34 posts categorized "Reference list"

October 18, 2013

How to Cite Social Media in APA Style (Twitter, Facebook, and Google+)

Chelsea blog 2by Chelsea Lee

Thanks to developments in technology and feedback from our users, the APA Style team has updated the formats for citing social media, including content from Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. These guidelines are the same as you’ll find in our APA Style Guide to Electronic References, Sixth Edition (available in PDF and Kindle formats).

Three Ways to Cite Social Media

There are three main ways to cite social media content in an APA Style paper:

  • generally with a URL,
  • as a personal communication, and
  • with a typical APA Style in-text citation and reference list entry.

We'll look at each of these along with examples. 

General Mentions With a URL

If you discuss any website or page in general in a paper (including but not limited to social media), it is sufficient to give the URL in the text the first time it is mentioned. No reference list entry is needed. Here is an example:

News agencies like CNN provide breaking news coverage to millions of people every day on their website (http://www.cnn.com) and Twitter account (http://twitter.com/CNN). In our first investigation, we analyzed the content of CNN’s Twitter feed during the year 2012.

Personal Communications

If you paraphrase or quote specific information from social media but your readership will be unable to access the content (e.g., because of friends-only privacy settings or because the exchange occurred in a private message), cite the content as a personal communication (see Publication Manual § 6.20). A personal communication citation should be used because there is no direct, reliable path for all readers to retrieve the source. Here is an example: 

K. M. Ingraham (personal communication, October 5, 2013) stated that she found her career as an educational psychologist intellectually stimulating as well as emotionally fulfilling.

In-Text Citations and Reference List Entries

Finally, if you paraphrase or quote specific, retrievable information from social media, provide an in-text citation (with the author and date) and a reference list entry (with the author, date, title, and source URL). The guidelines below explain how to format each of these elements for any social media citation, and examples follow.


  • First, provide either an individual author’s real last name and initials in inverted format (Author, A. A.) or the full name of a group. This allows the reference to be associated with and alphabetized alongside any other works by that author.
  • Second, provide social media identity information. On Twitter, provide the author’s screen name in square brackets (if only the screen name is known, provide it without brackets). On Facebook and Google+, when the author is an individual, spell out his or her given name in square brackets.
  • The author reflects who posted the content, not necessarily who created it. Credit additional individuals in the narrative if necessary.


  • Provide the year, month, and day for items that have a specific date associated with them, such as status updates, tweets, photos, and videos; otherwise, provide only the year.
  • If the date is unknown, use “n.d.” (for no date) instead.
  • If the date is unknown but can be reasonably approximated, use “ca.” (for circa) followed by the approximated year, in square brackets.
  • For multiple citations from the same author in the same year (regardless of the month or day), alphabetize the entries by title and add a lowercase letter after the year (e.g., 2013a, 2013b; n.d.-a, n.d.-b; or [ca. 2013a], [ca. 2013b]). Ignore nonletter characters such as the at sign (@) and pound sign (#) when alphabetizing.


  • Provide the name of the page or the content or caption of the post (up to the first 40 words) as the title.
  • Do not italicize the titles of status updates, tweets, pages, or photographs; do italicize the titles of items that stand alone, such as videos and photo albums.
  • If the item contains no words (e.g., a photograph without a caption), provide a description of the item in square brackets.
  • Describe the content form (e.g., tweet, Facebook status update, photograph, timeline, video file) after the title in square brackets.


  • Provide a retrieval URL that leads as directly and reliably to the cited content as possible (click a post’s date stamp to access its archived URL).
  • Provide a retrieval date if the content may change (e.g., whole feeds or pages). Do not provide a retrieval date if the post has a specific date associated with it already (e.g., status updates, tweets, photos, and videos).


Example Citations

Tweet, Individual Author


Gates, B. [BillGates]. (2013, February 26). #Polio is 99% eradicated. Join me & @FCBarcelona as we work to finish the job and #EndPolio. VIDEO: http://b-gat.es/X75Lvy [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/BillGates/status/306195345845665792
  • In-text citation: (Gates, 2013).


