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3 posts from September 2018

September 25, 2018

How to Cite a Government Report in APA Style

Chelsea blog 2by Chelsea Lee

The basic citation for a government report follows the authordatetitlesource format of APA Style references. Here is a template:

Reference list:

Government Author. (year). Title of report: Subtitle of report if applicable (Report No. 123). Retrieved from http://xxxxx

In text:

(Government Author, year)


Note that the report number may not be present, or, when present, the wording may vary. Follow the wording shown on your report to write your reference (see how the wording is adjusted for the National Cancer Institute example later in this post).

Who Is the Author of a Government Report?

Most of the time the government department or agency is used as the author for an APA Style government report reference. Sometimes individual people are also credited as having written the report; however, their names do not appear in the APA Style reference unless their names also appear on the cover of the report (vs. within the report somewhere, such as on an acknowledgments page). So again, the name(s) on the cover or title page go in the reference, for reasons of retrievability, and most of the time, it is the name of the agency. 

Reference list (recommended format):

National Cancer Institute. (2016). Taking part in cancer treatment research studies (Publication No. 16-6249). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/CRS.pdf

In text (recommended format):

(National Cancer Institute, 2016)

How Many Layers of Government Agencies Should Be Listed?

Government agencies frequently list the full hierarchy of departments on their reports. As anyone familiar with bureaucracy knows, this can add up to a lot of layers. For example, the author of the National Cancer Institute report in the example above might be fully written out as follows:

Reference list (long form, correct but not recommended):

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. (2016). Taking part in cancer treatment research studies (Publication No. 16-6249). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/CRS.pdf

In text (long form, correct but not recommended):

(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 2016)

You might notice that this author name is rather lengthy! Listing the full hierarchy of agencies as shown on the report in question (from largest to smallest) is correct; however, it is also correct to list the most specific responsible agency only (in this case, the National Cancer Institute).

We recommend the shorter, more specific format for a few reasons.

  • Our users have expressed to us that this shorter name form makes it easier to write references and in-text citations.
  • The shorter form makes it easier for readers to differentiate between reports authored by a variety of agencies. Imagine, for example, a paper containing many government reports; the citations and references could quickly overwhelm the text if the long form were used.

However, if using only the most specific responsible agency would cause confusion (e.g., if you are citing institutes with the same name from two countries, such as the United States and Canada), then include the parent agencies in the author element to differentiate them.

How Does the In-Text Citation Correspond to the Reference List Entry?

Ensure that the name of the government author you use in the in-text citation matches the name of the author in the reference list entry exactly. Do not use the long form in one spot and the short form in the other. An exception is that you can introduce an abbreviation for the government agency in the text if you will be referring to it frequently. Read this blog post to learn how to abbreviate group author names.


September 19, 2018

How to Cite Edition, Volume, and Page Numbers for Books

David Becker

By David Becker

Are you trying to create a reference for the second edition of a multivolume handbook but aren’t sure where or how to include the edition, volume, and page numbers? This is a frequent conundrum that APA Style users have brought to our attention. Their most common question is whether these numbers should be presented together or within separate parentheses.

When citing a chapter, the edition number, the volume number (which is different from a journal’s volume number), and the page range are all enclosed within the same parentheses—in that order—after the title of the book, and they are separated by commas. In a reference to a whole book, cite the edition and volume numbers—separated by a comma—but do not cite a page range.

Here are some templates for citing print versions of books that include edition and volume numbers:

Chapter in an Edited Book

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of chapter. In C. C. Editor & D. D. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (xx ed., Vol. xx, pp. xxx–xxx). Location: Publisher.

Authored Book

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of book (xx ed., Vol. xx). Location: Publisher.

Edited Book

Editor, E. E. (Ed.). (Year). Title of book (xx ed., Vol. xx). Location: Publisher.

Entire books and individual chapters are sometimes assigned their own unique digital object identifiers (DOIs). If the book or chapter you are citing lists a DOI, include it at the end of your reference in place of the publisher information, without a period.

Cite the edition of the book you used. If there aren’t multiple editions of the book, or if it isn’t a multivolume work, then do not include this information in your reference.

