May 30, 2019

The Relation of Tables and Figures With Text

David Becker




By David Becker

It’s time for some relationship advice! No, I’m not talking about romantic relationships. APA Style doesn’t cover that sort of thing (although, we do suggest that you never use et al. when writing to your one true love). But, the Publication Manual, Sixth Edition does cover the relationship between tables and figures and the text, including how to discuss and cite them.

Discussing Tables and Figures in Text

Figures in a Paper

In my last post on what qualifies as tables and figures in APA Style, I mentioned that these graphical displays are useful for presenting information that would be difficult to interpret if described in narrative format, such as large amounts of numerical data. However, some APA Style users incorrectly duplicate data both in text and in a table or a figure. In 2010, Onwuegbuzie, Combs, Slate, and Frels identified “improperly prepared tables and figures,” which includes “repeating information in the text” (p. xii), as the sixth most common APA Style error.

The Publication Manual states that effective tables and figures supplement or augment the text rather than duplicate it (see pp. 130 and 152). This does not mean that there can’t be any overlap between tables, figures, and the text. In fact, the Publication Manual stresses that key pieces of information from a table or a figure can also be highlighted in the text.

Meta-analyses nicely illustrate the relation between visual displays of data and the main text. They often contain tables and figures (e.g., forest plots) that summarize data from multiple studies, including sample sizes, effect sizes, standard deviations, statistical significance, and so forth. These data give readers important contextual information about the studies. Presenting them in tables and/or figures makes the data much easier to digest than if they were described in narrative format. In the text, authors can then highlight and analyze specific data that stand out from the rest, such as pointing out that one study found a much greater effect for a given treatment approach than any other study and explaining why that might be the case.

Citing Tables and Figures in Text

When citing a table or a figure in text, refer to it by its number, such as “Table 3” or “Figure 2.” Do not refer to it by its position relative to the text (e.g., “the figure below”) or its page number (e.g., “the table on page 12”); these will change when your paper is typeset, assuming you are writing a draft manuscript that will eventually be published.

The APA Style guidelines in the Publication Manual were written with draft journal articles in mind, so they do not address how to cite figures and tables in other contexts, such as books and dissertations that are divided into chapters. Even so, these guidelines can be adapted to meet your needs (e.g., if you are writing a dissertation, follow your school’s dissertation guidelines).

Reference

Onwuegbuzie, A. J., Combs, J. P., Slate, J. R., & Frels, R. K. (2010). Editorial: Evidence-based guidelines for avoiding the most common APA errors in journal article submissions. Research in the Schools, 16(2), ix–xxxvi. Retrieved from http://www.msera.org/docs/RITS_16_2_APAErrors6th.pdf

March 04, 2019

What Qualifies as a Table or a Figure in APA Style?

David Becker




By David Becker

A common issue I encounter as a book editor is when an author labels something as a table or a figure that doesn’t qualify as either. Often, it’s just a numbered list or a bulleted list inside a text box, which should be presented in the main body of the paper, as described on pages 63–65 in the Publication Manual, Sixth Edition. Simply surrounding a block of text with four borders is not enough to make it a figure or a table. But, that raises the question: What does qualify as a figure or a table in APA Style?

What are figures and tables

There are some basic structural criteria to consider first. Regarding tables, the Publication Manual states that they are “arranged in an orderly display of columns and rows” (p. 125). Note that columns and rows are pluralized, meaning that more than one of each of these elements are necessary for something to be considered a table. A text box consisting of one row and one column is therefore not a table in APA Style.

Figures generally follow one simple rule: They need to contain some form of nontextual, visual element (bullet points or other basic symbols don’t count). A flow chart, for instance, may contain textual information, but it is organized in a visually distinct manner from normal text, using a series of lines and text boxes or bubbles. As another example, Figure 8.1 on page 232 in the Publication Manual presents a sample cover letter. Although this figure contains only text, the letter follows a different structure and format than the surrounding text, so there is still some basic visual element that makes it a figure.

It’s also important to consider the purpose of figures and tables, which is to present information in a way that cannot adequately be conveyed through a simple textual description. For instance, trying to describe lots of numerical data in narrative format often results in dense prose that can be difficult for readers to interpret. Presenting these data in a table or a figure makes them easier to understand.

