Custer 2


Many of you are used to using MLA style. In the social sciences (and often in the natural sciences) we typically use APA (American Psychological Association) style for citations and references. The reason for this is because in scientific disciplines it is very important to carefully document where you got your information. APA is more detailed than MLA style.

If you are not used to APA style, my request for you to use it for citations and references may seem somewhat arbitrary and unreasonable, at first. However, please trust that being able to adapt your writing style (including citations/references) to your audience is an important outcome of college-level writing. Moreover, being able to cite and reference in APA style with some degree of accuracy is an important outcome in the Social Science Distribution Area at Cascadia (and many other colleges). APA style might seem frustrating at first, but with a little practice, it is easy to master!

In APA style there are both in-text citations and a list of references (a.k.a. works cited). The in-text citation comes in the body of your paper. The references or works cited come at the end of your paper. It is important to remember that in APA anything that is cited must also be listed in your references (and vice versa).

Citations and References for Various Sources

1. Journal articles


The authors argue that there is a correlations between study styles and grades (Kahn & Wanamaker, 1998).


Kahn, L. & Wanamaker, D. (1998). The effects of study styles on the grades of students. Journal of Normal Psychology, 3, 220-223.

Note: Only the first word in the article’s title (and subtitle, if there is one) is capitalized.

2. Articles in an anthology (or edited book)


Cite the author(s) of the specific reading, but the year of the anthology. For instance, if you wish to use something from the reading, “Missing in Interaction” originally written by Sadker and Sadker in 1994 but later published in an anthology edited by Ferguson in 2006, your citation would look like this: (Sadker & Sadker, 2006).


Sadker, M. & Sadker, D. (2006). Missing in Interaction. In S.J. Ferguson (Ed.) Mapping the Social Landscape (pp. 310-312). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Note: The reference for a reading in anthology should have the author’s name first (not the editor’s). The date should be the date the anthology was published.

3. Website


To cite a specific part of a website, indicate the page, chapter, or table. For electronic sources that do not provide page numbers, use the paragraph number, preceded by the paragraph symbol or the abbreviation “para”. If neither paragraph nor page numbers are visible, cite the heading and the number of the paragraph following it to direct the reader to the location of the material. E.g. (Myers, 2000, ¶ 5) or (Beutler, 2000, Conclusion section, para. 1). If there is no discernible author of the material, use the first two or three words of the work’s title. If there is no discernible date, use “n.d.” instead of a date.


At a minimum, a reference of an Internet source should provide a document title/description, a date of retrieval, and an address (URL). If possible, identify the authors of a document as well.

Author, A. A. (2000). Title of work. Retrieved month day, year, from source (URL).

If there is no discernible author of the material, use the first two or three words of the work’s title. If there is no discernible date, use “n.d.” instead of a date.

4. PPT


Follow the same general format using the author’s name and the year of the presentation (in most cases I have the date the presentation was created on the slides for this course).


Roberts, K. F. (1998). Federal regulations of chemicals in the environment [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from

5. Newspaper article


For newspaper articles cite the author and year, as you would with any other source. If there is no author listed, use the first few words of the title of the article.

The study found the health-care initiative to be very successful (Successful health-care, 2015)


For online newspaper sources use the format below. If you have a printed newspaper you will include a page number instead of a URL.

Successful health-care initiative looks to expand. (2015, September 9). Duluth News Tribune. Retrieved from

6. Books


Frustration is often a precursor to aggression (Gruner & Robinson, 1990).


Gruner, J. & Robinson, C. (1990). Studies in frustration (3rd ed.). Bellevue, WA: Laboratory Press.

Note: Only the first word in the book’s title (and subtitle, if there is one) is capitalized.

7. Images

If you are using images from sources other than Microsoft’s stock images, then you do need a citation. For this class it is sufficient if you include the name of the image and the URL of the site where you retrieved it. Check APA guidelines for more details.

8. Secondary Sources

A secondary source is something that you haven’t read yourself, but that is cited by someone else that you are reading. In this case, you will rely primarily on the source that you are reading, but give mention to the other source. This is what the format looks like if, for example, you are reading a work by Coltheart et al. and they mention if Seidenberg and McClelland’s work, which you have not personally read.


In Seidenberg and McClelland’s study (as cited in Coltheart, Curtis, Atkins, & Haller, 1993)


Coltheart, M., Curtis, B., Atkins, P., & Haller, M. (1993). Models of reading aloud: Dual-route and parallel-distributed-processing approaches. Psychological Review, 100, 589-608.


1. What is a citation and when do I need one?

Citations (sometimes called “in-text citations”) are used in the body of the report and indicate where your information comes from. You should provide a citation for anything that came from an outside source or is not general knowledge, even if it is not a direct quote!

The citation is only a brief mention of the source (the complete details will be provided in the references at the end of your paper).

The format for the citation might depend on the type of source you are using, but in most cases, the citation should include the author(s) last name and the year of publication.

As a rule of thumb, it’s better to over cite than to under cite!

2. What is a reference and when do I need one?

A reference provides the complete information for any source that was cited in the body of your paper. References are placed at the end of the essay on a separate page entitled “References” or “Works Cited” (your choice). You must compile a complete list of all the materials you cited in the essay on your reference page.

NOTE: APA is different than MLA in anything listed in the references must have a citation in the paper. Similarly, anything cited in the paper must be listed in the references.

3. Is the citation format different for direct quotes and paraphrased material?

Yes! The page number is added when you have a citation for a direct quote. It is not needed for paraphrased material.

Citation for paraphrased material (not a direct quote):

Nonmaterial culture consists of: Symbols, language, norms, values, and beliefs (McIntyre, 2002).

Note: There is no page #, just the author’s last name and the year of the publication.

Citation for direct quotes:

“We can divide nonmaterial culture into five basic categories: Symbols, language, norms, values, and beliefs” (McIntyre, 2002, p. 95).

Note: Place end quotation marks before the citation and include the page #.

4. Do I have to list all the authors of the material in the citation?

If a text has 2 authors, always cite both names.

If a text has 3-5 authors, cite all the authors the first time; in subsequent cites include only the last name of the first author followed by “et al.” and the year. 1st citation: (Wasserstein, Zappulla, Rosen, Gerstman, and Rock, 1994). 2nd citation: (Wasserstein, et al., 1994). List all the authors in the references.

If the text has 6+ authors, cite only the first author followed by “et al.” and the year for all citations. List all the authors in the reference.

3. What is the proper order for references?

Put references in alphabetical order according to the first author’s last name. You should not number them (or use bullets).

4. What is the proper spacing for references?

Single-space within references, double-space between them. Use “hanging indents” for all references. Hanging indents means your first line is not indented, but subsequent lines are.

Additional Resources on APA Style:

1. One of the best sources for writing in general and APA style in particular is the Online Writing Lab out of Purdue:

2. There is an APA style guide located on our library website.

3. Another good source for APA style is the APA website:

4. Diana Hacker’s Rules for Writers (6th Edition) is an excellent resource for APA style as well as a number of other stylistic issues.

Revised 3/17