Here are a few sample references to chapters in edited books with parenthetical edition, volume, and/or page numbers:

Hamilton, R. B., & Newman, J. P. (2018). The response modulation hypothesis: Formulation, development, and implications for psychopathy. In C. J. Patrick (Ed.), Handbook of psychopathy (2nd ed., pp. 80–93). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Slee, R. (2014). Inclusive schooling as an apprenticeship in democracy? In L. Florian (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of special education (2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 217–229). London, England: SAGE Publications.

Tetrick, L. E., & Peiró, J. M. (2012). Occupational safety and health. In S. W. J. Kozlowksi (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of organizational psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 1228–1244). https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199928286.013.0036

Some publishers title each volume of a multivolume work. In this case, include the volume number within the title when constructing your reference instead of citing it parenthetically. Here is an example reference to a volume with its own title (see also Example 24 on page 204 in the sixth edition of Publication Manual):

Wyer, M. (2018). In the company of feminist science. In C. B. Travis, J. W. White, S. L. Cook, & K. F. Wyche (Eds.), APA handbook of the psychology of women: Vol. 2. Perspectives on women’s private and public lives (pp. 459–474). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000060-025

In APA Style, individual chapters from authored books are not cited in the reference list. We recommend citing the whole book instead. Then, you can cite specific chapters in text as needed.

When citing an entire multivolume work, include the full range of volumes in parentheses. If the volumes were published on different dates, cite the range of years as the publication date.

Here are some sample references to whole books:

Haight, J. M. (Ed.). (2012). The safety professionals handbook: Vol 1. Management applications (2nd ed.). Park Ridge, IL: American Society of Safety Engineers.

Kanegsberg, B., & Kanegsberg, E. (Eds.). (2011). Handbook for critical cleaning (2nd ed., Vols. 1–2). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Travis, C. B., White, J. W., Cook, S. L., & Wyche, K. F. (Eds.). (2018). APA handbook of the psychology of women: Vol. 2. Perspectives on women’s private and public lives. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000060-000

Wypych, G. (2017). Handbook of odors in plastic materials (2nd ed.). Toronto, Canada: ChemTec Publishing.

If you have any additional questions about citing edition, volume, and page numbers, or about any other APA Style issue, feel free to email us at StyleExpert@apa.org.

Book Volumes

September 03, 2018

How to Quote a Foreign-Language Source and Its Translation

 Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

 Dear Style Expert,

How do I format quotations from books or articles written in a foreign language? Do I have to present the quotation in both the original language and in translation, or do I present only a translation? What do the citation and reference list entries look like? Help me, please!

Dear reader,

When you want to quote a source from a language that is different from the language you are writing in, you have the choice of presenting

  • your own translation of the quotation (without the foreign language) or
  • both the original passage in the foreign language and your translation.

Either choice is acceptable. You might choose to present both languages if you want to draw attention to how something was said in the foreign language (e.g., if you are conducting a linguistic analysis or a qualitative study), especially if you expect your readers to be multilingual. Otherwise, presenting just the translation is fine.

Previously on the blog we have addressed how to present your own translation (without the foreign language) of a quotation from a published source, such as a book or journal article.

If you want to present a quotation in both a foreign language and in translation, place the foreign-language quotation in quotation marks if it is less than 40 words long and in a block quotation without quotation marks if it is 40 words or more. After the foreign-language quotation, place an English translation of the quotation in square brackets. Then add the citation for the quotation.

Here is an example:

In text:

Research has addressed that “Les jeunes qui terminent un placement à l’âge de la majorité dans le cadre du système de protection de la jeunesse sont plus vulnérables” [Youth who finish a placement at the age of majority in the framework of the youth protection system are more vulnerable] (Bussières, St-Germain, Dubé, & Richard, 2017, p. 354).

In the reference list, translate the title of the foreign-language work into the language you are writing in (here, that’s English). Otherwise, the details of the foreign-language source should stay as they were published, to aid in retrievability. Note for this example that Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne is a bilingual journal that is published with a bilingual title; if the journal title were only in French it would not be necessary to translate it in the reference.

Reference list:

Bussières, E.-L., St-Germain, A., Dubé, M., & Richard, M.-C. (2017). Efficacité et efficience des programmes de transition à la vie adulte: Une revue systématique [Effectiveness and efficiency of adult transition programs: A systematic review]. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne, 58, 354–365. https://doi.org/10.1037/cap0000104 

Other Questions?

If your quotation is from a research participant rather than a published source, please see our posts on that topic:

Do you have other foreign-language quotation questions? Leave a comment below.

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