On the other hand, if you want to highlight only a few simple pieces of information, presenting them in a graphical format might be overcomplicating matters. Even a small figure or table can take up a lot of space compared to a sentence or two and can unnecessarily interrupt the flow of a paper. If the content is easy to explain in narrative format, or if readers can easily understand it without a visual aid, then presenting it in the text may be preferable to creating a table or a figure (see, for instance, the sample text at the top of p. 127 in the Publication Manual). After all, being concise is important in scholarly writing, and a couple sentences are certainly more concise than a table or a figure.

For further advice, read our posts on constructing tables and figures.

December 10, 2018

How to Cite Instagram in APA Style

Instagram heart TMcAdoo-smby Timothy McAdoo

We’ve joined Instagram! Follow us for APA Style tips, FAQs, and maybe even some contests! https://instagram.com/officialapastyle

How do you cite Instagram? Whether you're citing a photo, a video, a profile page, or a highlight, just include the following in your reference:

  • who (name and Instagram username),
  • when (date posted),
  • what (the caption, highlight title, or profile page title), and
  • where (URL).

Elements of a Reference to an Instagram Photo or Video
Instagram post annotated to show APA Style elements
Example References to Instagram Photos or Videos

APA Style [@officialapastyle]. (2018, December 5). Welcome to the official Instagram for #APAStyle! We’re here to help you with your APA Style questions [Instagram photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq-A-dvBLiH/
Fox, M. J. [@realmikejfox]. (2018, June 5). It takes < than a min to learn how to save a life. Watch the video at handsonly.nyc #ICanSaveALife with #HandsOnlyCPR [Instagram photo]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/BjppDLDBxRF/
Public Interest Directorate [@apapubint]. (2018, May 12). Happy Mother’s Day!! “It is important for the son to have a close relationship with his mother while he is [Instagram video]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/BirIQFnnmzd/
  • in-text citations: (APA Style, 2018; Fox, 2018; Public Interest Directorate, 2018)

The Instagram username can be seen with the post. But, for the individual's surname and initials or for the official name of a brand or organization, you'll need to consult the profile page (by clicking the profile image).

Instagram date description showing hover text that provides the exact dateInclude the exact date of a post, as shown in the examples above. Instagram automatically shows the exact date for posts that are more than 1 week old. Very recent posts will give a description of the date (e.g., “1 day ago”); however, your reference should include the exact date. If viewing the post on a computer, rather than a mobile device, you can hover over the description to see the exact date.

Per our guidelines for citing other types of social media, include only the first 40 words of a caption.

 

Elements of a Reference to an Instagram Profile

Instagram profile page annotated to show APA Style elements

Example References for Instagram Profile Pages

Because profile pages are not dated, use "n.d." in the reference. Use “Posts” as the title.

APA Style [@officialapastyle]. (n.d.). Posts [Instagram profile]. Retrieved December 10, 2018, from https://www.instagram.com/officialapastyle
Star Wars [@starwars]. (n.d.). Posts [Instagram profile]. Retrieved December 10, 2018, from https://www.instagram.com/starwars/
  • in-text citations: (APA Style, n.d.; Star Wars, n.d.)

“Posts” is the default state of an Instagram profile page, but use “IGTV,” “Tagged,” “Followers,” or “Following” if you intend to cite those versions of the profile page.

Swift, T. [@taylorswift]. (n.d.). Tagged [Instagram profile]. Retrieved December 10, 2018, from https://www.instagram.com/taylorswift/tagged
  • in-text citations: (Swift, n.d.)

Elements of a Reference to an Instagram Highlight

Ig highlight annotated7

Example References for Instagram Highlights

Although each story within the highlight is dated, the highlight itself is not dated, so use "n.d." in the reference. Because the highlight can be changed at any time, with content added or removed, include the retrieval date with the URL:

APA Style [@officialapastyle]. (n.d.). FAQs [Instagram highlight]. Retrieved December 10, 2018, from https://www.instagram.com/s/aGlnaGxpZ2h0OjE3OTc2ODkwNTk5MTc5MTY1/
  • in-text citations: (APA Style, n.d.)

 

In-Text Citations

As can be seen in the examples above, in-text citations for Instagram (and other social media sources) match the surname or organizational name of the author as shown in the reference, but they do not include the username. This allows the in-text citations to match the references but also to be grouped with other in-text citations for works by the same author(s).

"...to learn CPR (Fox, 2017a, 2017b, 2018)."

"...from the American Psychological Association (APA Style, n.d., 2018; Public Interest Directorate, 2018)."

 

Hashtags

Hashtags may appear in the caption (and thus in your reference; see first example above). But, to discuss hashtags more generally, describe them in the text of your paper. For more, see our post on citing hashtags in APA Style.

