94 posts categorized "Style rules"

September 20, 2012

Citing a Whole Periodical

Newspapers
Dear Style Experts,

I consulted a newspaper, a magazine, and a journal for my research. How can I create a citation for the whole issue of each of these periodicals?

Sincerely,    

Nancy in Newcastle    

Dear Nancy,

Actually, you don’t usually need to cite a whole issue of a periodical. For readers unfamiliar with the term, a periodical is any publication that is released at regular intervals, or “periods”—typically, journals, magazines, and newspapers.  Rather than make a citation for the whole periodical, you can just mention its name and the relevant volume and issue information in the text, for example, “I surveyed an issue of The Washington Post from September 15, 2012.” Then, for each individual article that you use as a source in the paper, create individual citations. Formats for periodical article citations can be found in the Publication Manual (§7.01).

You can find examples of this technique in a meta-analysis. In a meta-analysis, authors typically survey various databases and journals for articles relevant to their research question. In the text they might state something like, “We searched the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology for articles on major depression published between 1991 and 2011.” The reference list would not contain a citation for each issue of the journal that the authors examined. Instead, it would contain citations only for the articles that the authors actually used in their research.

The only exception to this pattern is that you can create a citation for a whole special issue of a periodical (click the link for example citations)—precisely by virtue of its specialness. A special issue has a narrow focus to which all the articles pertain (say, the self and social identity), unlike a typical issue, which has a broader focus (personality and social psychology in general). In that way, a special issue functions sort of like an edited book, and the reader can be referred to the issue as a whole in a citation. Thanks for this interesting question.

Best regards,

Chelsea Lee 

 

 

July 12, 2012

All or None

Tyler

 

 

by Tyler Krupa

This week, we address a common grammar error for writers: verb agreement with the pronouns all or none. Note that these pronouns can be singular or plural. The general rule to follow is that when the noun that follows all or none is singular, you should use a singular verb; when the noun is plural, you should use a plural verb (for additional information on collective nouns, see the supplemental materials to the Publication Manual). Examples of both terms being used correctly are listed below:

All of the information was correct.

None of the evidence was admissible.

All of the rats were tested daily.

None of the participants were aware of the purpose of the experiment.

All of Smith et al.’s (2010) research supports our findings.

None of the material provided by the university was used.

All of the experiments were conducted in the laboratory.

None of the data were used in the final analysis.

We hope these examples help to clear up any confusion regarding verb agreement with these terms. However, if you still have questions, feel free to leave a comment. 

June 28, 2012

Who Versus That

Tyler

 

 

by Tyler Krupa

This week, we address another item on the list of APA Style points that writers find most challenging (on the basis of the article by Onwuegbuzie, Combs, Slate, & Frels, 2010; also see their guest post to our blog): the use of who instead of that.

According to the sixth edition of the Publication Manual (p. 79), APA prefers for writers to use the term who as a pronoun when referring to human beings. The term that should be used for nonhuman animals and for things.

To help clear up any confusion regarding the proper use of these terms, let’s begin with looking at some examples of who being used correctly:

In the psychological therapies, using methods such as the simple ranking of outcomes may penalize a therapist who has not contributed sufficient data to make a reliable estimate of effectiveness.

The researchers who used a between-subjects design produced results virtually identical to our earlier experiments.

Note that in each example above, the term who is referring to human beings (i.e., a “therapist” and “researchers”). Therefore, per APA Style, inserting that in place of who would not be accurate. However, if you were instead referring to “therapy” or “research” (which are things), you would then use that:

The cognitive therapy that was used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder lasted 15–20 sessions.

The research that Smith and Jones (2011) reviewed was also used in our analyses.

Also, per APA Style, remember to use that when referring to nonhuman animals:

The rats that completed the task successfully were rewarded.

The cats that were used in pet therapy did not leave the site.

Consistent use of who and that will help make your writing clear and precise. If you still have questions regarding the proper use of these terms after reviewing the examples above, feel free to leave a comment.

May 17, 2012

Missing Pieces: How to Write an APA Style Reference Even Without All the Information

Chelsea blog 2by Chelsea Lee

Most APA Style references are straightforward to write—the guidance and examples in Chapter 7 of the Publication Manual and on this blog make that possible. We’ve written a good deal about the architecture of a generic reference (the four basic pieces of author, date, title, and source). Sometimes, however, one or more of those pieces is missing, and writing the reference can get more difficult. This post will help you adapt the classic APA Style reference template to fit any situation where information might be missing, as well as show you how to create the corresponding in-text citations for those references. 

The table below shows how to write an APA Style reference when information is missing. It is also available for download as a PDF.

What’s missing?

Solution

Reference template

Position A

Position B

Position C

Position D

Nothing—all pieces are present

List information in the order of author, date, title (with description in square brackets if necessary for explanation of nonroutine information), and source

Author, A. A.

(date).

Title of document [Format].

or

Title of document [Format].

