40 posts categorized "Common references"

September 08, 2011

Group Authors

Timothy McAdoo by Timothy McAdoo

In 2010, the estimated number of websites was 255 million. That translates to a staggering number of individual webpages. Who’s writing all those pages? And, how should you cite them in APA Style?

In this post, I’ll focus on just one possibility: group authors.  Although the “who” element for many references is an individual author or authors, “who” can also be a group author. This is often the case for white papers, press releases, and information pages (e.g., “About Us”) on company websites.

For example, the "about" page on the American Psychological Association site (http://www.apa.org/about/) was surely written by one or more real people. But, because no individual byline is listed and because this resides on the organization’s webpage, you would reference it as a group author. That is, the “who” in your reference is a group author.

 

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). About APA. Retrieved from
    http://www.apa.org/about/

Notice that the author portion still ends with a period.

References
In the reference, spell out the full group author name.  Though you may choose to abbreviate the author name in text, spell it out in the reference list.

Citations
In your text, use the author–date format for citations. In this example, the author is “American Psychological Association” and the date is “n.d.”

 

    According to the American Psychological Association (n.d.), “psychology is a diverse discipline, grounded in science, but with nearly boundless applications in everyday life” (Definition of "Psychology," para. 1).

Abbreviations
If you include the citation many times in your paper, you might want to abbreviate the group author name. If so, this introduction should be included with the first use in text:

 

    According to the American Psychological Association (APA, n.d., Definition of "Psychology," para. 1), “psychology is a diverse discipline, grounded in science, but with nearly boundless applications in everyday life.”

If you decide to abbreviate, do so consistently throughout the paper. Spelling out the name in some sections and abbreviating in others can confuse the reader.

Note that you are not required to abbreviate, even if the group author name appears frequently in your text. The Publication Manual (p. 176) recommends writing out the name of group authors, even if used many times in your text, if the group author name is short or “if the abbreviation would not be readily understandable.”

June 16, 2011

Finding (and Using) Page Numbers for Kindle Books

Jeff by Jeff Hume-Pratuch

There’s no question that e-books make up a rapidly increasing segment of the publishing world. Amazon.com’s Kindle dominates this market, with hundreds of thousands of titles available in formats that can be read not only on the Kindle but on millions of iPads, iPhones, Blackberries, and Android devices as well.

Although the Kindle (and other e-book readers) are wonderfully portable, there has been one drawback to their use in research and scholarly writing: no page numbers. Instead, the device presents a number that roughly corresponds to the amount of text you’ve read. This number varies depending on the size of your display and the font settings you use; it has no relation to the pagination of the printed text.


Why Is This a Problem?

APA Style requires a page citation or paragraph number for directly quoted material (see the APA Publication Manual, 6th ed., pp. 170-171) to meet the overall goal of documentation, which is to fully credit your sources and allow your reader to retrieve them. A reader who picks up the same edition of a book you used can quickly turn to the exact source of your quotation. But because the Kindle location number depends on display and font size, readers sent to “Locations 2356-2445” may scroll in vain if they are using a different model or their settings are different from yours.

While the Publication Manual (pp. 170-172) provides some workarounds for citing unpaginated material (as outlined in this post), the only digital documents with real page numbers have been PDFs—until now, that is.


The Solution

In March, Amazon.com announced that the latest Kindle will display page numbers that correspond to those in the printed original of a digital book. If you have a Kindle 3G, you can view these page numbers by pressing the Menu button. The ISBN number of the original book is displayed on its product information page at Amazon.com. These page numbers meet the requirements for citations in APA Style.

Unfortunately, this is not a complete solution. If you have a Kindle 2, KindleDX, or other models, you won’t be able to see the page numbers. Amazon has no immediate plans to make this feature backward compatible, and so far the distributors of other devices (such as the Nook or Sony Reader) have not introduced similar features. However, for the users of the Kindle 3G, this is a great step forward.

