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How to write your references quickly and easily
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Every scientific paper builds on previous research – even if it’s in a new field, related studies will have preceded and informed it. In peer-reviewed articles, authors must give credit to this previous research, through citations and references. Not only does this show clearly where the current research came from, but it also helps readers understand the content of the paper better.
There is no optimum number of references for an academic article but depending on the subject you could be dealing with more than 100 different papers, conference reports, video articles, medical guidelines or any number of other resources.
That’s a lot of content to manage. Before submitting your manuscript, this needs to be checked, cross-references in the text and the list, organized and formatted.
The exact content and format of the citations and references in your paper will depend on the journal you aim to publish in, so the first step is to check the journal’s Guide for Authors before you submit.
There are two main points to pay attention to – consistency and accuracy. When you go through your manuscript to edit or proofread it, look closely at the citations within the text. Are they all the same? For example, if the journal prefers the citations to be in the format (name, year), make sure they’re all the same: (Smith, 2016).
Your citations must also be accurate and complete. Do they match your references list? Each citation should be included in the list, so cross-checking is important. It’s also common for journals to prefer that most, if not all, of the articles listed in your references be cited within the text – after all, these should be studies that contributed to the knowledge underpinning your work, not just your bedtime reading. So go through them carefully, noting any missing references or citations and filling the gaps.
Each journal has its own requirements when it comes to the content and format of references, as well as where and how you should include them in your submission, so double-check before you hit send!
In general, a reference will include authors’ names and initials, the title of the article, name of the journal, volume and issue, date, page numbers and DOI. On ScienceDirect, articles are linked to their original source (if also published on ScienceDirect) or to their Scopus record, so including the DOI can help link to the correct article.
A spotless reference list
Luckily, compiling and editing the references in your scientific manuscript can be easy – and it no longer has to be manual. Management tools like Mendeley can keep track of all your references, letting you share them with your collaborators. With the Word plugin, it’s possible to select the right citation style for the journal you’re submitting to and the tool will format your references automatically.
Like with any other part of your manuscript, it’s important to make sure your reference list has been checked and edited. Elsevier Author Services Language Editing can help, with professional manuscript editing that will help make sure your references don’t hold you back from publication.
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How To Write References for Academic & Scientific Research Papers
How To Write References for Academic and Scientific Research Papers Writing accurate & appropriate references is an essential aspect of preparing a research paper for successful publication, examination or any other kind of serious dissemination or evaluation. This article explains exactly how to write perfect references in two widely used scholarly styles: the parenthetical author–date system recommended by the American Psychological Association (APA) & the sequential numerical or Vancouver system frequently used in the sciences. The post also includes several clear examples of in-text citations & complete bibliographical references formatted in both styles. Neither of these documentation styles is inherently complex, though each does have its characteristic pitfalls, and the utmost accuracy is essential when using either. Accusations of plagiarism or misrepresentation of the work of other scholars can be the unpleasant result if authors are not absolutely correct and scrupulously thorough in providing citations and references when they should to acknowledge the research of others. In addition, publication attempts can prove unsuccessful and grades lower than expected if instructions and guidelines for references are not observed with precision and consistency. The discussion and examples offered below outline exactly how to provide scholarly references for articles and books in one version of an author–date documentation style – APA – and one of a numerical style – Vancouver – but do be aware that various versions of these two basic styles exist, so consulting the guidelines, instructions or manual specific to the research paper you are writing is always imperative before finalising formats for in-text citations and complete references. PhD Thesis Editing Services Writing APA Author–Date References for a Research Paper Writing an accurate and appropriate APA author–date reference is a two-stage process involving 1) the creation of an in-text citation in the main body of the paper and 2) the addition of a complete bibliographical entry about the source in a list of references at the end of the paper.
1. The in-text citation should contain the last name of the author (or last names of the authors if there is more than one) who wrote the article, book or other document followed by the document’s date of publication. This information most frequently appears in parentheses immediately after the statement related to the paper, as in this example: • A recent study of the text presents a similar argument (Wilson & Bond, 2016). Alternatively, the names of the authors or the date of publication can be integrated into the main text, with the remaining information presented in parentheses: • Wilson and Bond present a similar argument in their recent study of the text (2016). • A 2016 examination of the text presents a similar argument (Wilson & Bond). Rewording of the main text is obviously necessary, but the only difference (beyond arrangement) in the citation information itself is that the word ‘and’ is used between the author names in the main text, whereas an ampersand (&) is used between those names when they appear in parentheses. The parentheses can sometimes be eliminated altogether by writing both author names and publication date in the main text: • Wilson and Bond’s 2016 study of the text presents a similar argument. Page numbers can be used for referring to specific information in particular parts of a publication, but they are usually only required in APA style for direct quotations when a passage or other part of a published document is reproduced word for word in a new research paper. In such cases, the page number is separated from the publication date by a comma and preceded by the abbreviation ‘p.’ for ‘page’: • As Wilson and Bond explain, ‘the political reading of the text, even the most personal of its episodes, seems universal until the book falls into a woman’s hands’ (2016, p.88).
When two or more sources are cited in the same set of parentheses, semicolons are used to separate the sources: • Both studies consider the poem in relation to urban culture (Samuel & Watson, 2013; Wilson & Bond, 2016). The normal arrangement when multiple sources are cited in a single set of parentheses is to observe alphabetical order according to the author names, as I have done above (with ‘Samuel’ preceding ‘Wilson’). Notice that the in-text citation takes the same form whether the source cited is a book or an article, with ‘Samuel & Watson’ referring here to a monograph and ‘Wilson & Bond’ to a journal article. PhD Thesis Editing Services 2. Every source cited in the text of an academic or scientific research paper using APA style should also be included in a list that is entitled ‘References’ and presented at the end of the paper. An APA list of references should be arranged alphabetically based on author names, and all the bibliographical information required for readers to find each source must be provided in a specific format. The author names for a publication come first and are inverted, with the last name of the first author of each document opening the bibliographical entry. Author names are followed by the date of publication (in parentheses), with these two pieces of information serving readers by connecting the complete reference to the in-text citation. It is therefore vital that the last names of authors and the publication dates provided in both places are checked against each other for errors and inconsistencies and then carefully corrected to agree with precision.
