How Do I Cite a Search in APA Style?
by Jeff Hume-Pratuch
Q: In my paper I am writing about a Google search that I performed and the resulting number of websites on a specific topic. Do I need to cite this source in my reference list?
A: No, but thanks for stopping by!
Slightly Longer A: A search is not a source of information; it’s part of your research methodology. Describe it in the Method section of your paper and acknowledge the tools that you used (e.g., Google, Web of Science, PsycINFO). Don’t cite it in text or in the reference list.
Here’s an example from a recently published article. It shows one way to describe a search for studies that met the criteria of the authors’ research project. Notice that the authors included
• where they searched (PsycINFO, Web of Science),
• the criteria for the search,
• how they used the search, and
• what they did with the results.
Although you may not be writing a meta-analysis article for publication, this is a good model of how to describe a search in your paper.
From “Marital Quality and Health: A Meta-Analytic Review,” by T. F. Robles, R. B. Slatcher, J. M. Trombello, and M. M. McGinn, 2013, Psychological Bulletin. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/a0031859. Copyright 2013 by the American Psychological Association.