42 posts categorized "Text citations"

November 03, 2011

The Proper Use of Et Al. in APA Style

Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

Academic writing is full of little conventions that may seem opaque to the uninitiated. One of these is the Latin phrase et al., an abbreviation meaning “and others.” It is used to shorten lists of author names in text citations to make repeated referencing shorter and simpler. Note that et al. is italicized in this post when I am using it as a linguistic example, but it should not be italicized when you are using it as part of a reference citation.

General Use of Et Al.

Below is a chart showing when to use et al., which is determined by the number of authors and whether it is the first time a reference has been cited in the paper. Specifically, articles with one or two authors include all names in every in-text citation; articles with three, four, or five authors include all names in the first in-text citation but are abbreviated to the first author name plus et al. upon subsequent citations; and articles with six or more authors are abbreviated to the first author name plus et al. for all in-text citations.

Number of authors

First text citation (either parenthetical or narrative)

Subsequent text citations (all)

One or two

Palmer & Roy, 2008

Palmer & Roy, 2008

Three, four, or five

Sharp, Aarons, Wittenberg, & Gittens, 2007

Sharp et al., 2007

Six or more

Mendelsohn et al., 2010

Mendelsohn et al., 2010

 

Avoiding Ambiguity

However, sometimes abbreviating to the first author name plus et al. can create ambiguity. Here are two example references, as also discussed in a previous post about reference twins.

Marewski, J. N., Gaissmaier, W., & Gigerenzer, G. (2010). Good judgments do not require complex cognition. Cognitive Processing, 11, 103–121. doi:10.1007/s10339-009-0337-0
Marewski, J. N., Gaissmaier, W., Schooler, L. J., Goldstein, D. G., & Gigerenzer, G. (2010). From recognition to decisions: Extending and testing recognition-based models for multi-alternative inference. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17, 287–309. doi:10.3758/PBR.17.3.287

The first in-text citations to each of these would be as follows:

  • (Marewski, Gaissmaier, & Gigerenzer, 2010)
  • (Marewski, Gaissmaier, Schooler, Goldstein, & Gigerenzer, 2010)

For the subsequent in-text citations we would usually abbreviate these studies to the first author name plus et al.; however, doing so here would produce two Marewski et al. (2010) citations, leaving the reader unable to tell which one you mean (if the citations were from different years we would not have this problem, because the years would tell them apart). The solution here is to spell out as many names as necessary (here, to the third name) upon subsequent citations to tell the two apart: 

  • (Marewski, Gaissmaier, & Gigerenzer, 2010)
  • (Marewski, Gaissmaier, Schooler, et al., 2010)

Notice that for the first reference, this means that all citations to this source include all three names. For the second reference, the two remaining names can be abbreviated to et al.

A Quirk of Et Al.

Finally, be careful of a quirk of et al., which is that it is plural—that is, it must replace at least two names (or, put another way, it cannot stand for only one name). So, if you have worked through a reference and only one name is left to abbreviate, you must spell out all the names every time to tell the two apart.  Here is an example with three authors, although the principle holds no matter how many total authors there are:

Berry, C. J., Henson, R. N. A., & Shanks, D. R. (2006). On the relationship between repetition priming and recognition memory: Insights from a computational model. Journal of Memory and Language, 55, 515–533. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2006.08.008
Berry, C. J., Shanks, D. R., & Henson, R. N. A. (2006). On the status of unconscious memory: Merikle and Reingold (1991) revisited. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32, 925–934. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.32.4.925

The correct in-text citations would be written as follows for all citations of these two references:

  • (Berry, Henson, & Shanks, 2006)
  • (Berry, Shanks, & Henson, 2006)

Avoid the following common incorrect ways of citing these references in text:

  • (Berry, Henson, et al., 2006), (Berry et al., 2006a)
  • (Berry, Shanks, et al., 2006), (Berry et al., 2006b)

A Final Note

If it happens that all the author names are exactly the same and the studies were published in the same year as well, the method of citation described in the reference twins post applies. Namely, use et al. as usual but also include lowercase letters after the year (2010a, 2010b, etc.) to tell the references apart.

