. “References cited in text must appear in the reference list; conversely, each entry in the reference list must be cited in text” (APA, 2001, p. 215). See the section onReference citations for citing references in text.

Abbreviating within a reference

Here are approved abbreviations for use in a reference list:

  • chap. for chapter
  • ed. for edition
  • rev. ed. for revised edition
  • 2nd ed. for second edition
  • Ed. for Edited by
  • (Eds.) for multiple editors
  • Trans. for Translated by
  • p. for page number, with a space after the period
  • pp. for page numbers (plural)
  • Vol. for a specific Volume
  • vols. for a work with xx volumes
  • No. for Number
  • Pt. for Part
  • Suppl. for Supplement,
  • Tech. Rep. for Technical Report

Use the abbreviation “pp.” for page numbers in encyclopedia entries, multi-page newspaper articles, chapters or articles in edited books, but not in journal or magazine article citations, where numbers alone should be used (see examples of reference formats).

Alphabetizing within reference lists

  • Use prefixes in alphabetizing names if commonly part of the surname (De Vries).
  • Do not use von in alphabetizing (Helmholtz, H. L. F. von), or Jr., III, or Sr.
  • Treat Mc and Mac literally; Mac comes before Mc.
  • Disregard apostrophes, spaces, and capitals in alphabetizing; D’Arcy comes after Daagwood, Decker comes after de Chardin.
  • Single-author citations precede multiple-author citations of the same year (Zev, 1990 then Zev et al., 1990).
  • Alphabetize corporate authors by first significant word. Do not use abbreviations in corporate names.

APA reference style
The APA Publication Manual now instructs authors to use hanging indents for references and to use italics for titles. The phrase “hanging indent” refers to a first line which sticks out one-half inch (1.25 cm) to the left. You will notice hanging indents are not used below, because they are difficult to simulate on a resizable web page. However, you should use either hanging indents or regular indents on your reference list. Hanging indents are preferred, and they are easy to set up in word processors. (For example, in Microsoft Word, go to Format/Paragraph and one of the formatting options under “Special” is “Hanging” which will set up an appropriate hanging indent for that paragraph.)
All titles in references are set in sentence caps (only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized) but titles quoted in the text are set in heading caps (all major words capitalized). No quotation marks are used around titles of articles in the references list, but quotes are used when citing article titles in the text.
The APA Publication Manual (2001) contains 95 examples of different reference types (pp. 240-281). Here are a few examples of the most commonly used formats. Remember that hanging indents are not used in these examples, but they should be used in your paper. Double space within reference items if your paper will be submitted to a publication for editing or review.

Anonymous or unknown author (common in newspapers):

Caffeine linked to mental illness. (1991, July 13). New York Times, pp. B13, B15.Citation: (“Caffeine Linked,” 1991). Use heading caps (each important word capitalized) when citing titles in text citations.

Books (Group author, 3 to 5 authors, reprint/translation, edition other than first):

American Psychiatric Association. (1990). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Citation: (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 1990); next citation (APA, 1990). Note: “Author” is used as above when author and publisher are identical.
Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., & Williams, J. M. (1995). The craft of research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Citation: (Booth, Colomb, & Williams, 1995); next citation (Booth et al., 1995).

Ebbinghaus, H. (1913). Memory (H. A. Rueger & C. E. Bussenius, Trans.). New York: Teachers College. (Original work published 1885)

Citation: (Ebbinghaus, 1885/1913).
Strunk, W., Jr., & White, E. B. (1979). The elements of style (3rd ed.). New York: Macmillan.
Citation: (Strunk & White, 1979).

Chapter or section in a book (online & print):

Beers, M. H., & Berkow, R. (1999). Mood disorders. In The Merck manual of diagnosis and therapy (17th ed., sec. 15, chap. 189). Retrieved January 17, 2003, from http://www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual/section15/chapter189/189a.htm
Stephan, W. G. (1985). Intergroup relations. In G. Lindzey & E. Aronson (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology (3rd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 599ñ658). New York: Random House.

Citations: (Beers & Berkow, 1999, chap. 189); (Stephan, 1985). Note: Break a URL to wrap a line only after a slash or before a period. Do not add a hyphen or any other punctuation.

Conference paper (unpublished):

Shrout, P. E. (Chair), Hunter, J. E., Harris, R. J., Wilkinson, L., Strouss, M. E., Applebaum, M. I., et al. (1996, August). Significance tests: Should they be banned from APA journals? Symposium conducted
at the 104th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada.

Citation: (Shrout et al., 1996). APA references list up to the first six authors to a work. If there are more than six, add et al. (“and others”) after the first six names. For citations in your text, use just the lead author plus “et al.”