Note: This post was edited after initial posting to update the highlight and profile references, which should include the retrieval date.

October 24, 2018

Mastering APA Style

Do you teach students about APA Style guidelines? APA has two instructional aids that can help you get started.

4210005-475Mastering APA Style: Instructor’s Resource Guide (6th ed.) "contains eight multiple-choice assessment surveys, correction keys, and answer sheets, along with informative instructions on how to incorporate this material into a curriculum." This guide is "designed to help improve students' understanding and use of APA Style before they begin writing term papers and research reports, allowing instructors in academic settings to concentrate more on course material and less on correcting style errors in students' papers."

 

 

4210006-475_tcm11-76755Mastering APA Style: Student's Workbook and Training Guide (6th ed.) "is a self-pacing, self-teaching workbook that can be used to learn APA Style quickly and effectively." This training guide includes "instructional exercises and practice tests on various aspects and features of the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, including electronic references and citations, grammar, headings, italics and capitalization, numbers style, and table formatting."

 

 

You can order these and other APA Style products for your library or classroom.

If you are college faculty seeking an examination or desk copy, information can be found on our website.

September 25, 2018

How to Cite a Government Report in APA Style

Chelsea blog 2by Chelsea Lee

The basic citation for a government report follows the authordatetitlesource format of APA Style references. Here is a template:

Reference list:

Government Author. (year). Title of report: Subtitle of report if applicable (Report No. 123). Retrieved from http://xxxxx

In text:

(Government Author, year)

 

Note that the report number may not be present, or, when present, the wording may vary. Follow the wording shown on your report to write your reference (see how the wording is adjusted for the National Cancer Institute example later in this post).

Who Is the Author of a Government Report?

Most of the time the government department or agency is used as the author for an APA Style government report reference. Sometimes individual people are also credited as having written the report; however, their names do not appear in the APA Style reference unless their names also appear on the cover of the report (vs. within the report somewhere, such as on an acknowledgments page). So again, the name(s) on the cover or title page go in the reference, for reasons of retrievability, and most of the time, it is the name of the agency. 

Reference list (recommended format):

National Cancer Institute. (2016). Taking part in cancer treatment research studies (Publication No. 16-6249). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/CRS.pdf

In text (recommended format):

(National Cancer Institute, 2016)

How Many Layers of Government Agencies Should Be Listed?

Government agencies frequently list the full hierarchy of departments on their reports. As anyone familiar with bureaucracy knows, this can add up to a lot of layers. For example, the author of the National Cancer Institute report in the example above might be fully written out as follows:

Reference list (long form, correct but not recommended):

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. (2016). Taking part in cancer treatment research studies (Publication No. 16-6249). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/CRS.pdf

In text (long form, correct but not recommended):

(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 2016)

You might notice that this author name is rather lengthy! Listing the full hierarchy of agencies as shown on the report in question (from largest to smallest) is correct; however, it is also correct to list the most specific responsible agency only (in this case, the National Cancer Institute).

We recommend the shorter, more specific format for a few reasons.

  • Our users have expressed to us that this shorter name form makes it easier to write references and in-text citations.
  • The shorter form makes it easier for readers to differentiate between reports authored by a variety of agencies. Imagine, for example, a paper containing many government reports; the citations and references could quickly overwhelm the text if the long form were used.

However, if using only the most specific responsible agency would cause confusion (e.g., if you are citing institutes with the same name from two countries, such as the United States and Canada), then include the parent agencies in the author element to differentiate them.

How Does the In-Text Citation Correspond to the Reference List Entry?

Ensure that the name of the government author you use in the in-text citation matches the name of the author in the reference list entry exactly. Do not use the long form in one spot and the short form in the other. An exception is that you can introduce an abbreviation for the government agency in the text if you will be referring to it frequently. Read this blog post to learn how to abbreviate group author names.

Washington-dc-skyline-poster-vector-id497540078

September 19, 2018

How to Cite Edition, Volume, and Page Numbers for Books

David Becker



By David Becker

Are you trying to create a reference for the second edition of a multivolume handbook but aren’t sure where or how to include the edition, volume, and page numbers? This is a frequent conundrum that APA Style users have brought to our attention. Their most common question is whether these numbers should be presented together or within separate parentheses.

When citing a chapter, the edition number, the volume number (which is different from a journal’s volume number), and the page range are all enclosed within the same parentheses—in that order—after the title of the book, and they are separated by commas. In a reference to a whole book, cite the edition and volume numbers—separated by a comma—but do not cite a page range.

