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APA Style Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the difference between an abstract and an introduction?

Do I always need an abstract?

What is the correct format for quotations?

How do I cite a quote I found in another source?

If several of the ideas within a paragraph are from the same author, do I need to cite them each individually or can I put one citation at the end of the paragraph?

What if there is not an author?

What if there is not a date?

When do I use p. to indicate page numbers in my references?

What are the rules for the reference page?

Do I include suffixes such as Jr. or III in my references and my citations?

The URLs (Universal Resource Locators or web address) in my references are displayed in blue. How do I get them to appear in black?

How do I create a Table of Contents in APA style?

How do you cite Natural Standard monographs?

How do you cite an entire website (as opposed to a specific document on that site)?

How do you cite a speech?

How do you cite resources from BuildingGreen Suite?

How do you cite a viewpoint essay from the Opposing Viewpoints database?

How do you cite a documentary film?

How do you cite an image?

How do you cite an article/chapter from an anthology or edited book?

How do you cite an e-book?

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What is the difference between an abstract and an introduction?

An abstract is a brief paragraph, 150-250 words, that summarizes the entire paper.

An abstract should:

  • Always be written after the entire paper is finished.
  • Cover the major points of your paper.

An abstract should not:

  • Introduce information not contained in the paper
  • Contain personal pronouns such as “I” or “We.”

An introduction:

  • Is the first paragraph of the body of the paper
  • Provides background information on your topic
  • Generally ends with a thesis statement which provides a roadmap to the rest of your paper.

Do I always need an abstract?

While APA style requires an abstract, not all instructors require one, particularly for shorter papers. Check with your instructor.

What is the correct format for quotations?

Material quoted directly from a work should be reproduced word for word.

Always include the author’s last name, date, and specific page or paragraph as part of the in-text citation.

  • Page numbers should be used when available (for example, an article in PDF format)
  • Paragraph numbers should be used if page numbers do not exist (for example, websites or documents in html format).

If there is a heading within the document, include that, then count the paragraphs within that section. For example, (Jones, Causes, incidence and risk factors section, 2011, para. 2)

If there is not a heading within the website, count the paragraphs from the beginning of the document.

Short quotations:

If the quotation is fewer than 40 words, incorporate it into the text, enclosing it with quotation marks.

Example 1: citation in mid-sentence

Although studies have shown that drinking water “can improve students’ readiness to learn by increasing their level of cognitive functioning” (Patel & Hampton, 2011, p. 1370), most children and adolescents do not consume sufficient quantities.

Example 2: citation at the end of a sentence

A 2008 study revealed that “77% of US public secondary schools had soda or sports drinks available for purchase” (Patel & Hampton, 2011, p. 1372).

Long quotations:

A quotation of more than 40 words, or a block quote, should be:

  • Started on a new line
  • Indented 5 spaces from the left margin
  • Double spaced

Patel and Hampton (2011) contend that:

Because young children are more susceptible to the effects of lead than are older children and adults, water quality may be a larger concern for child care settings. For example, infants’ diets may consist, in large part, of formula that can be mixed with tap water containing high lead levels. (p. 1371)

or

It is believed that,

Because young children are more susceptible to the effects of lead than are older children and adults, water quality may be a larger concern for child care settings. For example, infants’ diets may consist, in large part, of formula that can be mixed with tap water containing high lead levels. (Patel & Hampton, 2011, p. 1371)

How do I cite a quote I found in another source?

Sometimes you want to use a source that was cited in another source. It is best to attempt to find and use the original source. If this is not possible, then name the original source in your signal phrase. List the secondary source in parentheses (see example below) and in your reference list.

Example:

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, “from 1922 to 1929, GNP grew at an annual rate of 4.7 percent and unemployment averaged 3.7 percent (as cited in White, 1990, p. 69).

If several of the ideas within a paragraph are from the same author, do I need to cite them each individually or can I put one citation at the end of the paragraph?

According to the APA Publication Manual, “Each time you paraphrase another author (i.e.) summarize a passage or rearrange the order of a sentence and change some of the words), you need to credit the source in the text (p.15). Therefore, you need to cite each instance of an idea that you take from an author. Citing only at the end of the paragraph does not indicate which sentences are your words and which are the author’s.

According to the APA style blog, this would be one correct way of citing in this instance:

Children and adolescents are choosing to drink sugar-sweetened beverages instead of water (Patel & Hampton, 2010). This can impact both health and cognitive functioning, prevent dental caries, and reduce weight gain (Patel & Hampton, 2010). The fact that sugar-sweetened beverages are so readily available in schools is one reason that water consumption has decreased among young people (Patel & Hampton, 2010).

