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13.4: An Abbreviated Guide to APA Style

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    Parenthetical Citation

    APA style uses “parenthetical citation” to indicate quotations, summaries, paraphrases, and other references to evidence that supports your point. There should be enough information within the parenthetical citation to help your reader locate the complete bibliographic information on your “References” page.

    In APA style, the general rule is to indicate the author of the evidence you are citing immediately followed by the date (in parentheses) when that evidence was published. Also, it’s best to try to “weave” the citation into the text of your essay instead of merely “dropping” quotes into place. See Chapter Three, “Quoting and Paraphrasing Your Research,” for suggestions on how to do this effectively.

    Author in a phrase

    To indicate a paraphrase, use the author’s last name followed immediately by the date of publication in parentheses.

    Example \(\PageIndex{1}\):

    Baase (1997) suggests that the appeals of living in smaller communities has been attractive to many information professionals.

    When you are quoting directly from the author, you should still note the author’s last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses. In addition, at the end of the quotation, list the page number, preceded by “p.,” in parentheses.

    Example \(\PageIndex{2}\):

    Still, Baase (1997) indicates that many professionals “prefer city life for its vibrancy and career and social opportunities” (p. 296).

    Author in the citation

    When you don’t name the author in the sentence, you need to include it in the parenthetical citation.

    Example \(\PageIndex{3}\):

    The threat some believe the Internet represents a serious threat to community that needs to be regulated with laws (Baase, 1997).

    Two authors

    Use both author’s last names in all references. When naming the authors within the text of your essay, join their names with the word “and;” when noting them within the citation, use an ampersand (&).

    Example \(\PageIndex{4}\):

    Skinner and Fream (1997) found differences in attitudes about computer crime among men and women.

    There are differences in attitudes about computer crime among men and women (Skinner & Fream, 1997).

    Three to Five authors

    Use all of the authors’ last names for the first reference. For each subsequent reference, use the first author’s last name and the phrase “et al.”

    Example \(\PageIndex{5}\):

    Hawisher, LeBlanc, Moran, and Selfe (1996) point out that before 1980, the computer was for most English teachers “new and difficult territory” (p.48).

    Hawisher et al. (1996) also state...

    For six or more authors, use only the first author’s last name followed by the phrase “et al.” on all references, including the first.

    Group or corporate author

    If the text is the product of a group, a committee, a corporation, etc., use the group or corporate author as you would an author name. If the name of the group is long, use the complete name on the first reference, followed by an abbreviation in brackets. Use the abbreviation on subsequent references.

    Example \(\PageIndex{6}\):

    According to the National Research Council (2001), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers often finds itself between those advocating for commerce and those wanting to protect the environment.

    Unknown author

    Use the title of the work or a shortened version of it instead of the author’s name.

    Example \(\PageIndex{7}\):

    Famous personalities have become an important tool in direct to consumer (DTC) drug marketing (“DTC Marketing: Special Report,” 2002).

    Two or more sources in the same parenthetical citation

    Writings in APA style commonly use multiple sources in one parenthetical citation when the writer is summarizing evidence. In instances like this, list the works alphabetically by the author’s last name and separate each entry by a semi-colon.

    Example \(\PageIndex{8}\):

    However, hackers might also be considered “good” and helpful in preventing computer crime as well (Neighly, 2000; Palmer, 2001).

    For multiple works by the same author, note the author’s last name and the years of the works, separated by a comma.

    Author of two or more pieces of evidence in your project

    It’s not uncommon to cite different works from the same author in an essay. APA style makes clear which piece of evidence you are referring to by the year of publication—for example, (Markoff, 2000), (Markoff, 2001).

    If the year is the same, attach the suffix “a,” “b,” “c,” and so forth after the year. The suffixes are then assigned to specific articles in the reference list—for example, (Markoff, 2000 a), (Markoff, 2000b).

    Work in an anthology or chapter in a book

    When you quote a work that is reprinted in an anthology, use the name of the author of the work (not the name of the editor) and the page numbers from the anthology. In your References page, you will note the name of the editor and the anthology or book.

    Example \(\PageIndex{9}\):

    Lehan (2000) connects the character Gatsby with other myths of man-god figures, both as seen through his eyes and the eyes of other characters.

    Indirect source

    An indirect quote is when you quote from a piece of evidence where that writer is quoting someone else. Note the source of the quote as you would with any other parenthetical citation, but make it clear in the sentence that your source is quoting someone else.

    Example \(\PageIndex{10}\):

    According to Naughton (2000), Steve Miller said “I have no financial incentive to kid you about anything” (p. 24).

    A work without a date (including Web sites)

    For a web site or any other document that doesn’t have a date of publication, note “n.d.” for “no date” in the parentheses.

    Example \(\PageIndex{11}\):

    “The Term Hacker,” according to Susan Brenner’s web site (n.d.), “also tends to connote membership in the global community defined by the net.”

    Personal Communications

    In APA style, you should include parenthetical references to any personal communications within your essay. This would include things like letters, email correspondence, personal interviews, and the like. APA style also discourages including this sort of evidence on a “Reference” page. See the discussion about including Email messages, interviews, and lecturers or speeches in the next section.

    This page titled 13.4: An Abbreviated Guide to APA Style is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Steven D. Krause.