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July 03, 2013

The Rules for Federal Regulations: I. The Code of Federal Regulations





by Melissa

Do you follow the rules? Rules that regulate psychological research, patient treatment, and everyday human and organizational behavior are written by federal agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education.

Here’s what you need to know to follow the APA Style rules for federal regulations. Flag.image

The Code of Federal Regulations is the primary source for federal regulations. This post covers regulations drawn from that code. Our next post will cover regulations drawn from the Federal Register.

Reference Elements
Here are the basic elements of an APA Style reference for a regulation drawn from the Code of Federal Regulations.

  1. Name of the regulation. Start the reference with the name of the regulation if the regulation is commonly identified by its name. You can include the abbreviated name of the agency that issued the regulation as part of the name (e.g., FDA Prescription Drug Advertising Rule).
  2. Title number. The Code of Federal Regulations is divided into numbered titles. Include that number in the reference. If the reference doesn’t begin with the regulation’s name, then the title number is the first element of the reference.
  3. Abbreviated name of the source. Use the abbreviation C.F.R. for the Code of Federal Regulations.
  4. Section number. For a single section number, use the section symbol (§) and the section number in the reference. For a range of section numbers, use a doubled section symbol (§§) before the numbers and separate the numbers with an en dash.
  5. Date. End the reference with the edition year of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Reference Formats
The basic reference formats for the Code of Federal Regulations appear below. Use the first format for named regulations, and use the second format for unnamed regulations.

Name, Title number Source § xxx (Year).

Title number Source § xxx (Year).

Here are reference examples from the Code of Federal Regulations:

Financial Assistance to Individuals, 45 C.F.R. § 234 (2012).

7 C.F.R. § 319 (2000).

In-Text Citation Formats

Named regulations. The in-text citation format for a named regulation follows the standard name–date format used in APA Style. Here’s the format and a sample citation:

Name (Year) or (Name, Year)

Financial Assistance to Individuals (2012) or (Financial Assistance to Individuals, 2012)

If the name is particularly long, you can shorten it, provided that the shortened name clearly identifies the appropriate reference list entry.

Unnamed regulations. The in-text citation format for unnamed regulations and a sample citation are below.

Title number Source § xxx (Year) or (Title number Source § xxx, Year)

7 C.F.R. § 319 (2000) or (7 C.F.R. § 319, 2000)

To learn more about citing federal regulations, consult section A7.06 (pp. 223–224) of the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual or consult the most recent edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.



For seventh edition guidelines, visit the seventh edition APA Style blog.

This search includes only sixth edition blog archive results:


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