11 posts categorized "Journal articles"

March 15, 2017

How to Cite a Corrected Journal Article

Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

Mistakes sometimes make their way into published articles. When these mistakes are discovered, they must be disclosed to the community of scholars so that other researchers do not draw conclusions from false premises. If the error is relatively minor (e.g., mistakes in values of a table that do not impact the results of analyses), the online version of the article is usually corrected so that online readers only ever see the correct version. The article will carry a notice that it has been corrected, and the journal will also publish a separate correction notice describing the nature of the error. If the errors are far reaching, the publisher will retract the article and, depending on the reason for the errors, may publish a replacement corrected version. It is possible to cite the retracted version of the article (e.g., to discuss that it was retracted), and in this post I will explain how to cite a corrected version of an article.

Citing a Corrected (But Not Republished) Article

To cite an article that has been corrected, simply provide the publication details as you would to cite any other journal article. Readers will discover the existence and nature of the corrections when they visit the article.

Haataja, A., Ahtola, A., Poskiparta, E., & Salmivalli, C. (2015). A process view on implementing an antibullying curriculum: How teachers differ and what explains the variation. School Psychology Quarterly, 30, 564–576. https://doi.org/10.1037/spq0000121 
  • In text: (Haataja, Ahtola, Poskiparta, & Salmivalli, 2015).

Citing a Retracted, Corrected, and Republished Article

To cite an article that has been republished in a corrected version, provide the publication details for the corrected version as you would to cite any other journal article. Often times the authors will include the words “corrected version” or similar in the title to alert readers as to the corrected nature of the article, but if these words are not present in the corrected version, do not add them or make other notations.

Kullgren, K. A., Tsang, K. K., Ernst, M. M., Carter, B. D., Scott, E. L., & Sullivan, S. K. (2015). Inpatient pediatric psychology consultation-liaison practice survey: Corrected version. Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology, 3, 340–351. https://doi.org/10.1037/cpp0000114 
  • In text: (Kullgren et al., 2015).

Citing a Correction Notice

It is possible to cite a correction notice as well, and the format follows the regular format for a journal article reference. Here is an example:

Elliott, E., & Leach, A.-M. (2016). Correction to Elliott and Leach (2016). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 23, 99. https://doi.org/10.1037/xap00001214
  • In text: (Elliott & Leach, 2016)

Citing Both Retracted and Corrected Versions of an Article

If you want to cite both an original article that has been retracted and its corrected version, create two separate references. Use the format described in this post for the retracted article.

If both the retracted and corrected articles would have the same in-text citation (by virtue of having the same authors and year of publication), put lowercase letters after the year to distinguish the two, as described in this post on reference twins. (Of course, if the retracted and corrected versions were published in different years, this is not a problem.)

Do you have other questions about citing corrected articles? Leave a comment below.


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

July 14, 2016

The Origins of APA Style

Anne blog image
by Anne Breitenbach 

APA Style is older than virtually all of its users—if you were born after 1929, then APA Style is older than you are. But just because APA Style is nearing its 10th decade doesn’t mean that its origins need to be lost to the mists of time. This post will share some of the origins of APA Style.

The first glimmer of what has become APA Style emerged in a seven-page article published by the Conference of Editors and Business Managers of Anthropological and Psychological Periodicals following a 2-day meeting in Washington, DC. This article appeared in one of psychology’s preeminent journals, APA’s own Psychological Bulletin.


A prime incentive for publishing that first article was to save publishers money and time, as submitted manuscripts were often too long, inconsistently formatted, and wandered through their content. The authors were responding to a real need and genuinely trying to help would-be authors as well as improve the quality of the submissions. That they were aware that setting guidelines has a substantial and direct effect on those would-be authors is evident, as is conveyed by the downright diffident tone of their opening paragraphs.

The committee realizes that it neither has, nor wishes to assume, any authority in dictating to authors, publishers or editors; but it suggests the following recommendations for use as a standard of procedure, to which exceptions would doubtless be necessary, but to which reference might be made in cases of doubt, and which might be cited to authors for their general guidance in the preparation of scientific articles. (Bentley et al., 1929, p. 57)

In those seven pages you can find the core of the APA Style you know and love. Authors are urged to brevity in making their arguments; use of headings to impose logical structure; and subdivision into an introduction, statement of results, and discussion. There is a discussion of what to cite and how to cite a reference, and space is given to the use of tables and figures. Other familiar elements are not yet present and will be added over time. For example, there is no guidance on writing style or grammar—beyond the exhortation that those who are incompetent should get help. Reference types were few, and so the explosion of reference formats lies in the future. Nor would you have found instruction on how to avoid plagiarism or use bias-free language to write sensitively about participants or people in general.

