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APUS ePress: APA

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Introduction

APA Style guide cover
APA Style refers to the standards of written communication described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. The APA style guide is comprised of a set of rules and guidelines created for publishers and writers to make sure that written material is presented clearly and consistently. In addition to providing helpful information on correct and accurate writing, APA Style also details the rules for resource documentation and citation and the formatting of citations and the document as a whole. APA Style is most typically used in the social and behavioral sciences.

The sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2009) simplified and condensed material while retaining and strengthening basic APA style rules. It contains significant differences from former versions which respond to the changes in information technologies and the way scholarly texts are produced, disseminated, and accessed by the academic community.


NOTATION USED IN THIS LIBGUIDE:  Numbers will appear in parentheses throughout this guide. These numbers correlate directly to the sections in the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

PUBLICATION INFO: The APA Style guide is currently only available in print format and via Kindle (Amazon). As the APA has not created an institutional version, the library cannot provide a licensed copy for student use. You are free to purchase your own copy of the APA guide directly from the American Psychological Association or via Amazon. (A Kindle ereader is not required. Amazon provides free reading apps for tablet, smartphone, or computer.)

ADDITIONAL INFO: The American Psychological Association provides the tutorials and "cheat sheets" help on their website:

See also their APA Style Blog: http://blog.apastyle.org/ It's an ongoing FAQ site on using the APA style.

Reference List | In-text Citations | Multiple Authors | Quotations


Click on the tabs for information on how to correctly:

  • Format your References page.

  • Format in-text citations used in your paper.

  • Reference multiple authors.

  • Format the quotations in your paper.


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In APA Style, the appropriate title for the bibliography section is References. This section should begin on a new page.

References list formatting

  • Use the hanging indent format (i.e., the first line of each reference is set flush left with subsequent lines indented). Example:


Hanging Indent Format Example

 

  • Double-space all reference entries.

  • Note correct use of upper and lower case letters in examples as well as use of italics.

  • If there is no date provided, use n.d. (n.d. = no date).

  • Sample APA References page: See Figure 2.3 on pg. 59 of the APA style manual (aka Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association) or page 9 of this sample page from the APA Style website: http://www.apastyle.org/manual/related/sample-experiment-paper-1.pdf


See also these FAQs from the APA Style Blog:


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APA guidelines for in-text citations.

[From the APA Style Manual: "Citing References in Text," Intro para to Section 6.11]

General notes:

  • References should be cited in text with an Author-Date citation system (i.e., surname(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication).
  • Each in-text citation must appear in the References section (with the exception of references to classical works, such as the Bible or the Qur'an, and references to personal communications).
     

Examples of correct in-text citations:

The archetype of the outsider was personified in the Star Trek character of Mr. Spock (Roddenberry, 2001).

OR

According to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry (2001), the archetype of the outsider was personified in the character of Mr. Spock.

OR

In 2001, Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry, suggested that the archetype of the outsider was personified in the character of Mr. Spock.
 

Citing specific parts of source (e.g., page number, chapter, figure, etc.) 

  • Cite specific part after date: (Roddenberry, 2001, p. 14)  or (APA, 2010, Chapter 6)
  • Always give page numbers for quotations when present.
  • When page numbers are not present:
     
    • If paragraph numbers are present, use in place of page numbers. Use abbreviation: para.
      • Example: (Roddenberry, para. 17)
         
    • If there are headings but no page or paragraph numbers, cite the heading and the number of the paragraph (you will need to count paragraphs and apply a number).
      • Example: (Roddenberry, 2001, Introduction, para. 2)
         
    • If there are no page or paragraph numbers and the heading is too long to cite in full, use a shortened version of the heading enclosed in quotation marks for the parenthetical citation.
      • Example: (Roddenberry, 2001, "Aliens as Humans," para. 5)


For information on citing images, see the Images/Figures section on this page.


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Notes on Multiple Authors

[From the APA Style Manual: Section 6.12]

In-text citations

  • Two authors: Cite both names each time the source is mentioned in the text. Use an “and” between the names when in the text but an ampersand (&) in the parenthetical citation.

    The study by Jones and Eckle (2008) suggested . . .
    (Jones & Eckle, 2008)
     
  • Three to seven authors: Cite all author names the first time the source is mentioned in the text. Use an “and” between the names when in the text but an ampersand (&) in the parenthetical citation. Separate author names with commas.

    In subsequent paragraphs: The first text mention of the same source is 1st author’s name followed by et al., comma, and year.

    First mention:  
    As Franklin, McTeer, Collins, and Crevins (2010) noted . . .
    A 2010 study (Franklin, McTeer, Collins, & Crevins) revealed . . .

    Subsequent mentions: Franklin et al. (2010)
     
  • More than seven authors: See this post on the APA Style Blog: Formatting APA References With More Than Seven Authors.

References

  • Two authors: List by author last names and initials; use a comma and the ampersand (&) between names.
  • Three to seven authors: List by author last names and initials. Separate author names with commas; precede the last name by an ampersand (&).
  • More than seven authors: See this post on the APA Style Blog: Formatting APA References With More Than Seven Authors.


APA guidelines for formatting quotations.

See Sections 4.07-4.09. For additional information see this post at the APA Style Blog: Block Quotations in APA Style (examples are included).  

Line spacing

  • Double-space between all lines of text, including quotations.
  • Never use single-spacing or one-and-a-half line spacing (except in tables and figures).


Short quotation (less than 40 words)

  • Use double quotation marks (“) to mark the start and end point of the direct quotation.
  • Single quotation marks (‘) are used within a quotation to denote text that was quoted within the original source.
  • Position within the text as part of a sentence or paragraph.
  • Include the citation reference after the sentence but before the final period of the sentence.

Example: “The archetype of the outsider was personified in the Star Trek character of Mr. Spock” (Roddenberry, 2001).

  • Periods and commas are placed within the closing single or double quotation marks.


