108 posts categorized "References"

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



May 23, 2013

Citing the Charter of the United Nations





by Melissa


We’re sometimes asked about how to cite international agreements, such as the Charter of the United Nations, in APA Style. You won’t find an example of how to cite that document in the APA Publication Manual.


The Charter of the United Nations is a legal document, so use The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation as your foundation for building APA Style references and citations.

The APA Style reference for the Charter of the United Nations can include these elements:

  1. Name of the agreement
  2. Article number
  3. Paragraph number


The reference format and an example using that format appear below.

U.N. Charter art. xx, para. xx.
U.N. Charter art. 1, para. 3.

If you want to reference an entire article of the charter, you can omit the paragraph element:

U.N. Charter art. xx.
U.N. Charter art. 1.


In-Text Citations
In text, use one of these citation formats:

U.N. Charter art. xx, para. xx 
(U.N. Charter art. xx, para. xx)

In the below example of an in-text citation, the article and paragraph numbers (rather than page numbers) pinpoint the location of quoted text from the U.N. Charter.

The founders of the United Nations encouraged countries to work 
cooperatively on “international problems of an economic, social, 
cultural, or humanitarian character” (U.N. Charter art. 1, para. 3).

Consult the latest edition of The Bluebook to learn more about citing United Nations documents and other international agreements.

April 25, 2013

How to Cite a News Report


by David Becker

Have you ever seen a news report that just happened to relate to the topic of a paper you were writing? Did you really want to cite that report but just didn’t know how? For example, say you were writing a paper on psychological disorders and their treatments throughout history. By sheer coincidence, you saw a report about historical DC scandals that covered the tragic tale of Henry Rathbone, who was sitting next to President Lincoln when he was assassinated. Rathbone was stabbed by John Wilkes Booth as he retreated and suffered psychological damage for the rest of his life because of this traumatic event. “This would be a perfect example for my paper!” you think. Unfortunately, a live news broadcast is not a retrievable source in and of itself. However, if you can track down a retrievable version of that report or another source containing the same information, you can cite it.

Many news organizations, whether they are large 24-hour networks or small local stations, have archives of their live news reports available for viewing on their websites. You would cite such reports as you would cite a YouTube video or any other kind of streaming video. Here’s how to cite the online version of the above-mentioned report:

A historical look back at DC scandals [Video file]. (2013, February 15). Retrieved from http://www.wjla.com/video/2013/02/a-historical-look-back-at-dc-scandals.html

In-text citation: (“A Historical Look,” 2013)

Notice that the title of the video has been moved to the author position. This is because the name of the person who uploaded the video is not specified (see Example 9 on p. 200 of the Publication Manual for more information). Also note that video titles should be italicized.

Hypothetically, let’s say you were not able to find the report you saw on TV. In this situation, it’s best not to worry so much about citing the report itself. You can instead use it as a springboard for further research. There may well be other sources that contain the same information, perhaps even better information, than the report you saw. For example, if you did a little digging for more information about Henry Rathbone, you might find the article cited below that provides much more detail than the TV news report:

Ruane, M. E. (2009, April 5). A tragedy's second act. Washington Post Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/27/AR2009032701576.html

In-text citation: (Ruane, 2009)

I hope this article has helped you figure out what to do if you ever see a news report that you would like to incorporate into your research. If you have any questions on this or any other topic, feel free to contact us. Your question may inspire a future blog post!

April 04, 2013

When to Include the Year in Citations Appearing More Than Once in a Paragraph




by Tyler Krupa

You may already know that references in APA Style are cited in text with an author–date system (e.g., Smith, 2012). But do you know when to include the year of publication when one of your citations appears more than once in a paragraph? Getting it right is simple as long as you remember the following two guidelines:

1. All parenthetical citations (i.e., citations in which both the author name and publication date are enclosed within parentheses) should include the year, regardless of how often they appear in a paragraph.