As the APA Style Publication Manual evolved into its current sixth edition, the content has expanded and the tone has become more confident of a right, even a responsibility, to set standards, at least in APA’s own journals. In the future, especially given the explosion of digital technologies now used to disseminate content, we will continue striving to ensure that clear communication continues.


Bentley, M., Peerenboom, C. A., Hodge, F. W., Passano, E. B., Warren, H. C., & Washburn, M. F. (1929). Instructions in regard to preparation of manuscript. Psychological Bulletin, 26, 57–63. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0071487

November 25, 2015

Giving Thanks in APA Style

David Becker

By David Becker

It’s Thanksgiving, that time of year when you can thank your friends, family, and all the other important people in your life by bringing them together for a massive, fun-filled feast. If you’re a researcher about to publish the results of a recent study, you may also want to give thanks to those who helped you conduct it or prepare your manuscript. Inviting them to Thanksgiving dinner would certainly be a great way to express gratitude, but you can also thank them in an author note.

Thank You

The author note, which is explained on pages 24–25 in the Publication Manual, generally appears in the footer of a published journal article. In a draft manuscript, it is part of the title page (see the order of manuscript pages on page 229 in the Publication Manual). Most student papers do not include one. You can find examples of the author note through our Best of the Blog post. Sample paper 1 demonstrates the author note's typical location in a draft manuscript, and the sample published paper shows what an author note looks like in a journal article.

The author note usually lists the authors’ departmental affiliations and contact information, states any disclaimers and potential conflicts of interest, and provides acknowledgments. These acknowledgments can be included in the third paragraph and used to identify grants or other financial support, explain any special authorship agreements, and thank those who provided personal assistance. Generally, you don't need to acknowledge peer reviewers, journal editors, or others who routinely review and accept manuscripts.

Personal assistance encompasses individuals whose work may not warrant authorship credit—that is, they didn’t do any actual writing or make significant scientific contributions (see pages 18–19 in the Publication Manual and Standard 8.12 of the APA Ethics Code for more details about defining and assigning authorship)—but their assistance was nonetheless valuable and deserving of some form of credit. Maybe you would like to thank some students who helped recruit research participants and collect data, or perhaps a couple friends and colleagues who took some time out of their busy schedules to proofread the first draft of your manuscript before you submitted it for publication. You can thank them in the acknowledgments section of your author note. It may not be tasty—or even edible—like a Thanksgiving dinner, but I’m sure your benevolent contributors will appreciate the recognition.

Happy Acknowledgmentsgiving!

May 05, 2015

How to Cite an Article With an Article Number Instead of a Page Range

Several online-only journals publish articles that have article numbers rather than unique page ranges. That is, instead of the first article in the issue starting on page 1, the second on page 20, the third on page 47, and so on, every article starts on page 1. Why choose this approach? Because the online-only publisher does not have to worry about creating a print issue (where a continuous page range would assist the reader in locating a piece), this numbering system simplifies the publication process. So to still demarcate the order in which the articles in a volume or issue were published, the publisher assigns these works article numbers.

Many of our readers wonder what to do when citing these references in APA Style. No special treatment is required—simply include the page range as it is reported for the article in your APA Style reference. The page range may be listed on the DOI landing page for the article and/or on the PDF version of the article. Here is an example of an article with a page range, from the journal PLoS ONE:

Simon, S. L., Field, J., Miller, L. E., DiFrancesco, M., & Beebe, D. W. (2015). Sweet/dessert foods are more appealing to adolescents after sleep restriction. PLoS ONE, 10, 1–8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0115434

If the article is published in a format without page numbers entirely, just leave off this part of the reference (i.e., end the reference with the volume/issue information for the article). Here is an example article without any page numbers, from the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Cheryan, S., Master, A., & Meltzoff, A. N. (2015). Cultural stereotypes as gatekeepers: Increasing girls’ interest in computer science and engineering by diversifying stereotypes. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00049

In-Text Citations of Direct Quotations

In the text, citations of direct quotations should refer to the page number as shown on the article, if it has been assigned. If the article has not been assigned page numbers, you have three options to provide the reader with an alternate method of locating the quotation:

  • a paragraph number, if provided; alternatively, you can count paragraphs down from the beginning of the document;
  • an overarching heading plus a paragraph number within that section; or
  • an abbreviated heading (or the first few words of the heading) in quotation marks, in cases in which the heading is too unwieldy to cite in full, plus a paragraph number within that section.