For the complete reference to a journal article, the title of the article follows the date of publication. The name and volume number of the journal come next, both of them in italic font, though do be aware that special fonts may not be displayed in this post. The pages on which the article can be found come next, and if there is a doi or url for an online version of the paper, that should be the last item in the entry, which would take this form: • Wilson, S., & Bond, F. (2016). Political and personal readings of the earliest zone poem. Urban Poetry, 12, 72–94. doi:00.0000/00000000000000 For the complete reference to a book, the information, and thus the format, is a little different. The title of the book follows the publication date and appears in italic font, with the place of publication and publisher’s name completing the reference: • Samuel, H., & Watson, M. (2013). Political poetry and modern urbanity. London: Big City Press.
Writing Sequential Numerical References for a Research Paper The same two-step process is necessary when writing the sequential numerical references used for Vancouver style documentation, but in-text citations are notably simpler, a different arrangement is used for the list of references and a somewhat different format is required for the complete bibliographical entries included in the list.
1. For a numerical in-text citation, a single Arabic numeral is all that is required. Each source is assigned a number when it is first cited, so the sources used in a research paper are numbered sequentially according to the order of first citation, with each source retaining throughout the paper the number it was originally assigned. The first source cited would therefore be reference 1, the second reference 2 and so on. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends placing these reference numbers in parentheses, with a citation taking this form: • A recent study of the text presents a similar argument (1). As is the case with author–date citations, information about sources can also be added in the main text: • Wilson and Bond present a similar argument in their recent study of the text (1). • A 2016 examination of the text presents a similar argument (1). • Wilson and Bond’s 2016 study of the text presents a similar argument (1). Unlike author–date citations, however, this additional information in the text does not negate the need for the reference number, which is always required.
If you need to cite a specific page of a document to point readers to a particular piece of information or indicate the location of a quoted passage, the page number should be added after the reference number, usually with a comma to separate it from the reference number and a preceding ‘p.’ to avoid confusion: • As Wilson and Bond explain, ‘the political reading of the text, even the most personal of its episodes, seems universal until the book falls into a woman’s hands’ (1, p.88). When two or more sources are cited at the same time, commas are generally used to separate the reference numbers, usually without intervening spaces: • Several studies have taken this approach to the text (1,2,5–8). PhD Thesis Editing Services 2. The reference list for sequential numerical citations is arranged, not surprisingly, by the numerical sequence of the citations. This means that the first source cited in a research paper (reference 1) is also the first source listed in the References section of the paper, the second is the second source in the list and so on. The following two sample references follow ICMJE guidelines and would serve as the opening entries in a numerical list of references: • 1. Wilson S, Bond F. Political and personal readings of the earliest zone poem. Urban Poetry. 2016;12:72–94. doi:00.0000/00000000000000. • 2. Samuel H, Watson M. Political Poetry and Modern Urbanity. London: Big City Press; 2013.
As these examples show, the information required for a complete reference varies according to the nature of the source cited, just as it does with author–date references. In addition, the names of journals (but not books) are often abbreviated when preparing numerical references. It is essential, however, that the correct or standard abbreviation for each journal be used when shortening journal titles, which can easily be confused in their abbreviated forms, so a little research may be necessary to determine the right abbreviation. Use of the complete journal title is recommended when there is any doubt or there is no standard abbreviation. A cautionary note is in order when writing sequential numerical references. Adding or deleting sources from a numerical list of references that has been arranged according to the order in which sources are first cited can necessitate changes in subsequent list entries as well as in the in-text citations, and the same is the case with any changes to those in-text citations. The reason is simple: if, for example, you remove reference 3 from the text or list, what was reference 4 becomes reference 3, what was reference 5 becomes reference 4 and so on. If you add that removed reference back in elsewhere more alterations will ensue. It is therefore wise to check and finalise the order of the reference list very carefully indeed after all the in-text citations are in their final places, and to ensure that the assigned reference numbers agree with the utmost accuracy between in-text citations and the list of references.
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How to Cite a Research Paper
Last Updated: June 7, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was reviewed by Gerald Posner and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Gerald Posner is an Author & Journalist based in Miami, Florida. With over 35 years of experience, he specializes in investigative journalism, nonfiction books, and editorials. He holds a law degree from UC College of the Law, San Francisco, and a BA in Political Science from the University of California-Berkeley. He’s the author of thirteen books, including several New York Times bestsellers, the winner of the Florida Book Award for General Nonfiction, and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History. He was also shortlisted for the Best Business Book of 2020 by the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 402,666 times.
When writing a paper for a research project, you may need to cite a research paper you used as a reference. The basic information included in your citation will be the same across all styles. However, the format in which that information is presented is somewhat different depending on whether you're using American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), Chicago, or American Medical Association (AMA) style.
- For example: "Kringle, K., & Frost, J."
- For example: "Kringle, K., & Frost, J. (2012)."
- If the date, or any other information, are not available, use the guide at http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2012/05/missing-pieces.html .
- For example: "Kringle, K., & Frost, J. (2012). Red noses, warm hearts: The glowing phenomenon among North Pole reindeer."
- If you found the research paper in a database maintained by a university, corporation, or other organization, include any index number assigned to the paper in parentheses after the title. For example: "Kringle, K., & Frost, J. (2012). Red noses, warm hearts: The glowing phenomenon among North Pole reindeer. (Report No. 1234)."
- For example: "Kringle, K., & Frost, J. (2012). Red noses, warm hearts: The glowing phenomenon among North Pole reindeer. (Report No. 1234). Retrieved from Alaska University Library Archives, December 24, 2017."