Here are some templates for citing print versions of books that include edition and volume numbers:

Chapter in an Edited Book

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of chapter. In C. C. Editor & D. D. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (xx ed., Vol. xx, pp. xxx–xxx). Location: Publisher.

Authored Book

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of book (xx ed., Vol. xx). Location: Publisher.

Edited Book

Editor, E. E. (Ed.). (Year). Title of book (xx ed., Vol. xx). Location: Publisher.

Entire books and individual chapters are sometimes assigned their own unique digital object identifiers (DOIs). If the book or chapter you are citing lists a DOI, include it at the end of your reference in place of the publisher information, without a period.

Cite the edition of the book you used. If there aren’t multiple editions of the book, or if it isn’t a multivolume work, then do not include this information in your reference.

Here are a few sample references to chapters in edited books with parenthetical edition, volume, and/or page numbers:

Hamilton, R. B., & Newman, J. P. (2018). The response modulation hypothesis: Formulation, development, and implications for psychopathy. In C. J. Patrick (Ed.), Handbook of psychopathy (2nd ed., pp. 80–93). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Slee, R. (2014). Inclusive schooling as an apprenticeship in democracy? In L. Florian (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of special education (2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 217–229). London, England: SAGE Publications.

Tetrick, L. E., & Peiró, J. M. (2012). Occupational safety and health. In S. W. J. Kozlowksi (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of organizational psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 1228–1244). https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199928286.013.0036

Some publishers title each volume of a multivolume work. In this case, include the volume number within the title when constructing your reference instead of citing it parenthetically. Here is an example reference to a volume with its own title (see also Example 24 on page 204 in the sixth edition of Publication Manual):

Wyer, M. (2018). In the company of feminist science. In C. B. Travis, J. W. White, S. L. Cook, & K. F. Wyche (Eds.), APA handbook of the psychology of women: Vol. 2. Perspectives on women’s private and public lives (pp. 459–474). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000060-025

In APA Style, individual chapters from authored books are not cited in the reference list. We recommend citing the whole book instead. Then, you can cite specific chapters in text as needed.

When citing an entire multivolume work, include the full range of volumes in parentheses. If the volumes were published on different dates, cite the range of years as the publication date.

Here are some sample references to whole books:

Haight, J. M. (Ed.). (2012). The safety professionals handbook: Vol 1. Management applications (2nd ed.). Park Ridge, IL: American Society of Safety Engineers.

Kanegsberg, B., & Kanegsberg, E. (Eds.). (2011). Handbook for critical cleaning (2nd ed., Vols. 1–2). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Travis, C. B., White, J. W., Cook, S. L., & Wyche, K. F. (Eds.). (2018). APA handbook of the psychology of women: Vol. 2. Perspectives on women’s private and public lives. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000060-000

Wypych, G. (2017). Handbook of odors in plastic materials (2nd ed.). Toronto, Canada: ChemTec Publishing.

If you have any additional questions about citing edition, volume, and page numbers, or about any other APA Style issue, feel free to email us at StyleExpert@apa.org.

Book Volumes

September 03, 2018

How to Quote a Foreign-Language Source and Its Translation

 Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

 Dear Style Expert,

How do I format quotations from books or articles written in a foreign language? Do I have to present the quotation in both the original language and in translation, or do I present only a translation? What do the citation and reference list entries look like? Help me, please!

Dear reader,

When you want to quote a source from a language that is different from the language you are writing in, you have the choice of presenting

  • your own translation of the quotation (without the foreign language) or
  • both the original passage in the foreign language and your translation.

Either choice is acceptable. You might choose to present both languages if you want to draw attention to how something was said in the foreign language (e.g., if you are conducting a linguistic analysis or a qualitative study), especially if you expect your readers to be multilingual. Otherwise, presenting just the translation is fine.

Previously on the blog we have addressed how to present your own translation (without the foreign language) of a quotation from a published source, such as a book or journal article.

If you want to present a quotation in both a foreign language and in translation, place the foreign-language quotation in quotation marks if it is less than 40 words long and in a block quotation without quotation marks if it is 40 words or more. After the foreign-language quotation, place an English translation of the quotation in square brackets. Then add the citation for the quotation.

Here is an example:

In text:

Research has addressed that “Les jeunes qui terminent un placement à l’âge de la majorité dans le cadre du système de protection de la jeunesse sont plus vulnérables” [Youth who finish a placement at the age of majority in the framework of the youth protection system are more vulnerable] (Bussières, St-Germain, Dubé, & Richard, 2017, p. 354).