Tweet, Group Author


Stanford Medicine [SUMedicine]. (2012, October 9). Animal study shows sleeping brain behaves as if it's remembering: http://stan.md/RrqyEt #sleep #neuroscience #research [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/SUMedicine/status/255644688630046720
  • In-text citation: (Stanford Medicine, 2012).


Facebook Status Update, Individual Author


Gaiman, N. [Neil]. (2012, February 29). Please celebrate Leap Year Day in the traditional manner by taking a writer out for dinner. It’s been four years since many authors had a good dinner. We are waiting. Many of us have our forks or chopsticks at the [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/neilgaiman/posts/10150574185041016
  • In-text citation: (Gaiman, 2012). 


Facebook Status Update, Group Author

APA Style

APA Style. (2011, March 10). How do you spell success in APA Style? Easy! Consult Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary or APA’s Dictionary of Psychology. Read more over at the APA Style Blog [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/APAStyle/posts/206877529328877
  • In-text citation: (APA Style, 2011).


Google+ Post


Cornell University. (2012, October 11). Having a cup of coffee before closing your eyes is the most effective way to combat daytime drowsiness, according to research. Sounds counterintuitive, but it takes 20 minutes for the caffeine to get into your bloodstream. So if you take [Google+ post]. Retrieved from https://plus.google.com/116871314286286422580/posts/NqCFGr4eveT
  • In-text citation: (Cornell University, 2012). 


Social Media Video

APA video

American Psychological Association. (2011, September 19). This is psychology: Family caregivers [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150303396563992&set=vb.290103137578
  • In-text citation: (American Psychological Association, 2011).


Social Media Photo or Graphic, With Caption

National Geographic

National Geographic. (2012, November 20). A supertelephoto lens allowed Colleen Pinski to capture this image of an annual solar eclipse. See more top shots: http://on.natgeo.com/UasjJH [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151148294503951&set=pb.23497828950.-2207520000.1357225190
  • In-text citation: (National Geographic, 2012).
  • The photographer can be credited in the narrative, for example, “Colleen Pinski photographed a solar eclipse using a telephoto lens (National Geographic, 2012).”


Social Media Photo or Graphic, Without Caption

US Census Bureau

U.S. Census Bureau. (2012, October 10). [Pathways after a bachelor’s degree in psychology: Educational attainment, common occupations, and synthetic work-life earnings and estimates] [Infographic]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151027855527364&set=a.10151027848052364.407698.202626512363
  • In-text citation: (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012).


Social Media Photo Album

Red Bull Stratos

Red Bull Stratos. (2012, October 15). Mission to the edge of space, accomplished [Photo album]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.507275739283434.122701.122924687718543
  • In-text citation: (Red Bull Stratos, 2012). 
  • Include other details in the narrative, for example, "Felix Baumgartner broke the speed of sound in freefall during his jump from the edge of space (for photos from mission day, see Red Bull Stratos, 2012)." 


Social Media Page

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Timeline [Facebook page]. Retrieved September 27, 2013, from https://www.facebook.com/AmericanPsychologicalAssociation/info
  • In-text citation: (American Psychological Association, n.d.).


Day, F. [Felicia]. [ca. 2013]. Posts [Google+ page]. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from https://plus.google.com/+FeliciaDay/posts


  • In-text citation: (Day, [ca. 2013]).


National Institute of Mental Health [NIMHgov]. (n.d.). Tweets [Twitter page]. Retrieved October 17, 2013, from https://twitter.com/NIMHgov
  • In-text citation: (National Institute of Mental Health, n.d.).


For More

For more information on all kinds of electronic references, see the APA Style Guide to Electronic References, Sixth Edition (available in PDF and Kindle formats), as well as the APA Publication Manual. To cite social media items not covered here, follow the format that is most similar, and also see our post on what to do if your reference isn’t in the manual.

