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Citing and Referencing Techniques

Citing and Referencing Techniques

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Author: Sophia Tutorial
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Differentiate between correct and incorrect formatting of APA style citations.

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Tutorial

what's covered
In this lesson, you will learn how to use American Psychological Association (APA) style formatting guidelines for in-text citations. Specifically, this lesson will focus on:
  1. Brief Quotations
  2. Paraphrased and Summarized Material
  3. Longer Quotations
  4. In-Text Citations for Different Source Types
    1. Print Sources
    2. Electronic Sources
    3. Personal Communications

1. Brief Quotations

For quotations fewer than forty words, you can use quotation marks to indicate where the quoted material begins and ends, then cite the name of the author(s), the year of publication, and the page number where the quotation appears in your source.

The author’s name, the source title, and the publication date can be included either in the body of the sentence or in the parenthetical citation.

EXAMPLE

Chang (2008) emphasized that “engaging in weight-bearing exercise consistently is one of the single best things women can do to maintain good health” (p. 49).

Note that when a parenthetical citation appears at the end of the sentence, it comes after the closing quotation marks and before the period. The elements within parentheses are separated by commas.

EXAMPLE

Weight Training for Women (Chang, 2008) claimed that “engaging in weight-bearing exercise consistently is one of the single best things women can do to maintain good health” (p. 49).

EXAMPLE

Weight Training for Women claimed that “engaging in weight-bearing exercise consistently is one of the single best things women can do to maintain good health” (Chang, 2008, p. 49).

The author’s name, the publication date, and the source title may appear in the body of the text. Include the page number in the parenthetical citation. Also, notice the use of the verb "asserts" to introduce the direct quotation.

EXAMPLE

In Chang’s 2008 text Weight Training for Women, she asserts, “Engaging in weight-bearing exercise is one of the single best things women can do to maintain good health” (p. 49).

You may begin a sentence with the direct quotation and add the author’s name and a strong verb before continuing the quotation.

EXAMPLE

“Engaging in weight-bearing exercise,” Chang asserts, “is one of the single best things women can do to maintain good health” (2008, p. 49).


2. Paraphrased and Summarized Material

When you paraphrase or summarize ideas from a source, you follow the same guidelines previously provided, except that you are not required to provide the page number where the ideas are located.

If you are summing up the main findings of a research article, simply providing the author’s name and publication year may suffice, but if you are paraphrasing a more specific idea, consider including the page number.

If the writer is summarizing a major idea that recurs throughout the source material, no page reference is needed.

EXAMPLE

Chang (2008) pointed out that weight-bearing exercise has many potential benefits for women.

If the passage paraphrases a specific detail, even if the writer is not directly quoting the source, the writer may choose to include the page number where the information is located.

EXAMPLE

Chang (2008) found that weight-bearing exercise could help women maintain or even increase bone density through middle age and beyond, reducing the likelihood that they will develop osteoporosis in later life (p. 86).


3. Longer Quotations

When you quote a passage of forty words or more, you will use a different format to set off the quoted material. Instead of using quotation marks, create a block quotation by starting the quotation on a new line and indenting five spaces from the margin.

Here is an example. Note that in this case, the parenthetical citation comes after the period that ends the sentence.

In recent years, many writers within the fitness industry have emphasized the ways in which women can benefit from weight-bearing exercise, such as weightlifting, karate, dancing, stair climbing, hiking, and jogging. Chang (2008) found that engaging in weight-bearing exercise regularly significantly reduces women’s risk of developing osteoporosis. Additionally, these exercises help women maintain muscle mass and overall strength, and many common forms of weight-bearing exercise, such as brisk walking or stair climbing, also provide noticeable cardiovascular benefits. (p. 93)

hint
Be wary of quoting from sources at length. Remember, your ideas should drive the paper, and quotations should be used to support and enhance your points. Make sure any lengthy quotations that you include serve a clear purpose. Generally, no more than 10-15 percent of a paper should consist of quoted material.


4. In-Text Citations for Different Source Types

These next sections discuss the correct format for various types of in-text citations. Read through them to get a sense of what is covered, and then refer to them again as needed.

4a. Print Sources

This section covers books, articles, and other print sources with one or more authors.

A Work by One Author

For a print work with one author, always include the author’s name and year of publication.

EXAMPLE

Chang (2008) pointed out that weight-bearing exercise has many potential benefits for women.