June 03, 2011

How Do You Cite an E-Book (e.g., Kindle Book)?

Chelsea blog 2

by Chelsea Lee

E-books come in a variety of formats (e.g., Kindle, Adobe Digital Editions, EPub, HTML, and more) and can be read on a variety of devices (e.g., e-readers like the Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader, as well as on personal computers and mobile devices through online portals such as NetLibrary, ebrary, and Google Books). This post shows how to cite any e-book in APA Style.

Reference List Entries

The reference list entry for a whole e-book should include elements of author, date, title (with e-reader book type in square brackets if applicable; italicize the title but not the bracketed material), and source (URL or DOI):

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of book [E-reader version, if applicable]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of book [E-reader version, if applicable]. doi:xxxxx

  • If the book was read or acquired through an online library (e.g., Google Books, ebrary, NetLibrary) and not on an e-reader device, omit the bracketed information from the reference.

The reference list entry for a chapter in an edited e-book should be written as follows:

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

  • If the e-book chapter does not have page numbers, omit that part of the reference.
  • To determine whether you need to cite the whole book or just a chapter, please see this post

In-Text Citations

For in-text citations of paraphrased material, provide the author and date, as for any APA Style reference. To cite a direct quotation, also provide page numbers if the e-book has page numbers. If there are no page numbers, you can include any of the following in the text to cite the quotation (see section 6.05 of the Publication Manual, pp. 171–172):

  • a paragraph number, if provided; alternatively, you can count paragraphs down from the beginning of the document; 
  • an overarching heading plus a paragraph number within that section; or 
  • an abbreviated heading (or the first few words of the heading) in quotation marks, in cases in which the heading is too unwieldy to cite in full.

A Note on Kindle Page Numbers and Location Numbers 

As of March 2011, many Kindle books now have real page numbers that correspond to those in print editions (as far as we know, this applies only for Kindle third generation products and going forward). These real page numbers are appropriate to use in academic citation (as are the page numbers of other paginated e-books). Kindle "location numbers," however, should not be used in citations because they have limited retrievability. Instead, for any e-book without page numbers, APA recommends the method described above for citations of directly quoted material.

See these links for further discussion of Kindles, e-books and e-book chapters, and citing unpaginated material, and see Publication Manual section 7.02 (pp. 202–205) for more examples.

March 18, 2011

Citing Paraphrased Work in APA Style

Timothy McAdoo by Timothy McAdoo

As the Publication Manual notes, citing your sources is imperative: “Whether paraphrasing, quoting an author directly, or describing an idea that influenced your work, you must credit the source” (p. 170).

But, we are sometimes asked how a writer can properly and clearly attribute multiple ideas within a paragraph yet maintain a readable and interesting text.

It’s a challenge! If you include a citation only at the end of the paragraph, the reader won’t know how many of the ideas in the previous sentences you are attributing to the cited author. But, including the citation at the end of each sentence, an absolutely clear and correct approach, can become redundant:

     The cross-pollination and fusion of musical genres over the last 2 decades has exposed children to a diversity of musical styles (Viglione, 2010). Technology has also made possible the distribution and sharing of music in exciting new ways (Viglione, 2010). Music is shared through social media sites, analyzed and tailored for the individual listener via sites like Pandora, and simply given away by musicians on their websites (Viglione, 2010). As a result, in the future, children will likely develop eclectic musical tastes early and expect a diversity of musical styles at younger and younger ages (Viglione, 2010).


The paragraph above clearly attributes the work of Viglione (2010), but imagine a 20-page literature review written in this style! Pages 15–16 of the Publication Manual show an example of how to paraphrase multiple ideas without this redundancy.

Can you rewrite the paragraph above in a way that avoids redundancy but maintains the attribution of all of the ideas? Submit your suggestions in the comments section! There are many ways to improve this paragraph, so we won’t  post a “winner,” but we will follow up with comments and commendations on the suggested rewrites!

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).