Here is an example direct quotation from an article without page numbers that uses the abbreviated heading plus paragraph number method:

To increase the number of women in science and engineering, those in positions of power should strive to create "inclusive cultures so that those who are considering these fields do not necessarily have to embody the stereotypes to believe that they fit there" (Cheryan, Master, & Meltzoff, 2015, "Conclusion," para. 2).

You can read more about including page numbers in in-text citations here. Also see section 6.05 of the Publication Manual.

Do you have additional questions about citing articles with article numbers? Please leave us a comment. 

April 02, 2015

Keywords in APA Style

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

What are keywords?

If you’ve searched PsycINFO, Google Scholar, or other databases, you’ve probably run across keywords. In APA Style articles, they appear just under the abstract. They are usually supplied by an article’s author(s), and they help databases create accurate search results.

Key lightbulbsHow do I pick my keywords?

Keywords are words or phrases that you feel capture the most important aspects of your paper. To create yours, just think about the topics in your paper: What words would you enter into a search box to find your paper? Use those!

We call these natural-language words, because they reflect the way people really talk about, and search for, a topic. In fact, in some databases, to provide comprehensive results, the “keywords” search option actually searches the article titles and abstracts along with these designated keywords.

In short, when later researchers are searching PsycINFO or other research databases, the keywords help them find your work.

For example, if you’ve written a paper about the benefits of social media for people with anxiety, your keywords line might be as follows:

Keywords: anxiety, social media, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat

Note how I’ve included the social media platform names. Keywords don’t have to be formal; they just have to be useful! These keywords will help the later researcher who searches for one of those terms or a combinations of them (e.g., “anxiety and social media,” “anxiety, Facebook, and Twitter”).

Also, because these are natural-language words, keywords can include acronyms. Keywords for a paper on using the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test with patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder might look like this:

Keywords: Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, WCST, OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder

The Publication Manual does not place a limit on how many keywords you may use. However, to be most effective, keywords should be a concise summary of your paper’s content. We recommend three to five keywords.

Where do they go?

The keywords line should begin indented like a paragraph. (In typeset APA journal articles, the keywords line is aligned under the abstract.)  Keywords: should be italicized, followed by a space. The words themselves should not be italicized. You can see an example under the abstract in this APA Style sample paper.

Note (02/01/2016): An earlier version of this post indicated that the keywords line should be centered. This was corrected in the paragraph above.

May 15, 2014

Comparing MLA and APA: The Reference List

David Becker

By David Becker

Today, we continue with our series of posts highlighting some differences between APA and MLA reference styles. Last week, I outlined how the two styles handle in-text citations. Today’s post focuses on the reference list (or the “Works Cited” list as it is called in MLA Style). Below are examples of how each style would handle two common sources—a print book and a journal article from a research database. I have color coded the text to help you better visualize the differences in the basic elements of a generic reference. The who is in red, the when is in blue, the what is in yellow, and the where is in purple, all of which can be mixed and matched to form the Frankenreference.

Let’s begin with a print book, one of the simplest sources to cite:


Gordin, Michael D. The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe. Chicago: U Chicago P, 2012. Print.


Gordin, M. D. (2012). The pseudoscience wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the birth of the modern fringe. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

The two styles vary in a number of ways, including punctuation, capitalization, and placement of the date. Also, unlike APA Style, MLA Style includes the format of the source—either “Print” or “Web”—as an extra piece of “where” information, and it often requires writers to abbreviate publisher names.

Now let’s take a look at something a bit more complicated, a journal article from a research database:


Shafron, Gavin Ryan, and Mitchell P. Karno. “Heavy Metal Music and Emotional Dysphoria Among Listeners.” Psychology of Popular Media Culture 2.2 (2013): 74-85. PsycNET. Web. 11 Feb. 2014.


Shafron, G. R., & Karno, M. P. (2013). Heavy metal music and emotional dysphoria among listeners. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 2, 74–85. doi:10.1037/a0031722

The most substantive difference is that MLA Style requires the name of the database from which you retrieved the article and the date of retrieval as well; it does not use the DOI. In contrast, APA Style requires a DOI (when there is one), but doesn’t require the date of access (see p. 198 of the Publication Manual for more detail). In most cases, the name of the database is not used in an APA Style reference, although a few exceptions are outlined in Chapter 7.

