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4 posts from February 2013

February 21, 2013

Writing References for Federal Statutes

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by Melissa

It’s 2 a.m. You are hunched over a laptop computer, and you have 20 ounces of hastily drunk coffee sloshing around in your stomach, or maybe you have a sheaf of heavily edited, stained papers spread across half your desk, while you gnaw on half an inch of wood or whatever it is that lead pencils are made of these days. Is this stressful scenario what your process for creating challenging references looks like?

Researching and writing may be stressful, but with the right resources, creating references can be relatively easy. Relax, put down the oversized coffee cup (or chewed up pencil), and take a look at this simple template for creating APA Style references for federal statutes:

Name of the Statute, Title number Source § Section number(s) (Year).

 

Parts of the Reference
There are just five pieces of information that you need when creating an APA Style reference for a basic federal statute: the name of the statute, the title number, the name of the source in which you found the statute, the section number(s) of the statute, and the year of the source in which you found the statute.

This blog post defines each of these elements and shows you how to put them together to create a reference and an in-text citation. A subsequent blog post will provide more information on how to find this information in official and authoritative sources.

 

1. Name of the Statute. If a statute has a common name, this is the first element of the APA Style reference. The name of the statute is followed by a comma. If a statute doesn’t have a name, omit this element, and start with the title number.

Note that the terms statute and act refer to the same thing; you will see them used interchangeably if you regularly work with legal materials.

The name of one statute is the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

 

2. Title Number. The title number is the second element that appears in APA Style references for a named statute. If a statute does not have a name, the title number is the first element. Note that in the Publication Manual, the title number is referred to as the volume number.

 Title numbers identify the subject matter group to which a statute belongs. For instance, in the collection of statutes known as the United States Code, education statutes are grouped in Title 20, public health and welfare statutes are grouped in Title 42, and labor statutes

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is in Title 29 of the United States 
Code.

 

3. Source. The official source for federal statutes is the United States Code. In the reference, use an abbreviated version of this title: U.S.C.

Although statutes can be found in other places, use the official code unless it is not available (e.g., a recently passed statute usually cannot be found in the United States Code; therefore, it would be appropriate to cite another source).

 

4. Section number(s). A statute is usually divided into several numbered sections and subsections. In a reference for a statute, a section symbol (§) should be listed before the section number. If your reference includes more than one section, provide the first and last section numbers, preceded by a double section symbol (§§), and separate

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 runs from section 2601 to 
section 2654, formatted as §§ 2601–2654.

 

5. Year. Finish the reference with the edition year of the United States Code (not the year that the statute was enacted). Set the year in parentheses, and end the reference with a period.

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 can be found in the last 
printing of the full United States Code, which has an edition year of 2006.

 

Reference Example
A reference list entry for a federal statute looks like this:

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601–2654 (2006).

 

In-Text Citation Example
The in-text citation format for a federal statute is similar to that for other APA Style references. Cite the name of the statute and the year:

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (2006)
(Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 2006)

 

Bluebook
If your work includes statutes that differ from the basic format shown above, requiring you to go beyond the scope of Appendix 7.1, be sure to consult The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

February 14, 2013

To My One True Love et al.

DB2

By David Becker

This Valentine’s Day, I would like to give you a simple piece of advice: Never, ever use et al. when addressing the one you love! It’s fine when you’re citing sources for an academic paper, but it doesn’t work as well with a card and a bouquet of flowers.

We have discussed the proper use of et al. in a previous blog post, and you can also find this information in section 6.12 of the Publication Manual (pp. 175–176). Basically, when citing a work by three to five authors in-text, you should list all of their surnames in the first citation. In subsequent citations, you should include only the first author’s surname followed by et al. If you are a citing a work by six or more authors in-text, you should list the first author’s surname followed by et al. in all citations. So unless you want to have an awkward conversation with your significant other about the rest of the significant others in your life, I would avoid using et al. in your Valentine’s Day card.

Speaking of which, if you’re having trouble finding a good Valentine’s Day card this year, or if you’re desperately searching for a last-minute gift, I would recommend sending APA Style's very own Valentine’s Day card to the one you love. You can also send it to your friends, your family, the anxious psychology student in your life, your favorite professor, your least favorite professor, or whoever else you think would appreciate it.

APA Style Valentine's Day Card

Happy Valentine's Day from all of us at APA Style!

February 07, 2013

Introduction to APA Style Legal References

Melissa.photo

 

by Melissa


Writers sometimes try to squeeze a reference for a statute or a court decision into the same format as a journal article, essentially trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. It won’t fit, it won’t look quite right, and it won’t be as useful to your readers as it could be.

There’s a better way. Instead of contorting legal references like pretzels, consult one or more of the following style resources: Appendix 7.1 in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, this blog, and the specialized style resources discussed below.

 

1. Appendix 7.1 in the Publication Manual

When creating APA Style legal references, your first and best resource is the Publication Manual’s Appendix 7.1: References to Legal Materials (pp. 216–224). There, you’ll find sample references for the legal documents that are most commonly used in psychology research, including court decisions, statutes, administrative regulations, and executive orders.

