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July 11, 2019

When to Include Page Numbers in a Reference List Entry

David Becker




By David Becker

Dear APA Style Experts,

When I cite page numbers in text, does that mean I have to include them in the reference as well? If not, then when should I include page numbers in a reference?

—Laurel H.

Dear Laurel,

The quick answer to your first question is, “No.” Just because you cite one or more page numbers in text—whether you are directly quoting a source or just paraphrasing it—does not necessarily mean you need to include them in the reference list. References help readers find the work you are citing, whereas in-text citations help readers find the location of the quoted or paraphrased material within that source. Here is an example of the correct format for an in-text citation to an authored book and its corresponding reference:

In-text citation:

(Moghaddam, 2018, p. 30)

Reference:

Moghaddam, F. M. (2018). Mutual radicalization: How groups and nations drive each other to extremes. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000089-000

Regarding your broader question about when to include page numbers in a reference, the answer depends on what type of source you are citing. A page range is included in a reference to a source that is part of a larger paginated work, such as a chapter in an edited book, an entry in a reference book, a work in an anthology, or an article in a periodical (i.e., a journal or a print magazine or newspaper). Here is a sample in-text citation and a corresponding reference to a chapter from an edited book:

In-text citation:

(Lanier, 2018, pp. 288–289)

Reference:

Lanier, C. S. (2018). “Dreaming that I’m swimming in the beautiful Caribbean Sea”: One man’s story on surviving death row. In H. Toch, J. R. Acker, & V. M. Bonventre (Eds.), Living on death row: The psychology of waiting to die (pp. 277–300). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000084-012

If you are referencing a paginated work in its entirety—such as a technical or research report, a whole book, or a special issue of a periodical—then don’t include a page range, just like in the Moghaddam (2018) reference.

More information can be found in another APA Style Blog post about when to include page numbers in text citations. If you can’t find an answer to your question in the Publication Manual, Sixth Edition or the blog, feel free to email us at StyleExpert@apa.org.

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