Understanding Style

I hope this comparison of MLA and APA styles is helpful to those of you who find yourself transitioning from one to the other. If you are a student switching from MLA to APA, your most important resources will be the Publication Manual and this blog. I also recommend that you try our free tutorial on the basics of APA Style and visit our FAQ page, in addition to our pages on quick answers for citing sources and formatting your research paper. If you have any questions after checking those resources, you can contact APA Style directly or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

January 18, 2013

Retraction Action

Daisiesby Stefanie

My first word processor was a glorified typewriter; I could type my college papers but only see four lines at a time on a tiny screen, until I hit the print button. What came out often had mistakes that I had not caught on first (cramped) review. Luckily, I could go back, fix the mistakes, and print again. This ritual is also followed by students today, even those using newfangled computers with big screens and programs for catching errors before they are committed to paper. Still, errors sneak by, the slippery buggers.

A step or two up in the publication hierarchy, once an article has been published in a journal (i.e., once the publisher hits print), fixing mistakes becomes a lot trickier. Sometimes, if a small or easily described error is involved, an erratum or correction notice, published in a later issue of the same journal, is printed and linked to the e-version of the original article. Other times, the problems are so great that the entire article is retracted, either by the article author(s) or by the publisher. Whatever the reason for the retraction (e.g., belatedly discovered calculation or measurement errors, plagiarism, falsification of data), the intent is to remove the information from the scientific literature and thus avoid wasting the time and resources of other scientists who may attempt to replicate or rely on the already undermined results.

Yet, a retracted article can still be found, both in print and online. (The silver lining to the retraction cloud may be that there can be usefulness in serving as a bad example. However, if you are not writing specifically about the retraction, consider whether the retracted article is your best resource.) And if it can be found, it can be used as a reference, although readers should be alerted to the article’s retracted status. All of this begs the question, How should a retracted article be formatted for the reference list?

To create a reference for a retracted article, you can repurpose the parentheses found after a reference that includes original publication information, as can be seen in Examples 21 and 26 on pages 203–204 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, sixth edition. Instead, provide the information on the article’s retraction notice in the parentheses. Examples:

Joly, J. F., Stapel, D. A., & Lindenberg, S. M. (2008). Silence 
     and table manners: When environments activate norms. Personality
     and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 1047–1056. (Retraction 
     published 2012, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 
     p. 1378)
Ricaurte, G. A., Yuan, J., Hatzidimitriou, G., Cord, B. J., & McCann, 
     U.D. (2002, September 27). Severe dopaminergic neurotoxicity in 
     primates after a common recreational dose regimen of MDMA. 
     Science, 297, 2260-2263. (Retraction published September 12, 
     2003, Science, 301, p. 1454)

Additional questions? E-mail us at styleexpert@apastyle.org or leave a comment!

September 27, 2012

How to Cite Course Packs, Custom Textbooks, and Other Classroom Compendiums

Jeffby Jeff Hume-Pratuch

If you’ve taken a college course in the last 20 years, you’ve probably used a course pack—a collection of information put together specifically for your class. Course packs can be as simple as a stapled packet or as fancy as a hardbound book with a four-color cover. They’re usually compiled by the instructor from relevant articles, chapters, and original material; they may be printed by the college print shop, outsourced to a local copy shop, or ordered through a custom textbook manufacturer. It’s increasingly common to provide all or part of the book in electronic form as well.

Course packs are seldom cited in journal articles, but students are often given the assignment of writing on a specific extract from the textbook. The plethora of sources in a course pack often creates a conundrum for students: Who’s the author? Who’s the publisher? Below I suggest a technique for handling the types of sources most commonly encountered in course packs.

Previously Published Articles or Chapters

Let’s say you’re working from a course pack for a neuropsychology class, and you need to cite a journal article included in it. The source should be clearly identified as part of the copyright/permissions statement, which is required by law.1  In this case, you can eliminate the middleman—just cite it as if you found it in the original source:

Wenner, A. M. (1962). Sound production during the waggle dance of the 
honey bee. Animal Behaviour, 10, 79–95. doi:10.1016/


Original or Unattributed Material

Instructors frequently include unpublished material in their course packs, particularly in rapidly developing areas of research. Since the only source for this material is the course pack itself, treat it as part of an anthology compiled by the instructor and published by the university. If authorship is not stated, treat it as an unauthored work. The title of the compilation is whatever is on the cover or title page—often (but not always) this consists of the course name and number, as in the first example below:

Diagram of the tibia–basitarsis joint in Apis melifera. (2011). In B. 
Haave (Comp.), NEU 451: Movement and perception (pp. 44–45).
Davenport, IA: St. Ambrose University.

