Apa format The essentials of creating a document using apa

Download 25.2 Kb.
Size25.2 Kb.

APA Format

The essentials of creating a document using APA.

Presenter: Sean McCandless

APA stands for “American Psychological Association” and is a documentation style used in:

PSYCHOLOGY (obviously)

And is the preferred style in:










PHILOSOPHY (as one of many preferred styles).



SOCIOLOGY (as an alternative to ASA)

APA is infrequently used in English (this is dependent on the university) and not used in History.

Mistakes in the 6th edition

  • Recently, APA announced numerous and significant errors in their first printing of the 6th edition.
  • They have released a list of all the mistakes. It is available here:
  • http://supp.apa.org/style/pubman-reprint-corrections-for-2e.pdf
  • This presentation conforms to the FIXED guidelines.

Margins and Font

  • Standard margins on Microsoft Word will suffice.
  • 1” margins all around are typically the best.
  • Times New Roman 11 to 12-pt font is the most common, but Calibri is also used.

Title Page

  • Elements:
  • This has changed in the 6th edition!
  • This will run in the header of EVERY SINGLE PAGE!
    • However, the words “Running head” will ONLY appear on the title page and NO OTHER page after.

Title Page Continued

  • Full title, positioned in the upper half of the page
  • Your name; institutional affiliation
  • If required by instructor, class information, instructor’s name, date centered at bottom of page.

Title Page, continued

  • New in APA 6th edition!
  • While not required for student papers or dissertations, APA now allows an author note (NOT Author’s Note!)
  • To create, center Author Note below the title, byline, and institutional affiliation. Start each paragraph with an indent. Include:
  • 1) Departmental affiliation, 2) changes in affiliation, and 3) acknowledgements.


  • If your paper requires an abstract, this will be the first page after the title page.
  • Center “Abstract” at the top of the page.
  • Give a brief summation of the focus and findings of the paper. This should include major research covered and findings.
  • Also, notice that the words “Running head” do not appear, but the shortened title does.

First Page

  • Regardless of whether you have an abstract or not, the first page of the actual body of the paper will have the FULL TITLE CENTERED at the top of the page.
  • If the first part of the paper is the introduction, you will not write “Introduction” unless specifically required to do so by your instructor.

Levels of Headings

A common question asked about APA is, “How do I do headings and section headers?”

A professor will sometimes have specific requirements for section headers, but if no specific requirements are indicated, APA has requirements, which have changed in the 6th edition:




Any other sub-level

Sub-sub level.

Sub-sub-sub level.

Sub-sub-sub-sub level.

Levels of heading, alternative

A frequently used form of section headings is the following:
  • Introduction

  • Sub point

    Sub-sub point

    Sub-sub-sub point.

    II. Main Section I

    Sub point

    III. Main Section II

    Sub point

    IV. Conclusion

Paraphrasing or quoting?

  • Generally speaking, APA guidelines suggest avoiding as many direct quotations as possible.
  • APA guidelines state that most of the cited information in a paper should be paraphrased.
  • Page numbers are NOT required for paraphrasing, but their use is encouraged, especially for long and complex works.
  • Any “unusual” or highly specific piece of information, regardless of whether it is paraphrased or cited directly, should come with page numbers.

Paraphrasing or quoting?, cont.

  • Directly cited material should fulfill this criterion:
  • 1) If paraphrasing borrowed information detracts from that information’s explanatory power or uniqueness, it should be quoted directly.


  • Example:
  • “I have a dream.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Versus:
  • Martin Luther King noted that a dream was something that he had.

Mechanics of direct citations

  • If you must directly cite someone, page numbers are required for EACH citation.
  • The abbreviation “p.” is used for a single page. Example: (Doe, 2007, p. 7).
  • The abbreviation “pp.” is used for multiple pages. Example: (Doe, 2007, pp. 21-22).

Block quotations

  • Quotations 40 words or over must be put in a block quotation.
  • Indent ALL lines of the quotation one inch. DO NOT place the information in quotation marks. Double space the entire quotation.
  • Provide the page numbers at the end of the citation.