For more information and examples on citing references in text, see Chapter 6 of our sixth edition Publication Manual (pp. 174–179). You may also be interested in our primer on how in-text citations work and our piece on common et al.-related errors.

October 20, 2011

Reference Twins: Or, How to Cite Articles With the Same Authors and Same Year

Chelsea blog 2
by Chelsea Lee

Have you ever been friends with a pair of identical twins? Twins who looked so alike that, at first, telling them apart all hinged on finding that distinguishing freckle, or hoping someone else would call them by their names so you could memorize what clothes each was wearing that day? In the social sciences, there is a longstanding tradition of twin research, but this post refers to twins of another kind: reference twins. Specifically, this post addresses how to cite multiple articles by the same authors that were published in the same year so that everyone can easily tell them apart.


A Solution for Identical Twins

In essence, the solution to the reference twin problem is not much different from how twins are told apart at birth: Just as twins are referred to as “Baby A” and “Baby B,” “twin references” are also given letters to tell them apart. Specifically, lowercase letters are added after the year (2011a, 2011b, etc.), and the references are alphabetized by title to determine which is “a” and which is “b.” Here is an example:

Koriat, A. (2008a). Easy comes, easy goes? The link between learning and remembering and its exploitation in metacognition. Memory & Cognition, 36, 416–428. doi:10.3758/MC.36.2.416
Koriat, A. (2008b). Subjective confidence in one’s answers: The consensuality principle. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 34, 945–959. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.34.4.945

In the text, citations would be styled as follows: (Koriat, 2008a) and (Koriat, 2008b).

For references that are in press or that have no date (signified by n.d., which stands for “no date”), use the following forms for the date: (in press-a), (in press-b), (n.d.-a), and (n.d.-b), and so forth.

A Solution for Not-Quite Twins

However, be careful that your references are true identical twins. That is, the method described above applies only when all author names are the same and appear in the same order. If any of the names or the order is different, then the references are distinguished in a different way: by spelling out as many author names as necessary to tell them apart.  Let’s use the following two references as an example:

Marewski, J. N., Gaissmaier, W., & Gigerenzer, G. (2010). Good judgments do not require complex cognition. Cognitive Processing, 11, 103–121. doi:10.1007/s10339-009-0337-0
Marewski, J. N., Gaissmaier, W., Schooler, L. J., Goldstein, D. G., & Gigerenzer, G. (2010). From recognition to decisions: Extending and testing recognition-based models for multi-alternative inference. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17, 287–309. doi:10.3758/PBR.17.3.287

The first in-text citations to each of these articles would be as follows:

  • (Marewski, Gaissmaier, & Gigerenzer, 2010)
  • (Marewski, Gaissmaier, Schooler, Goldstein, & Gigerenzer, 2010)

Now, what about subsequent in-text citations? Usually we would abbreviate studies with three or more authors to the first author name plus et al. (Latin for “and others”); however, doing so here would produce two Marewski et al. (2010) citations, leaving the reader unable to tell which one you mean. The solution is to spell out as many names as necessary (here, to the third name) upon subsequent citations to tell the two apart: 

  • (Marewski, Gaissmaier, & Gigerenzer, 2010)
  • (Marewski, Gaissmaier, Schooler, et al., 2010)

Notice that for the first reference, this means that all citations to this source will include all three names. For the second reference, the two remaining names can be abbreviated to et al. (Note, however, that if only one name remains to distinguish the references, that name must be spelled out with all the rest because et al. is plural—it cannot stand for only one name. This topic will be elaborated upon in an upcoming post.)

For more information and examples of citing references in text, see Chapter 6 of our sixth edition Publication Manual (pp. 174–179). You may also be interested in our primer on how in-text citations work.

September 08, 2011

Group Authors

Timothy McAdoo by Timothy McAdoo

In 2010, the estimated number of websites was 255 million. That translates to a staggering number of individual webpages. Who’s writing all those pages? And, how should you cite them in APA Style?