MacGyver, A. (1990). Five steps to repelling an attack by killer bees.
In R. D. Anderson (Comp.), Selected readings in survival, escape,
and evasion
(pp. 31-34). Davenport, IA: St. Ambrose University.

Supplemental Material

Many custom textbook publishers offer supplemental materials such as CDs, DVDs, or online materials that are accessible only with the purchase of the text. Since these are essentially extensions of the course pack or text itself, it makes sense to cite them as supplemental materials:

“Varroa mite blues” and other songs of the honey bee [Supplemental 
material]. (2012). In B. Haave (Comp.), NEU 451: Movement and
(pp. 44–45). Davenport, IA: St. Ambrose University.

If you find other challenges in citing materials from course packs, please let us know in the comments below.

1 Prior to 1991, course packs were often reproduced without acknowledging or obtaining permission from copyright owner(s), under the assumption that all copying for educational purposes qualified as “fair use.” Two federal cases (Basic Books Inc. v. Kinko’s Graphics Corp, 1991, and Princeton Univ. v. Michigan Document Servs., 1996) established that there is no educational exception for course packs under U.S. copyright law. See http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter7/7-a.html for a good overview of this issue.

August 17, 2012

Almost Published

Daisiesby Stefanie

Imagine you are writing a paper on a cutting-edge topic. A friend in the field passes along a manuscript on which she is working that is relevant to your work. Your advisor, on reading your draft, hands you his own manuscript, which takes a different approach to the material. He informs you that yesterday he submitted this very manuscript to a journal for publication. Then, on your favorite journal’s website, you stumble across a bunch of articles that will be published in a future issue but have yet to appear in print, all of which you would like to cite in your article. None of these sources have been published in physical books or journals, complete with page numbers, at least not yet; how do you create references for them?

Manuscript in Preparation
A manuscript for an article that is not yet finished, or that is in preparation, can be cited and referenced using the year the draft of the manuscript you read was written.

Kirk, J. T. (2011). Reprogramming the Kobayashi Maru test: 
     A tale of an inside job and the genius behind it. 
     Manuscript in preparation.

Manuscript Submitted for Publication
If the manuscript has been submitted for publication, again use the year the manuscript was written (not the year it was submitted) as your date. Also, do not provide the name of the journal or publisher to which the manuscript was submitted. If the manuscript is rejected on first submission, the author is free to submit the article elsewhere, where it could be accepted. If this happens while your own article is in preparation and if your reference names the first journal or publisher to which the material was submitted, your reference is not only out of date but misleading.

Castle, R. (2012). Shadowing a police officer: How to be unobtrusive
     while solving cases in spectacular fashion. Manuscript submitted 
     for publication.

As soon as that article is accepted for publication, the status changes to in press and you can include the name of the journal in the reference.

Castle, R. (in press). Shadowing a police officer: How to be unobtrusive
    while solving cases in spectacular fashion. Professional Writers’

Advance Online Publication
Now, onward into the brave new world of articles being available before they are available—in specific issues of print or online-only journals, that is. Definitions of advance online publication vary among journal publishers. Sometimes articles appearing in advance online publication databases have been edited, sometimes they have not. They may or may not have a DOI assigned. For many publishers, these articles are the version of record and thus are, technically, published, belying the title of this post.

Yet the question remains: How does one create references for advance online publication articles? Provide the author(s), year of posting, title of the article, name of the journal, the notation Advance online publication, and the DOI or the URL of the journal’s home page.

Muldoon, K., Towse, J., Simms, V., Perra, O., & Menzies, V. (2012). A
     longitudinal analysis of estimation, counting skills, and 
     mathematical ability across the first school year. Developmental 
     Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/a0028240

As your article is heading toward submission and publication, keep following up on your references that are moving through their own publication processes, and update them as you are able. If possible, refer to the final versions of your sources.

Have other questions about preprint publication sources? Comment here or e-mail styleexpert@apastyle.org!


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