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Block quotation (any quotation of 40 or more words)

  • Do not use quotation marks to enclose the text of the quotation.
  • Do use double quotation marks (“) for any quoted material within the block quotation.
  • Indent from left the same distance as for a new paragraph.
  • To format a block quotation, indent (as if starting a new paragraph) and continue to make each line of the quote begin in the same place, creating a straight line on the left side of the quotation while the right side is jagged.
  • If more than one paragraph is used for the block quote, indent the first line of each paragraph an additional half an inch. Double space the entire quote. (6.03)
  • Include the citation reference after the final period of the end sentence.

    Example: [Previous sentences of this block quotation] The archetype of the outsider was personified in the Star Trek character of Mr. Spock. (Roddenberry, 2001, p. 36)
     
  • Note that periods or commas are placed within quotation marks when they are part of the quoted material. At the end of quote, place the period followed by the page number.
  • The page number must be given for direct quotes. If no page number is available, cite the paragraph number using the abbreviation "para." If no page or paragraph numbers are available, cite the heading and paragraph number in which the information is found: (Discussion section, para. 2). (6.05)
     
Block Quotation example APA


For guidelines on how to use quoted material effectively see the info in this guide on Direct Quotations Versus Paraphrasing.


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Citation/Reference Models & Examples


Click on the tabs for models and examples of reference entries using APA Style.

These are the most commonly requested examples of APA citation/reference models. It is not a complete list. You are encouraged to acquire a copy of the complete guide to use throughout your program.

When citing sources in APA Style, remember the following general considerations:

  • When providing page numbers for the Reference page, include the full page range of the source, not just the pages used in the paper. The in-text citations provide the exact locations for specific material.

  • Capitalize the first word of titles, proper nouns, and the first word after a colon (the first word of the subtitle).

  • When entering an author's name, make sure to enter a space between their first and middle initials (e.g., A. J. Douglas).

  • Some sources, such as emails, require citation only in the text, and are not included in the Reference list. They are noted in the examples.

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Examples/Models: The following are the most commonly-requested examples of APA citation/reference models. It is not a complete listing.

Not sure what a DOI is or when to use it? See this FAQ from our LibAnswers Knowledge Base: What is a DOI number?



Journal Article Online (when DOI—digital object identifier—is not available)

Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of article: Subtitle of article. Title of Periodical,
          volume number(issue number), page range. Retrieved from URL.

Schneider, A. (2003). Home movie-making and Swiss expatriate identities in the 1920s and 1930s. Film
          History, 15(2), 166-176. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/219811201?accountid=8289


Journal Article Online with DOI (and multiple authors)

For guidelines on multiple authors, see the section above: NOTES ON MULTIPLE AUTHORS

1's Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials, Author 2's Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials, Author
          3's Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of article: Subtitle of article. Title of
          Periodical,
volume number(issue number), page range. doi

Wright, M. A., Wintemute, G. J., & Webster, D. W. (2010). Factors affecting a recently purchased handgun's
          risk for use in crime under circumstances that suggest gun trafficking. Journal of Urban Health, 87(3),
          352-64. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11524-010-9437-5

 

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Examples/Models: The following are the most commonly-requested examples of APA citation/reference models. It is not a complete listing.

Not sure what a DOI is or when to use it? See this LibAnswer: What is a DOI number?

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Books in Electronic Form

Kindle/Nook eBook (or any book in a similar, specific format; e.g., PDF, EPUB, iBook, etc.)

Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of ebook: Subtitle of ebook [E-Reader version].
          Retrieved from URL

Harris, M. (2009). Pictures at a revolution: Five movies and the birth of the new Hollywood. [Kindle
          book]. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com


eBook with Page Numbers | No page numbers

Note: "To cite a direct quotation, also provide page numbers if the e-book has page numbers. If there are no page numbers, you can include any of the following in the text to cite the quotation (see Section 6.05 of the Publication Manual, pp. 171–172):

  • a paragraph number, if provided; alternatively, you can count paragraphs down from the beginning of the document; 
  • an overarching heading plus a paragraph number within that section; or 
  • an abbreviated heading (or the first few words of the heading) in quotation marks, in cases in which the heading is too unwieldy to cite in full." [From the APA Style Blog post: How Do You Cite an E-Book (e.g., Kindle Book)?]

Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of ebook: Subtitle of ebook [E-Reader version].
          Retrieved from URL

Harris, M. (2009). Pictures at a revolution: Five movies and the birth of the new Hollywood.
         
[Kindle book.] Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com


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eBook from Richard G. Trefry Library or Commercial Database

Richard G. Trefry Library: Provide the URL of the home page of the online library (e.g., ebrary, NetLibrary, etc.) rather than the URL of the book itself anytime an item is easily available by search on that site's home page.

Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of ebook: Subtitle of ebook. Retrieved from
          URL

Brinkman, P.D. (2010). The second Jurassic dinosaur rush: Museums and paleontology in America at the
          turn of the twentieth century.
Retrieved from https://www.ebscohost.com/ebooks 


Commercial Database: APA does not require including database information, as these change over time. Simply provide an accurate ebook citation with the URL of retrieval at the end of the citation. 

Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of ebook: Subtitle of ebook. Retrieved from
          URL

Boyd-Barrett, O. (2011). Hollywood and the CIA: Cinema, defense, and subversion. Retrieved from
          http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=358659&s
          ite=ehost-live&scope=site


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APUS eTextbook (with author plus editor)

Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of ebook: Subtitle of ebook. Editor Initials and
          Last Name (Ed.). Retrieved from URL

Milton, J. (2011). Paradise lost: The biblically annotated edition. M. Stallard (Ed.). Retrieved from
          http://site.ebrary.com/lib/apus/Doc?id=10539148


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APUS eTextbook (no author, editor only)

Editor Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Ed.). (Year). Title of ebook: Subtitle of ebook. Retrieved from URL

Tavani, H.T. (Ed.). (2006). Ethics, computing, and genomics. Retrieved from
          http://library.books24x7.com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/toc.asp?bookid=11858


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APUS eTextbook (edition number)

Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of ebook: Subtitle of ebook (Edition number). Retrieved from URL

Bevel, T., & Gardner, R.M. (2008). Bloodstain pattern analysis with an introduction to crime scene reconstruction (3rd ed.). Retrieved
          from http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=http://www.crcnetbase.com/isbn/978-1-4200-5268-8


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Books in Print Format


Book with One Author (Print)

Note: For Location, always list the city and the state using the two letter postal abbreviation without periods: e.g., Milwaukee, WI.
 
Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of book: Subtitle of book. Location: Publisher.

Harris, M. (2009). Pictures at a revolution: Five movies and the birth of the new Hollywood. New York,
          NY: Penguin.


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Book with Multiple Authors (Print)

For guidelines on multiple authors, see the section above: NOTES ON MULTIPLE AUTHORS

Note: If there are more than seven authors for the reference: The first six authors are listed; all subsequent authors except the last are omitted and replaced with an ellipsis ( . . . ); and then the name of the last author is listed. [From APA Style Blog

Author 1's Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials, Author 2's Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials, &
          Author 3's Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of book: Subtitle of book. Location:
          Publisher.

Ingham, R., & Covey, L. (1983). The costumer designer's handbook: A complete guide for amateur and
          professional costume designers.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc.


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Book with No Author (Print) 

Title of book: Subtitle of book. (Year). Location: Publisher.

The Chicago manual of style (16th ed.). (2010). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.


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Chapter/Section from an Edited Book 

Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of chapter/section. In Editor's First (and
          Middle) Initials Editor Last Name (Ed.), Title of book: Subtitle of Book (pp. xx-xx). Retrieved from
          URL

Bukatman, S. (2013). A song of the urban superhero. In C. Hatfield, J. Heer, & K. Worcester (Eds.), The
          superhero reader
(pp. 170-198). Retrieved from
          http://site.ebrary.com/lib/apus/reader.action?docID=10719832

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See also this post from the APA Style Blog: How to Cite a Class in APA Style 


Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of PowerPoint show [PowerPoint slides].
          Retrieved from URL

Blanke, J. Bluebook citation [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from
          http://ssbea.mercer.edu/blanke/BluebookCitation.ppt


Note: If the name of the website to which the slides were posted is not evident in the author's name or the URL, identify the website name.

Example:

Parisi, L. (2008). Throwing off Asia – Lesson 02 Random Sample of Sino-Japanese war prints [PowerPoint
          slides]. Retrieved from MIT OpenCourseWare website:
          http://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/21f/21f.027/throwing_off_asia_01/cur_student
          /sino_japanese_war_print.ppt


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APA guidelines: "List the primary contributors in the author position and use parentheses to identify their contribution." (Section 7.07) See also this post from the APA Style BlogHow to Create a Reference for a YouTube Video



Producer Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Producer). (Year). Tile of video [Video file]. Retrieved
          from URL

Rose, M. (Producer). (2003). Elvis: Return to Tupelo [Video file]. Retrieved from
          http://search.alexanderstreet.com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/american-song/view/work/1795189

 

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APA guidelines: "The basic reference template is made up of four pieces: author, date, title (with format in brackets if necessary), and source (the URL). When one or more of these pieces is missing . . . adapt the template. In-text citations use the pieces from Position A [author] and Position B [date]."

[From the APA Style Blog: How to Cite Something You Found on a Website in APA Style: What to Do When Information Is Missing. Table 1] See also APA's info page on: How do you cite website material that has no author, no year, and no page numbers?



Website with Author | Blog

Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Date). Title of document [Format description]. Retrieved
          from URL

Lee, C. (2010, November 18). How to cite something you found on a website in APA Style [Blog post].
          Retrieved from http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2010/11/how-to-cite-something-you-found-on-
          a-website-in-apa-style.html


Website with No Author

"When there is no author for a web page, the title moves to the first position of the reference entry." [from the APA style guide website: How do you reference a web page that lists no author?]
 

Title of document. (Date). Retrieved from URL

Guest given air mattress that will slowly deflate throughout night. (2015, June 12). Retrieved from
          http://www.theonion.com/article/guest-given-air-mattress-will-slowly-deflate-throu-50646


Website with No Author or Date

[n.d. = no date]

Title of document. (n.d.). Retrieved from URL

Simpsons world. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.simpsonsworld.com/


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Dissertation or master's thesis available via a database service

Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of dissertation (Doctoral dissertation or
          master's thesis). Retrieved from name of database. (Accession/Publication/Order number)

Lieb, K.J. (2007). Pop tarts and body parts: An exploration of the imaging and brand management of
          female popular music stars
(Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest UMI Dissertations
          Publishing. (UMI 3281727)


Unpublished dissertation or master's thesis

Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of dissertation (Unpublished doctoral
          dissertation or master's thesis). Name of Institution, Location.

Manderson, E.L. (1969). Utopian tradition in the Islandia of Austin Tappan Wright (Unpublished master's
         thesis). University of Maine, Orono, Maine.


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White papers often are referred to as government documents or reports from private organizations.

  • "For reports retrieved online, identify the publisher as part of the retrieval statement unless the publisher has been identified as the author: Retrieved from Agency name website: URL.” (Section 7.03) 
  • "If issuing organization assigned a number . . . to the report, give that number in parentheses immediately after the title." (Section 7.03)

Institute Name or Organization Name. (Year). Title of paper or report (Report/Publication number, if
          available). Retrieved from URL

United States Government Accountability Office. (2015). TSA has taken steps to improve vetting of
          airport workers
(GAO-15-704T). Retrieved from http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/670809.pdf


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Instructor’s PowerPoint file or other materials

 

If the instructor has posted these materials online, cite them as follows:

Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of PowerPoint show [PowerPoint slides].
          Retrieved from URL

Blanke, J. Bluebook citation [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from
          http://ssbea.mercer.edu/blanke/BluebookCitation.ppt


Note: If the name of the website to which the slides were posted is not evident in the author's name or the URL, identify the website name. Example:

Parisi, L. (2008). Throwing off Asia – Lesson 02 Random Sample of Sino-Japanese war prints [PowerPoint
          slides]. Retrieved from MIT OpenCourseWare website:
          http://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/21f/21f.027/throwing_off_asia_01/cur_student
          /sino_japanese_war_print.ppt


If the instructor has posted these materials inside the classroom, cite them as follows:

According to APA Style, this is cited as a personal communication. NOTE: Personal communications are only cited in-text, not in the References list.