Thank you to all our readers who helped us develop these formats. Your feedback is always appreciated.

June 06, 2013

Executive Orders

by Melissa

By executive order, American presidents have created mental health care commissions, directed national councils to prioritize health care, and removed barriers to the funding of scientific research. Executive orders directly affect the field of psychology.

When you discuss executive orders, reference and cite them as shown in Section A7.07 (pp. 223–224) of the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual and this blog post.

Reference Format
These are the essential elements of a reference for an executive order that appears in the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.):

  1. Order number
  2. Volume number and name of the code in which the order appears (e.g., executive orders always in appear in 3 C.F.R.)
  3. Page number
  4. Year that the order was promulgated

Here’s the basic format for an executive order reference:

Exec. Order No. xxxxx, 3 C.F.R. page (year).

If the order has been codified in the United States Code (U.S.C.), you can add the following elements at the end of the reference:

  1. Volume number and abbreviated name of the code
  2. Section number
  3. Explanatory information indicating that that the order was reprinted or amended or that it appeared in an appendix to the code (app. at xxx–xxx)
  4. Year of the most recent code in which the order appeared

Here’s the extended format:

Exec. Order No. xxxxx, 3 C.F.R. page (year), reprinted in title number 
U.S.C. § xxx app. at xxx–xxx (year).

For example, Executive Order 11,609, delegating some of the president’s authority to various federal agencies, is formatted as follows:

Exec. Order No. 11,609, 3 C.F.R. 586 (1971–1975), reprinted as amended 
3 U.S.C. § 301 app. at 404–407 (2006).

Text Citation Format
Here’s the in-text citation for executive orders:

Executive Order No. xx,xxx (year)
(Executive Order No. xx,xxx, year)

For more on executive orders, consult the latest edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

May 30, 2013

From Microprocessors to Sticky Notes: Patent References and Citations




by Melissa


Psychologists use tools ranging from sophisticated computer hardware and software systems to simple sticky notes. Patent documents describe in detail the appearance and operation of many of these tools.

Sticky.note.imageIn this post, we describe how to use APA Style when incorporating information from patent documents in your work.

The first step is to gather information from patent documents by searching databases at intellectual property agencies like the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For information about other intellectual property agencies, consult the Member States page on the World Intellectual Property Organization website. 

With patent information in hand, now you’re ready to create a reference and citation for a patent using APA Style!

Patent Reference Format
The elements of a patent reference list entry are slightly different from those of the typical APA Style author/date/title/source reference.

Here are the four patent reference elements:

  • Name of the inventor to whom the patent was issued
  • Year the patent was issued,
  • Unique patent identifier (i.e., the patent number) 
  • Name of the official source of the patent information (usually the name of the patent office).

Below is the general patent reference format:

Surname, A. B. (year). Patent Identifier No. xxx. Location: Source Name.

See section A7.07 of the APA Publication Manual for more information on formatting patent references.


Patent Reference List Examples and Quiz
Reference list entries for a few famous patents appear below. Try to match these patent references with the following famous innovations: ballpoint pens, electrocardiographs, sticky notes, telephones, and microprocessors. The answers are at the end of this blog post.

  1. Bell, A. G. (1876). U.S. Patent No. 174,465. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  2. Biro, L. J. (1945). U.S. Patent No. 2,390,636. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  3. Einthoven, W. (1926). U.S. Patent No. 1,592,628. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  4. Fry, A. L. (1993). U.S. Patent No. 5,194,299. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  5. Hoff, M. E., Jr., Mazor, S., & Faggin, F. (1974). U.S. Patent No. 3,821,715. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Patent In-Text Citation Format
In text, cite the patent identifier and the year.

U.S. Patent No. 174,465 (1846)
(U.S. Patent No. 174,465, 1846)


Answers to the Patent Match Quiz
Alexander Graham Bell patented a device that he described in his patent application as improvements in telegraphy (U.S. Patent No. 174,465, 1876), a device commonly known as the telephone.

