89 posts categorized "Style rules"

March 29, 2012

Jr., Sr., and Other Suffixes in APA Style

Timothy.mcadooby Timothy McAdoo

 Henry W. “Indiana” Jones Jr.: “I like Indiana."
Henry W. Jones Sr.: “We named the dog Indiana.”

Much like the intrepid Dr. Jones, when writing a paper, you never know what riddles you’ll have to solve. (Unlike Indiana, you can always ask the APA Style team for help!) I hope to clear up one such riddle here: how to handle suffixes in author names.

Quick Summary (in case you need to make a dramatic exit before the end of this post!)*

"Jr.," “III,” or other suffixes are not included with in-text citations, but they are included in the reference list entries.

References

In a reference, include the suffix, set off with commas, as shown here:

Jones, H. W., Jr., & Jones, H. W., Sr. (1941). My adventures in Alexandretta.
      The Journal of Fictional Archeology, 1, 1–19. doi:46.34262/56637
Belloq, R. (1926). Shiny things. In B. C. Explorateur Jr. (Ed.), Artifacts lost and
      found
[E-reader version] (pp. 210–223). Paris, France: Gaxotte Publishing.

 

You may note that in the first example, because the names in the author portion of a reference are inverted, commas are needed before the suffix. In the second example, the suffix is in the editor name; because names are not inverted in the editor portion of the reference, the comma is not needed. More examples can be found in this post on citing book chapters in APA Style.

If the suffixes are numerals, alphabetize the entries by these numerals. For example,

Lucas, G., I. (2001). Tinkering with details (Vol. 1). Hollywood, CA:
      A.G.F.F.A. Publishing.
Lucas, G., II. (2012). You can always change it later. Hollywood, CA:
      A.G.F.F.A. Publishing.

 

Citations

For the citation in your text, do not include the suffix. Just use the author’s last name as you normally would:

...which would lead to a fear of snakes (Jones & Jones, 1941). Jones and Jones (1941) also found that...

 

*If you’re feeling adventurous, you can find the keys to this post throughout the Publication Manual. The fourth bullet on page 184 explains how to punctuate suffixes within a reference, and page 204 has an example with “Jr.” (Example 24). The guideline for alphabetizing appears in the second bullet at the top of page 182.

March 09, 2012

Title Case and Sentence Case Capitalization in APA Style

Chelsea blog 2by Chelsea Lee

APA Style has two capitalization methods that are used in different contexts throughout a paper: title case and sentence case (see Publication Manual section 4.15). APA’s title case refers to a capitalization style in which most words are capitalized, and sentence case refers to a capitalization style in which most words are lowercased. In both cases, proper nouns and certain other types of words are always capitalized. Below are guidelines for when and how to use each case in an APA Style paper.

Title Case

Title case is used to capitalize the following types of titles and headings in APA Style:

Here are directions for implementing APA’s title case:

  1. Capitalize the first word of the title/heading and of any subtitle/subheading;
  2. Capitalize all “major” words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns) in the title/heading, including the second part of hyphenated major words (e.g., Self-Report not Self-report); and
  3. Capitalize all words of four letters or more.

This boils down to using lowercase only for “minor” words of three letters or fewer, namely, for conjunctions (words like and, or, nor, and but), articles (the words a, an, and the), and prepositions (words like as, at, by, for, in, of, on, per, and to), as long as they aren’t the first word in a title or subtitle. You can see examples of title case in our post on reference titles.

Sentence Case

Sentence case, on the other hand, is a capitalization style that mainly uses lowercase letters. Sentence case is used in a few different contexts in APA Style, including for the following:

Here are directions for implementing sentence case in APA Style in these two contexts:

  1. Capitalize the first word of the title/heading and of any subtitle/subheading;
  2. Capitalize any proper nouns and certain other types of words; and
  3. Use lowercase for everything else.

Additionally, as you might suspect given its name, sentence case is used in regular sentences in the text of a paper. In a typical sentence, the first word is always capitalized, and the first word after a colon is also capitalized when what follows the colon is an independent clause.

You can see examples of sentence case in our reference titles post

More Posts on Capitalization

March 01, 2012

How to Capitalize and Format Reference Titles in APA Style

Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

APA Style has special formatting rules for the titles of the sources you use in your paper, such as the titles of books, articles, book chapters, reports, and webpages. The different formats that might be applied are capitalization (see Publication Manual, section 4.15), italics (see section 4.21), and quotation marks (see section 4.07), and they are used in different combinations for different kinds of sources in different contexts.

