136 posts categorized "How-to"

March 29, 2017

How to Create References When Words in the Title Are Italicized

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

Although the title of a journal article or book chapter is not usually italicized, sometimes words within the title may be italicized. These include book or movie titles, letters or words as linguistic examples, statistics, scientific names for animals, and other items that would be italicized in text, per APA Style guidelines.


Corballis, M. C., & McLaren, R. (1984). Winding one's Ps and Qs: Mental rotation and mirror-image discrimination. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 10, 318–327. https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.10.2.318
Foulkes, D. (1994). The interpretation of dreams and the scientific study of dreaming. Dreaming, 4, 82–85. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0094402
Lai, J., Fidler, F., & Cummings, G. (2015). Subjective p intervals: Researchers underestimate the variability of p values over replication. Methodology, 8, 51–62. https://doi.org/10.1027/1614-2241/a000037
Yoder, A. M., Widen, S. C., & Russell, J. A. (2016). The word disgust may refer to more than one emotion. Emotion, 16, 301–308. https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000118

If the title of the work is already italicized, as with a reference for a book, report, or dissertation or thesis, then the item that would otherwise be italicized is reverse italicized (meaning that it is in roman type within an otherwise italicized title).


Blaylock, B. (2015). Coming of age: The narrative of adolescence in David Almond’s Kit’s wilderness and Nick Lake’s In darkness (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 10000726)
Reichenberg, L. (2013). DSM–5 essentials: The savvy clinician’s guide to the changes in criteria. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.


February 15, 2017

How to Format Scientific Names of Animals

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

When an animal name is part of a journal article title, it is conventional to provide the animal’s scientific name (genus and species). Genus is always capitalized and species is not. Notice that the scientific names are also italicized (see examples on p. 105 of the APA Publication Manual).

For example, see the following articles from APA Journals:

Journal of Comparative Psychology article: Dogs (Canis familiaris) Account for Body Orientation but Not Visual Barriers When Responding to Pointing Gestures Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition: Control of Working Memory in Rhesus Monkeys (Macaca mulatta)

This convention of including the scientific name in the paper’s title is not an APA Style guideline specified in the manual; however, it is an accepted norm of scientific research. (If you have any questions about whether to include the scientific name in your paper or manuscript, ask your teacher, advisor, or editor.)

So, if you cite an article that includes a genus and species in the title, how should the title appear in your reference list? Keep the italics and capitalization of the animal’s scientific name exactly as they appear in the original title:

MacLean, E. L., Krupenye, C., & Hare, B. (2014). Dogs (Canis familiaris) account for body orientation but not visual barriers when responding to pointing gestures. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 128, 285–297. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0035742
Tu, H.-W., & Hampton, R. R. (2014). Control of working memory in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 40, 467–476. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xan0000030

January 26, 2017

How to Cite a Twitter Moment

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

With Twitter moments, introduced last year, anyone can collect related tweets in one page.

These are easy to cite because Twitter provides all the necessary information—who (Twitter username), when (date), what (title), and where (URL)!




APA Style [APA_Style]. (2016, November 15). Research and writing [Twitter moment]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/i/moments/801080248762847234

In-text citation: (APA Style, 2016) or APA Style (2016).


Reuters Top News [Reuters]. (2016, November 1). Inside David Bowie's art collection [Twitter moment]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/i/moments/793575609028915200

In-text citation: (Reuters Top News, 2016) or Reuters Top News (2016).

If you need more help citing social media, see our posts about tweets, Facebook status updates, hashtags, and more!

January 04, 2017

How to Cite Quality Standards and Guidelines in APA Style

Chelsea blog 2
by Chelsea Lee

To cite a quality standard or guideline in APA Style, provide the author, date, title, and source of the work. After the title of the work, provide any number or identifier for the standard in parentheses without italics. Here is a template for citing a standard:


Reference list: Organization That Made the Standard. (year). Title of the standard (Standard No. 1234). Retrieved from http://xxxxx

In text: (Organization That Made the Standard, year).

The only exception is if the standard appears in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), because federal standards are considered legal references and follow legal style; directions for citing standards in the CFR are at the end of this post.

