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4 posts from February 2011

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).

February 17, 2011

What’s a Reference List For?

by Jeff Hume-Pratuch

.rev3 Sometimes APA Style is less about the minutiae of citation and more about the big picture. For example, recently we heard from some students who wanted to know why everything in the reference list had to be cited in the text. They argued that they had read many more books than they could cite and felt that they were not getting full credit for their work.

The APA Publication Manual (6th ed.) says, "Each reference cited in text must appear in the reference list, and each entry in the reference list must be cited in text" (p. 174). To understand this rule, we have to consider the big picture: What’s a reference list for, anyway?

For many students, the purpose of the reference list is to prove that they completed the assignment. They were assigned a research topic; they researched the heck out of it; and the reference list is there to demonstrate their hard work.

In the scholarly disciplines that use the APA Style of author–date citation, however, the purpose of the reference list is twofold: (a) It allows the author to credit the work of others that directly influenced the present work and document any facts that are not common knowledge; and (b) it gives interested readers the information necessary to identify and retrieve those sources. Thus, there is no reason to include uncited sources in the reference list.

Other documentation systems, such as those based on the Chicago Manual of Style, use a bibliography rather than a reference list. A bibliography can be more expansive, covering works that were consulted by the author or recommended for the reader but not cited in the text itself.
If you're writing in APA Style, however, that kind of bibliography is not an option. Keep those extra sources in mind for your next paper, and remember: Cite what you use, use what you cite.

February 10, 2011

Changes Parentheses Bring




by Stefanie

As Valentine’s Day approaches, it seems to be a good time to note that context changes all sorts of things. A dinner out is suddenly laden with romantic overtones if the evening is that of February 14, and expectations for what might be in the tiny jewelry box offered at the end of the meal are sky high.

Are you sweating yet? Well, wipe your forehead and take a deep breath. Here we’re going to discuss some changes in style that occur within parentheses in academic writing that are, according to Onwuegbuzie, Combs, Slate, and Frels (2010), a source of confusion. Just as 24 hours in the middle of February usher in a change in expectations, so do parentheses. But in the case of parentheses, the changes revolve around keeping the message short (sweet would just be a bonus).

Parentheses typically enclose extra information: either citations, which provide source details readers may or may not need or act on, or an extra thought or illustrative idea that did not warrant full elaboration in the text. As helpful as information in parentheses can be, it also is an interruption to the regular text, so keeping it to the point is ideal.

To that end, here are some things that should be done in parentheses that should not be done in regular text:

  • Use an ampersand (&) in place of and in citations (and only in citations). For example, a citation for Solo and Skywalker (1977) in text would be (Solo & Skywalker, 1977) in parentheses.
  • What would be versus in text is abbreviated vs. in parentheses (e.g., the relative heights of jawas vs. ewoks), unless one is referring to court cases, in which versus is abbreviated v. (e.g., the unlawful imprisonment suit of Organa v. The Empire).
  • Other standard Latin abbreviations should also be used in parentheses rather than written out:

    e.g. for for example (e.g., the Imperial traffic stop failed to apprehend the runaway droids)
    i.e. for that is (i.e., those were the droids they were looking for)
    viz. for namely (viz., C-3PO and R2-D2)
    cf. for compare (cf. the successful apprehension of rebels during the Cloud City mission)
    etc. for and so forth (Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa, C-3PO, etc.)

Please note in the examples that commas are used with Latin abbreviations where they logically would go if the phrases were written out. To help, here is a handy printable guide to Latin phrases.

February 04, 2011

Et al.: When and How?

Paige-for-web-site 75x75 by Paige Jackson
This week, we continue on down the list of frequent APA Style stumbling blocks compiled by Dr. Anthony Onwuegbuzie and colleagues (Onwuegbuzie, Combs, Slate, & Frels, 2010).  These authors contributed a recent guest post to our blog, and this is our third follow-up post on specific common errors.

Third on the list is the usage of et al.  Given the level of detail in these style rules, it’s no surprise that many find them challenging.  Here are three common errors:

1. Writers sometimes use the surname of the first author followed by et al. at the first mention of a work that has three, four, or five authors.  Only when a work has six or more authors should the first in-text citation consist of the first author followed by et al.  With five or fewer authors, all the author surnames should be spelled out at first mention.
2. Writers also make the opposite error by including all author surnames when et al. should be used instead.  Once an in-text citation has been mentioned one time, all subsequent citations to a work with three or more authors should consist of the surname of the first author followed by et al. 
3. Many writers use et al. correctly in terms of context but make italicization or punctuation errors.  I have italicized et al. in this post because it’s a linguistic example (see section 4.21, p. 105).  However, it should not be italicized when you are using it as part of a reference.  We also see et al without the period at the end.  Because et al. is short for et alii (Latin for “and others”), the second word is actually an abbreviation and as such takes a period.

See the APA Publication Manual, section 6.12 (p. 175) for a handy table illustrating this usage.

We hope this clears up some misconceptions.  Let us know if there are some we’ve missed.

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.

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