- For example: "(Kringle & Frost, 2012)."
- If there was no date on the research paper, use the abbreviation n.d. : "(Kringle & Frost, n.d.)."
- For example: "Kringle, Kris, and Jack Frost."
- For example: "Kringle, Kris, and Jack Frost. "Red Noses, Warm Hearts: The Glowing Phenomenon among North Pole Reindeer." Master's thesis."
- For example: "Kringle, Kris, and Jack Frost. "Red Noses, Warm Hearts: The Glowing Phenomenon among North Pole Reindeer." Master's thesis, Alaska University, 2012."
- For example: "Kringle, Kris, and Jack Frost. "Red Noses, Warm Hearts: The Glowing Phenomenon among North Pole Reindeer." Master's thesis, Alaska University, 2012. Accessed at http://www.northpolemedical.com/raising_rudolf."
- Footnotes are essentially the same as the full citation, although the first and last names of the authors aren't inverted.
- For parenthetical citations, Chicago uses the Author-Date format. For example: "(Kringle and Frost 2012)."
- For example: "Kringle, Kris, and Frost, Jack."
- For example: "Kringle, Kris, and Frost, Jack. "Red Noses, Warm Hearts: The Glowing Phenomenon Among North Pole Reindeer.""
- For example, suppose you found the paper in a collection of paper housed in university archives. Your citation might be: "Kringle, Kris, and Frost, Jack. "Red Noses, Warm Hearts: The Glowing Phenomenon Among North Pole Reindeer." Master's Theses 2000-2010. University of Alaska Library Archives. Accessed December 24, 2017."
- For example: "(Kringle & Frost, p. 33)."
- For example: "Kringle K, Frost J."
- For example: "Kringle K, Frost J. Red noses, warm hearts: The glowing phenomenon among North Pole reindeer."
- For example: "Kringle K, Frost J. Red noses, warm hearts: The glowing phenomenon among North Pole reindeer. Nat Med. 2012; 18(9): 1429-1433."
- For example, if you're citing a paper presented at a conference, you'd write: "Kringle K, Frost J. Red noses, warm hearts: The glowing phenomenon among North Pole reindeer. Oral presentation at Arctic Health Association Annual Summit; December, 2017; Nome, Alaska."
- To cite a paper you read online, you'd write: "Kringle K, Frost J. Red noses, warm hearts: The glowing phenomenon among North Pole reindeer. http://www.northpolemedical.com/raising_rudolf"
- For example: "According to Kringle and Frost, these red noses indicate a subspecies of reindeer native to Alaska and Canada that have migrated to the North Pole and mingled with North Pole reindeer. 1 "
- If you used a manual as a source in your research paper, you'll need to learn how to cite the manual also. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- If you use any figures in your research paper, you'll also need to know the proper way to cite them in MLA, APA, AMA, or Chicago. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ http://askus.library.wwu.edu/faq/116659
- ↑ https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/apaquickguide/intext
- ↑ http://guides.libraries.psu.edu/apaquickguide/intext
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html
- ↑ https://libanswers.snhu.edu/faq/48009
- ↑ https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-2.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_in_text_citations_the_basics.html
- ↑ https://morningside.libguides.com/MLA8/location
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/ama_style/index.html
- ↑ https://research.library.oakland.edu/sp/subjects/tutorial.php?faq_id=187
About This Article
To cite a paper APA style, start with the author's last name and first initial, and the year of publication. Then, list the title of the paper, where you found it, and the date that you accessed it. In a paper, use a parenthetical reference with the last name of the author and the publication year. For an MLA citation, list the author's last name and then first name and the title of the paper in quotations. Include where you accessed the paper and the date you retrieved it. In your paper, use a parenthetical reference with the author's last name and the page number. Keep reading for tips on Chicago and AMA citations and exceptions to the citation rules! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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A Beginner’s Guide to Citations, References and Bibliography in Research Papers
As an academician, terms such as citations, references and bibliography might be a part of almost every work-related conversation in your daily life. However, many researchers, especially during the early stages of their academic career, may find it hard to differentiate between citations, references and bibliography in research papers and often find it confusing to implement their usage. If you are amongst them, this article will provide you with some respite. Let us start by first understanding the individual terms better.
Citation in research papers: A citation appears in the main text of the paper. It is a way of giving credit to the information that you have specifically mentioned in your research paper by leading the reader to the original source of information. You will need to use citation in research papers whenever you are using information to elaborate a particular concept in the paper, either in the introduction or discussion sections or as a way to support your research findings in the results section.
Reference in research papers: A reference is a detailed description of the source of information that you want to give credit to via a citation. The references in research papers are usually in the form of a list at the end of the paper. The essential difference between citations and references is that citations lead a reader to the source of information, while references provide the reader with detailed information regarding that particular source.
Bibliography in research papers:
A bibliography in research paper is a list of sources that appears at the end of a research paper or an article, and contains information that may or may not be directly mentioned in the research paper. The difference between reference and bibliography in research is that an individual source in the list of references can be linked to an in-text citation, while an individual source in the bibliography may not necessarily be linked to an in-text citation.
It’s understandable how these terms may often be used interchangeably as they are serve the same purpose – namely to give intellectual and creative credit to an original idea that is elaborated in depth in a research paper. One of the easiest ways to understand when to use an in-text citation in research papers, is to check whether the information is an ongoing work of research or if it has been proven to be a ‘fact’ through reproducibility. If the information is a proven fact, you need not specifically add the original source to the list of references but can instead choose to mention it in your bibliography. For instance, if you use a statement such as “The effects of global warming and climate changes on the deterioration of environment have been described in depth”, you need not use an in-text citation, but can choose to mention key sources in the bibliography section. An example of a citation in a research paper would be if you intend to elaborate on the impact of climate change in a particular population and/or a specific geographical location. In this case, you will need to add an in-text citation and mention the correct source in the list of references.