Here are some examples of typical standard citations and their corresponding in-text citations. Note that most of the organizations that publish standards commonly go by acronyms (e.g., OSHA for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration). The acronym is optional to use. If you do use the acronym, use it in the text only, not in the reference list entry. Spell out the name of the group the first time you cite the work and provide the acronym either in parentheses or brackets (depending on whether the written-out form is already in parentheses); for any subsequent citations or mentions, use the acronym. If you use multiple works by the same group, you only need to introduce the acronym once. How to introduce the acronym is also shown in the example citations below.

ISO Standards

International Organization for Standardization. (2016). Occupational health and safety management systems—Requirements with guidance for use (ISO/DIS Standard No. 45001). Retrieved from http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail?csnumber=63787

  • In text, first citation: (International Organization for Standardization [ISO], 2016) or International Organization for Standardization (ISO, 2016).
  • In text, subsequent citations: (ISO, 2016) or ISO (2016).

OSHA Standards

Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (1970). Occupational safety and health standards: Occupational health and environmental control (Standard No. 1910.95). Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9735
  • In text, first citation: (Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA], 1970) or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA, 1970).
  • In text, subsequent citations: (OSHA, 1970) or OSHA (1970).
  • Note that the date for an OSHA standard should be the effective date; for most standards, this is 1970. If you are citing multiple OSHA standards, create separate reference list entries for each one and differentiate them by using lowercase letters after the year (e.g., OSHA, 1970a, 1970b), as described in this post on “reference twins.”

NICE Guidelines

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. (2013). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (NICE Quality Standard No. 39). Retrieved from https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs39
  • In text, first citation: (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence [NICE], 2013) or National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE, 2013).
  • In text, subsequent citations: (NICE, 2013) or NICE (2013).

Standard Published as a Federal Regulation

Designation of Uses for the Establishment of Water Quality Standards, 40 C.F.R. § 131.10 (2015).
  • In text: (Designation of Uses for the Establishment of Water Quality Standards, 2015) or Designation of Uses for the Establishment of Water Quality Standards (2015).
  • For more information on citing federal regulations, see Section A7.06 of the Publication Manual (p. 223).

The template shown at the beginning of this post should cover all types of quality standards you might want to cite in APA Style, but if you have further questions, leave a comment below!


December 19, 2016

How to Cite a YouTube Channel

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

Dear APA Style Experts: I know you can create a reference to a YouTube video, but is it possible to cite an entire YouTube channel?

—Zeynep L.

Yes! A reference to a YouTube channel follows the usual who (YouTube username), when (date), what (title), and where (URL) format:


PsycINFO. (n.d.). Home [YouTube Channel]. Retrieved from http://youtube.com/PsycINFO

In-text citation:

PsycINFO (n.d.) or (PsycINFO, n.d.)

In this example,

Who = "PsycINFO.": Use the username shown in the "Who" section, as indicated in the image below.

When = "n.d." because YouTube channels are undated.

What = "Home [YouTube Channel]": As you can see below, every YouTube channel’s title is "Home" by default unless you are citing one of the other tabs (Videos, Playlists, Channels, Discussion, About) on the channel. If so, just substitute that tab’s name.

Where = "Retrieved from http://youtube.com/PsycINFO"

YouTube Channel graphic

November 30, 2016

Writing Website In-Text Citations and References

Dear Style Expert,

I found a very useful website and cited a lot of information from it in my paper. But how do I write an in-text citation for content I found on a website? Do I just put the URL in the sentence where I cite the information?




Dear Wallace,

This is a tricky question, but we can help! The short answer is that in most cases no, you do not put the URL in the text of the paper. In fact, the only time you would put a URL in the text would be to simply mention a website in passing. Because you’re citing specific information, you will need to write a regular APA Style author–date citation. Luckily, writing the in-text citation for a website or webpage is easy: Simply include the author and year of publication. The URL goes in the corresponding reference list entry (and yes, you can leave the links live).

Website Example 

In-text citation:

The American Nurses Association (2006) issued a position statement insisting that pharmaceutical companies immediately cease using thimerosal as a vaccine preservative.


Reference list:

American Nurses Association. (2006). Mercury in vaccines [Position statement]. Retrieved from http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/Policy-Advocacy/Positions-and-Resolutions/ANAPositionStatements/Archives/Mercury-in-Vaccines.html

Note that the title of the website or webpage should be italicized in the reference list if the work on the page stands alone but not italicized if it is part of a greater whole (if this is ambiguous on the source, just choose what you think makes the most sense for the situation). In deciding how to categorize material on a website for a reference, it may be helpful to consider whether what is on the website is similar to an existing category of document type—for example, this reference is a position statement, which is similar to a press release, white paper, or report; hence the italic title. To clarify the document type, you can also specify the format in brackets after the title. 