In this post, I’ll focus on just one possibility: group authors.  Although the “who” element for many references is an individual author or authors, “who” can also be a group author. This is often the case for white papers, press releases, and information pages (e.g., “About Us”) on company websites.

For example, the "about" page on the American Psychological Association site (http://www.apa.org/about/) was surely written by one or more real people. But, because no individual byline is listed and because this resides on the organization’s webpage, you would reference it as a group author. That is, the “who” in your reference is a group author.

 

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). About APA. Retrieved from
    http://www.apa.org/about/

Notice that the author portion still ends with a period.

References
In the reference, spell out the full group author name.  Though you may choose to abbreviate the author name in text, spell it out in the reference list.

Citations
In your text, use the author–date format for citations. In this example, the author is “American Psychological Association” and the date is “n.d.”

 

    According to the American Psychological Association (n.d.), “psychology is a diverse discipline, grounded in science, but with nearly boundless applications in everyday life” (Definition of "Psychology," para. 1).

Abbreviations
If you include the citation many times in your paper, you might want to abbreviate the group author name. If so, this introduction should be included with the first use in text:

 

    According to the American Psychological Association (APA, n.d., Definition of "Psychology," para. 1), “psychology is a diverse discipline, grounded in science, but with nearly boundless applications in everyday life.”

If you decide to abbreviate, do so consistently throughout the paper. Spelling out the name in some sections and abbreviating in others can confuse the reader.

Note that you are not required to abbreviate, even if the group author name appears frequently in your text. The Publication Manual (p. 176) recommends writing out the name of group authors, even if used many times in your text, if the group author name is short or “if the abbreviation would not be readily understandable.”

July 28, 2011

How to Cite the DSM in APA Style

Jeff by Jeff Hume-Pratuch

If you are working in any field that involves human behavior, sooner or later you will need to cite the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Published by the American Psychiatric Association (a.k.a. “the other APA”), the DSM provides a set of common criteria and language for talking about dysfunctions of the mind and emotions.

From the beginning, the DSM has been widely used as a guide by state and federal agencies for the reporting of public health statistics and the fulfillment of legislative mandates, as well as its use as a classification guide for research and clinical psychologists.

The DSM has gone through five revisions since it was first published in 1952, and each of those revisions has included substantial changes in structure and definitions. Some of these have been fairly controversial, such as the attempt to remove the term neurosis from DSM-III and the varying treatment of sexual disorders. A new edition (DSM-5) is in preparation, with a projected release date of May 2013, and major changes have been proposed for it as well.

Because of these changes and their effects on areas as disparate as longitudinal research parameters and health insurance benefits, it’s important to be precise when citing the DSM. Below are some guidelines to use in citing the most recent edition.

Citation Examples

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical 
manual of mental disorders
(4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.

If you used the online edition of the DSM, give the DOI in the reference in the publisher position. Individual chapters and other book parts are also assigned DOIs.

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical
manual of mental disorders
(4th ed., text rev.).
doi:10.1176/appi.books.9780890423349.
American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Appendix I: Outline for
cultural formulation and glossary of culturebound syndromes. In
Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.,
text rev.). doi:10.1176/appi.books.9780890423349.7060

In text, cite the name of the association and the name of the manual in full at the first mention in the text; thereafter, you may refer to the traditional DSM form (italicized) as follows:

DSM–III (1980) 3rd ed.
DSM–III–R (1987) 3rd ed., revised
DSM–IV (1994) 4th ed.
DSM–IV–TR (2000) 4th ed., text rev.

After you have spelled out the name of the manual on first mention in the text, format the parenthetical citation as follows:

(3rd ed.; DSM–III; American Psychiatric Association, 1980)
(3rd ed., rev.; DSM–III–R; American Psychiatric Association, 1987)
(4th ed.; DSM–IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994)
(4th ed., text rev.; DSM–IV–TR; American Psychiatric Association, 2000)

What About DSM-5?

The DSM-5 hasn’t been released yet, but there’s been much discussion of the proposed content. If necessary, refer to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM-5) in text when you cite these discussions. We’ll be back in May 2013 with tips on how to cite the DSM-5 itself, so mark your calendar!