In-text citation format:

Communicator’s name using initials and surname, the phrase “personal communication,” and the date of the communication.

J.B. Allen (personal communication, March 15, 2011)   <or>  (J.B. Allen, personal communication, March 15, 2011)


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Your own class notes/forum comment/etc.

Cite them as a personal communication, using the previous model.

See also this post from the APA Style Blog: How to Cite a Class in APA Style 

 

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Click here for a Glossary of Terms.
Click here for information on the Parts of an Image.


When to cite an image

The APA editors have posted these statements on their APA Style Blog:

  • All reproduced images (including tables) should have a reference list entry. (From Navigating Copyright for Reproduced Images: Part 4. Writing the Copyright Statement)

  • Do You Really Need a Reference? Not every reference to an artwork needs a reference list entry. A passing reference to a facial expression ‘reminiscent of Munch’s The Scream’ can stand on its own, for example, and there are certain cultural icons that need no explanation. (One rule of thumb: If the artwork has inspired a successful ad campaign, it’s probably an icon.) Know your audience and use your best judgment.” (From There is an Art to It)

While referencing artwork specifically, logic of APA style suggests this applies to images as well.

  • A reference exists to lead the reader to the source you used . . . not to provide information about the contents of the source . . . .” (From There is an Art to It)
     
  • APA style does not require the descriptive information about an image, i.e., its size, format, composition, exhibition location, etc. (From There is an Art to It)
     
  • Your own images or photos: The APA editors state, with regard to photographs taken by the author of the paper that “There is no reason to cite photographs taken by you that were used in your research. Everything in your article is presumed to be your own work unless you state otherwise (which is why it's so important to cite other people's work).” (From There is an Art to It)


Regarding copyright and permissions

The use of copyrighted images in APUS student papers is permitted under Fair Use guidelines. Students do not need to obtain permissions from rights holders for images used in research papers or presentations. However, all images must be cited in APA format.

In the event that a research paper is accepted for publication by a journal, magazine, or online resource, any copyrighted images will need to be licensed. This series of blog posts from the the APA editors for addresses this situation. They state that “all reproduced images should be accompanied by a copyright permission statement and have a reference list entry (except for those images sold to you under a license)…. ” If you are using copyright statements, see blog post 4 of this series for templates.

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In-text Citations of Images

In the text, provide the usual author-date citation and include specific information for the figure if provided (i.e., Figure number, image ID number, etc.). Do not abbreviate “Figure/Table/Illustration,” and be sure to capitalize the word when it precedes a numeral.

(Author Last Name, Date, p. page number, Figure/Table/Illustration number)

(Danvers, 2010, p. 44, Figure 1)

The APA editors also suggest that you incorporate details like the name of the person who made the image into the narrative text. This is because the required reference entry is listed according to the cited source used not the image itself.

Note: It is imperative that the author and year in the text citation match the author and year in the reference list entry. Otherwise, the reader will see image author/creator name in the in-text citation and then go to the reference list to find full information about the source but not see an entry for it.


Example from a website

If citing an image that you found by using Google Images, cite the original source of the image–not Google.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s most famous painting is a frequent target for makers of Internet memes. “The Second Mona Lisa Meme New-Young” is one such example (Current News Memes, 2012).

OR

“The Second Mona Lisa Meme New-Young,” posted by Current News Memes (2012) is an example of Leonardo Da Vinci’s most famous painting which is a frequent target for makers of Internet memes.

OR

In 2012 Current News Memes posted “The Second Mona Lisa Meme New-Young,” an example of how Leonardo Da Vinci’s most famous painting has served as a target for makers of Internet memes.
 

Example from an online journal article

The modern elephant foot, as seen in this image, “Manus of an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus),” is nothing like the sauropod foot (Fowler & Hall, 2011, p. 28, Figure 1).


Example from an eBook

Option 1 (name of image author/creator not included in text):

This example of the left foot and leg of a juvenile Edmontosaurus has provided paleontologists with new insights into the young of this species (Gangloff, 2012, p. 50, Figure 4.9).


Option 2 (name of image author/creator included):

This example of the left foot and leg of a juvenile Edmontosaurus has provided paleontologists with new insights into the young of this species (photograph by Gary Grassi, in Gangloff, 2012, p. 50, Figure 4.9).


Reference Entry Examples

The APA editors say that the required reference entry is listed according to the cited source used not the image itself.

Image from a website/webpage

  • If citing an image that you found by using Google Images, cite the original source of the image–not Google.  
  • If the image cannot be retrieved by the reader (i.e., it is from a lecture website), the image is treated as a “personal communication.” Personal communications are cited in the text only and not included in the reference list.
     

Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Date). Title of document. Retrieved from URL

Current News Memes. (2012). The second Mona Lisa memes. Retrieved from
          http://cmemes.com/the-mona-lisa-memes/the-second-mona-lisa-painting-meme-new-young/

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Image from online journal article

If the article has a URL and a DOI, the DOI is preferred.

Author 1's Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials, Author 2's Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials, &
          Author 3's Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of article: Subtitle of article. Title of
          Periodical, volume number
(issue number), page range. doi (or URL)

Fowler, D.W., & Hall, L.E. (2011). Scratch-digging sauropods, revisited. Historical Biology, 23 (1), 27-40.  
          http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08912963.2010.504852


Image from an eBook

If the book has a URL and a DOI, the DOI is preferred.