However, this can break up the flow of the text. To both prevent plagiarism and preserve the flow of the text, use the authors’ names as part of the text.

According to Patel and Hampton (2011), children and adolescents are choosing to drink sugar-sweetened beverages instead of water. The authors suggest that this can impact both health and learning. They point to studies that show that drinking water can increase cognitive functioning, prevent dental caries, and reduce weight gain. The fact that sugar-sweetened beverages are so readily available in schools is one reason that water consumption has decreased among young people (Patel & Hampton, 2011).

What if there is not an author?

Sometimes you may not see the name of an individual as the author. In this case, the author may actually be the organization that produced the information (for example, the American Red Cross).

When the source does not have an individual or an organization as author, use a shortened version of the title followed by the year. Place the title of an article or a webpage within quotation marks (omitting any initial articles and capitalizing each word).

Place the title of an article or a webpage within quotation marks (omitting any initial articles and capitalizing each word).

Article:

(“Improve Indigenous Housing,” 2007)

Italicize the title of books, brochures, and reports:

Book:

(Guide to Agricultural Meteorological Practices, 2010)

Reference list entry:

Improve indigenous housing now, governments told. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.architecture.com.au/i-cms?”Page=10220

When a work specifically lists the author as Anonymous, use the word Anonymous followed by a comma and the date.

In text:

(Anonymous, 2011)

Reference list entry:

Anonymous. (2009) China and the internet. Harvard International Review, 31(2), 68-73.

What if there is not a date?

If there is no date, use (n.d.) to signify there is no date for the material both in the in-text citation and the reference.

When do I use p. to indicate page numbers in my references?

If the periodical has a volume number:

  • Italicize the volume number
  • Switch to regular type and provide the issue number and page numbers
  • Do not use p. or pp.

If the periodical does not include volume numbers, use p. or pp. before the page number to make it clear that you are referring to page numbers rather than issue or volume numbers

For sources 1 page or less, use p.

For sources longer than 1 page, use pp.

What are the rules for the reference page?

  • If you have a citation in your paper, you must have a corresponding reference on your References page
  • Double space the references.
  • Alphabetize the list by the last name of the first author.
  • If there is not an author, alphabetize by title.
  • Use a single space after each period. Note: Within the text of your document you should use two spaces after a period.
  • Use a hanging indent. With a hanging indent, the first line begins flush left; the second line, and all subsequent lines, begin 1/2 inch from the left margin. You can create a hanging indent in the format dialog box in MS Word.
  • Publisher information:
    • Make the publisher’s name as brief as possible, omitting the words Publisher, Co., and Inc. Do include Books and Press.
    • Do not use periods in abbreviations for state names (FL, NY, DC)
    • When the author is also the publisher, use the Author to indicate the publisher:

Example:

American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) Washington, DC: Author.

Do I include suffixes such as Jr. or III in my references and my citations?

Suffixes should be included in your references.

Example:

Brinker, T.M., Jr. (2011). Examining the medical expense deduction for families with special needs Children. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 65(3), 10-13.

Suffixes such as Jr. or III should not be included in your in-text citation.

(Smith, 2010)

The URLs (Universal Resource Locators or web address) in my references are displayed in blue. How do I get them to appear in black?

To remove a hyperlink:

  • Highlight the URL address
  • Right click
  • Select Remove Hyperlink.

The URL address should appear in black font color without underlining.

How do I create a Table of Contents in APA Style?

Because the primary purpose of APA is to provide guidelines for writers submitting manuscripts to scholarly journals, there are no APA guidelines for Table of Contents, bibliographies, PowerPoint slides, or thesis formatting. If your instructor has one of these requirements, you will need to check with them for instructions.

How do you cite Natural Standard monographs?

Example:

Natural Standard. (2011). Aloe (aloe vera) [Monograph]. Retrieved from http://naturalstandard.com/databases/herbssupplements/all/aloe.asp

If you have many citations from this database from the same year, you alphabetize the entries by the title and call them 2011a, 2011b, and so forth, in both the reference list entries and the text citations.

Example:

Natural Standard. (2011a). Aloe (aloe vera) [Monograph]. Retrieved from http://naturalstandard.com/databases/herbssupplements/all/aloe.asp

Natural Standard. (2011b). Caffeine [Monograph]. Retrieved from http://naturalstandard.com/databases/herbssupplements/all/caffeine

How do you cite an entire website (as opposed to a specific document on that site)?