The formatting of the titles of sources you use in your paper depends on two factors: (a) the independence of the source (stands alone vs. part of a greater whole) and (b) the location of the title (in the text of the paper vs. in the reference list entry). The table below provides formatting directions and examples:

Independence of source

Text

Reference list

Treatment

Example

Treatment

Example

Stands alone

(e.g., book, e-book, report [technical, government, etc.], dissertation, thesis, film, video, television series, podcast, YouTube video, artwork, map, music album, unpublished manuscript)

Italic, title case

Gone With the Wind

Italic, sentence case

Gone with the wind

Part of a greater whole

(e.g., journal article, book chapter, e-book chapter, newspaper article, magazine article, blog post, television episode, webisode, webpage, tweet, Facebook update, encyclopedia entry, Wikipedia entry, dictionary entry, song)

Inside double quotation marks, title case

“Longitudinal Impact of Parental and Adolescent Personality on Parenting”

Not inside any quotation marks, sentence case

Longitudinal impact of parental and adolescent personality on parenting


More on Italics Versus Nonitalics

As you can see in the table above, the titles of works that stand alone (such as a book or a report) are italicized in both the text and the reference list. In contrast, the titles of works that are part of a greater whole (such as an article, which is part of a journal, or a book chapter, which is part of a book) are not italicized in either place, and only in the text are they put inside quotation marks. If you are having difficulty determining whether something stands alone (such as a webpage that may or may not be part of a greater website), choose not to italicize.

More on Capitalization: Title Case Versus Sentence Case

APA Style uses two kinds of capitalization to format reference titles, which are also mentioned in the table above: title case and sentence case. APA’s title case refers to a capitalization style in which most words are capitalized, and sentence case refers to a capitalization style in which most words are lowercased. In both cases, proper nouns and certain other types of words are always capitalized. Here are more detailed directions for implementing title case and sentence case.


Text Examples

As shown in the table above, title case is used for the titles of references when they appear in the text of an APA Style paper. Here are some examples of titles written in title case (of an article and a book, respectively), as they might appear in a sentence in the text of a paper:

The article “Psychological Distress, Acculturation, and Mental Health-Seeking Attitudes Among People of African Descent in the United States: A Preliminary Investigation” (Obasi & Leong, 2009) makes an important contribution to the mental health and acculturation literature. 
Students read stories of visual agnosia in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales (Sacks, 1985). 


Reference List Entry Examples

In contrast, sentence case is used for titles of references when they appear in reference list entries. See how the book and article titles look when capitalized in sentence case in these example reference list entries:

Obasi, E. M., & Leong, F. T. L. (2009). Psychological distress, acculturation, and mental health-seeking attitudes among people of African descent in the United States: A preliminary investigation. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56, 227–238. doi:10.1037/a0014865
Sacks, O. (1985). The man who mistook his wife for a hat and other clinical tales. New York, NY: Harper & Row.

We hope this helps you understand how to capitalize and format reference titles in APA Style. 

More Posts on Capitalization

February 23, 2012

How to Capitalize Author Names in APA Style

Chelsea blog 2by Chelsea Lee

Dear Style Experts,

I am citing an article by an author whose name begins with a lowercase letter. How should I write her name in my paper? Should I capitalize it if it comes at the beginning of a sentence? What about capitalizing it in the reference list entry? Thanks for your help!

— Olivia in Ottawa 

Dear Olivia,

As discussed in our post about the capitalization of specific words, author names are capitalized in APA Style because they are proper nouns. For most author names this poses no difficulty, because most names begin with capital letters anyway. However, some names begin with lowercase letters, such as lowercase prefixes like de, d’, van, or von.

Thus, a more specific guideline is that when writing author names, your first goal should be to write the name as the author him- or herself has presented it in scholarly work. (On a related note, if an author writes under a pseudonym, cite whatever name is used by the source.) Capitalize and spell the name just as you see it in the byline of the article you’re citing. If it starts with a lowercase letter, keep that presentation.

Here are two examples of how an author name beginning with a lowercase letter keeps that presentation when written within a sentence:

  • To examine the impact of parental and adolescent personality on parenting, de Haan, Deković, and Prinzie (2012) employed a longitudinal methodology.
  • Parental and adolescent personality have significant effects on parenting (de Haan, Deković, & Prinzie, 2012).


Keep the author’s original capitalization even in reference list entries:

de Haan, A. D., Deković, M., & Prinzie, P. (2012). Longitudinal impact of parental and adolescent personality on parenting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 189–199. doi:10.1037/a0025254


However, capitalize the name if it (a) begins a sentence or (b) is the first word after a colon when what follows the colon is an independent clause:

  • De Haan, Deković, and Prinzie (2012) studied the impact of parental and adolescent personality on parenting.
  • Recently, researchers have explored the impact of personality on parenting: De Haan, Deković, and Prinzie (2012) used longitudinal analyses to untangle the effects.