Author Last Name, First (and Middle) Initials. (Year). Title of ebook: Subtitle of ebook. Retrieved from
          URL

Gangloff, R. A. (2012). Dinosaurs under the aurora. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/apus/
          detail.action?docID=10571226

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Glossary of Terms

The following terms are typically used when discussing visual materials or images that might be included in a student paper or thesis.  Except where noted, the definitions are from the Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary (MW) and the Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science (ODLIS).
 

Caption: A brief title, explanation, or description appearing immediately above, beneath, or adjacent to an illustration or photograph on a page, sometimes indicating the source of the image. ODLIS

Chart: Information in the form of a table, diagram, etc. MW

Cover art: The illustration or photograph printed on the outside of a publication, such as a book, magazine, comic book, DVD, VHS tape, video game, CD, or record album. ODLIS

Creator: The person responsible for producing an original work of visual art. ODLIS

Credit line (or Credit): A brief statement giving the name of the author, artist, agency, or publication that is the source of a picture, photograph, or quotation reproduced in an article or book, or on a Web page, usually displayed immediately below the illustration or portion of text or given at the end of the caption. Credit lines are sometimes printed together in a separate section in the front matter or back matter of a book or in a paragraph on another page in a periodical. ODLIS

Diagram: A figure, chart, or graphic design intended to illustrate or explain a principle, concept, or set of statistical data. Also, a drawing, sketch, or plan that shows the steps in a process or the relationship of the parts of an object or structure to the whole, usually simplified for the sake of clarity and utility. ODLIS

Figure:  Illustrative matter printed with the text, rather than separately in the form of plates. Figures are usually fairly simple line drawings, numbered consecutively in arabic numerals in order of appearance to facilitate reference. Figures not individually captioned may be listed with captions on a separate page, usually in the front matter of a book. (The number assigned to a plate is called a figure number.) ODLIS

Graph: A diagram that shows (1) quantity in relation to a whole (pie graph), (2) the distribution of separate values of a variable in relation to another (scatter graph), or (3) change in the value of a variable in relation to another (coordinate graph, histogram, etc.), for example, change in the average price of a journal subscription over time. ODLIS

Graphic:  Any two-dimensional nontextual, still representation. ODLIS

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Illustration: A picture, plate, diagram, plan, chart, map, design, or other graphic image printed with or inserted in the text of a book or other publication as an embellishment or to complement or elucidate the text. ODLIS

Image: A visual representation of something: as (1) a likeness of an object produced on a photographic material or (2) a picture produced on an electronic display (as a television or computer screen) MW

Label: Descriptive terms that appear within an illustration.

List of Figures (or List of Illustrations): Ordered list of figures or illustrations included in a text (typically a book, dissertation, or thesis). The List of Figures is usually located in the front matter of the document.

List of Tables: Ordered list of tables included in a text (typically a book, dissertation, or thesis). The List of Tables is usually located in the front matter of the document.

Map: (1) A picture or chart that shows the rivers, mountains, streets, etc., in a particular area; (2) a picture or chart that shows the different parts of something. MW

Plate: Illustrative matter in a book or other publication, usually printed with or without explanatory text on a leaf of different quality paper than the main text, with the reverse side often blank or bearing a descriptive legend. Plates are usually inserted in the sections after gathering, either distributed throughout the text or in one or more groups. (The number assigned to a plate is called a plate number.) ODLIS

Stock photo: A still photograph taken in the past and kept on file for use when no current picture is available, as distinct from one taken specifically for the purpose at hand. Newspapers usually maintain a file of stock photographs, especially portraits of well-known individuals, pictures of landmarks, etc., for use as the occasion arises. ODLIS

Table: The compact arrangement of facts, figures, or other data in vertical rows and columns to facilitate comparison, usually with a title across the top or an explanatory caption or note written or printed underneath. ODLIS

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Parts of an Image

Images from a scholarly source

Sample image from scholarly article

Sample of table from scholarly article


Above images from Tanaka, K., Zelenitsky, D. K., & Therrien, F. (2015). Eggshell porosity provides insight on evolution of nesting in dinosaurs. PLOS ONE, 10(11), e0142829. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0142829 (Used with permission. Modified to include parts of images.)
 

Images from non-scholarly sources

While images in academic/scholarly resources have a relatively standardized presentation format, images found in trade or popular magazines or on websites have no such standard. Determining the name of the image, its creator, date, etc. may require some detective work on your part.

  • If the image has no name: Describe the image in your text. Example: “This portrait of actor Claire Danes at last year’s award ceremony….” Cite according to the instructions in the style guide you are using.
  • If you cannot determine who created the image: Cite this as you would a source with no author according the guidelines of your style guide.
  • If you cannot determine the date of the image: Use the date of the source and cite according to the guidelines of your style guide.


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Identifying the Source of an Image

Image found on a website

NOTE: Always cite the image from the source in which you found it.

The following image was found on the “Publicity Photos” page of author Ursula K. Le Guin’s official website. 
 

image on web stie page example


All the information needed to cite this image:

1. Name and URL of website: Ursula K. Le Guin’s Website, http://www.ursulakleguin.com/

2. Name and  URL of web page it is located on: Publicity Photos, http://www.ursulakleguin.com
    /PublicityPhotos.html

3. Name of image: Ursula K. Le Guin or Photo of Ursula K. Le Guin

4. Creator of image: Jack Liu

5. Date of image: 2014


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Image found via Google Images search

NOTE: Always cite the image from the source in which you found it.

The same image (above) was found on a different website by searching Google Images for Ursula K. Le Guin.
 

second image from a website example


1. Click on the image to bring up the Google Images info box. Then click on the Visit page button.
    (To save image, click on the View image button, then right-click for Save image option.)