In the reference list, translate the title of the foreign-language work into the language you are writing in (here, that’s English). Otherwise, the details of the foreign-language source should stay as they were published, to aid in retrievability. Note for this example that Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne is a bilingual journal that is published with a bilingual title; if the journal title were only in French it would not be necessary to translate it in the reference.

Reference list:

Bussières, E.-L., St-Germain, A., Dubé, M., & Richard, M.-C. (2017). Efficacité et efficience des programmes de transition à la vie adulte: Une revue systématique [Effectiveness and efficiency of adult transition programs: A systematic review]. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne, 58, 354–365. https://doi.org/10.1037/cap0000104 

Other Questions?

If your quotation is from a research participant rather than a published source, please see our posts on that topic:

Do you have other foreign-language quotation questions? Leave a comment below.

Language signs

August 28, 2018

Best of the APA Style Blog: 2018 Edition

70869049Each fall we put together a “best of” post to highlight blog posts and apastyle.org pages that we think are helpful both for new students and to those who are familiar with APA Style. You can get the full story in our sixth edition Publication Manual (also available as an e-book) and our APA Style Guide to Electronic References, in addition to the pages linked below.

Getting Started

What is APA Style? 
Why is APA Style needed? 
Basics of APA Style Tutorial (free) 
FAQs about APA Style

Sample Papers

Sample Paper 1 
Sample Paper 2
Sample meta-analysis paper 
Sample published APA article

APA Style Basics Principles

How in-text citations work 
How reference list entries work 
What's the difference between references and citations? 
How to handle missing information 
How to find the best example you need
   in the Publication Manual
"Cite what you see, cite what you use" 
How to avoid plagiarism

Grammar and spelling

The use of singular "they"
Punctuation Junction
 (what happens when punctuation marks collide)
Use of first person
Spelling tips 
Grammar tips

Student and Researcher Resources

Line spacing recommendations for each part of an APA Style paper
How to format your CV or resume
Citing a class or lecture
School intranet or Canvas/Blackboard class website materials
Classroom course packs and custom textbooks 
Quoting and discussing research participant data
Reference lists versus bibliographies 
MLA versus APA Style (in-text citations and the reference list)
Student Research Webinars From APA and Psi Chi
Updated APA Style JARS: Advancing Psychological Research

References to Electronic Resources

Website references and in-text citations to websites
Citing multiple pages from the same website
E-books
Mobile apps
Social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Google+) pages and posts
Hashtags
Blog posts and blog comments 
Online-only journal articles
YouTube videos and TED Talks 
Software
New DOI display guidelines

Copyright

Understanding copyright status
Determining whether permission is needed to reproduce a table or figure
Securing permission
Writing the copyright permission statement for reproduced tables and figures
Attributing data in tables

Other “How-To” Citation Help

Translated sources (vs. your own translation)
Secondary sources (sources you found in another source) and why to avoid them
illustrators and illustrated books
Interviews
Legal references 
Paraphrased work

Paper Formatting

Direct quotes and Block quotations
Paraphrasing
Capitalization
Fonts
Headings 
Lists (letterednumbered, or bulleted
Margins
Running heads
Spelling
Numbers

Statistics
Keywords (vs. key terms)
Hyperlink formatting

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August 06, 2018

Never Space Out on Line Spacing Again

Chelsea blog 2by Chelsea Lee

Feeling spacey on how to line space your APA Style paper? Follow this handy guide to never have line spacing questions again.

 

 

Line Spacing Recommendations for APA Style

Element

Spacing

Note

Title page

Double

 

Abstract

Double

 

Text

Double

 

Footnotes (at bottom of page)

Single

Use the default settings for footnotes in your word-processing program (in Microsoft Word and APA Style CENTRAL this is single spacing)

References

Double

Double space within references and between references

Table body

Single, 1.5, or double

Spacing inside the cells of a table can be adjusted to best present your data

Table title, number, and note

Double

Double space the table number and title above the table body as well as any table note below the table

Figure (any text in the image)

Single, 1.5, or double

Spacing of any text in an image can be adjusted to best present your information

Figure caption

Double

Double space the figure caption below the figure image

Appendices

Double

 

Displayed equations (on their own line)

Triple or quadruple

This means to add one or two extra blank lines above or below the equation

When to Add Extra Lines

In general, it is not necessary to add extra blank lines to an APA Style paper (an exception is around displayed equations, where you can add one or two blank lines before and/or after the equation to make it more visible to the reader).