Determining Website Authors

It can be confusing to determine who the author of a website or webpage is. Often, the author is a group or agency rather than a particular individual. For example, the author of the position statement cited above is the American Nurses Association. If the website or webpage truly does not have an author, substitute the title of the page for the author in the in-text citation and reference list entry (see this post on missing reference pieces for examples of how to do this).

Determining Website Dates

A second source of confusion is that many websites or webpages do not include publication dates. If no date of publication is provided, use the letters n.d. (which stand for “no date”). The copyright date on the website itself should not be used as the publication date for particular content on that site.

If multiple dates are provided, use the most recent date on which the content was changed. For example, if the site says the content was first published in 2010 and last updated on August 6, 2016, then use the date 2016 in the in-text citation and reference list. However, if the site says it was first published in 2010 and last reviewed in July 2016, then use the date 2010 because a review does not imply that any information was changed.

Multiple Website Citations

If you use information from multiple pages on a website, create a separate reference list entry for each page, with in-text citations that correspond to the appropriate reference list entry. It is common for writers to have multiple entries with the same author and year, so to differentiate these entries, use a letter after the year (e.g., 2016a) or after n.d. (e.g., n.d.-a; more examples here), assigning the letter by putting the references in alphabetical order by title in the reference list. Put references with no date before references with dates, and put in-press references last.

Multiple reference list entries:

American Nurses Association. (n.d.). Know your disaster. Retrieved from http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/WorkplaceSafety/Healthy-Work-Environment/DPR/KnowYourDisaster  

American Nurses Association. (1991a). Equipment/safety procedures to prevent transmission of bloodborne diseases [Position statement]. Retrieved from http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/Policy-Advocacy/Positions-and-Resolutions/ANAPositionStatements/Position-Statements-Alphabetically/EquipmentSafety-Procedures-to-Prevent-Transmission-of-Bloodborne-Diseases.html

American Nurses Association. (1991b). Post-exposure programs in the event of occupational exposure to HIV/HBV [Position statement]. Retrieved from http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/Policy-Advocacy/Positions-and-Resolutions/ANAPositionStatements/Position-Statements-Alphabetically/Post-Exposure-Programs-in-the-Event-of-Occupational-Exposure-to-HIVHBV.html

American Nurses Association. (2015). Academic progression to meet the needs of the registered nurse, the health care consumer, and the U.S. health care system [Position statement]. Retrieved from http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/Policy-Advocacy/Positions-and-Resolutions/ANAPositionStatements/Position-Statements-Alphabetically/Academic-Progression-to-Meet-Needs-of-RN.html

In text, you can cite these references separately as usual (e.g., American Nurses Association, 1991b), or you can combine citations with the same author if desired. Simply state the author once and then provide the years of the applicable references in chronological order, separated by commas. 

Combined in-text citations:

American Nurses Association (n.d., 1991a, 1991b, 2015)

(American Nurses Association, n.d., 1991a, 1991b, 2015)

Do you have more questions about how to create in-text citations for content from websites or webpages? Leave a comment below.


—Chelsea Lee

November 14, 2016

Hyphenation Station: When Not to Use a Hyphen

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

In the previous posts in this series (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), we discussed the general principles of hyphenation, as describe in much more detail on pages 97–100 of the Publication Manual. 

General Principle 1 (from p. 98) says “If a compound adjective can be misread, use a hyphen.” But, the reverse is also true: If the compound adjective is clear as it stands, you do not need a hyphen. This may sound like a judgment call, but the following guidelines can help you make the call in many cases.

Examples of Adverbs Ending in -ly

widely attended gatherings
relatively comfortable chair
randomly assigned participants

Adverbs ending in -ly

Adverbs ending in -ly are understood to modify the word that follows. Adding a hyphen would be redundant.

For example, in the phrase widely attended gatherings readers understand that widely modifies attended. Adding a hyphen, to write this as widely-attended gatherings, would not give the reader any additional information.



Examples of Comparative or Superlative Adjectives

much maligned argument
better understood philosophy
less anticipated production
higher scoring participants

Comparative or superlative adjectives

In a similar way, comparative or superlative adjectives modify the word that follows and do not need hyphens.