 

example of how to locate image from Google Images page


2. Identify the information needed to cite the image. Use this information in your citation.
 

web page with image that shows citation information

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The Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is a standardized unique number given to some articles, papers, and books, by some publishers, to identify a particular publication. Not all publications have a DOI number. If you cannot locate a DOI for a source you want to cite it is correct to leave it out.

If you have a reference and can't find the DOI number, or have a DOI number and are missing the reference, try the Crossref Free DOI Lookup.

Guidelines for using DOIs or URLs:

  • If a DOI is present, use the DOI instead of the URL.
  • Do not use "Retrieved from" if using a DOI.
  • Include the full facts of publication as well as the URL/DOI.
  • Type out the URL/DOI exactly as it appears on the screen.
  • Include the entire URL. If the URL ends in a slash (/), include the slash.
  • Do not insert a hyphen if URL or DOI will extend into next line. Break before the punctuation.
  • Do not enclose the URL/DOI in brackets.
  • If a permalink is provided, use it rather than the URL noted on the screen. (Permalinks are more stable which means the source will be easier to find).
  • Include the date you last accessed the source.

NOTE: A permalink (permanent link) is a url which will always direct a user to the same web resource (page, blog post, etc.) or any online digital media.

  • Not all digital sources have permalinks.
  • Some (though not all) databases provide permalinks for sources.
  • Some databases, such as EBSCO, will generate a link for you.
  • Other databases, such as ProQuest, will let you send the permalink via an email address.
  • FAQ: How can I create a permalink?

To review a flowchart showing the process of using DOIs, visit http://blog.apastyle.org/files/doi-and-url-flowchart-8.pdf.

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Thesis Construction


Your thesis statement is the foundation of a quality paper. It identifies both what your paper is about (your topicwhat is thesis statement graphic) and what you plan to say about that topic (your point). A strong thesis will be:

  • an answer to a question or problem. More importantly, it is your answer—one that you have synthesized from what you know and what other people have said about the question or problem.
  • an argument. While your instructors may ask you to write assignments that primarily inform rather than persuade, you still need to make a clear statement in reply to a question or problem.
  • the focal point of your essay. Every main point and subpoint should contribute to supporting it. Directly relate opposing arguments to the thesis and address the points through refutation and rebuttal.
  • a statement for writing. In other words, your thesis statement is what you want to convey to your audience as your write—but as you research and write, you will encounter new information that may cause you to rethink your argument and revise the thesis. You want this process to happen—revision is about refining and reshaping your ideas to make them more accurate and effective.


Thesis statement as preview: In addition to your thesis statement, you can help your reader navigate your work by including a preview of the main points of your argument. In short assignments, the thesis statement often functions as a preview, but in longer papers include a paragraph to summarize the main points. This preview can function as a road map of your essay and how you plan to develop your ideas.

Things to consider:


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Why does audience matter?

If you understand your audience well, you will be able to adjust your language, organization, logical reasoning, and level of detail to increase the comprehension of your message for that specific person or group of people.

While writing a paper, it’s easy to forget you are writing to a real person. No matter what you are writing, you are always writing to an audience. This reader or readers may be a generalized group such as undergraduates. Or you may know who you are writing to, perhaps your fellow classmates in a discussion forum. Thinking about your audience will help you

  • make good decisions about what sources to include in your discussion;
  • how to organize your ideas; and
  • how best to support support the point(s) you are trying to make.


Who is my audience?

For most of your class papers your instructor the actual audience for your paper. Since she is the person who will read and grade your work you need to make sure you are writing the paper according to their instructions.

One thing to note: When you write with your instructor as your audience, it is easy to think that since she knows what you are writing about that you don't have to go into depth about your topic or present your discussion as clearly. The issue here is that you are expecting the instructor to know or decide what you mean and she may not, or she may have a different perspective than yours and not realize what you are saying. Don't assume your instructor knows what you are thinking! Take the time to explain your ideas carefully and with proper support from your sources.


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What is my purpose?

When you begin to write, you first questions should be "Why am I writing?" and "What is my goal or my purpose for writing?"

For most of your university courses, your primary purpose is to complete your assignment or forum post (and, of course, to get a good grade!). 

Your key goal, though, is to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively to your reader.  With this in mind, you can revise your work as you write to make sure that every point and piece of evidence works together to accomplish that purpose. Once you understand the purpose of your writing and your audience, you can begin to develop a thesis statement.


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What makes a good thesis statement?What does strongf thesis look like graphic

A strong thesis statement:

  • is a single, complex sentence that concentrates on one specific question or problem related to your topic. It should concentrate your entire argument into a brief form.
  • is arguable. Readers should be able to disagree with your conclusions.
  • encourages discussion.
  • often has two parts: an arguable claim or the specific position you take and a brief justification of that position.


A good thesis statement is clearly and simply written. Your goal should be to be as specific as possible by tailoring the statement to reflect the scope of your paper. It should be written as a declarative sentence, not as a question.

Ineffective Thesis Statement:

Graphic novels are a good way to explore alternative beliefs.

Why is it ineffective? Describing something as a "good way" is too vague. It is also not clear what is meant by alternative beliefs. Overall, the statement is very broad and open-ended, covering a too-wide range of ideas.

Effective Thesis Statement:

The animal protagonist of Ursula Vernon’s graphic novel, Digger, could be described as a pragmatist and agnostic (or even atheist), suggesting that a hero does not need to possess a formal morality to succeed as a hero.

Why is it effective? This thesis statement is good because rather than focus on all graphic novels, it focuses on a single example of this genre (Vernon's Digger). It also very clearly states the argument to be made (that a hero does not need to possess a formal morality to succeed as a hero), suggesting that an opposite argument is possible. 

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where do I put thesis statement graphic


Academic writing tends to be deductive in structure. This leans you must introduce the conclusions drawn from your research; and explains or justifies the conclusion using logical reasoning and evidence in the rest of the work.

In a short essay or paper, it helps to make your claim at the beginning. In this case you would position your thesis statement in the first paragraph.