November 18, 2010

How to Cite Something You Found on a Website in APA Style

Chelsea blog by Chelsea Lee

Perhaps the most common question we get about APA Style is “How do I cite a website?” or “How do I cite something I found on a website?”

First, to cite a website in general, but not a specific document on that website, see this FAQ.

Once you’re at the level of citing a particular page or document, the key to writing the reference list entry is to determine what kind of content the page has. The Publication Manual reference examples in Chapter 7 are sorted by the type of content (e.g., journal article, e-book, newspaper story, blog post), not by the location of that content in a library or on the Internet. The Manual shows both print- and web-based references for the different types of content.

What seems to flummox our readers is what to do when the content doesn’t fall into an easily defined area. Sometimes the most you can say is that you're looking at information on a page—some kind of article, but not a journal article. To explore this idea, imagine the Internet as a fried egg. The yolk contains easier to categorize content like journal articles and e-books. In that runny, nebulous white you’ll find the harder to define content, like blog posts, lecture notes, or maps. To wit, the egg:

The Internet as an egg (free egg image from www.clker.com, modified by APA)

APA Style Template for Website References 

Content in that egg white area may seem confusing to cite, but the template for references from this area is actually very simple, with only four pieces (author, date, title, and source):

Author, A. (date). Title of document [Format description]. Retrieved from https://URL

 

In text: (Author, year)

That format description in brackets is used only when the format is something out of the ordinary, such as a blog post or lecture notes; otherwise, it's not necessary. Some other example format descriptions are listed on page 186 of the Publication Manual.  

It is permissible to leave hyperlinks live in reference list entries. 

 

Example of a Website Reference With All Information Present

Here’s an example (a blog post) in which we have all four necessary pieces of information (also see Manual example #76):

Freakonomics. (2010, October 29). E-ZPass is a life-saver (literally) [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/e-zpass-is-a-life-saver-literally/

 

In text: (Freakonomics, 2010)

 

Examples of Website References With Missing Information

Sometimes, however, one or more of these four pieces is missing, such as when there is no identifiable author or no date. For each piece of missing information there is a way to adapt the APA Style reference. 

Here’s an example where no author is identified in this online news article (the title moves to the author position):

All 33 Chile miners freed in flawless rescue. (2010, October 13). Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/39625809/ns/world_news-americas/

 

In text: ("All 33 Chile Miners Freed," 2010)

And here’s an example for a webpage where no date is identified (the letters n.d., which stand for no date, are substituted in place of a year):

The College of William & Mary. (n.d.). The William & Mary mission statement. Retrieved from http://www.wm.edu/about/administration/provost/about/mission/ 

 

In text: (The College of William & Mary, n.d.)

 

Over the years we have also covered example references for tweets and Facebook updates, press releases, interviews, wikipedia articles, and artwork in other blog posts. We recommend that you search the blog for your reference type if you are still unsure of how to create the reference. 

For a complete explanation of how to create website references no matter how much information you have, read this post on "missing pieces" and download our chart here: How to Adapt APA Style References When Information Is Missing. This chart can be used for educational puposes provided that credit is given to the American Psychological Association. 

Thanks for reading! 

 

September 09, 2010

How to Cite a Press Release in APA Style

Chelsea blog by Chelsea Lee

When you’re researching a cutting-edge topic, there are few sources of information more of the moment than press releases. Citing them in APA Style is very simple. As for any reference list entry, the four elements you’ll need are the author, the date, the title (with a description of "Press release" in square brackets), and the source (e.g., a URL). Here are some example references for press releases:

American Psychological Association. (2018, January 31). Dishonest individuals perceived as less capable [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2018/01/dishonest-individuals.aspx

In text: (American Psychological Association, 2018)

 

The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. (2010, August 4). Administration officials continue travel across the country holding “Recovery Summer” events, project site visits [Press release]. Retrieved from https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/realitycheck/the-press-office/administration-officials-continue-travel-across-country-holding-recovery-summer-eve 