UPDATE: DSM-5 has arrived! Go here for information on how to cite it.

June 16, 2011

Finding (and Using) Page Numbers for Kindle Books

Jeff by Jeff Hume-Pratuch

There’s no question that e-books make up a rapidly increasing segment of the publishing world. Amazon.com’s Kindle dominates this market, with hundreds of thousands of titles available in formats that can be read not only on the Kindle but on millions of iPads, iPhones, Blackberries, and Android devices as well.

Although the Kindle (and other e-book readers) are wonderfully portable, there has been one drawback to their use in research and scholarly writing: no page numbers. Instead, the device presents a number that roughly corresponds to the amount of text you’ve read. This number varies depending on the size of your display and the font settings you use; it has no relation to the pagination of the printed text.


Why Is This a Problem?

APA Style requires a page citation or paragraph number for directly quoted material (see the APA Publication Manual, 6th ed., pp. 170-171) to meet the overall goal of documentation, which is to fully credit your sources and allow your reader to retrieve them. A reader who picks up the same edition of a book you used can quickly turn to the exact source of your quotation. But because the Kindle location number depends on display and font size, readers sent to “Locations 2356-2445” may scroll in vain if they are using a different model or their settings are different from yours.

While the Publication Manual (pp. 170-172) provides some workarounds for citing unpaginated material (as outlined in this post), the only digital documents with real page numbers have been PDFs—until now, that is.


The Solution

In March, Amazon.com announced that the latest Kindle will display page numbers that correspond to those in the printed original of a digital book. If you have a Kindle 3G, you can view these page numbers by pressing the Menu button. The ISBN number of the original book is displayed on its product information page at Amazon.com. These page numbers meet the requirements for citations in APA Style.

Unfortunately, this is not a complete solution. If you have a Kindle 2, KindleDX, or other models, you won’t be able to see the page numbers. Amazon has no immediate plans to make this feature backward compatible, and so far the distributors of other devices (such as the Nook or Sony Reader) have not introduced similar features. However, for the users of the Kindle 3G, this is a great step forward.

March 18, 2011

Citing Paraphrased Work in APA Style

Timothy McAdoo by Timothy McAdoo

As the Publication Manual notes, citing your sources is imperative: “Whether paraphrasing, quoting an author directly, or describing an idea that influenced your work, you must credit the source” (p. 170).

But, we are sometimes asked how a writer can properly and clearly attribute multiple ideas within a paragraph yet maintain a readable and interesting text.

It’s a challenge! If you include a citation only at the end of the paragraph, the reader won’t know how many of the ideas in the previous sentences you are attributing to the cited author. But, including the citation at the end of each sentence, an absolutely clear and correct approach, can become redundant:

     The cross-pollination and fusion of musical genres over the last 2 decades has exposed children to a diversity of musical styles (Viglione, 2010). Technology has also made possible the distribution and sharing of music in exciting new ways (Viglione, 2010). Music is shared through social media sites, analyzed and tailored for the individual listener via sites like Pandora, and simply given away by musicians on their websites (Viglione, 2010). As a result, in the future, children will likely develop eclectic musical tastes early and expect a diversity of musical styles at younger and younger ages (Viglione, 2010).


The paragraph above clearly attributes the work of Viglione (2010), but imagine a 20-page literature review written in this style! Page 16 of the Publication Manual shows an example of how to paraphrase multiple ideas without this redundancy.

Can you rewrite the paragraph above in a way that avoids redundancy but maintains the attribution of all of the ideas? Submit your suggestions in the comments section! There are many ways to improve this paragraph, so we won’t  post a “winner,” but we will follow up with comments and commendations on the suggested rewrites!

February 24, 2011

Books and Book Chapters: What to Cite

 Chelsea blogby Chelsea Lee

After slogging through a 500-page tome, you may find but one or two shiny little facts relevant to your research. It might seem like going overboard to cite the entire book when you used just a paragraph or a chapter . . . so what to cite, then, the chapter or the book? 