In a longer paper (such as a thesis paper or dissertation), "making your claim" usually requires positioning the thesis in the larger context of  larger idea. In this case, you want to position your thesis statement in your introduction section, ideally in the opening paragraphs on the first page.


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Researching


Before beginning to write, take time to jot your ideas down. Mind mapping, also referred to as brainstorming, is a useful tool when writing a paper. Mind mapping helps formulate ideas, organize thoughts, and generate direction for a topic. When writing a paper, information and flow are important in expressing thoughts effectively. Writing down ideas and organizing logically ensures all aspects of the topic are covered and flow fluently. This process may be as simple as making a chronological list of discussion points or as elaborate as a formal outline.

Consult the Richard G. Trefry Library to access more than 30,000 scholarly journals 24 hours a day.

The mind map below illustrates how you might begin the process of brainstorming and organizing a paper on the importance of exercise.

mind map example


You might prefer to construct a formal outline in order to organize your thoughts, rather than mind mapping. The example below also shows how to develop a paper on the importance of exercise. When researching, try various methods for organizing your thoughts and see which works best for you.
 

Outline example

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Gathering Evidence

 

APUS Library

When gathering evidence, you want to locate the most reliable and informative material on the topic for your paper. Informative sources can be located in licensed databases (ak.a., Deep Web) or trustworthy Open Web sites. Before using any source, you will want to assess it for its reliability.

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A reliable source will be:reliable source graphic

Current: The best information is usually the most up-to-date information. Journal articles take less time to research and write than books; recent articles and books contain more relevant information than older materials. Check the publication dates of your sources, and rely on sources that are no more than two years old whenever possible. Check with your professor before you use sources published more than five years ago.

Consider the importance of utilizing current sources when writing a paper on astronomy. An astronomy article written in 2005 assumes that the solar system contains nine planets; however, current astronomy only includes eight planets. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union determined that Pluto does not fit the category as a planet. If you were to use outdated material in your research, your entire thesis could be flawed.

Accurate: As the previous example illustrates, sources must contain correct information. Citing a source that considers Pluto a planet shows that you do not know the fundamentals of planetary astronomy. Arguments based on inaccurate information will reach inaccurate conclusions. You may be able to spot inaccuracies based on your own knowledge; however, many sources have already been screened by people who know more on the topic than you do. 

Many publications included in library databases have gone through the peer review process. In other words, before the information was released by a journal or publisher, one or more experts in that field read the article and certified that it was accurate and well informed on its topic.  Note that peer reviewed materials can still be controversial—the process merely insures that the article is accurate in its discussion of the topic, not that its arguments are correct. Use these instructions to limit your searches to peer reviewed sources: How do I find peer-reviewed or scholarly articles?

Evidence-based: Reliable sources tell where they have found their information. While several musicians have written songs about Pluto’s demotion from planet to planetoid, they do not provide detailed information about their own sources.

A more reliable source on the topic will provide the same information about its research that you must provide in your own, such as scientific data, explanations and interpretation, and a list of references. Thus, a more reliable source on Pluto’s situation would be “A planet by any other name…” (Ferzan 2010) which not only appeared in a peer-reviewed journal (Michigan Law Review) but also provides in-text citations and footnotes of all of its sources.

Objective: Reliable sources strive to present unbiased information—the authors do not allow their personal preferences to skew their presentation. When authors are biased, they may have difficulty presenting alternative viewpoints fairly.

While the Facebook page for Make Pluto a Planet Again contains an argument, the preference evident in its name indicates that the organization may not have given proper consideration to the arguments that changed Pluto’s status. By contrast, the NASA education site reports that Pluto was once considered a planet and is now a dwarf plane. NASA does not care if Pluto is a planet or not, just that they provide accurate information about it. An objective source will present not only its own arguments, but opposing arguments as well, using neutral language for both rather than strongly emotional rhetoric. Thus, NASA objectively states Pluto’s status; Make Pluto a Planet Again draws an emotional comparison between Pluto to Israel.

See also this FAQ from our LibAnswers Knowledge Base: I'm looking for criteria to evaluate a website.


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A more efficient source of online research is the Deep Web open web vs deep web graphicUnlike the Open Web, most Deep Web sources do not appear in searches performed on Google and similar sites; if they do appear, you will find that you must log in or pay a fee to access the content. More often, these search engines will not locate these sources at all.

If Open Web sources are street corner proselytizers, Deep Web sources are scientists on the cutting edge of research, scholars who have devoted years of study to understanding their field, and other experts whose reliability has already been vetted by authorities in their areas of specialization. While you must still consider the suitability of Deep Web sources for your research, you can reasonably assume that the information they contain has met a minimum threshold for academic use.

How do you access the Deep Web if search engines cannot find these sources or charge you money to reach them? Do not despair! You can access Deep Web content by using the Richard G. Trefry Library. The library has already paid the subscriptions and fees for many of these sites, and your access is included in your APUS tuition. The library provides databases that connect you to articles and books related to almost any research topic you can imagine. Detailed instructions for using the Richard G. Trefry Library to access resources can be found in the Library Research Help Guide.

While gathering resources, keep track of the bibliographical information, including the author, title, place of publication, date of publication, page numbers, URL, and the date you accessed the information, for the reference page. This information is very important when citing within the paper and on the reference page. If the bibliographic information for the reference page is not saved, the resource becomes useless since it will not be a viable source without pertinent information.

 

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The World Wide Web contains much information of questionable reliability. open web vs deep web graphicWhile the open nature of the internet can provide a forum for alternative viewpoints, that forum is unregulated and has no quality control. Posting online is the modern equivalent of standing on a street corner wearing a sandwich board and passing out pamphlets—while anyone expressing his or her opinion in this way could present logical arguments based on solid research, that person could just as easily be recounting personal theories based on unfounded speculation, running for political office, or selling you today’s lunch special at the diner around the corner. 