Laszlo Jozsef Biro invented a fountain pen that had a rotatable ball at one end (U.S. Patent No. 1,592,628, 1945), also known as a ballpoint pen.

Willem Frederik Einthoven’s U.S. Patent No. 1,592,628 (1926) described a device that is the precursor of modern electrocardiographs.

Arthur L. Fry’s patent for sticky notes was granted in the United States (U.S. Patent No. 5,194,299, 1993) and other countries (e.g., Canadian Patent No. CA 1340261, 1980; Canadian Patent No. CA 1340262, 1980).

Marcian Edward Hoff, Jr., Stanley Mazor, and Federico Faggin were among the early innovators who patented microprocessors (U.S. Patent No. 3,821,715, 1974).

For more links to patent resources and patent-related research information, check out the following Library of Congress website: http://www.loc.gov/rr/business/beonline/subjects.php?SubjectID=17



March 01, 2013

How to Cite a Mobile App

Chelsea blog 2

by Chelsea Lee APA Concise Dictionary

Mobile applications, or apps, are a type of software 
that runs on devices such as smartphones and tablet computers (such as iPhones, iPads, and Androids) as well as web browsers (such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox). Apps serve a multitude of purposes, from entertaining you while you wait in line to providing you a way to look up medical information without having to lug around a stack of books. 

When you use information from an app in a paper, cite the app in APA Style. The general citation format is as follows:

Rightsholder, A. A. (year). Title of Software or Program (Version number) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx

Note that the rightsholder may be an individual but is often a group or company, as shown below, and that the date reflects the year the version you used was released, even though previous versions may have been released in different years.

Here is an example citation for a whole app:

Skyscape. (2013). Skyscape Medical Resources (Version 1.17.42) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from http://itunes.apple.com

If the app is a reference work (like a dictionary, encyclopedia, or medical reference), it’s also possible to cite an entry in the app, just like you can cite an entry in a print or electronic reference work. The title of the entry goes at the beginning of the reference, followed by the year that version of the app was released and then information about the app itself.

Here is an example citation for an entry in a reference work app:

Diabetes. (2013). In Epocrates Essentials for Apple iOS (Version 5.1) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from http://www.epocrates.com/mobile/iphone/essentials

For further information and more examples of not only apps but all sorts of electronic references, check out the APA Style Guide to Electronic References (pp. 28–30). 


January 24, 2013

Asking the Right Question: How Can the Reader Find the Source?

Daisiesby Stefanie

Not surprisingly, we receive a lot of questions about how to create references for all sorts of different sources. As has been discussed in past blog posts, a reference can be put together by asking a number of (very good and pertinent) questions: Who? When? What? Where?
But (and you knew that was coming!) the most important question, the one you need to ask yourself before you even embark on the reference-generating journey (but especially when that journey is starting to look like Siri generated the directions), is embodied in one word: How.
More fully articulated, the “how” question you should ask when a reference is looking confusing is, How is my reader going to retrieve this source? The answer will often clarify how the reference should be formatted.
In fact, the retrieval question is the guiding beacon at the heart of many seemingly impossible reference questions we receive, such as How do I create a reference for a PowerPoint presentation? How do I create a reference for a piece of art at the museum? How do I create a reference for an e-book?
The PowerPoint question is a classic one here at Style Expert headquarters. But it’s not so tricky: A PowerPoint presentation posted online is no different than any other file posted online. Just get your reader there. If the presentation was seen during a lecture or meeting and cannot be retrieved by the audience of your paper, it’s a personal communication, which means that no reference is needed, but it should be cited accordingly.
Consider your paper’s audience when creating a reference for a piece of art—you could create a reference guiding readers to the museum in which it is housed (if, say, it is located close to your class, if you are writing a paper for a course) or a picture of the art elsewhere (if you have a broader audience that might not have access to the particular museum).
And that e-book? E-books are available from many different sources and in all different file formats. Show your readers how to retrieve the particular e-book file you read.
Do you have additional questions about how to get readers to your sources? E-mail us at styleexpert@apastyle.org or leave a comment!