These and other examples where a hyphen should not be included can be found in Table 4.1 on page 98 of the Manual. All five general principles for hyphens can also be found in this FAQ.


October 13, 2016

Hyphenation Station: Using Compound Adjectives

Cmerenda profile pictureby Claire Merenda

Most of us know what an adjective is. And many of us might remember learning about compound words, too. But what is a compound adjective?

Compound adjectives are two or more connected words acting as one modifier (e.g., client-centered or all-inclusive). These words work together to create a single concept that modifies a noun. Hyphenating this particular part of speech can be a challenge, so APA Style has some basic guidelines to follow in these situations.

Fingers-holding-puzzle-smWhen the compound adjective comes before the noun it modifies, and the meaning of the term could be misread, a hyphen is often needed to make the meaning clear (e.g., all inclusive classrooms has a different meaning that all-inclusive classrooms). One hyphen can make all the difference in clarity. For example, if a professor asks a class to write nine page reports, a well-placed hyphen would clarify if the students should each write nine separate reports about a page (nine “page reports”) or each write reports that are nine pages in length (nine-page reports). The correctly placed hyphen (nine-page reports) indicates that nine and page create a single concept, and that nine-page jointly modifies reports. A simple hyphen can make a student’s day.

However, if the compound adjective comes after the noun, the relationships between the words may be intelligible without a hyphen (e.g., counseling that is client centered). As a writer, if you’re struggling with hyphens in long modifier chains, moving the modifier to the end of the phrase can help untangle more obscure or dense sentences. If the professor in the previous example had asked for reports that are nine pages long, there would likely be no misunderstanding.

More examples:

Modifiers Before Noun

Modifiers After Noun

well-known researcher

a researcher that is well known

t-test results results from t tests

full-scale investigation

investigation on a full scale

multiple-author citation citation with multiple authors
in-press paper a paper that is in press 

Note: You don’t need a hyphen when multiple modifiers work independently to modify a noun (e.g., critical social issues). This is no longer a case of a compound, but rather two independent adjectives. Here’s a good test: Apply each modifier independently to the noun. If the original meaning is maintained, then it’s not a compound modifier.

Example: “Always strive for a concise writing tone in your research.” Is it a concise tone and a writing tone? Yes. A hyphen is not needed because concise and writing independently modify the noun tone.

Example: “Be sure to utilize bias-free language.” Is it bias language and free language? No. A hyphen is needed, because bias and free are both essential to convey the concept bias-free.

October 05, 2016

Hyphenation Station: The Hyphenation of Prefixes in APA Style

Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

Most words with prefixes are written without a hyphen after the prefix in APA Style. The table below contains some of the most common prefixes, examples of correct usage, and examples of exceptions. A full list of prefixes (and suffixes) to which this rule applies appears in Table 4.2 of the Publication Manual


















post-graduate-level students









re-pair [to pair again]




A hyphen should be used with a prefix under the following conditions:

  • The word could be misread without a hyphen (e.g., re-pair, meaning to pair again, vs. repair, meaning to fix).
  • The double vowels aa, ii, oo, or uu would occur without a hyphen (e.g., anti-intellectual is correct, not antiintellectual).
  • The word that follows the hyphen is capitalized (e.g., un-American).
  • The word that follows the hyphen begins with a numeral (e.g., mid-2016).
  • The word is shown as permanently hyphenated in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary (e.g., pro-choice).
  • A prefix is being added to a compound word that is already hyphenated (e.g., adding post- to graduate-level students creates post-graduate-level students, but if the phrase is just graduate students [no hyphen] then adding post- as a prefix gives you the regular hyphenless postgraduate students).

For more information on hyphenation principles, see Section 4.13 of the Publication Manual, our FAQ, or leave a comment below. And stay tuned for more posts in our hyphenation station series!




June 22, 2016

Navigating Copyright: How to Cite Sources in a Table

David Becker

By David Becker

Dear Style Experts,

I am creating a table that presents information from multiple sources, and I can't figure out how to cite these sources within the table. What should I do?

—Vera K.

Dear Vera,

How you cite your sources depends on the context. If you are reproducing or adapting an existing table, you will need to seek permission and cite the source in a credit line beneath the table. Note that this credit line can identify particular sets of data in your table (e.g., “The data in column 1 are from…”). Thus, if you are adapting material from multiple sources—that is, extracting rows or columns from previously published tables and integrating them into a single table—you might need to include multiple permission statements, one for each source.