Basics of in-text citations

When citing an author, you have the choice of placing the name followed by the year at the beginning of the sentence or in a parenthetical citation at the end.


Doe (2007) found that rats cannot vomit.


A recent study of rats found that they cannot vomit (Doe, 2007).

Famous Reprinted Works

Freud (1901/2007) asserted that the superego is created from the shattered remnants of a resolved Oedipal complex.

Classical Works

In The Republic, the Guardians do not own property (Plato, trans. 1997).

Basics of in-text citations, cont.

  • Two authors:
  • Cite the last names of both authors EACH TIME the source is used:

  • Doe and Koenig (2007) note that modern Western political idealism has its basis in the writings of Immanuel Kant.


    Modern Western political idealism has its basis in the writings of Immanuel Kant (Doe & Koenig, 2007).

Basics—The ampersand versus “and”

When citing multiple authors in text, you will use either “and” or the ampersand ( “& “) depending on where you decide to put the citation.

If you incorporate the authors’ names into a sentence, you will need to make it grammatically correct, so “and” will be used:

Feckless, Porpora, and Buxtehude (2004) found that in the early 1990s the world, on average, used about 13.1 terawatts of electricity each year.

If, however, you want to put the parenthetical citation at the end, the ampersand is used:

In the early 1990s the world, on average, used about 13.1 terawatts of electricity each year (Feckless, Porpora, & Buxtehude, 2004).


  • Three to Five authors
  • Cite the last names of ALL authors the first time it is used:

  • Doe, Koenig, and Porpora (1998) note that constructivism is becoming a more popular theory in political science.
  • The next citation in the paper will be the following:

  • Doe et al. (1998) found that most political scientists prefer synthesizing political theories.
  • If you cite the authors again in the same paragraph:

  • Doe et al. demand further research into Marxism’s place on the world stage.

Basics of in-text citations

Six or more authors

Cite only the first author followed by “et al.” for each in-text citation:

Mearsheimer et al. (2008) assert that neo-realism as a theoretical paradigm is experiencing a backlash.


Neo-realism as a theoretical paradigm is experiencing a backlash (Mearsheimer et al., 2008).

Same author(s) with the same publication year

Some authors out there release A LOT of material, sometimes in the same year. Suppose you have material by the same author that are all published in the same year….

In this instance, alphabetize the sources based upon the TITLE of the work. Then, assign a lower-case letter for each source.

Doe, J. (2008a). Egyptian death rituals. Journal of Egyptian History, 9(2), 90- 123.

Doe, J. (2008b). Tutankhamen: Egypt’s boy pharaoh. Cairo: National Publishing.

In the text, you would cite them as follows:

Doe (2008a) notes that Egyptian death rituals were highly complex. In the case of Tutankhamen, the boy pharaoh was adorned in a highly ritualized fashion with precious metals and jewelry (Doe, 2008b). However, most Egyptians could not afford these expensive accoutrements but were buried with valuables nonetheless, such as amulets, scarabs made of semi-precious metals, or even toys (Doe, 2008a, p. 99).

Notice how even though the same author is being used, you are required to indicate when you switch between the two different sources by indicating the “a” and “b” of the publication information.

Citing several studies

At times it is necessary to draw attention to numerous sources coming to similar conclusions.

When making statements like “Several studies found” or “Many researchers have noted,” examples MUST be provided and listed alphabetically

Numerous studies (Gills, 2006; Josper, 2001; Zirconia, 2005) have sought to define the importance of Davos culture in international bargaining agreements.

No author and/or date listed

At times, no author is listed. This most often happens with encyclopedia and dictionary entries and some online sources. In this instance, use the shortened title of the work in a parenthetical citation at the END of the referenced material.

Coronal mass ejections can greatly disrupt satellite communications (“Coronal mass ejections,” 2005).

Also, some sources do not have publication dates listed. This most often happens with online sources. This is typically highly suspicious, and these types of sources should be avoided. For a source with no date listed, use “n.d.” to signify that there is no date listed.