You can read more about this method of capitalization in the Publication Manual in section 4.14 (p. 101). We also have advice in another blog post if you are having trouble determining who the author is to begin with.

Finally, be aware that some publishers apply idiosyncratic formatting to author names in the byline, such as using all capital letters to write full names or surnames. This is a stylistic choice on the part of the publisher as a way to set the byline and not something that you need to reproduce in your APA Style paper. So if you see an author’s name capitalized as “Thomas J. SMITH” in the byline of an article, you should write the name as “Smith” when citing it in your paper. If the byline capitalization obscures the regular capitalization an author would use, look for the author name in the text or elsewhere to see how it is normally formatted.

With these guidelines, you should be able to capitalize author names in any context of an APA Style paper.

—Chelsea

More Posts on Capitalization

February 16, 2012

Do I Capitalize This Word?

Chelsea blog 2by Chelsea Lee


Dear Style Experts,

I am writing a paper in APA Style, and I have a question about the capitalization of a specific word. Can you tell me how to capitalize it? Also, I need to know what the proper APA Style spelling of the word is. Thanks for your help!

— Wally in Washington, DC


Dear Wally, 

Your first stop in answering questions about the capitalization or spelling of a specific word in an APA Style paper should be the dictionary. APA uses Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (2005) as its standard reference for capitalization and spelling, along with the APA Dictionary of Psychology for psychology-related terms. Along with the guidance provided in the Publication Manual (see pp. 101–104 for capitalization rules), follow the capitalization and spelling you see in those dictionaries for words in your APA Style paper. If more than one option for capitalization and spelling is provided, use the first entry.

Now, you might wonder, why is it helpful to look up a word in a dictionary if you want to know how to capitalize it and not just how to spell it? Well, it’s helpful because the dictionary tells you whether a word is a proper noun (i.e., a specific person, place, or thing), and proper nouns are capitalized in English and therefore in APA Style (see Publication Manual sections 4.16 and 4.18). Their opposite, regular or “common” nouns (which refer to general persons, places, or things), are lowercase in English and thus in APA Style as well.

What to Capitalize

Here are some examples of different types of (capitalized) proper nouns, along with some (lowercased) regular or common noun corollaries:

Noun type

Proper noun example

Common noun example

Author or person

Freud, Skinner, von Neumann

the author, the investigator, the mathematician

Company,  institution, or agency

American Psychological Association, University of Washington, Department of Sociology

the association, a university, a sociology department

Product

Advil, Xerox, Prozac (brand names)

ibuprofen, photocopy, fluoxetine (generic names)

Test or inventory

Beck Depression Inventory, Child Behavior Checklist

a depression inventory, a behavior checklist

Website or database

PsycINFO, Facebook, Survey Monkey, Internet

a database, a social media page, a website, online

Periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper)

Journal of Counseling Psychology, Time, The Washington Post

a psychology journal, a magazine, a newspaper

Software, program, or app

SPSS, Mplus, Davis’s Drug Guide for iPhone

statistical software, a computer program, a mobile app drug guide

Legal materials (statutes, acts, codes, bills, regulations, constitutions, etc.; see also PM Appendix 7.1 and the Legal Bluebook) 

Americans With Disabilities Act, FDA Prescription Drug Advertising Rule, U.S. Constitution

antidiscrimination laws, drug advertising legislation, a constitution 


Along with the proper nouns listed in the table above, you should also always capitalize:

  • the first word of a sentence,
  • the first word after a colon when what follows the colon is an independent clause,
  • factor names in a factor analysis (see section 4.20),
  • most nouns when they are followed by numerals or letters (e.g., Table 1, Figure 2, Panel A; see section 4.17), and
  • words in an interaction when there is a multiplication sign between them (e.g., Age x Sex effect; see section 4.20).

What Not to Capitalize

This section provides some examples of what not to capitalize—especially the types of words that writers tend to capitalize by mistake. Note that proper nouns (such as personal names) within these terms usually retain their capitalization.