Now that you have understood the basic similarities and differences in these terms, you should also know that every journal follows a particular style and format for these elements. So when working out how to write citations and add references in research papers, be mindful of using the preferred style of your target journal before you submit your research document.
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How to Write References and Cite Sources in a Research Paper
24 Jun 2021
❓Why You Should Include Citation Styles?
📑Standard Format of Reference Entry
✍️How to Cite an Online Source in an Article?
Citing your sources is the very first word of recommendation you would receive when you work on a Master's thesis, a publication, or a normal assignment. Search for the best tips on writing a research paper . Then look if there's the same form for magazine articles or a newspaper article. There's no one right way of doing it. Many establishments standardize it in education journals. However, publications like conferences and technical reports have somewhat rigid formatting requirements. From the year of publication to quotation marks, you'll find many different standards.
Therefore, it is ideal for Ph.D. students and future researchers to understand how to properly reference a journal article and other sources in their writing. It's crucial to credit your sources for a variety of reasons appropriately. One of the most crucial ones is quickly and readily showing readers and reviewers the perspective and applicability of your work. Read more to learn how to cite sources and write references in research articles.
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Why You Should Include Popular Citation Styles in a Research Paper?
It is essential to cite the sources of the same author when possible. References act as directional cues for whatever sort of modern language association or knowledge you use. Citing sources is a way to demonstrate to readers that a portion of the data in your writing is not original to you. Students can use this guide to help them decide what identifying information belongs on citation pages for most citation styles.
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Standard Format of Reference Entry
All formats from the end appear identical, except for the issue date. Keep in mind the following requirements when citing a source in a research article:
- You should not count the cover page and any reference list page number in your assignment
- Your assignment should be at least ten to twelve pages
- At least cite eight sources in the article that should be dated from 2002 or after, preferably with volume number, chapter title, and website title.
- Add five peer-reviewed journal publications with the year of publication.
- You must use APA formation style, since footnotes are not permitted when citing sources;
- Before turning in the assignment, don't forget to proofread it again for mistakes like punctuation marks, use of proper nouns, and mention of publication page numbers and headings.
Start writing research article citations in alphabetical order, beginning with only the name or author's surname, followed by the book title, website, or organization. Lines must be indented, even those contained in text citation takes, inside a single reference. These are a few instances:
- Unites States. Literature Journal Department. Digital Article Review, 2 Vols. New York: Literature- Journal's Department, 2005.
- John Stan, B. (2007, May 23). Aerial Yoga. Retrieved from direct URL
If you want to learn more about the in-text references list here, read further and learn a proper reference list entry.
Generate Citations Automatically
How to cite an online source in journal articles.
Learn about the many citation styles developed with this goal in mind to comprehend how to cite references in a journal article. For instance, liberal sciences use the Modern Language Association's (MLA) writing style, which was established for document layout, episode title, and source citation. The structure is followed by students writing English-language academic papers in Canada, the USA, and other nations. The following are some features of MLA, APA, and other citation styles:
APA Citation Style
Use APA Style if you are unsure of when to employ in-text citations. It references the guidelines published by the American Psychological Association to record references online documents and facilitate their comprehension. You must provide an in-text citation whenever you paraphrase or summarise a source.
For a reference page: "Establishing a regular practice, like exercising, can aid patients in their recovery from a sickness." APA, n.d. (American Psychological Association). Use an APA style citation maker to simplify your work. It may handle any task involving the creation of in-text citations or a complete reference that adheres to the criteria, including:
- The proper citation of the author's name;
- The author's name in the paragraph or in the parenthetical citations that follows the excerpt that is being referenced;
- The name of the referenced authority should be followed by the publication date.
Students can also use page numbers to denote specific information in certain parts of a publication. Still, a page range usually is only used for direct quotations in APA style when a passage, or another component of the conference paper, is duplicated verbatim in a new research paper. For making appropriate reference list entries, you should follow APA guidelines.
MLA Citation Styles
- Citations are concise and clear;
- When referencing the work of another author, include a parenthetical citation.
- The following lines should be four to seven spaces from the left margin rather than being indented from it for every new line;
- List each alphabetically and sort them by source name or the author's last name;
- When writing the names of sources, capitalize all words except articles, prepositions, and conjunctions.
Use a professional MLA Generator to hasten the creation of the bibliography and citation list for your research paper. There are many free MLA citation and reference generators available for research papers. When using them, you ought to take the following actions:
- Select the type of source: scholarly articles, books, websites, newspapers, magazines, or movies.
- Add the author's and the publication's name, the title, the place, the edition, and the type of recording;
- After entering the relevant information, simply select "produce citation" to get it in the ideal format.
Simply use MLA style formatting , which does not require the URL or link, if citing information from a journal title a website is necessary. However, the professors do occasionally request it. Remember to reference sources in-text using the footnote format. Full citation examples include "Germany."International Affairs, US Department of State, Commute, 11 October 2012. Web. 5 March 2014.
Notes & Bibliography Style
You must use a higher number or superscript for this style. Often, these are used in complete sentences. With this technique, you can alert readers that a sentence incorporates information from another source. Each superscript links to an article title and a remark in the endnotes or footnotes.
The footnotes, bibliography , and author-date style citation formats are the same for all sources. The in-text reference is the only difference. In the latter, the author's last name and the year of publication are mentioned in-text rather than with a corresponding superscript.
The writing style is crucial for all assignments, including essays, theses, and research papers. There are many ways to cite a source, but the APA and MLA forms and their modifications are the most basic format often used. Pick out one, then use it on the papers. Likewise, keep the same format in mind for internal citations. The reader could be confused by the text if documentation styles and formats are mixed.
You must follow the guidelines if you are a student, but if you don't have enough time for a research project, utilize the online version of a professional research paper writing service . Obtain your work with minimum effort and good quality. Qualified authors will write it, and it will be completed on schedule.