Moreover, it is noted that most people prefer Prada over Dolce and Gabanna (“Brand preferences,” n.d.).

As with all titles, only capitalize the first letter of the first word, the first letter of the first word after a colon, and the first letter of ANY proper noun.

Switching sources mid-sentence

At times you will have to switch sources mid-sentence. In these instances, it is best to cite the source DIRECTLY AFTER the information rather than lumping all of the citations at the end:

While most individuals in Germany have a working knowledge of classical composition techniques (Porpora, 1998), the vast majority of Germans do not have similar knowledge about Baroque composition (Feckless, 1999) or late-Renaissance a capella techniques (Listing, 2001).

Personal Communications

Personal communications include e-mails, interviews, telephone conversations, class lectures, or ANYTHING THAT DOESN’T PROVIDE RECOVERABLE DATA.

These types of sources TYPICALLY WILL NOT go into your References page.

Many teachers, however, require personal communications to be cited in the References page. In that instance, follow your teacher’s instructions.

Personal Communications, cont.

To cite these in-text, do the following:

For example, human evolutionary psychology is an emerging field that can provide insights into nationalist behaviors (M. Pratarelli, personal communication, August 29, 2001).

If you obtain great information from a source via e-mail, the exact copy of the e-mail can be placed in an Appendix attached to the paper. We will review how to create Appendices later in this presentation.

Organizations as authors

Very often, organizations will be cited as the authors of documents.

This most often happens with government departments or private industries.

When citing organizations as authors, place the organization’s name in the author’s position in the same manner you would if you were citing a human author.

Organizations as authors

The National Institute of Mental Health (2005) notes that the national prevalence for schizophrenia is 1%.


The national prevalence for schizophrenia is 1% (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2005).

After mentioning the corporate author in such a fashion, you can use the acronym for subsequent citations.

Electronic Sources

Electronic sources are cited in text in the same fashion as print sources.

When using an online source, you will need:

  • The name of the author, whether it is a human or organization; if an author is not identified, you will use the NAME of the article;
  • The year of publication;
  • The section of the internet document;
  • The paragraph number.

  • Dolce and Gabanna had to change their 2004-2005 advertising campaign after the profuse level of complaints from consumers (Herneckli, 2006, Trends section, para. 3).

    If the source isn’t divided into sections, include simply the paragraph number:

    Prada was favored 7/10 over Oakley (Herneckli, 2005, para. 5).

No URLs!


Unless it is part of the narrative of your paper, which occurs only rarely.

Citing someone who is citing someone else

  • At times it is necessary to cite that the source you are using is using another source.
  • This most often happens when the work you are reading cites someone else. Rather than going to the original source, you can cite that the work in YOUR hands is citing someone else.

Citing someone who is citing someone else, cont.

To cite an author citing someone else, you will need to cite the ORIGINATOR of the idea AS WELL AS the source you are using.

If you want to avoid this, simply go to the original source.

However, if you don’t want to do that, the easiest way to do this is as follows:

Chapter in an anthology

Very often, you will need to cite a chapter or an article within a larger anthology.

Suppose you are using an article in an edited book; the article is about the role of parietal cortex in cognition. How do you do this? SIMPLE!

Let’s say that the article is Memory and cognition: Probing the parietal cortex written by Jane Horrocks in 2001. The article is in the book Principles of cognitive psychology edited by Georg Listing.

For the in-text citation, you will cite Horrocks (2001) as the author.

Example: Horrocks (2001) notes that sensory modalities play an important role in cognition with the right parietal cortex being heavily involved in time perception.

For the References page, you will cite it as such:

Horrocks, J. (2001). Memory and cognition: Probing the parietal cortex. In G. Listing (ed.), Principles of cognitive psychology (pp. 99-110). Davenport, CT: Parietal Publishing.

Figures, Graphs, Tables, and Appendices

Typically, APA requires figures, graphs, and tables to be placed in an Appendix AFTER the References page.

Some professors, however, want the data directly in the paper itself.

What is also important is whether YOU GENERATED the figure, graph, or table or whether you are BORROWING it/them.