Noun type

Example

Model

five-factor personality model, associative learning model

Theory or philosophy

behaviorism, psychoanalytic theory, Freudian theory

Therapy or technique

client-centered therapy, cognitive behavior therapy

Concept

object permanence, confirmation bias, correlation

Disease/disorder

major depressive disorder, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder

Hypothesis

null hypothesis, experimental hypothesis

Condition or group in an experiment

control group, experimental group, no-information group

Variable (for factors in a factor analysis, see above)

the age variable, the effect of gender

Statistical procedure or test 

analysis of variance, t test, standard deviation

Academic subject/discipline

social psychology, nursing, English, Spanish,  business

Law (scientific; for legal, see above table)

law of symmetry, Newton’s three laws of motion


Again, the dictionary corroborates this style of capitalization, so if you have questions, start there.

Parting Thoughts

Capitalization is a big topic, and this post covers only some of the basics. For more on the capitalization of specific words in APA Style, including copious specifics, exceptions, and examples, see the Publication Manual (pp. 101–104). In future posts, we will cover capitalization in author names, source titles, the reference list, abbreviations, and more. If there is an area of capitalization that you would like to hear more about, please leave us a note in the comments section.

—Chelsea

More Posts on Capitalization

 

January 13, 2012

APA Style Interactive Learning

AnneGasqueAnne Gasque

Have you ever had the urge to read the Publication Manual from beginning to end? We thought not. 

It takes a special kind of stamina and devotion to approach a manual of writing guidance and style rules with the excitement a person might bring to, say, John Grisham’s latest legal thriller. To help you find your way in the manual, we’ve created an interactive online course. This course, available for continuing education credit, provides a comprehensive tour of the guidance in the Publication Manual

Basics of APA Style: An Online Course follows the organization of the manual and offers an in-depth overview of the types of articles used in psychological and social research, manuscript elements, heading style, reducing bias in language, punctuation, capitalization, italics, numbers, tables, figures, citing references in text, creating a reference list, and reference templates and examples. Many of the sections in the course include relevant examples to provide context, and each section ends with two or three review questions to help you learn as you go along. The course ends with 20 assessment questions and offers 4 CE credits upon successful completion. We hope you find the course a helpful tool for learning APA Style!

If you would like a broader less detailed overview of APA Style, we offer a free tutorial, The Basics of APA Style, which shows you how to structure and format your work, recommends ways to reduce bias in language, identifies how to avoid charges of plagiarism, shows how to cite references in text, and provides selected reference examples.

January 05, 2012

Got Volume?

Daisiesby Stefanie

 

Just as no two snowflakes and no two people (and no two people who think they are special snowflakes) are alike, so too are no two references alike. Sometimes elements of standard reference formats are missing, and both the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, sixth edition, and we here at the blog try to anticipate those situations with advice on what to do. Today’s blog post covers just such a situation: the missing volume number on a periodical.

 

First, double-check to make sure the volume number is actually missing. Search the front, back, and spine (if there is a spine) of the journal, magazine, or newsletter, as well as the table of contents page. Also, sometimes the volume number is buried (deep!) in the publication information. For example, I just picked up from the corner of my desk a back issue of my children’s Disney Adventures magazine. On the cover is the issue month and year (September 2006) but no volume number. On page 88, in 6-point type (OK, probably 4-point type; boy, it’s small)—along with the ISSN number, publisher contact numbers, subscription information, and copyright and trademark notices—the volume and numerical issue numbers (Vol. 18, No. 7) are included. So now I can create a reference for the Miley Cyrus and Ashley Tisdale interview that completely follows Example 7 (magazine article) on page 200 of the Publication Manual!

 

Barnes, D. (2006, September). Miley and Ashley BFF. Disney Adventures, 
18
(7), 26–29.

 

(Note to self: I need to clean off my desk more often.)


Second, double-check whether a volume number is needed at all. Note that in the case of online newsletters, the volume number is not required (see Example 9 on p. 200 of the Publication Manual).

 

(Online version of newsletter)

Blum, E. S. (2010). Building healthier communities from the ground up. 
Banking and Community Perspectives. Retrieved from
http://www.dallasfed.org/ca/bcp/2010/bcp1002.pdf

 

Third, consider whether the year is pulling double duty. If I have an issue number but no volume number for a publication paginated by issue and I am working from the hard copy (i.e., not the online version, or maybe no online version is available), I have a problem, because the issue number will look funny standing alone in parentheses without the volume number to anchor it. Yet, an issue number indicates that the issue is part of a larger volume. What is number of that volume? In some cases, the volume number is the year.

 

If you look at the first page of a Banking and Community Perspectives newsletter, for example, you can see that the year appears with the issue number, much as a traditional volume number would. Also, if you look at the archive for these newsletters, you can see that the archive is organized by year, and the issue numbers refer to the order in which the issues came out during each year, starting over at 1 every new year. Thus, if you are using a hard copy of a newsletter or magazine (and therefore need a volume number in the reference) and if a separate volume number is absent, the year may be pulling double duty, as is the case for Banking and Community Perspectives. If this is the situation with your publication, use the year in both places in the reference (i.e., the year position and the volume position).