Include a page reference whenever you quote a source directly.

EXAMPLE

Chang (2008) emphasized that “engaging in weight-bearing exercise consistently is one of the single best things women can do to maintain good health” (p. 49).

Two or More Works by the Same Author

At times, your research may include multiple works by the same author. If the works were published in different years, a standard in-text citation will serve to distinguish them.

If you are citing multiple works by the same author published in the same year, include a lowercase letter immediately after the year. Rank the sources in the order they appear in your references section. The source listed first includes an "a" after the year, the source listed second includes a "b," and so on.

EXAMPLE

Rodriguez (2009a) criticized the nutrition-supplement industry for making unsubstantiated and sometimes misleading claims about the benefits of taking supplements. Additionally, he warned that consumers frequently do not realize the potential harmful effects of some popular supplements (Rodriguez, 2009b).

Works by Authors with the Same Last Name

If you are citing works by different authors with the same last name, include each author’s initials in your citation, whether you mention them in the text or in parentheses. Do so even if the publication years are different.

EXAMPLE

J. S. Williams (2007) believes nutritional supplements can be a useful part of some diet and fitness regimens. C. D. Williams (2008), however, believes these supplements are overrated.

EXAMPLE

According to two leading researchers, the rate of childhood obesity exceeds the rate of adult obesity (K. Connelley, 2010; O. Connelley, 2010).

EXAMPLE

Studies from both A. Wright (2007) and C. A. Wright (2008) confirm the benefits of diet and exercise on weight loss.

A Work by Two Authors

When two authors are listed for a given work, include both authors’ names each time you cite the work.

If you are citing their names in parentheses, use an ampersand (&) between them.

EXAMPLE

As doctors continue to point out, “It is never too late to quit smoking. The health risks associated with this habit begin to decrease soon after a smoker quits” (Garrison & Gould, 2010, p. 101).

Use the word "and," however, if the names appear in your sentence.

EXAMPLE

As Garrison and Gould (2010) pointed out, “It is never too late to quit smoking. The health risks associated with this habit begin to decrease soon after a smoker quits” (p. 101).

A Work by Three to Five Authors

If the work you are citing has three to five authors, list all the authors’ names the first time you cite the source.

EXAMPLE

Henderson, Davidian, and Degler (2010) surveyed 350 smokers aged 18 to 30.

EXAMPLE

One survey, conducted among 350 smokers aged 18 to 30, included a detailed questionnaire about participants’ motivations for smoking (Henderson, Davidian, & Degler, 2010).

Note that these examples follow the same ampersand conventions as sources with two authors. Again, use the ampersand only when listing authors’ names in parentheses.

In subsequent citations, use the first author’s name followed by the abbreviation et al. This is short for et alia, the Latin phrase for “and others.”

EXAMPLE

As Henderson et al. (2010) found, some young people, particularly young women, use smoking as a means of appetite suppression.

EXAMPLE

Disturbingly, some young women use smoking as a means of appetite suppression (Henderson et al., 2010).

Note how the phrase et al. is punctuated. No period comes after et, but al. gets a period because it is an abbreviation for a longer Latin word. In parenthetical references, include a comma after et al. but not before. Remember this rule by mentally translating the citation to English: “Henderson and others, 2010.”

A Work by Six or More Authors

If the work you are citing has six or more authors, list only the first author’s name, followed by "et al.," in your in-text citations. The other authors’ names will be listed in your references section.

EXAMPLE

Researchers have found that outreach work with young people has helped reduce tobacco use in some communities (Costello et al., 2007).

A Work Published by an Organization

When citing a work that has no individual author(s) but is published by an organization, use the organization’s name in place of the author’s name. Lengthy organization names with well-known abbreviations can be abbreviated.

In your first citation, use the full name, followed by the abbreviation in square brackets.

EXAMPLE

It is possible for a patient to have a small stroke without even realizing it (American Heart Association [AHA], 2010).

Subsequent citations may use the abbreviation only.

EXAMPLE

Another cause for concern is that even if patients realize that they have had a stroke and need medical attention, they may not know which nearby facilities are best equipped to treat them (AHA, 2010).

A Work with No Listed Author

If no author is listed and the source cannot be attributed to an organization, use the title in place of the author’s name. You may use the full title in your sentence or use the first few words - enough to convey the key ideas - in a parenthetical reference.