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Citing Your Sources
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When you use ideas that are not your own, it is important to credit or cite the author(s) or source, even if you do not quote their idea or words exactly as written. Citing your sources allows your reader to identify the works you have consulted and to understand the scope of your research. There are many different citation styles available. You may be required to use a particular style or you may choose one.
One of the commonly used styles is the APA (American Psychological Association) Style.
APA style stipulates that authors use brief references in the text of a work with full bibliographic details supplied in a Reference List (typically at the end of your document). In text, the reference is very brief and usually consists simply of the author's last name and a date.For example:
...Sheep milk has been proved to contain more nutrients than cow milk (Johnson, 2005).
In a Reference list, the reference contains full bibliographic details written in a format that depends on the type of reference. Examples of formats for some common types of references are listed below. For additional information, visit the University of Arkansas libraries webpage on citing your sources . Another useful web-site on this topic is here.
Author last name, Author First Initial. Author Second Initial. (Publication Year). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume(issue) (if issue numbered), pages.
Bass, M. A., Enochs, W. K., & DiBrezzo, R. (2002). Comparison of two exercise programs on general well-being of college students. Psychological Reports, 91(3), 1195-1201.
Author Last Name, Author First Initial. Author Second Initial. (if there is no author move entry title to first position) (Publication year). Title of article or entry. In Work title. (Vol. number, pp. pages). Place: Publisher.
"Ivory-billed woodpecker." (2002). In The new encyclopædia britannica. (Vol. 5, p. ). 15th ed. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.
Author Last Name, Author First Initial. Author Second Initial. (if there is no author move entry title to first position) (Publication year). Title of article or entry. In Work title. Retrieved from (database name or URL).
Ivory-billed woodpecker. (2006). In Encyclopædia britannica online. Retrieved from http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9043081
Author last name, Author First Initial. Author Second Initial. (Publication Year, Month Day). Title of article. Title of Magazine,volume, pages.
Holloway, M. (2005, August). When extinct isn't. Scientific American, 293, 22-23.
Author last name, Author First Initial. Author Second Initial. (Publication Year, Month Day). Title of article. Title of Magazine. volume, pages. Retrieved from (database name or URL).
Holloway, M. (2005, August). When extinct isn't. Scientific American, 293, 22-23. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.
Page Author Last Name, Page Author First Initial. Page Author Second Initial. Page title [nature of work - web site, blog, forum posting, etc.]. (Publication Year). Retrieved from (URL)
Sabo, G., et al. Rock art in Arkansas [Web site]. (2001). Retrieved from http://arkarcheology.uark.edu/rockart/index.html
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13.3 Creating a References Section
- Apply American Psychological Association (APA) style and formatting guidelines for a references section.
This section provides detailed information about how to create the references section of your paper. You will review basic formatting guidelines and learn how to format bibliographical entries for various types of sources. This section of Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , like the previous section, is meant to be used as a reference tool while you write.
Formatting the References Section: The Basics
At this stage in the writing process, you may already have begun setting up your references section. This section may consist of a single page for a brief research paper or may extend for many pages in professional journal articles. As you create this section of your paper, follow the guidelines provided here.
Formatting the References Section
To set up your references section, use the insert page break feature of your word-processing program to begin a new page. Note that the header and margins will be the same as in the body of your paper, and pagination continues from the body of your paper. (In other words, if you set up the body of your paper correctly, the correct header and page number should appear automatically in your references section.) See additional guidelines below.
Formatting Reference Entries
Reference entries should include the following information:
- The name of the author(s)
- The year of publication and, where applicable, the exact date of publication
- The full title of the source
- For books, the city of publication
- For articles or essays, the name of the periodical or book in which the article or essay appears
- For magazine and journal articles, the volume number, issue number, and pages where the article appears
- For sources on the web, the URL where the source is located
See the following examples for how to format a book or journal article with a single author.
Sample Book Entry
Sample Journal Article Entry
The following box provides general guidelines for formatting the reference page. For the remainder of this chapter, you will learn about how to format bibliographical entries for different source types, including multiauthor and electronic sources.
Formatting the References Section: APA General Guidelines
1. Include the heading References , centered at the top of the page. The heading should not be boldfaced, italicized, or underlined. 2. Use double-spaced type throughout the references section, as in the body of your paper. 3. Use hanging indentation for each entry. The first line should be flush with the left margin, while any lines that follow should be indented five spaces. Note that hanging indentation is the opposite of normal indenting rules for paragraphs. 4. List entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. For a work with multiple authors, use the last name of the first author listed. 5. List authors’ names using this format: Smith, J. C. 6. For a work with no individual author(s), use the name of the organization that published the work or, if this is unavailable, the title of the work in place of the author’s name.
7. For works with multiple authors, follow these guidelines:
- For works with up to seven authors, list the last name and initials for each author.
- For works with more than seven authors, list the first six names, followed by ellipses, and then the name of the last author listed.
- Use an ampersand before the name of the last author listed.
8. Use title case for journal titles. Capitalize all important words in the title.
9. Use sentence case for all other titles—books, articles, web pages, and other source titles. Capitalize the first word of the title. Do not capitalize any other words in the title except for the following:
- Proper nouns
- First word of a subtitle
- First word after a colon or dash
Set up the first page of your references section and begin adding entries, following the APA formatting guidelines provided in this section.
- If there are any simple entries that you can format completely using the general guidelines, do so at this time.
- For entries you are unsure of how to format, type in as much information as you can, and highlight the entries so you can return to them later.
Formatting Reference Entries for Different Source Types
As is the case for in-text citations, formatting reference entries becomes more complicated when you are citing a source with multiple authors, citing various types of online media, or citing sources for which you must provide additional information beyond the basics listed in the general guidelines. The following guidelines show how to format reference entries for these different situations.