2. When the name of the author is part of the narrative and appears outside of parentheses, after the first citation in each paragraph you need not include the year in subsequent nonparenthetical citations as long as the study cannot be confused with other studies in the article (see p. 174 in the sixth edition of the Publication Manual).

To help illustrate these guidelines, let’s look at a few examples that correctly show when to include the year in citations appearing more than once in a paragraph:

Morin (1988) described two separate but linked epidemics. . . . Morin distinguished the HIV (viral) epidemic from the subsequent AIDS (disease) epidemic, foreseeing the ultimate convergence of preventing the spread of the virus and managing the disease it causes. . . . Morin also discussed a third epidemic . . . . This third epidemic is as much a part of the pathology of AIDS as the virus itself (Morin, 1988).

Socioeconomic status (SES) and chronic diseases rather consistently fall on a gradient, where those of relatively lower SES have poorer health and are more often afflicted by multiple diseases than those above them on the SES ladder (Adler & Stewart, 2010). . . . Adler and Stewart (2010) offered a framework to explain the major pathways by which SES can influence health outcomes. . . . The model is developmental, illustrating individual, social, and structural influences on disease over the lifespan (Adler & Stewart, 2010).

We hope these examples clear up this point of possible uncertainty. Still have questions? Leave us a comment.


March 14, 2013

Finding Federal Statutes





by Melissa

Legal research is a different type of beast. The skilled hunter of psychology data may need a guide when tracking down information for an APA Style reference to a federal statute. This blog post is your guide to tracking down the text of a federal statute and the statute’s name, title number, section number, and year. Happy hunting!

The sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual states that the United States Code is the official source for federal statutes. Where can I find a copy of it?
If you can’t get your hands on a printed copy of the United States Code, there’s an exact copy of the code on the Government Printing Office’s (GPO’s) website (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/uscode/index.html).

According to the 19th edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, the PDF version of the code on the GPO website can be cited as if it were the printed copy. However, for some information, it is helpful to consult a printed copy of the code.

Printed copies of the United States Code may be found in any law library. Some law schools and some state and local government offices have law libraries that are open to the public. Try an Internet search to find one near you.

You also may find a printed copy of the code in one of the Government Printing Office’s (GPO’s) federal depository libraries. Check the Federal Depository Library public page on the GPO website to find a federal depository library near you (http://catalog.gpo.gov/fdlpdir/FDLPdir.jsp).


How do I find the official name of a statute?
The official name can be found in the text of the statute. Search the first few subsections of the statute to find the name. The words Short Title usually appear before the official name of the statute. Remember, not all statutes have names.

In the screenshot below, the name of the statute, National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, is under the heading Short Title, in section 4321.



If I know the name of a statute, but not the title or section numbers, how can I find them?
Use the Popular Name Tool on the U.S. House of Representatives website at http://uscode.house.gov/popularnames/popularnames.htm to find the title number, section numbers, and section in which the name of the statute can be found.

A search for the National Environmental Policy Act yields the following results:

The results show that the statute can be found in Title 42 of the United States Code, beginning at section 4321; the short title (name) of the statute can be found in Title 42, section 4321 note. Confirm this information by consulting your copy of the United States Code.


How do I find the right year to use in the reference?
The edition year should come from, in order of preference, the spine of the volume of the United States Code that you are using, the year on the title page of the volume, or the latest copyright year.


List of Research Resources
Federal depository libraries: http://catalog.gpo.gov/fdlpdir/FDLPdir.jsp
PDF copy of the United States Code: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/uscode/index.html
Popular Name Tool: http://uscode.house.gov/popularnames/popularnames.htm


February 21, 2013

Writing References for Federal Statutes





by Melissa

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

February 07, 2013

Introduction to APA Style Legal References



by Melissa

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

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


1. Appendix 7.1 in the Publication Manual

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

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


2. The APA Style Blog

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

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

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


3. Additional Resources

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

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

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

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

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!

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