The reference examples in Appendix 7.1 are drawn from The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, which is an authoritative source for legal citations and the primary style guide used by legal scholars and other professionals in that field. The reference and citation formats that you’ll find in Appendix 7.1 are a hybrid of APA Style and Bluebook style, adapted to both fit well in an APA Style article and provide the unique information that will allow your readers to find the referenced legal document.

 

2. The APA Style Blog

The APA Style Blog already provides some resources for legal references. Citation of the U.S. Constitution is discussed in How to Cite the U.S. Constitution in APA Style. Capitalization of the names of legal documents is discussed in Do I Capitalize This Word?

New blog posts to help you find, reference, and cite other legal materials in APA Style are on the way. These posts will cover the following topics:

As each topic is added to the blog, we’ll include a link to the relevant post in the above list.

 

3. Additional Resources

The Bluebook. If you’re working with more complex legal references that require you to go beyond the scope of Appendix 7.1, be sure to consult The Bluebook, which provides citation formats for constitutions, international treaties, domestic and foreign statutes, legislative bills and resolutions, administrative regulations and proceedings, executive orders, legal briefs and other court filings, reported and unreported court decisions, and many other legal documents.

Because Bluebook citation style relies heavily on footnotes and doesn’t include the reference list and name–date citations that are the hallmarks of APA Style, when you use a legal reference format from The Bluebook, consult Appendix 7.1 in the Publication Manual and, using the create-a-reference skills that you learned from our Frankenreference blog post, adapt the reference to closely follow the examples in Appendix 7.1.

Law Librarian. The law mutates. New laws that alter or overrule existing laws are passed all the time. You may wish to consult a law librarian to ensure that your references are complete and correct and that the law you are citing has not been superseded or overturned.

Additional Information Online. Finally, one other resource that I find helpful in my own research is the online guide Introduction to Basic Legal Citation by Peter W. Martin (an emeritus law professor at Cornell University). This is not an official source, so if you consult it, be sure to seek additional verification in The Bluebook.

February 01, 2013

Quotation Mark Uses Other Than Quotes

Daisiesby Stefanie

Most people know how to use quotation marks to identify material directly quoted from a source (“That’s terrific!” the editor cried; Hendrik Willem van Loon once said, “Somewhere in the world there is an epigram for every dilemma”; the first item on the questionnaire was, “How often do you engage in this type of behavior?”). In APA Style, when else is it OK to use quotation marks? I’m so glad you asked! Here are two key quotes from page 91 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, sixth edition, to explain. (Before you awesome APA Style diehards point this out, I’m exercising some artistic license and taking advantage of the differing standards of an informal blog post and setting the two quotes as block quotes, even though they consist of fewer than 40 words each.)

To introduce a word or phrase used as an ironic comment, as slang, or as an invented or coined expression. Use quotation marks the first time the word or phrase is used; thereafter, do not use quotation marks. (p. 91)

Let’s take these cases one by one. An ironic comment is one that means something other than (often the opposite of) what it says. In the example provided in the Publication Manual, “considered ‘normal’ behavior,” the quotes around normal should indicate that the behavior under discussion deviates from what might immediately come to mind when thinking of the norm (whatever that might be). For example, what qualifies as normal behavior for an 8-year-old that has been awake for 24 hours straight with a stomach virus will not be the normal behavior of an 8-year-old child who has had a decent night’s sleep and no illness (not that I would know from experience. Actually, yes, I would). “Normal” is not precisely normal in the case of the sick, sleepless child.

Slang is an informal word or phrase that may not appear in a standard dictionary but is used colloquially; slang terms appear in scholarly writing most often when writers quote participants (yet another reason to use quotation marks!). For example, if a participant described a confederate’s relationship as “lolalam” (a slang word based on an acronym for the phrase love only lasts as long as the money) or said she was “LOLing” (laughing out loud) over the questions asked in the interview, those slang terms are loaded with meaning; using the slang term the participant used preserves and conveys that meaning to the reader.

An invented or coined expression is a new word or phrase often specific to the work it is used in (although sometimes a term will catch on and start being used elsewhere, which is part of the beauty of our ever-evolving language). The example provided in the Publication Manual is the “good-outcome variable.” This term is not likely to be used or understood outside of the study it was coined for, but within the context of the study, it makes perfect sense.

Then there is our second quote from the Publication Manual:

To set off the title of an article or chapter in a periodical or book when the title is mentioned in text. (p. 91)

Quotation marks are used for full or abbreviated titles of articles, book chapters, or web pages without authors that are mentioned or cited in text (see p. 176 of the Publication Manual; note that this is how they are presented in the text, not the reference list). Examples:

In Han Solo’s (2003) article, “With a Wookiee Beside Me: How I Became the Best Rebel Pilot in Any Galaxy,” Solo recounts how he won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a game of Sabacc during the Cloud City Sabacc Tournament. The newspaper account of the tournament (“Sabacc Shenanigans,” 2000) corroborates Solo’s version of events.

More quotation mark questions? Let us know at styleexpert@apastyle.org or in the comments below!

 

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