Government report online accessed through GPO database:

National Institute of Mental Health. (2002). Breaking ground, breaking through: The strategic plan for mood disorders research of the National Institute of Mental Health (Publication No. 0507-B-05). Retrieved January 19, 2003, from NIMH Web site via GPO Access: http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS20906

Citation: (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2002); next citation (NIMH, 2002).Contents | Back to top

Journal articles (Print, electronic copy, changed source, online journal, paged by issue):

Hypericum Depression Trial Study Group. (2002). Effect of Hypericum perforatum (St John’s Wort) in major depressive disorder: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 287, 1807ñ1814.

Citation: (Hypericum Depression Trial Study Group, 2002). The APA Manual requires citing the full name of a corporate or group author like this; the acronym HDTSG would not be easily recognized. However, shortening the author to “Hypericum Depression Trial” in subsequent citations would probably be acceptable to editors of APA journals.
Journal article, electronic facsimile:

Hypericum Depression Trial Study Group. (2002). Effect of Hypericum perforatum (St John’s Wort) in major depressive disorder: A randomized controlled trial [Electronic version]. JAMA, 287, 1807-1814.

Many documents are now available online as exact copies of the print original (usually in Adobe’s PDF format). References to exact reproductions of journal articles (which include page numbers, etc., from the journal) are treated as normal journal references with the bracketed phrase “Electronic version” added to the reference as above. If, however, the document is not an exact copy of a print version, treat it as a web reference and add the usual information for electronic references: the date you retrieved the document and the URL.
Journal article, changed/doubtful source:

Hypericum Depression Trial Study Group. (2002). Effect of Hypericum perforatum (St John’s Wort) in major depressive disorder: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 287, 1807-1814. Retrieved July 7, 2002, from http://www.jama.org/articles.html

Journal article, retrieved from a database:

Hypericum Depression Trial Study Group. (2002). Effect of Hypericum perforatum (St John’s Wort) in major depressive disorder: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 287, 1807-1814. Retrieved July 7, 2002, from MEDSYS database.

Online only journal (paged by issue):

Kortepeter, M. G., & Parker, G. W. (1999). Potential biological weapons threats. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 5(4). Retrieved January 20, 2003, from http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol5no4/kortepeter.htm

Citation: (Kortepeter & Parker, 1999). There is no period after the URL in a reference.
Note: When directly quoting or citing a document, a page number or other means of identifying a specific passage is required. In the absence of page numbers, if paragraph numbers appear in an electronic document, add the paragraph symbol or the abbreviation para. and the paragraph number to the citation (e.g., Kortepeter & Parker, 1999, ¶ 17). If there is no paragraph number, cite the nearest preceding section heading and count paragraphs from there (e.g., Kortepeter & Parker, 1999, Method section, para. 4).Note: Occasionally a research journal may be paged by issue, that is, page numbering in each issue begins at page one. In these cases add the issue number in parentheses, in plain text, after the volume number as in the example above.
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Letter to the editor:

O’Neill, G. W. (1992, January). In support of DSM-III [Letter to the editor]. APA Monitor, 4-5.

Magazine article:

Gardner, H. (1991, December). Do babies sing a universal song? Psychology Today, 70-76.

Newsletter/newspaper articles:

Brown, L. S. (1993, Spring). My research with orangs. The Psychology Department Newsletter, 3, 2.Note: As a rule, you should not cite a source if the document cannot actually be retrieved. What is the chance of retrieving a copy of a 1993 issue of a Psychology Department newsletter? Such a document probably is not retrievable. If it is an important reference in your paper for some reason, and you have a copy of that newsletter in your possession (as you should if quoting from it) you could put “Available from the author by request” in brackets after the reference list entry, or put that phrase in parentheses in the text where you refer to the newsletter and leave it off your reference list. Unpublished conference papers are OK to include in reference lists and citations because they are generally available as reprints from the lead author.

Goleman, D. (1991, October 24). Battle of insurers vs. therapists: Cost control pitted against proper care. New York Times, pp. D1, D9.
Markoff, J. (1996, June 5). Voluntary rules proposed to help insure privacy for Internet users. New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 1996, from http://www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/week/yo5dat.html

The date is given as it appears on the publication. For anonymous newspaper articles, see the previous section on “Anonymous or unknown authors.”


Just Say No Foundation. (1992). Saving our youth. (9th ed.) [Brochure]. Washington, DC: Author.

Web page:

Dewey, R. A. (2004). APA Style Resources by Russ Dewey. Retrieved September 8, 2004 from http://www.psywww.com/resource/apacrib.htmThat URL is real. Links to many more free online APA style resources can be found on the APA Style Resources page at Psych Web.