If you are simply pulling data from multiple sources, rather than repurposing columns or rows from preexisting tables (the data are not subject to copyright, but their presentation is), then it may be appropriate to just include standard author–date text citations within the table. This type of table is often used to summarize the results of multiple studies, which makes it easier for readers to digest the information, and is commonly used in meta-analyses. Below is a sample table in which each row represents a different study:

Table 1

Summary of Studies Included in Meta-Analysis on the Effectiveness of Rocking Out Like No One’s Watching (ROLNOW)



Cohen’s d


Atashin (2013)




Dumile & Jackson (2015)




Garcia, Homme, Oliveri, & Bjork (2014)




Iyer, Lehman, & Sorey (2014)




Onuki, Agata, & Hamamoto (2014)




Although studies are usually cited in the first column of a summary table, I’ve come across tables that list the citations in one of the middle columns or across the first row. Some tables might include multiple citations in a single column or row if these studies share similar features. How you choose to organize the contents of your table will depend on context and how you want readers to process the information.

It’s worth noting that the order of the rows in Table 1 reflects the alphabetical order of the citations as they would appear in the reference list. Even though APA Style does not address this directly, organizing the rows or columns of a table in this manner is a standard convention for summary tables. It also follows the general APA Style guideline about alphabetizing multiple sources within the same parenthetical citation to match how they are ordered in the reference list (see pp. 177—178 in the Publication Manual). If it makes more sense to organize the rows and columns in your table using a different standard—again, depending on the context—feel free to do so. Just make sure that readers can easily follow the flow of information!

In some cases, you may not want to devote an entire row or column to citing resources. Or, perhaps your citations apply to just a few cells or particular pieces of data. If so, it may be appropriate to cite your sources, using the author–date format, in one of two ways. First, you could include parenthetical citations within the table itself next to the relevant information, just as you would do with a standard text citation. Another approach would be to cite your sources below the table in a general note—as demonstrated in the Table 1 note from Sample Paper 1 on page 52 of the Publication Manual—or in multiple specific notes that connect your citations to particular cells via superscript, lowercase letters (see pp. 138–139 in the Publication Manual for more details). This latter method can be handy if one source applies to more than one cell and is used in the example table below, but parenthetical citations within the cells would be equally acceptable.

Table 2

Sample Responses to the ROLNOW Survey



Sample responses


How cool did you feel?

“Cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce.”a

“Not at all cool. I actually felt kind of dorky.”b


How motivated and energized did you feel?

“I felt ready to take on the world!”c

“Not very. I almost fell asleep!”b


How happy were you?

“I was completely elated and filled with positive thoughts!”d

“I was pretty happy, but I don’t think rocking out had anything to do with it.”a


How physically attractive did you feel?

“I felt pretty, oh so pretty!”e

“I was a gyrating mess of flailing limbs, so I probably didn’t look all that attractive.”c

aDumile and Jackson (2015, p. 31). bIyer, Lehman, and Sorey (2014, p. 79). cOnuki, Agata, and Hamamoto (2014, p. 101). dGarcia, Homme, Oliveri, and Bjork (2014, p. 47). eAtashin (2013, p. 56).

You may have noticed a few differences between the citations in Tables 1 and 2. One is that the Table 2 notes—unlike the rows in Table 1—are not alphabetized. Specific notes are organized according to where the superscripts appear in the table, following the left-to-right and top-to-bottom order described on page 138 in the Publication Manual. Another difference is that Table 1 includes ampersands, whereas Table 2 spells out and. Although and is usually written instead of & when the authors are listed before the parenthetical citation, page 175 in the Publication Manual states that ampersands should be used within the body of the table (and should still be used outside of parentheses in table notes, as shown in the Table 1 note from Sample Paper 1). This helps save space because two fewer characters can sometimes make all the difference in such tight quarters. Finally, direct quotations are presented in Table 2, so the citations in the table note include page numbers. However, you do not need to include page numbers when citing numerical data, as in Table 1.

The example tables in this post offer a very limited scope when considering the many different types of tables that can be found in the wilds of academic publishing—and they are admittedly a tad sillier than is typical. However, the general citation guidelines they present can be easily adapted to just about any kind of table you might need to create. To find example tables that are more relevant to your needs, I recommend combing through journals that follow APA Style.

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