Print Sources: Books
For book-length sources and shorter works that appear in a book, follow the guidelines that best describes your source.
A Book by Two or More Authors
List the authors’ names in the order they appear on the book’s title page. Use an ampersand before the last author’s name.
Campbell, D. T., & Stanley, J. C. (1963). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
An Edited Book with No Author
List the editor or editors’ names in place of the author’s name, followed by Ed. or Eds. in parentheses.
Myers, C., & Reamer, D. (Eds.). (2009). 2009 nutrition index. San Francisco, CA: HealthSource, Inc.
An Edited Book with an Author
List the author’s name first, followed by the title and the editor or editors. Note that when the editor is listed after the title, you list the initials before the last name.
The previous example shows the format used for an edited book with one author—for instance, a collection of a famous person’s letters that has been edited. This type of source is different from an anthology, which is a collection of articles or essays by different authors. For citing works in anthologies, see the guidelines later in this section.
A Translated Book
Include the translator’s name after the title, and at the end of the citation, list the date the original work was published. Note that for the translator’s name, you list the initials before the last name.
Freud, S. (1965). New introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (J. Strachey, Trans.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton. (Original work published 1933).
A Book Published in Multiple Editions
If you are using any edition other than the first edition, include the edition number in parentheses after the title.
A Chapter in an Edited Book
List the name of the author(s) who wrote the chapter, followed by the chapter title. Then list the names of the book editor(s) and the title of the book, followed by the page numbers for the chapter and the usual information about the book’s publisher.
A Work That Appears in an Anthology
Follow the same process you would use to cite a book chapter, substituting the article or essay title for the chapter title.
An Article in a Reference Book
List the author’s name if available; if no author is listed, provide the title of the entry where the author’s name would normally be listed. If the book lists the name of the editor(s), include it in your citation. Indicate the volume number (if applicable) and page numbers in parentheses after the article title.
Two or More Books by the Same Author
List the entries in order of their publication year, beginning with the work published first.
Swedan, N. (2001). Women’s sports medicine and rehabilitation. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers.
Swedan, N. (2003). The active woman’s health and fitness handbook. New York, NY: Perigee.
If two books have multiple authors, and the first author is the same but the others are different, alphabetize by the second author’s last name (or the third or fourth, if necessary).
Carroll, D., & Aaronson, F. (2008). Managing type II diabetes. Chicago, IL: Southwick Press.
Carroll, D., & Zuckerman, N. (2008). Gestational diabetes. Chicago, IL: Southwick Press.
Books by Different Authors with the Same Last Name
Alphabetize entries by the authors’ first initial.
A Book Authored by an Organization
Treat the organization name as you would an author’s name. For the purposes of alphabetizing, ignore words like The in the organization’s name. (That is, a book published by the American Heart Association would be listed with other entries whose authors’ names begin with A .)
American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders DSM-IV (4th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
A Book-Length Report
Format technical and research reports as you would format other book-length sources. If the organization that issued the report assigned it a number, include the number in parentheses after the title. (See also the guidelines provided for citing works produced by government agencies.)
Jameson, R., & Dewey, J. (2009). Preliminary findings from an evaluation of the president’s physical fitness program in Pleasantville school district. Pleasantville, WA: Pleasantville Board of Education.
A Book Authored by a Government Agency
Treat these as you would a book published by a nongovernment organization, but be aware that these works may have an identification number listed. If so, include it in parentheses after the publication year.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2002). The decennial censuses from 1790 to 2000 (Publication No. POL/02-MA). Washington, DC: US Government Printing Offices.
Revisit the references section you began to compile in Note 13.73 “Exercise 1” . Use the guidelines provided to format any entries for book-length print sources that you were unable to finish earlier.
Review how Jorge formatted these book-length print sources:
Atkins, R. C. (2002). Dr. Atkins’ diet revolution . New York, NY: M. Evans and Company.
Agatson, A. (2003). The South Beach diet. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin.
Print Sources: Periodicals
An article in a scholarly journal.
Include the following information:
- Author or authors’ names
- Publication year
- Article title (in sentence case, without quotation marks or italics)
- Journal title (in title case and in italics)
- Volume number (in italics)
- Issue number (in parentheses)
- Page number(s) where the article appears
DeMarco, R. F. (2010). Palliative care and African American women living with HIV. Journal of Nursing Education, 49 (5), 1–4.
An Article in a Journal Paginated by Volume
In these types of journals, page numbers for one volume continue across all the issues in that volume. For instance, the winter issue may begin with page 1, and in the spring issue that follows, the page numbers pick up where the previous issue left off. (If you have ever wondered why a print journal did not begin on page 1, or wondered why the page numbers of a journal extend into four digits, this is why.) Omit the issue number from your reference entry.
Wagner, J. (2009). Rethinking school lunches: A review of recent literature. American School Nurses’ Journal , 47, 1123–1127.
An Abstract of a Scholarly Article
At times you may need to cite an abstract—the summary that appears at the beginning—of a published article. If you are citing the abstract only, and it was published separately from the article, provide the following information:
- Publication information for the article
- Information about where the abstract was published (for instance, another journal or a collection of abstracts)
A Journal Article with Two to Seven Authors
List all the authors’ names in the order they appear in the article. Use an ampersand before the last name listed.
Barker, E. T., & Bornstein, M. H. (2010). Global self-esteem, appearance satisfaction, and self-reported dieting in early adolescence. Journal of Early Adolescence, 30 (2), 205–224.
Tremblay, M. S., Shields, M., Laviolette, M., Craig, C. L., Janssen, I., & Gorber, S. C. (2010). Fitness of Canadian children and youth: Results from the 2007–2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Health Reports, 21 (1), 7–20.
A Journal Article with More Than Seven Authors
List the first six authors’ names, followed by a comma, an ellipsis, and the name of the last author listed. The article in the following example has sixteen listed authors; the reference entry lists the first six authors and the sixteenth, omitting the seventh through the fifteenth.