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!

January 03, 2013

Alphabetizing “In Press” and “No Date” References




by Tyler Krupa

You may already know that references with the same authors in the same order are arranged by year of publication, the earliest first (see the sixth edition of the Publication Manual, p. 182):

Meints, K., Plunkett, K., & Harris, P. L. (2002).

Meints, K., Plunkett, K., & Harris, P. L. (2008).

But do you know what to do when a group of references with the same author(s) in the same author order contain “in press” and “no date” publication dates? Alphabetizing these references is easy as long as you remember the following two points:

1. An “in press” work has yet to be published, so if you have one or more references that contain a publication year, these references will always come before an “in press” reference because they’ve already been published.

2. When dealing with “no date” references, simply follow the same “nothing precedes something” guidance that the Publication Manual gives regarding alphabetizing author surnames in the reference list (see p. 181). Using this guideline, “no date” references should always precede references with “some date.” Also remember that “no date” is abbreviated as “n.d.” in both the reference list and the in-text citations (see p. 185).

Here are some examples that show the correct ways to alphabetize these types of references in the reference list:

Johnson, K., & Jones, B. B. (2012).

Johnson, K., & Jones, B. B. (in press).

Taylor, H., Carter, N., & Beckett, S. (n.d.).

Taylor, H., Carter, N., & Beckett, S. (2010).

Taylor, H., Carter, N., & Beckett, S. (in press).

University of Florida. (n.d.).

University of Florida. (2012).

Also remember that if you have two or more “in press” or “no date” references with the same authors in the same order, you should use lowercase letters—a, b, c, and so forth—after the publication date and alphabetize the references by their titles (excluding A, An, and The; see p. 182 in the Publication Manual). The only difference between these types of references and references with publication years is that “in press” and “no date” references contain a hyphen before the a, b, and so forth:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.-a). The knowledge . . .

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.-b). A strategy to . . .

Schafer, G., & Plunkett, K. (2011a). The power . . .

Schafer, G., & Plunkett, K. (2011b). Task complexity . . .

Schafer, G., & Plunkett, K. (in press-a). The rapid learning . . .

Schafer, G., & Plunkett, K. (in press-b). Sometimes a child . . .

We hope that these examples clear up this point of possible confusion.

December 13, 2012

How to Cite Different Groups of Authors With the Same Lead Author and Publication Date




by Tyler Krupa

What’s in a name? Properly citing different groups of authors with the same lead author and publication date can make a big difference. When you have two or more references of more than three surnames with the same year and they shorten to the same form (e.g., both Smith, Jones, Young, Brown, & Stanley, 2001, and Smith, Jones, Ward, Lee, & Stanley, 2001, shorten to Smith et al., 2001), clarify which one you are citing each time. On the second and all subsequent citations, cite the surnames of the first two authors and of as many of the next authors as necessary to distinguish the two references, followed by a comma and et al. (see the sixth edition of the Publication Manual, p. 175).

Smith, Jones, Young, et al., 2001

Smith, Jones, Ward, et al., 2001

Are you tempted to use an a or b to designate which is which? This is a common error—placing lowercase letters (a, b, c, etc.) after the publication date instead of citing the necessary surnames. Lowercase letters are used after the publication date only for references with the same author (or with the same two or more authors in the same order) with the same publication date (in which case the references are arranged alphabetically by title; see p. 182 in the Publication Manual). So, using a or b is not appropriate when you have different groups of authors with the same lead author and publication date. Here are some examples that show the correct and incorrect ways to format these types of references in your reference list and in your text citations:


McGregor, I., Nash, K., Mann, N., & Phills, C. E. (2010). Anxious uncertainty and reactive approach motivation (RAM). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 133–147. doi:10.1037/a0019701

McGregor, I., Nash, K., & Prentice, M. (2010). Reactive approach motivation (RAM) for religion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 148–161. doi:10.1037/a0019702


McGregor, I., Nash, K., Mann, N., & Phills, C. E. (2010a). Anxious uncertainty and reactive approach motivation (RAM). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 133–147. doi:10.1037/a0019701

McGregor, I., Nash, K., & Prentice, M. (2010b). Reactive approach motivation (RAM) for religion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 148–161. doi:10.1037/a0019702

In the examples above, the authors are not the same, and therefore a and b should not be used after the publication date.