The type of reference needed depends on who wrote what. Essentially, you should cite the largest entity that the author in question is responsible for.

Book References

If the author wrote the entire book, then provide a reference for the whole book. Here are templates for print books, electronic books, and books with DOIs (print or electronic), respectively:

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of work. Location: Publisher.
Author, A. A. (Year). Title of work [E-reader version, if applicable]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx
Author, A. A. (Year). Title of work [E-reader version, if applicable]. doi:xxxxx

Book Chapter References

On the other hand, if the chapter comes from a book where each chapter is written by different authors (and the whole thing is put together by an editor), then provide a separate reference for each chapter that you used. The templates for chapters in edited books are shown below, for print books, electronic books, and books with DOIs (either print or electronic), respectively:

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of chapter. In B. B. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (pp. xxx–xxx). Location: Publisher.
Author, A. A. (Year). Title of chapter. In B. B. Editor (Ed.), Title of book [E-reader version, if applicable] (pp. xxx–xxx). Retrieved from http://xxxxx
Author, A. A. (Year). Title of chapter. In B. B. Editor (Ed.), Title of book [E-reader version, if applicable] (pp. xxx–xxx). doi:xxxxx

Here information on both the whole book and the chapter is provided. This allows the reader to retrieve the book and to know who is responsible for both the whole book and the chapter in question. If there are no page numbers in the electronic book, omit that portion of the reference. 

Other Notes

If you read an e-book on an e-reader, such as a Kindle, Sony Reader, or Nook, provide the version that you read (e.g., Kindle DX version) in square brackets following the title, not italicized, as shown in the examples above. 

To help your reader find the cited material, you can provide additional detail (page numbers, chapter numbers, etc.) in the text reference. Always give specific location information (generally, page numbers; here's what to do when there are no page numbers) for direct quotations; it is optional for paraphrasing and other mentions. 

More information and real-life examples are provided in the sixth edition APA Publication Manual, section 7.02 (pp. 202–205).

January 27, 2011

Writing In-Text Citations in APA Style

Chelsea blog by Chelsea Lee

When you use others' ideas in your paper, you should credit them with an in-text citation. Several different systems of citation are in use in various academic communities (such as footnotes and endnotes), but APA Style uses a kind of parenthetical referencing called the author–date system.

Basic In-Text Citation Style

As the name authordate system implies, APA Style in-text citations include the author and date, either both inside parentheses or with the author names in running text and the date in parentheses. Here are two examples: 

  • After the intervention, children increased in the number of books read per week (Smith & Wexwood, 2010). 
  • Smith and Wexwood (2010) reported that after the intervention, children increased in the number of books read per week. 

The "and" in Smith and Wexwood is written as an ampersand (&) inside parentheses and as the word and outside of parentheses, as shown in the examples above.

Multiple In-Text Citations

When multiple studies support what you have to say, you can include multiple citations inside the same set of parentheses. Within parentheses, alphabetize the studies as they would appear in the reference list and separate them by semicolons. In running text, you can address studies in whatever order you wish. Here are two examples: 

  • Studies of reading in childhood have produced mixed results (Albright, Wayne, & Fortinbras, 2004; Gibson, 2011; Smith & Wexwood, 2010). 
  • Smith and Wexwood (2010) reported an increase in the number of books read, whereas Gibson (2011) reported a decrease. Albright, Wayne, and Fortinbras (2004) found no significant results. 

Dealing With Missing Information

Sometimes the author and/or date are not immediately obvious, but a bit of citation sleuthing will bring them to light. Here are some tips on determining authorship and on figuring out dates.

However, sometimes one or both of these elements are truly missing. The table below shows what substitutions to make for in-text citations if that happens. 

What information do you have? Solution Position A Position B
I have both author and date n/a Author surname(s) year
Author is missing Substitute the title for the author name Title of Book or "Title of Article" year
Date is missing Use "n.d." for "no date" Author surname(s) n.d.
Author and date are both missing Combine solutions for author and date being missing Title of Book or "Title of Article" n.d.