 

(Hard copy of newsletter)

Blum, E. S. (2010). Building healthier communities from the ground up. 
Banking and Community Perspectives, 2010(2), 3–10, 12.

 

Other questions about volume numbers? Let us know in the comments or at stylexpert@apa.org! Please include examples or links to the publications or articles in question. Thank you!
 

December 29, 2011

Citing a Streaming Video Database

AnneBy Anne Breitenbach

Some time ago, we had a post that explained how to find a DOI and provided a brief YouTube video of the process. We asked at the time for requests for tutorials about APA Style that could be useful. In response to that request, we were asked to create tutorials to explain how to cite content from two new databases APA launched in fall 2011.

We previously published a post on the first of these, PsycTESTS, a research database that provides descriptive and administrative information about tests, as well as access to some psychological tests, measures, scales, and other assessments. In this tutorial, we’re going to take a look at how you’d cite PsycTHERAPY, a research database of therapy sessions. In order to create the reference in APA Style, you must analyze what you are actually citing: audiovisual media (streaming video) available only through a subscription database (PsycTHERAPY).

Take a look:

 

December 08, 2011

Can't Find It in the Publication Manual!

Daisiesby Stefanie

The most common question—other than “How do I cite a website?”—that we get here is actually more of a panicked or frustrated declaration: “I can’t find this in the Publication Manual!” We understand: The manual is thick with information, and it takes time to familiarize yourself with it. Here are a few hints for finding what it is you might be looking for in the Publication Manual.
 
Formatting Specifics
 
Section 8.03, Preparing the Manuscript for Submission (pp. 228–230), covers all of the details you need to ensure that your manuscript formatting is consistent. This section includes information on font size and style (bottom of p. 228; 12-point Times New Roman), line spacing (top of p. 229; double-space everything from title to text to headings to references to figure captions), margins (middle of p. 229; uniform margins of at least 1 in. should appear at the top, bottom, left, and right of every page), and order of manuscript pages (pp. 229–230).
 
Many of these elements are also covered on the Checklist for Manuscript Submission (pp. 241–243).
 
Electronic References
 
Look closely at the sample references provided in Chapter 7: Many show examples of electronic versions of sources (e.g., journal articles, newspaper articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, reports).
 
If you retrieve a source from a database, see the third and fourth bullet points on page 192 for additional guidance on creating a reference for it.
 
Potpourri
 
The sample papers are full of formatting examples, along with handy tags showing where those formatting guidelines can be found in the Publication Manual proper. See pages 41–59 for examples of number style, hyphenation, punctuation, citation, statistics, references, headings, order of pages, tables, and figures.
 
What part of the Publication Manual has been most helpful to you?
 


 

December 01, 2011

The Long and the Short of It

Daisiesby Stefanie

The goal of writing, especially scholarly writing, is to convey information. Accomplishing that task certainly involves choosing the right words, but have you also considered the length of the sentences and paragraphs in which those words appear? Onwuegbuzie, Combs, Slate, and Frels (2010) include too-short and too-long paragraphs on their list of common APA Style mistakes. Labeling these style choices mistakes may seem harsh, but if you lose readers because of the style of your presentation, the term is apt.


The troubles that come with lengthy sentences and paragraphs are more obvious than those that accompany short ones. I suspect anyone who reads has, at some point, drifted off in the middle of a long, run-on sentence. And woe be to the person who has his or her reading interrupted in the middle of a page-long paragraph! Good luck finding your place and the train of thought after that. (Whatever you do, please don’t try to write the longest sentence in English; the current record holders are legendary.)


Short sentences (insert obligatory Hemingway reference here) and paragraphs can be easily read and digested, but a bunch of either can be choppy, abrupt, even boring. Imagine a Results section that followed this pattern throughout:


    The mean was 8.8.

    The standard deviation was 9.9.

    The results were nonsignificant.


This would get old fast. (Incidentally, you may want to consider a table rather than short or long sentences for numerical results.)


A blend of long and short sentences in a paragraph is ideal. Paragraph length is a little trickier. Single-sentence paragraphs are discouraged. As for long paragraphs, as noted on page 68 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, sixth edition, “if a paragraph runs longer than one double-spaced manuscript page, you may lose your readers. Look for a logical place to break a long paragraph, or reorganize the material.”


Have further questions about sentence and paragraph length? Please comment below or write to styleexpert@apa.org.


 

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