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Using APA and MLA Citation Formats

American Psychological Association (APA) Format

This section serves as an introduction to the American Psychological Association, or APA citation format, by highlighting a few citation questions students frequently ask. The APA format differs from other documentation styles (such as the MLA style). Students should verify with their instructor what documentation style is required. The Style Sheet's related page numbers, and the related section in the new APA Publication Manual, Sixth Edition, are in brackets.

APA Style Sheet created by Richland's English Faculty PDF Document icon

What sources do I include in my Reference List? [5]

In the Reference List, include only what you have actually cited in the text. Therefore, if you read something but never cited the author in the paper, do not include the reference in the list. Citations in the text and the Reference List must agree. Also, remember that personal communications such as letters, e-mails and telephone calls that may be cited in the paper do not appear in the Reference List.

Double-space the Reference List. Single space after all punctuation. Type the first line of each entry against the left margin, and indent the following lines 5 spaces. This format is called hanging indentation. However, in some cases you would create the Reference List using a paragraph structure. Check with your instructor to determine which format is appropriate for your assignment. Detailed Reference List information begins on Page 180 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition [2010].

General Information

Alphabetize by author first. For entries by the same author, alphabetize by title after the author. If the work does not have an author, alphabetize by the agency, association, or institution that prepares the material; by Anonymous-- if this word is actually spelled out as the author; or by the title -- move the title to the author's place. Alphabetize everything letter by letter. For example, Brown, J. R., comes before Browning, A. J. Alphabetize Mc and Mac literally.

Use commas to separate authors as well as an ampersand before the last author. Use only initials of first and middle names. Use only single space throughout. Finish each element (author, date, title of article, journal information) with a period. Do not put quotation marks around the title of an article. Capitalize only the first word of the title, first word after a colon, and proper names. You do capitalize and italicize the name of a journal. Put only the year for a journal article. Put the volume number, italicized, after the journal name. Do not put p. or pp. before pages for a journal article.

Example: Periodicals

Spetch, M. L., & Wilkie, D. M. (1983). Subjective shortening: A model of pigeons' memory
          for event duration. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior
         Processes, 9
, 1430-1460.

How do I cite a book in my Reference List? [6/Publication Manual 7.02]

Capitalize the first word, the first word after the colon, and proper names. Use single space throughout. Put periods after each element. Add additional information about the book (such as 3rd ed. or vol. 2) right after the title, in parentheses, before the period. Abbreviate names of publishing companies and do not use Publishers, Co., or other terms. List only the first location of the publisher. List only the city if it is well-known. If not well-known, add the U.S. postal abbreviation for the state or the country (Decatur, IL).

Example: Books

Berstein, T. M. (1965). The careful writer: A modern guide to English usage. New York: Atheneum.

How do I cite electronic sources? [7]

Citing Specific Documents Presented on a Web Site

Citation of materials in electronic format has evolved since the beginning of the Internet. As more research materials become available, documentation requirements also change to ensure that readers can locate the source material. Web documents share many of the same elements found in a print document (authors, titles, dates). Therefore, the citation for Web documentation often follows a format similar to that for print, with some information omitted and some added. Students who are uncertain about citations on the Reference page should refer to the Publication Manual. In general, offer as much information as possible.

Internet Articles Based on a Print Source

Currently the majority of the articles retrieved from online publications in psychology and the behavioral sciences are exact duplicates of those in print versions. The electronic articles are unlikely to have additional analyses and data attached, although this scenario may change in the future. In the meantime, the same basic primary journal reference can be used. Students who have viewed the article only in its electronic form should add [Electronic version] in brackets after the article title per the following fictitious example:

VandenBos, G., Knapp, S., & Doe, J. (2002). Role of reference elements in the selection
      of resources by psychology undergraduates [Electronic version]. American Journal
      of Psychology, 5,
117-123. Retrieved from http://ajp.press.illinois.edu/.

APA Citation Information Last Updated 10-03-11.