In text: (The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 2010)

  

MIT Sloan School of Management. (2017, April 13). Statistical approach to clinical trials may accelerate cancer drug development process [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/statistical-approach-to-clinical-trials-may-accelerate-cancer-drug-development-process-300439010.html

In text: (MIT Sloan School of Management, 2017)

 

North Carolina State University. (2018, February 6). Venus flytraps don't eat the insects that pollinate them [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180206140655.htm

In text: (North Carolina State University, 2018)

Determining Authorship for Press Releases

Determining authorship is probably the hardest part of writing the press release reference list entry. It helps to know that press releases are typically written by an organization about itself (their typical audience is journalists, who use them as a foundation for their own stories). So when you find press releases on an organization’s own website without a specific author attribution, you can assume the organization to be the author (as in the American Psychological Association example). When a reference includes a larger organization as well as a department or office within that organization, the larger entity comes first in the entry (as in The White House example).

Indexed Press Releases

Press releases also may be indexed on commercial distribution services, such as PR Newswire. However, PR Newswire is not the author of the release; it is the publisher—the author is actually indicated at the bottom of the release (as in the MIT Sloan School of Management example). For these indexed releases, be sure to identify the proper author of the release when writing your reference list entry.

Press Releases on News Sites

For press releases from news sites such as Science Daily, we recommend the same approach as for press releases from indexing sites. Credit the originating institution as the author in the reference, not Science Daily itself (as in the North Carolina State University example). Although Science Daily staff might have edited the content, they did not originate it. Crediting the institution that produced the research (which is listed as the source in the release itself) more accurately characterizes the provenance of the information for your audience. 

Other Details

In the text, you would cite a press release just like any other source, by using the author and year. If you use more than one press release per author per year (say, two from APA in 2018), call them 2018a and 2018b (whichever title comes first alphabetically will be 2018a). Italicize the title of a press release, followed by the description Press release in square brackets (without italics) to aid the reader in understanding the reference type, and finally the retrieval URL is given. Because press releases are published documents (not, for example, wikis, which are updated constantly), a retrieval date is not necessary.

Now you should be ready to cite press releases in your APA Style paper!

  Drawing of a boy holding a newspaper that reads "EXTRA!"

Note: This post was originally published on September 9, 2010. It was updated on February 6, 2018 with fresh examples and additional information about citing Science Daily press releases.The examples also clarify that the full date should be used when citing a press release. 

May 20, 2010

Secondary Sources (aka How to Cite a Source You Found in Another Source)


Timothy.mcadoo by Timothy McAdoo

You’ve probably heard that you should avoid secondary sources when possible. It’s true—if you find great information being quoted or paraphrased somewhere, it’s well worth your effort to track down the original source so you can read it for yourself and therefore cite it directly.

But why track down the original when you already have the quotes?

First, by reading the full text of the original source, you can verify that the context of the quote supports the point you want to make. You don’t want to be surprised by an informed reader who tells you that the original source actually contradicts your points—especially if that informed reader is your professor!  

Second, by finding and reading the original source, you will become better informed about your research topic. To a reader familiar with the research in your topic area, the citations in your paper are one indication of whether you have a firm understanding of the subject and of the relevant research. By contrast, if you’ve cited secondary sources for ideas or quotations that you could have obtained easily (or relatively so), you may give the impression that your research was hasty or superficial.

If your primary source is an archival document (e.g., a diary, limited-circulation brochure or pamphlet, unpublished manuscript), see Section 7.10 of the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.) for citation and reference guidelines and examples.  

So when are secondary sources appropriate?

It’s okay to cite a secondary source when you’ve exhausted the options for finding the original work.

For example, an out-of-print work may be impossible for you to find but could still be quoted in recent work by other authors. Or perhaps the paper you’re reading has cited a personal correspondence. You obviously can’t cite the original source directly in that case, so the secondary source is appropriate.