If YOU generated the graph, label it (Graph 1, Graph 2, Table 1, etc.) and refer to it in the paper.

…as shown in Table 8, most respondents indicated a preference for Prada.

Ask your professor if he or she wants the figure/graph/table DIRECTLY in the paper or in an appendix.

Figures, Graphs, Tables, and Appendices

If you are BORROWING a figure/graph/table, a note MUST accompany it. Place the note BELOW the figure/graph/table with the following information:

Note. From “Title of Article,” by J. Doe and J. Horrocks, 2008, Journal of Ethology Studies , 50(6), p. 92. Copyright 2008 by Name of Copyright Holder.

References pages

  • The References page is a list of all the research you referenced (or used) while writing your paper. It is ordered alphabetically by author, whether human or organizational.
  • DO NOT divide your sources based upon type, e.g., don’t put all the electronic sources, or books, or journal articles in their own categories.
  • If you use a source without an author listed, use the first letter of the title as the means for placing it in the alphabetical list.

Reference pages, cont.

For References pages, observe the following rules:

Cite the author’s or authors’ last name(s) in full BUT ONLY USE THE INITIALS OF THE FIRST AND ANY MIDDLE NAMES.

Example: Doe, J., Kilper, G.H.P., & Feckless, T. (2001).

When citing titles, capitalize only: 1) The first letter of the first word; 2) the first letter of the first word after a colon; 3) The first letter of any proper noun or an adjective that when in its noun form is proper.

Example: Mastication and deglutition: A comparison between Canadian and American rats.

Reference pages, cont.,

Book titles are italicized. APA’s 6th edition also specifies how to cite books/journals from print sources, which have DOIs (digital object identifiers), and from websites


Doe, J. (2001). How Rome conquered Gaul. Paris: Pater Patriae Publishing.

Doe, J. (2002). How Gaul was conquered by Rome. Retrieved from


Doe, J. (2003). How Gaul was conquered and how Rome conquered it. Paris: Pater Patriae Publishing. doi: xxxxxxxxx

References pages, cont.,

The names of journals along with the volume and issue numbers are italicized, but the TITLES ARE NOT.


DOI available:

Varner, A. (2007). A comparative analysis of the United Kingdom and the United States in the post-Cold War era. Journal of International Economy, 98(3), 100-145. doi: 10.9999/02856737-6133.22

DOI not available:

Varner, A. (2008). A comparative analysis of France and Germany in the post- Cold War era. Journal of International Economy, 99(2), 89-102.

Varner, A. (2009). A comparative analysis of India and China in the post-Cold War era. Journal of International Economy, 100(2), 99-130. Retrieved from http://home_page_of_journal

Basic References styles


Doe, J. (2001). Egyptian death rituals and their historical significance. Cairo: National Publishing.


Doe, J. (2001). Realism: An examination of its efficacy. Journal of International Relations, 82(5), 19-27.

Whole website:

National Kleptomaniacs Association [NKA]. (2008). Who has time to buy anything? Retrieved from http://www.website.de

Section of website

National Kleptomaniacs Association [NKA]. (2008). Why stealing isn’t stealing. In Who has time to buy anything? Retrieved from http://kleptomaniacal.org/stealing_isnt_stealing


In APA, footnotes are used for ONLY two purposes:
  • To highlight special publication information (such as permission to publish) about a source, especially tables, graphs, figures, pictures, and so forth;
  • To add extra details about a subject that are not needed in the body of the paper but add extra information without interrupting the flow of the paper.

Citation Machines

While tempting to use and possibly a time saver, citation machines on the Internet and others are not that great.

Most citation machines make small mistakes when it comes to documentation, and a professor who is a stickler for citations will probably notice the mistakes.

In the end, citation machines are NOT that much of a time saver because a conscientious writer will have to go back to fix the mistakes.

My advice? Get the basics down so that you don’t have to worry about saving time or if the citation machine is correct.



If there is a particular type of citation that I have not covered, please ask now so that I can demonstrate how to document it.

Any other issues/questions/comments?

Download 25.2 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright ©www.sckool.org 2022
send message

    Main page