If your tables and figures are embedded within the text, rather than displayed on their own pages after the reference list, then you can also add an extra blank line above and/or below the table or figure to visually separate it from any text on the same page.  It is not usually necessary to add lines to avoid widowed or orphaned headings (meaning headings at the bottom of a page; though ask your professor to be sure if you are concerned about typesetting, such as with a dissertation).

Other Sections

The default line spacing recommendation for APA Style is to use double-spacing throughout a paper. If your paper requires a section not addressed in this post or in the Publication Manual, then we recommend you use double spacing unless you have been instructed otherwise. For example, if your dissertation or thesis requires a table of contents (including lists of tables and figures), then we recommend that you generate it using an automatic table of contents function (such as the one in Microsoft Word). The default spacing of the table of contents function is acceptable, as is changing the spacing of the table of contents to double if desired.  

 

Line spacing

July 16, 2018

How to Quote Research Participants in Translation

Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

Dear Style Expert,

How do I format quotations from research participants who I interviewed as part of my work when those quotations are in a foreign language? Do I have to present the quotation in both the original language and in translation, or do I present only the original or only a translation? How do I cite these quotes? Help me, please!

 

Dear reader,

Before we dig into the foreign-language aspects of this question, read the blog post on how to discuss research participant data in general, including how to present participant quotations that do not require translation and how to assign pseudonyms to participants. That post also explains the rationale for why research participant quotations do not have typical APA Style citations and reference list entries.

Now, presenting a research participant quotation that was originally in a foreign language is largely the same as presenting a quotation that does not require translation. You have the option of presenting just a translation of the quotation or of presenting both the original and the translation. You might choose to present both languages if you want to draw attention to how something was said in the foreign language (e.g., if you are conducting a linguistic analysis or a qualitative study), especially if your readers are multilingual. Otherwise, presenting just the translation is fine. We do not recommend presenting the original without a translation, as your readers might not understand it!

Presenting Quotations in Two Languages

If you want to present a research participant’s quotation in both a foreign language and in translation, the method of doing so is largely the same as for foreign-language quotations from published sources: Place quotations of less than 40 words in quotation marks, and place quotations of 40 words or more in a block quotation. After the foreign-language quotation, place an English translation of the quotation in square brackets. However, there is no citation per se, for two reasons: because it is unethical to report personally identifying information about participants and because you do not need to cite your own research in the paper in which you are first reporting it.

Rather than cite the participant’s quotation, you should attribute the quotation to a pseudonym in the text; there is no reference list entry. Here are two examples:

Short quotation in translation:

Participant M said, “Estoy muy satisfecho con mi vida ahora que tengo hijos” [“I am very satisfied with my life now that I have children”].

Long quotation in translation:

Participant M continued,

Convertirse en madre me hizo sentir como un adulto, más que graduarme de la universidad, conseguir un trabajo, o vivir solo. Ahora entiendo mi propósito mejor. Estoy más centrado y motivado. Al mismo tiempo, entiendo que mi elección no es para todos. [Becoming a mother made me feel like an adult, even more than graduating from college, getting a job, or living by myself. Now I understand my purpose better. I am more focused and motivated. At the same time, I understand that my choice is not for everyone.]

Presenting Quotations Only in Translation

If you want to present a participant’s quotation only in translation, follow the method shown in the post on discussing research participant data: Present quotations of fewer than 40 words in quotation marks and quotations of 40 words or more in a block quotation, and attribute the quotation to a pseudonym.  

Although the quotation is technically a paraphrase because it is a translation, retain the quotation marks/block quotation format because the quotation represents speech. Then, indicate that the quotation is a translation. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. If your paper contains only a few translated participant quotations, note the translation in square brackets after each quotation. If your paper contains many translated participant quotations, state only once that you have translated all such quotations. You can explain this in the regular text or via a footnote. You can use any wording you like to indicate that you have done the translation yourself.

One translation noted in square brackets:

Participant B remarked, “My physical therapist helped me to regain my strength in not only my muscles but in my heart” [my translation from German].

All translations explained at once in the narrative: 

In this paper, I have translated all quotations from French into English. Participant A said, “My social anxiety made it difficult for me to function in the university environment.”

Other Questions?

If your quotation is from a published source rather than a research participant, please see our posts on that topic:

Do you have other foreign-language quotation questions? Leave a comment below.

six stick figure people say "hello" in various languages

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