Writing at Work
The idea of an eight-page article with sixteen authors may seem strange to you—especially if you are in the midst of writing a ten-page research paper on your own. More often than not, articles in scholarly journals list multiple authors. Sometimes, the authors actually did collaborate on writing and editing the published article. In other instances, some of the authors listed may have contributed to the research in some way while being only minimally involved in the process of writing the article. Whenever you collaborate with colleagues to produce a written product, follow your profession’s conventions for giving everyone proper credit for their contribution.
A Magazine Article
After the publication year, list the issue date. Otherwise, treat these as you would journal articles. List the volume and issue number if both are available.
A Newspaper Article
Treat these as you would magazine and journal articles, with one important difference: precede the page number(s) with the abbreviation p. (for a single-page article) or pp. (for a multipage article). For articles whose pagination is not continuous, list all the pages included in the article. For example, an article that begins on page A1 and continues on pages A4 would have the page reference A1, A4. An article that begins on page A1 and continues on pages A4 and A5 would have the page reference A1, A4–A5.
A Letter to the Editor
After the title, indicate in brackets that the work is a letter to the editor.
Jones, J. (2009, January 31). Food police in our schools [Letter to the editor]. Rockwood Gazette, p. A8.
After the title, indicate in brackets that the work is a review and state the name of the work being reviewed. (Note that even if the title of the review is the same as the title of the book being reviewed, as in the following example, you should treat it as an article title. Do not italicize it.)
Revisit the references section you began to compile in Note 13.73 “Exercise 1” . Use the guidelines provided above to format any entries for periodicals and other shorter print sources that you were unable to finish earlier.
Citing articles from online periodicals: urls and digital object identifiers (dois).
Whenever you cite online sources, it is important to provide the most up-to-date information available to help readers locate the source. In some cases, this means providing an article’s URL , or web address. (The letters URL stand for uniform resource locator.) Always provide the most complete URL possible. Provide a link to the specific article used, rather than a link to the publication’s homepage.
As you know, web addresses are not always stable. If a website is updated or reorganized, the article you accessed in April may move to a different location in May. The URL you provided may become a dead link. For this reason, many online periodicals, especially scholarly publications, now rely on DOIs rather than URLs to keep track of articles.
A DOI is a Digital Object Identifier—an identification code provided for some online documents, typically articles in scholarly journals. Like a URL, its purpose is to help readers locate an article. However, a DOI is more stable than a URL, so it makes sense to include it in your reference entry when possible. Follow these guidelines:
- If you are citing an online article with a DOI, list the DOI at the end of the reference entry.
- If the article appears in print as well as online, you do not need to provide the URL. However, include the words Electronic version after the title in brackets.
- In other respects, treat the article as you would a print article. Include the volume number and issue number if available. (Note, however, that these may not be available for some online periodicals).
An Article from an Online Periodical with a DOI
List the DOI if one is provided. There is no need to include the URL if you have listed the DOI.
Bell, J. R. (2006). Low-carb beats low-fat diet for early losses but not long term. OBGYN News, 41 (12), 32. doi:10.1016/S0029-7437(06)71905-X
An Article from an Online Periodical with No DOI
List the URL. Include the volume and issue number for the periodical if this information is available. (For some online periodicals, it may not be.)
Note that if the article appears in a print version of the publication, you do not need to list the URL, but do indicate that you accessed the electronic version.
Robbins, K. (2010, March/April). Nature’s bounty: A heady feast [Electronic version]. Psychology Today, 43 (2), 58.
Provide the URL of the article.
McNeil, D. G. (2010, May 3). Maternal health: A new study challenges benefits of vitamin A for women and babies. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/health/04glob.html?ref=health
An Article Accessed through a Database
Cite these articles as you would normally cite a print article. Provide database information only if the article is difficult to locate.
APA style does not require writers to provide the item number or accession number for articles retrieved from databases. You may choose to do so if the article is difficult to locate or the database is an obscure one. Check with your professor to see if this is something he or she would like you to include.
An Abstract of an Article
Format these as you would an article citation, but add the word Abstract in brackets after the title.
Bradley, U., Spence, M., Courtney, C. H., McKinley, M. C., Ennis, C. N., McCance, D. R.…Hunter, S. J. (2009). Low-fat versus low-carbohydrate weight reduction diets: Effects on weight loss, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular risk: A randomized control trial [Abstract]. Diabetes , 58 (12), 2741–2748. http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2009/08/23/db00098.abstract
A Nonperiodical Web Document
The ways you cite different nonperiodical web documents may vary slightly from source to source, depending on the information that is available. In your citation, include as much of the following information as you can:
- Name of the author(s), whether an individual or organization
- Date of publication (Use n.d. if no date is available.)
- Title of the document
- Address where you retrieved the document
If the document consists of more than one web page within the site, link to the homepage or the entry page for the document.
American Heart Association. (2010). Heart attack, stroke, and cardiac arrest warning signs. Retrieved from http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3053
An Entry from an Online Encyclopedia or Dictionary
Because these sources often do not include authors’ names, you may list the title of the entry at the beginning of the citation. Provide the URL for the specific entry.
Addiction. (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary . Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/addiction
If you cite raw data compiled by an organization, such as statistical data, provide the URL where you retrieved the information. Provide the name of the organization that sponsors the site.
US Food and Drug Administration. (2009). Nationwide evaluation of X-ray trends: NEXT surveys performed [Data file]. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/RadiationSafety/NationwideEvaluationofX- RayTrendsNEXT/ucm116508.htm
When citing graphic data—such as maps, pie charts, bar graphs, and so on—include the name of the organization that compiled the information, along with the publication date. Briefly describe the contents in brackets. Provide the URL where you retrieved the information. (If the graphic is associated with a specific project or document, list it after your bracketed description of the contents.)