And of course there are those cases when an author takes a complex topic and puts it in layman’s terms. Citing this type of secondary source, where the extra level of analysis is much the point, may also be appropriate.

How is it done?

In your reference list, provide a reference for the source you read. This is known as the secondary source because it is one step removed from the original source of the idea or quotation. In your text, name the original work and provide the citation for the secondary source.

Let’s look at an example:

In his e-mails, Smith argued that asynchronous line dancing would be the next Internet meme (as cited in Jones, 2010).



Jones (2010) would be the reference you include in your reference list. Also, note that by mentioning the original format of the information (in this case a series of e-mail messages), you not only specify that this is a secondary source but also give the reader an indication of why that’s the case. Although it’s not a requirement, mentioning the original format answers this potential question for the reader so he or she can focus on the content!

Have any questions about citing secondary sources? Feel free to leave us comments. What kinds of secondary sources have you used?

February 11, 2010

The Frankenreference

Timothy McAdoo by Timothy McAdoo

This post is part of an ongoing series about how references work. Check out an introduction to the generic APA Style reference and the posts on the author or “who” element, the date or “when” element, the title or “what” element, and the source information or “where” element. Additionally, read about how adding supplementary information in brackets can improve your references.   

In The Generic Reference, Chuck described the basic building blocks of APA Style references and explained how to craft one from scratch when the specific case you need is not covered in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Once you understand the generic reference components (given in greater detail on pages 183–192), it’s also easier to understand and use the reference examples on pages 198–215 to your advantage. 

Here’s the key to getting the most out of the reference examples: If the exact situation you’re looking for is not represented, don’t be afraid to create a Frankenreference! That is, mix and match elements of the examples as needed. Just be sure that the reference you create has all of the basic building blocks: “author, year of publication, title, and publishing data—all the information necessary for unique identification and library search” (p. 180).

Let’s say you’ve found some cutting-edge data from a government report that is currently available online in draft form. You search the reference examples and find that there are only two cases of in-press works (Examples 5 and 6) and both are about journal articles. What to do? Just combine the aspects of each relevant example: That is, follow the format for technical and research reports described on page 205 (Examples 31–35, pp. 205–206) and combine either the appropriate “in-press” or “advanced online publication” elements from Examples 5 and 6 (pp. 199–200). 

Don’t worry if you can’t find two perfect matches; you’ll sometimes need to combine elements of three, four, or even more examples. Your Frankenreference may not look exactly like anything in the Manual, but it’s beautiful in its own way! Remember, because you want your reader to be able to retrieve and use the source, “when in doubt, provide more information rather than less” (p. 193). 

October 14, 2009

How to Cite Wikipedia in APA Style

Timothy.mcadoo

by Timothy McAdoo

First things first. Is it a good idea to cite Wikipedia in your research paper? Generally speaking, no. In fact, if you’re writing a paper as a class assignment, your teacher may specifically prohibit citing Wikipedia. Scholarly papers should generally rely on peer-reviewed and other scholarly work vetted by experts in the field.

Does this mean Wikipedia contains bad information? Not at all. It is a great way to get an overview of a topic that might be new to you. And, because many Wikipedia entries contain thorough citations, they can be good starting points to find the original source materials you do want to use. Don’t quote or paraphrase from the Wikipedia entry in your paper, but check the entry’s Reference section to find links to more authoritative sources. And be sure to find and read these sources to verify the facts, figures, and points of view they present.

But, of course, there are times when citing a Wikipedia entry itself is appropriate. For example, let’s say you are writing a paper on how social media and crowdsourcing influence definitions of common psychology terms. Wikipedia would be one excellent source for this topic!

Example 30 (“Entry in an online reference work, no author or editor”) from p. 205 of the Publication Manual can be used for Wikipedia or other wikis. The following example is for the Wikipedia entry on “psychology.” Note that the retrieval date is needed in this case because, as true for any wiki entry, the source material may change over time.

Psychology. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 14, 2009, from
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology

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