When citing these references in the text, cite the necessary number of surnames to distinguish between the references. In these two references, this distinction is not reached until the third author. Here’s how these reference should be cited in text:


First citations:

(McGregor, Nash, Mann, & Phills, 2010)

(McGregor, Nash, & Prentice, 2010)

Second and subsequent citations:

(McGregor, Nash, Mann, & Phills, 2010)

(McGregor, Nash, & Prentice, 2010)


First citations:

(McGregor, Nash, Mann, & Phills, 2010a)

(McGregor, Nash, & Prentice, 2010b)

Second and subsequent citations:

(McGregor et al., 2010a)

(McGregor et al., 2010b)

Note that in the first reference example above, you should use the four surnames “McGregor, Nash, Mann, and Phills” instead of “McGregor, Nash, Mann, et al.” in the second and subsequent citations. The reason for this is that et al. means “and others,” so if there is just one more surname remaining after distinguishing between the two references, just list the final name instead of using et al. (For more examples on how to correctly use et al., see a recent post to our blog.)

Now you know how to properly cite different groups of authors with the same lead author and publication date. Questions? Leave us a comment.

October 25, 2012

How to Cite a Podcast

Timothy.mcadooby Timothy McAdoo

Podcasts are new—okay podcasts were new about 10 years ago—but the reference format will look familiar. As with other retrievable documents, just follow the basic guidelines for creating a reference: Tell the reader who, when, what, and where. When in doubt, this post on citing something you found on a website always helps me!

For a podcast, the “who” might be a producer, a writer, or a speaker. You can use parentheses to identify the contribution of the person in the "who" position—when you know it.

For example, here’s a reference for an audio podcast:

Rissian, L. C. (Producer). (2012, May 4). Twelve parsecs [Audio podcast].
    Retrieved from http://itunes.apple.com

Notice that the “Retrieved from” line includes the homepage URL, not the full URL, of where you found the podcast. (In this example, it was an iTunes page, but it could be an organization's webpage or even a website devoted solely to the podcast.) A full URL might feel more direct, but the homepage URL is more likely to be correct as the days, months, and years pass between when you create your reference and when a reader sees your work and wants to find the podcast.

Video podcasts are also new—okay video podcasts were also new about 5 years ago—but you can cite them in the same fashion. In an earlier post, you’ll find an excellent sample reference to a video podcast.

October 11, 2012

British Spellings

Timothy.mcadooby Timothy McAdooUnion Jack

This week, I look at another frequently asked APA Style question! Though the answer is true for other languages, too, the question is most often framed around British spellings.


When an article or book title includes British spellings, should I “fix” them in my reference list? Also, what if I include a direct quote? Should I change spellings or use [sic]? I read somewhere that APA Style requires spellings to match those in the APA Dictionary of Psychology or Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.


The Publication Manual’s spelling guidelines apply only to the original writing in your paper.

For references, keep the spelling in titles and other elements exactly as they appeared in the original. That is, cite what you see.

For instance, if you cite this scholarly tome, keep that u in colour!

Trooping, T. C. (2012). Who rotated my colour wheel? London, England:
    Neal’s Yard Publishing.

Likewise, if you quote from the text, keep the original spellings. There’s no need to use [sic], as these are not errors.

    Trooping (2012) said, “only when you allow your colour wheel to turn will you recognise the aesthetic ‘complements’ you’ve received” (p. 10).

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