US Food and Drug Administration. (2009). [Pie charts showing the percentage breakdown of the FDA’s budget for fiscal year 2005]. 2005 FDA budget summary . Retrieved from mhttp://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/ReportsManualsForms/Reports/BudgetReports/2005FDABudgetSummary/ucm117231.htm
An Online Interview (Audio File or Transcript)
List the interviewer, interviewee, and date. After the title, include bracketed text describing the interview as an “Interview transcript” or “Interview audio file,” depending on the format of the interview you accessed. List the name of the website and the URL where you retrieved the information. Use the following format.
Davies, D. (Interviewer), & Pollan, M. (Interviewee). (2008). Michael Pollan offers president food for thought [Interview transcript]. Retrieved from National Public Radio website: http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=100755362
An Electronic Book
Electronic books may include books available as text files online or audiobooks. If an electronic book is easily available in print, cite it as you would a print source. If it is unavailable in print (or extremely difficult to find), use the format in the example. (Use the words Available from in your citation if the book must be purchased or is not available directly.)
Chisholm, L. (n.d.). Celtic tales. Retrieved from http://www.childrenslibrary.org/icdl/BookReader?bookid= chicelt_00150014&twoPage=false&route=text&size=0&fullscreen=false&pnum1=1&lang= English&ilang=English
A Chapter from an Online Book or a Chapter or Section of a Web Document
These are treated similarly to their print counterparts with the addition of retrieval information. Include the chapter or section number in parentheses after the book title.
Hart, A. M. (1895). Restoratives—Coffee, cocoa, chocolate. In Diet in sickness and in health (VI). Retrieved from http://www.archive.org/details/dietinsicknessin00hartrich
A Dissertation or Thesis from a Database
Provide the author, date of publication, title, and retrieval information. If the work is numbered within the database, include the number in parentheses at the end of the citation.
For commonly used office software and programming languages, it is not necessary to provide a citation. Cite software only when you are using a specialized program, such as the nutrition tracking software in the following example. If you download software from a website, provide the version and the year if available.
Internet Brands, Inc. (2009). FitDay PC (Version 2) [Software]. Available from http://www.fitday.com/Pc/PcHome.html?gcid=14
A Post on a Blog or Video Blog
Citation guidelines for these sources are similar to those used for discussion forum postings. Briefly describe the type of source in brackets after the title.
Because the content may not be carefully reviewed for accuracy, discussion forums and blogs should not be relied upon as a major source of information. However, it may be appropriate to cite these sources for some types of research. You may also participate in discussion forums or comment on blogs that address topics of personal or professional interest. Always keep in mind that when you post, you are making your thoughts public—and in many cases, available through search engines. Make sure any posts that can easily be associated with your name are appropriately professional, because a potential employer could view them.
A Television or Radio Broadcast
Include the name of the producer or executive producer; the date, title, and type of broadcast; and the associated company and location.
West, Ty. (Executive producer). (2009, September 24). PBS special report: Health care reform [Television broadcast]. New York, NY, and Washington, DC: Public Broadcasting Service.
A Television or Radio Series or Episode
Include the producer and the type of series if you are citing an entire television or radio series.
Couture, D., Nabors, S., Pinkard, S., Robertson, N., & Smith, J. (Producers). (1979). The Diane Rehm show [Radio series]. Washington, DC: National Public Radio.
To cite a specific episode of a radio or television series, list the name of the writer or writers (if available), the date the episode aired, its title, and the type of series, along with general information about the series.
Bernanke, J., & Wade, C. (2010, January 10). Hummingbirds: Magic in the air [Television series episode]. In F. Kaufman (Executive producer), Nature. New York, NY: WNET.
A Motion Picture
Name the director or producer (or both), year of release, title, country of origin, and studio.
Spurlock, M. (Director/producer), Morley, J. (Executive producer), & Winters. H. M. (Executive producer). (2004). Super size me. United States: Kathbur Pictures in association with Studio on Hudson.
Name the primary contributors and list their role. Include the recording medium in brackets after the title. Then list the location and the label.
Smith, L. W. (Speaker). (1999). Meditation and relaxation [CD]. New York, NY: Earth, Wind, & Sky Productions.
Székely, I. (Pianist), Budapest Symphony Orchestra (Performers), & Németh, G. (Conductor). (1988). Chopin piano concertos no. 1 and 2 [CD]. Hong Kong: Naxos.
Provide as much information as possible about the writer, director, and producer; the date the podcast aired; its title; any organization or series with which it is associated; and where you retrieved the podcast.
Kelsey, A. R. (Writer), Garcia, J. (Director), & Kim, S. C. (Producer). (2010, May 7). Lies food labels tell us. Savvy consumer podcasts [Audio podcast] . Retrieved from http://www.savvyconsumer.org/podcasts/050710
Revisit the references section you began to compile in Note 13.73 “Exercise 1” .
- Use the APA guidelines provided in this section to format any entries for electronic sources that you were unable to finish earlier.
- If your sources include a form of media not covered in the APA guidelines here, consult with a writing tutor or review a print or online reference book. You may wish to visit the website of the American Psychological Association at http://www.apa.org or the Purdue University Online Writing lab at http://owl.english.purdue.edu , which regularly updates its online style guidelines.
- Give your paper a final edit to check the references section.
In APA papers, entries in the references section include as much of the following information as possible:
- Print sources. Author(s), date of publication, title, publisher, page numbers (for shorter works), editors (if applicable), and periodical title (if applicable).
- Online sources (text-based). Author(s), date of publication, title, publisher or sponsoring organization, and DOI or URL (if applicable).
- Electronic sources (non-text-based). Provide details about the creator(s) of the work, title, associated company or series, and date the work was produced or broadcast. The specific details provided will vary depending on the medium and the information that is available.
- Electronic sources (text-based). If an electronic source is also widely available in print form, it is sometimes unnecessary to provide details about how to access the electronic version. Check the guidelines for the specific source type.
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