Modern Language Association (MLA) Format

This section serves as an introduction to the Modern Language Association, or MLA citation format, by highlighting a few citation questions students frequently ask. The MLA format differs from other documentation styles (such as the APA style). Students should verify with their instructor what documentation style is required. The Style Sheet's related page numbers, and the related section in the 2009 MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, seventh edition, are in brackets.

MLA Style Sheet created by Richland's English Faculty PDF Document icon

What sources do I include in my Works Cited List? [1]

The MLA format requires that titles of major works, for example, books, periodicals, newspapers, films, and home pages, be italicized in the text of the paper and on the Works Cited page (MLA Handbook: 3.6.2. and 3.6.5.). The titles of magazine articles and newspaper articles are placed within quotation marks. See 3.6.3.–3.6.6. for a complete explanation of quotation marks and using italics with titles of source materials. Also note that the period at the end of a citation sentence is on the outside of the parenthetical citation, not at the end of the sentence.

How do I create a Works Cited page? [4/MLA Handbook 5.3.2.]

At the end of your paper, begin a new page for the Works Cited page(s). The Works Cited list is an alphabetized list of all sources used in your paper. The works are alphabetized by the author’s last name. In the case of no author, the unsigned work is alphabetized by the first significant word in the work’s title. The Works Cited list is double-spaced and uses hanging indentation, with the second and subsequent lines of all entries indented 5 spaces. The Works Cited page is paginated with the rest of the document. In other words, if the last page of the research paper is 12, the Works Cited page begins on Page 13 (5.3.2. and 5.3.3.). The words, Works Cited, are centered in the middle of the first line without special punctuation or style (no bold or larger typeface, for example). In the MLA Handbook, see sections 5.4.1. and 5.5.1. for formatting citations for print sources and 5.6.2.b. and 5.6.4. for Web sources.

How do I cite a book in my Works Cited list? [MLA Handbook 5.5.2.]

According to the new seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, [5.5.2.], an entry for a book by a single author in the Works Cited list comprises three categories: author’s name; book title; and publication information. Put the author’s last name first, placing a comma after the last name, for alphabetizing. A period follows the complete name. Use the book’s full title, and subtitle, per the book’s title page. List the city of publication, publisher’s name, publication year and the type of source. For books, the source type is print.

Example: Book with one author [4/MLA Handbook 5.5.2.]

Merelman, Richard M. Partial Vision: Culture and Politics in Britain, Canada,

      and the United States. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1991. Print.

How do I cite articles from Richland’s databases in my Works Cited list? [7/MLA Handbook 5.6.4.]

The Kitty Lindsay Learning Resources Center has approximately 25 electronic databases available to students conducting academic research on- or off-campus [NETID and password required for off-campus access]. According to the College’s English faculty, students citing articles from Richland’s databases in their Works Cited list should first follow the format for the appropriate print source, such as a magazine article, a scholarly journal article or a newspaper article. Specifically, students should list the:

  • Author (if known);
  • Article title, in quotation marks;
  • Journal or magazine title, italicized;
  • For magazines or newspapers, date of original print publication; for scholarly journals, volume, issue and year [year in parentheses];
  • Original page numbers. Unless the articles are available in Portable Document Format [PDF], articles retrieved online may not have page numbers. In those cases, use n. pag. If page numbers are available, provide the inclusive page numbers for articles longer than one page. When page numbers are not continuous, provide the first page number and a plus sign (24+).

Then add:

  • Database name, italicized (Academic Search Premier or WilsonSelectPlus);
  • The word “Web”; and
  • date database was accessed (12 Oct. 2009).

Example: Scholarly article retrieved from online database [From MLA Handbook 5.6.4.]

Tolson, Nancy. “Making Books Available: The Role of Early Libraries, Librarians,

     and Booksellers in the Promotion of African American Children’s Literature.”

     African American Review 32.1 (1998): 9-16. JSTOR. Web. 5 June 2008.

MLA Citation Information Last Updated 10-03-11.

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