Retrieved from http://xxxxx

or

Retrieved Month Day, Year, from http://xxxxx

or

Location: Publisher.

or

doi:xxxxx

Author is missing

Substitute title for author; then provide date and source

Title of document [Format].

or

Title of document [Format].

(date).

n/a

Date is missing

Provide author, substitute n.d. for no date, and then give title and source

Author, A. A.

(n.d.).

Title of document [Format].

or

Title of document [Format].

Title is missing

Provide author and date, describe document inside square brackets, and then give source

Author, A. A.

(date).

[Description of document].

Author and date are both missing

Substitute title for author and n.d. for no date; then give source

Title of document [Format].

or

Title of document [Format].

(n.d.).

n/a

Author and title are both missing

Substitute description of document inside square brackets for author; then give date and source

[Description of document].

(date).

n/a

Date and title are both missing

Provide author, substitute n.d. for no date, describe document inside square brackets, and then give source

Author, A. A.

(n.d.).

[Description of document].

Author, date, and title are all missing

Substitute description of document inside square brackets for author, substitute n.d. for no date, and then give source

[Description of document].

(n.d.).

n/a

Source is missing

Cite as personal communication (see §6.20) or find a substitute

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Title Variations

As shown in the table, the title of a document is only sometimes italicized, depending on the independence of the source. That is, do italicize the title of a document that stands alone (books, reports, etc.), but do not italicize the title of a document that is part of a greater whole (chapters, articles, etc., which are part of edited books or journals, respectively). Also do not italicize the titles of software, instruments, and apparatus (see §7.08 in the Publication Manual). If you have trouble determining whether something stands alone (such as for a document on a website), choose not to italicize. For examples and more explanation, see the blog post on capitalization and formatting of reference titles in the reference list.

Source Variations

As shown in the Position D column of the table, the source part of a reference list entry can vary as well. It should reflect either a retrieval URL (for online documents without DOIs), a publisher location and name (for print sources), or a DOI (for any document that has one, whether print or online). It is not usually necessary to include a retrieval date for online sources; one should be provided only if the source is likely to change over time, such as with an unarchived wiki page.

Sometimes source information is incomplete but with a little detective work you can find what you need; for example, if you know a publisher name but not its location, you can research the publisher to find the location. Even sources of limited availability can be cited in APA Style, including unpublished and informally published works (see §7.09) and archival documents and collections (see §7.10).

Note, however, that it is not possible to write a traditional APA Style reference if source information is truly missing. The purpose of an APA Style reference is to provide readers with information on how to locate the source that you used, and if you cannot tell them how to do so, you either have to find a substitute or cite the source as personal communication (see §6.20 in the Publication Manual).

Creating In-Text Citations

Create an in-text citation for any reference by using the pieces from Positions A and B in the table above. For most references, this will be the author and date (Author, date). For titles in Position A, use italics for works that stand alone (Title of Document, date) and quotation marks for works that are part of a greater whole (“Title of Document,” date). Retain square brackets for descriptions of documents in Position A ([Description of document], date). For examples and more explanation, see our post on formatting and capitalization of titles in the text.  

We hope this guide to missing pieces will help you as you create your APA Style references.

May 10, 2012

Mysteries of the Running Head Explained

Jeffby Jeff Hume-Pratuch

The running head is one of the smallest parts of a manuscript, yet it seems to cause big problems for some. In previous posts, we’ve given an overview of the running head and how to format it, but recently we’ve received some new questions that have folks scratching their heads.

What Is the Running Head?

The running head is a shortened form of the title of your paper that appears  in  uppercase letters at the top left of each page of your manuscript. It helps to identify the pages of your paper and keep them together (without using your name, in case you’re submitting it for blind review). When your paper is published, this short title will appear at the top of each odd-numbered page.

On the title page of your manuscript, the label “Running head:” precedes the running head itself. It’s there to let the typesetter know that this shortened title is, in fact, the running head for your article. (This is a holdover from the fifth edition of the APA Publication Manual, which required a “manuscript page header” on every page as well as a running head on the title page.)

How Long Should the Running Head Be?

The running head should be a brief version of the title of your paper, no more than 50 characters long (including spaces). The label “Running head:” that precedes the running head on the title page is not included in the 50-character count, because it’s not part of the title of your paper. (Unless, of course, the title of your paper is something like “Running Head: Feature or Bug?”)

What Makes For a Good Running Head?

It’s usually not a good idea to simply copy the first 50 characters of your title. The running head needs to both make sense as a phrase and give some idea of what your paper is about.

Pop quiz: If the title of your paper is “A Review and Meta-Analysis of the First Decade of Articles About the Psychology of Llamas,” which would be a more informative running head?
(a)    A REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS OF THE FIRST DECADE OF
or
(b)    REVIEW OF THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LLAMAS

Where Does the Running Head Go?

Use the automatic header feature of your word processing program to set the running head at the top left of the page. Don’t worry about the running head’s precise distance from the top of the page or relationship to the margin; the default setting for your software is fine.

For more about the running head, see the APA Publication Manual (6th ed., pp. 229–230).

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

 

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