When citing an entire website, it is sufficient to give the address of the site in just the text.

Example:


The U.S. Green Building Council website is an excellent resource for green building research, case studies, and policies (http://www.usgbc.org).

How do you cite a speech?

Even for a well-known speech, you should find an authoritative source for the text. Then you simply reference the book, video documentary, website, or other source for the quotation. The reference format you need will depend on the type of document you’ve used.

Example of speech from Credo Reference:

Ask not what your country can do for you. (2006). In Chambers Classic Speeches. London: Chambers Harrap. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com

The in-text citation would include the surname of the author or editor of the source document and the year of publication. For example, your sentence might look like this:

President Kennedy proclaimed, “Ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man” (“Ask not,” 2006).

How do you cite resources from BuildingGreen Suite?

Environmental Building News article:

Malin, N., & Roberts, T. (2011). Energy-efficient multifamily housing. Environmental Building News 20(7). Retrieved from http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2011/6/29/Energy-Efficient-Multifamily-Housing/

Case study:

U.S. Department of Energy. (2007). 30 Hudson Street [Case study]. Retrieved from http://www.buildinggreen.com/hpb/overview.cfm?projectid=716

Green product:

Building Logics, Inc. (2009). EnviroTech Roof System. Retrieved from http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/productDetail.cfm?productID=2171

How do you cite a viewpoint essay from the Opposing Viewpoints database?

Format:

Author(s). (Year of publication). Title of essay. In Editor Name(s) (Ed(s).), Title of the Book. Retrieved from Persistent Link or Bookmark

Example:

Stern, S. (2009). Fast food Is linked to obesity and other serious health problems. In Roman Espejo (Ed.), At Issue: Fast Food. Retrieved from http://find.galegroup.com

How do you cite a documentary film?

Basic format:

Producer, P. P. (Producer), & Director, D. D. (Director). (Date of publication). Title of motion picture [Motion picture]. Country of origin: Studio or distributor.

Example:

Kenner, R., Pearce, R., Schlosser, E., Robledo, M., Pohlad, W., Skoll, J., & Schorr, R. (2009). Food, Inc. [Motion picture]. Los Angeles, CA: Magnolia Home Entertainment.

How do you cite an image?

There are two ways to cite an image in your paper: you can either include the image in your paper itself, or you can write about an image that appears in a different document. Images like photographs, maps, illustrations, charts, graphs, tables, etc. are called “figures” in APA 6th Edition style.

If you show the figure in the body of your paper, include a caption right beneath it, which will include the reference. Also number your figures.

Example:

Figure 1. How to use Nicorette gum. From Nicorette: Real medicine in the form of gum, by GlaxoSmith Kline Consumer Health Care, 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2008, from http://www.nicorette.com/Nicorette_Product.aspx

In this case, you would not also need to include the reference information on your references page.

However, if you write about an image that appears in a different document, you will include an in-text citation and a reference on the references page, just as you would do for textual information you gather from any other source. When referencing images that come from articles, it is perfectly acceptable to cite the parent article. If you want to specifically cite the image:

1. Check the article content for additional source information, such as a photographer or illustrator. If an alternate name is available, use that in place of the article’s author(s).

2. If the image has a title or caption, use that in place of the article title.

3. After the article or image title and before the journal title, insert the image type. Image types are: Chart, Diagram, Graph, Illustration, Map, or Photograph.

4. Replace the page range of the article with the page number for the image.

Example:

Buggey, T. (2007). Storyboard for Ivan’s morning routine.

Diagram. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 9(3), 151.

Therefore, the in-text citation, which would immediately follow your sentence(s) that discuss this figure, would be like the example below. Also include the figure number as it appears on that page of the source:

(Buggey, 2007, p. 151, fig.1).

How do you cite an article/chapter from an Anthology or Edited Book?

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year Published). Title of Chapter/Article. In A. Editor & B. Editor (Eds.), Name of Book (page numbers). Location: Publisher.

Examples:

Jesrani, P. J. (1998). Working turn tables. In N. Bhatia, S. Dhand & V. Rupaleria (Eds.), Throwing a great party (pp. 19-48). Chicago: NT Publishers.

Melville, H. (1989). Hawthorne and his mosses. In N. Baym (Ed.), The Norton anthology of American literature (3rd ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

How do you cite an e-book?

Basic Format:

Author last name, Author first initial(s). (Year). Title of book. Retrieved from

http://www.ebrary.com (or other website)

Example:

Paloutzian, R. F. (1996). Invitation to the psychology of religion. Retrieved from

http://www.ebrary.com

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