Follow standard conventions for using italics or quotations marks with titles:

  • Use italics for titles of books or reports.
  • Use quotation marks for titles of articles or chapters.

EXAMPLE

“Living With Diabetes: Managing Your Health” (2009) recommends regular exercise for patients with diabetes.

EXAMPLE

Regular exercise can benefit patients with diabetes (“Living with Diabetes,” 2009).

A Work Cited within Another Work

To cite a source that is referred to within another secondary source, name the first source in your sentence. Then, in parentheses, use the phrase "as cited in" and the name of the second source author.

EXAMPLE

Rosenhan’s study “On Being Sane in Insane Places” (as cited in Spitzer, 1975) found that psychiatrists diagnosed schizophrenia in people who claimed to be experiencing hallucinations and sought treatment— even though these patients were, in fact, imposters.

Two or More Works Cited in One Reference

At times, you may provide more than one citation in a parenthetical reference, such as when you are discussing related works or studies with similar results.

List the citations in the same order they appear in your references section, and separate the citations with a semicolon.

EXAMPLE

Some researchers have found serious flaws in the way Rosenhan’s study was conducted (Dawes, 2001; Spitzer, 1975).

Both of these researchers authored works that support the point being made in this sentence, so it makes sense to include both in the same citation.

A Famous Text Published in Multiple Editions

In some cases, you may need to cite an extremely well-known work that has been repeatedly republished or translated. Many works of literature and sacred texts, as well as some classic nonfiction texts, fall into this category.

For these works, the original date of publication may be unavailable. If so, include the year of publication or translation for your edition. Refer to specific parts or chapters if you need to cite a specific section.

EXAMPLE

In New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, Freud explains that the “manifest content” of a dream - what literally takes place - is separate from its “latent content,” or hidden meaning (trans. 1965, lecture XXIX).

Here, the student is citing a classic work of psychology, originally written in German and later translated to English. Since the book is a collection of Freud’s lectures, the student cites the lecture number rather than a page number.

An Introduction, Foreword, Preface, or Afterword

To cite an introduction, foreword, preface, or afterword, cite the author of the material and the year, following the same format used for other print materials.

4b. Electronic Sources

Whenever possible, cite electronic sources as you would print sources, using the author, the date, and where appropriate, a page number.

For some types of electronic sources - for instance, many online articles - this information is easily available. Other times, however, you will need to vary the format to reflect the differences in online media.

Online Sources without Page Numbers

If an online source has no page numbers, but you want to refer to a specific portion of the source, try to locate other information you can use to direct your reader to the information cited.

Some websites number paragraphs within published articles; if so, include the paragraph number in your citation. Precede the paragraph number with the abbreviation for the word paragraph and the number of the paragraph.

EXAMPLE

As researchers have explained, “Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into one’s diet can be a challenge for residents of areas where there are few or no easily accessible supermarkets” (Smith & Jones, 2006, para. 4).

Even if a source does not have numbered paragraphs, it is likely to have headings that organize the content. In your citation, name the section where your cited information appears, followed by a paragraph number.

EXAMPLE

The American Lung Association (2010) noted, “After smoking, radon exposure is the second most common cause of lung cancer” (What Causes Lung Cancer? section, para. 2).

Online Sources without Authors and Dates

If an online source has no listed author and no date, use the source title and the abbreviation n.d. in your parenthetical reference.

EXAMPLE

It has been suggested that electromagnetic radiation from cellular telephones may pose a risk for developing certain cancers (“Cell Phones and Cancer,” n.d.).

4c. Personal Communications

For personal communications, such as interviews, letters, and e-mails, cite the name of the person involved, clarify that the material is from a personal communication, and provide the specific date the communication took place.

EXAMPLE

J. H. Yardley, M.D., believes that available information on the relationship between cell phone use and cancer is inconclusive (personal communication, May 1, 2009).

Note that while in-text citations correspond to entries in the references section, personal communications are an exception to this rule. They are cited only in the body text of your paper.

summary
In this lesson, you learned the APA formatting conventions for brief quotations, paraphrased and summarized material, and longer quotations. You also learned how to format in-text citations for different source types, such as print sources, electronic sources, and personal communications.

Best of luck in your learning!

Source: This content has been adapted from Lumen Learning's "Citing and Referencing Techniques" tutorial.