Note. Titles of books and reports are italicized in in-text citations, and titles of articles and other documents are put in quotation marks. Capitalize the important words (see section 4.15 in the 6th ed. Publication Manual, pp. 101102) in titles in the text.

Pencils 3 Important Tips and Further Reading

Don’t forget that when you cite a direct quotation you should include a page number (here is what to do if there are no page numbers). You may include page numbers for paraphrases if you think it would aid the reader (such as when you use only a portion of a large book), but this is not required.

Note that the only types of citations that do not follow the authordate system are legal references, references to classical works like the Bible and the Qur'an, and personal communications

For further reading on this topic, see the sixth edition Publication Manual section “Citing References in Text” (pp. 174179). The table “Basic Citation Styles” (Table 6.1 on p. 177) offers many examples of how to cite various numbers and types of authors. 

December 02, 2010

Citations Within Quotations

Timothy McAdoo by Timothy McAdoo

Sometimes when you are quoting from another source, the text you want to quote will include citations. You might wonder (a) whether you should keep these citations in the quote and (b) whether you should include references for the citations. The short answers are (a) yes and (b) no (see p. 173 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association).

For example, let’s say you want to quote from the highlighted section of this article, written by Flynn in 2010.
Flynn.quote
In your own paper, you might write

As Flynn (2010) noted, “two phobias, fear of snakes and fear of flying, are particularly difficult to test in combination (Jackson, 2006) because many participants quickly become agitated” (p. 3).

Because you are relying on Flynn’s (2010) study, your reference list should include Flynn (2010), but it need not include Jackson (2006). You should include a Jackson (2006) reference only if you cite that work as a primary source elsewhere in your paper.

May 20, 2010

Secondary Sources (aka How to Cite a Source You Found in Another Source)


Timothy.mcadoo by Timothy McAdoo

You’ve probably heard that you should avoid secondary sources when possible. It’s true—if you find great information being quoted or paraphrased somewhere, it’s well worth your effort to track down the original source so you can read it for yourself and therefore cite it directly.

But why track down the original when you already have the quotes?

First, by reading the full text of the original source, you can verify that the context of the quote supports the point you want to make. You don’t want to be surprised by an informed reader who tells you that the original source actually contradicts your points—especially if that informed reader is your professor!  

Second, by finding and reading the original source, you will become better informed about your research topic. To a reader familiar with the research in your topic area, the citations in your paper are one indication of whether you have a firm understanding of the subject and of the relevant research. By contrast, if you’ve cited secondary sources for ideas or quotations that you could have obtained easily (or relatively so), you may give the impression that your research was hasty or superficial.

If your primary source is an archival document (e.g., a diary, limited-circulation brochure or pamphlet, unpublished manuscript), see Section 7.10 of the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.) for citation and reference guidelines and examples.  

So when are secondary sources appropriate?

It’s okay to cite a secondary source when you’ve exhausted the options for finding the original work.

For example, an out-of-print work may be impossible for you to find but could still be quoted in recent work by other authors. Or perhaps the paper you’re reading has cited a personal correspondence. You obviously can’t cite the original source directly in that case, so the secondary source is appropriate.

And of course there are those cases when an author takes a complex topic and puts it in layman’s terms. Citing this type of secondary source, where the extra level of analysis is much the point, may also be appropriate.

How is it done?

In your reference list, provide a reference for the source you read. This is known as the secondary source because it is one step removed from the original source of the idea or quotation. In your text, name the original work and provide the citation for the secondary source.

Let’s look at an example:

In his e-mails, Smith argued that asynchronous line dancing would be the next Internet meme (as cited in Jones, 2010).



Jones (2010) would be the reference you include in your reference list. Also, note that by mentioning the original format of the information (in this case a series of e-mail messages), you not only specify that this is a secondary source but also give the reader an indication of why that’s the case. Although it’s not a requirement, mentioning the original format answers this potential question for the reader so he or she can focus on the content!

Have any questions about citing secondary sources? Feel free to leave us comments. What kinds of secondary sources have you used?

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