These easily accessed online sources you find through search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, are known as the Open Web. This name refers to the open access to these materials, which can be viewed for free by anyone. While Open Web sources can be useful, you must be particularly cautious when evaluating their reliability before you include them in your research. This process can be tricky and may take a long time—time that you could better use reading solid sources and integrating them into your research paper. Sources of which you should be particularly wary are:

  • Wikipedia
  • Commercial websites (.com)
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter)
  • Blogs

See also this FAQ from our LibAnswers Knowledge Base: I'm looking for criteria to evaluate a website.


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Formatting


Title Page: Use APA format. (2.01-2.03)

Abstract (optional): Give a brief, comprehensive summary of the content. (2.04)

  • Limit abstract to 150-250 words.
  • Make the abstract the second page of the paper.
  • Do not indent the paragraph for the abstract. This is the only time you will not indent a paragraph in a paper.

Title: Give your paper a title. A good title can hook your reader's interest. (2.01)

Introductory Paragraph: Tell the reader what you are about to tell them. Pretend the reader has no idea what you are writing about. Generally, the introductory paragraph is written in the past tense. (2.05)

Thesis Statement: Answer the question, "What do I want my readers to know after they have read my essay?" The thesis statement is often the last sentence of the first paragraph. (2.05)

Body: Make this the bulk of your paper. This section supports your thesis with evidence and research. The number of paragraphs will depend on the length and complexity of your paper. (2.08)

Concluding Paragraph: Make this a short summary. You should not introduce any new information. (2.08)

Reference Page: You must acknowledge the work of previous scholars and provide a reliable way to locate resources the resources you used. (2.11)
 

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APA uses standard rules for grammar and punctuation. While you may refer in most cases to the recommendations in the Grammar and Punctuation section of the APUS Style Guides, APA Style varies from other styles in the following ways:

  • Ampersand: If the citation is in parentheses, use the ampersand (&) instead of the word and as well as on the reference page, tables, and captions. (6.12) In the text of the paper use the word and.
     
  • Numbers:
    • Spell out numbers zero to nine and use numerals for numbers 10 and greater. An exception to this is when numbers express approximate lengths of time.
      • For example, you would write, "The banquet was held 3 months ago." (4.31-4.34) Use numerals to express all numbers in an abstract, unless the numerals begin a sentence. (4.31)
         
  • Perspective:
    • Use third person point of view when writing research papers.
    • Avoid pronouns such as I or we (first person) and you (second person).
    • Deal with facts and not opinions.
    • Focus on the subject and not on your feelings about the subject.
    • The use of third person point of view gives a formal tone to your writing. (3.09)


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Heading Levels


In APA Style, concise headings help readers track the development of the argument. Headings organize a paper and act as indicators of newly introduced information.  APA uses five heading levels as illustrated in the table below.  Each heading level corresponds to a level of your outline; be sure to format the headings properly so you do not confuse readers. The APA Style Blog offers a sample paper that uses levels correctly.

The introduction of the paper does not carry a heading since the first part of the essay is assumed to be the introduction. However, the title of the paper should be the first line directly below the 1-inch margin on the third page of your essay (or on the second page if an abstract is not required). Do not label headings with letters or numbers. (3.03)
 

APA headings table

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Title Page Example


The title page should contain three main elements:

  1. Running head
  2. Page number
  3. Descriptive information unique to the paper: title, author's name, and institutional affiliation

To format the running head, type a shortened title in all capital letters following the words "Running head" and a colon. The running head should be aligned to the left. The page number should be aligned to the right on the same line as the running head.

The full title, author's name, and the institutional affiliation is centered on the upper half of the page.

NOTE: Graduate Students doing the Capstone: The End of Program Assessment Manual for Graduate Studies (a.k.a. EOP Manual) states that that Capstone papers using APA formatting should not include the running head on the title page.
 

sample APA title page

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Page Format Example


When starting to write a paper, remember to always insert the header and page number at the top right of the page.

Note that the example below starts the paper on the third page. Some classes may require you to write a short abstract which would begin on the second page, thus pushing the beginning of the paper back a page.
 

sample APA text page


Sample APA paper: See this sample paper from the APA Style website: http://www.apastyle.org/manual/related/sample-experiment-paper-1.pdf

 

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Reference Page Example


sample APA references page


Please note the types of reference examples in the list above (in order from the top):

  1. How to write a great research paper by B. Chin is a PRINT BOOK.
  2. How to write your first research paper E. D. Kallestinova is an ONLINE JOURNAL ARTICLE.
  3. How to write a research paper by C. King is a WEB ARTICLE WITH AUTHOR.
  4. Manuscript preparation and paper format is a WEB ARTICLE WITH NO AUTHOR.
  5. Procedure for writing a term paper by A. Raygor is a WEB ARTICLE WITH AUTHOR.

Sample APA References page: See Figure 2.3 on pg. 59 of the APA style manual (aka Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association) or page 9 of this sample page from the APA Style website: http://www.apastyle.org/manual/related/sample-experiment-paper-1.pdf

See also these FAQs from the APA Style Blog:


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Direct Quotations Versus Paraphrasing


A direct quotation repeats the exact words of an author or source. Use quotation marks to mark the start and end point of the direct quotation (6.03)

Example:

  • According to Conner (2004), "Many of us understand all sorts of things but never have the opportunity or take the time to try them out" (p. 161).

Paraphrasing is your own rendition of someone else’s information or idea. (6.04)

Example:

  • Many people possess knowledge on a multitude of topics but infrequently have the chance to take advantage of such knowledge (Conner, 2004, p.161).

Generally, paraphrase is preferred to direct quotation except when the wording of the original is especially relevant to your discussion.  Paraphrase shows that you understand the concepts of the original work and have incorporated them into your own thinking. 

Whether you quote or paraphrase, always cite the source of your information. Remember, patchwork plagiarism and word-for-word plagiarism can both result in receiving an F in a course. Educate yourself on plagiarism prevention.

For guidelines on how to correctly format quoted material see the info in this guide Format for Quotations.


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