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APA Guide

Locating Reference Information by Resource Type

Click Here to view examples of citations for books.

Physical Books

Look at the cover and the front and back of the title page (usually among the first couple of pages of the book) for the information you need: Author. Date. Title. Access. For books, access is usually the publisher information.

Back of title page:

 

For more information on Author Date Title Access see the box below.

Click Here to view examples of citations for books

eBooks

Use the cover and title page/back of title page, just like for a physical book (see Book tab above). Author. Date. Title. Access.

Note: for eBooks, access information is the URL of the publication company's homepage instead of the name and location of the publication company. You'll need to search for that on the internet no matter where you find the publisher information in the eBook.

The database or entry point for the eBook might give you most of the other information you need (see below), if not use the cover and title page like you do for a physical book (see Book tab).

For more information on Author Date Title Access see the box below.

Click Here to view examples of citations for eBooks.

eTextbooks

eTextbooks are very similar to Books and eBooks. Find the Author-Date-Title information in the same places. See the Book and eBook tabs above.

Access: Access information should be the URL of the eTextbook provider instead of the print publisher (for example, use the URL of VitalSourceCourseSmart homepage for eTextbooks within that platform instead of the publisher URL).

Hint: The eTextbook provider normally provides the information you need for an APA reference before you enter the book. Look for a "Product Information" or "More Details" type link.

For more information on Author Date Title Access see the box below.

Click Here to view examples of citations for eTextbooks.

Articles from Journals

Look at the top of the first page of the article and the headers or footers of each page for the information you need: Author. Date. Title. Access.

Access: For articles, access is usually the name of the journal, volume and issue numbers, page numbers of the beginning and end of the article, and the DOI or the URL of the journal's homepage.

Database providers like EBSCO and ProQuest do a wonderful job of providng the Author. Date. Title. Access. information in results lists and/or in "cite" buttons.

Database Listings

Database listings of articles usually include all the information you need to create a reference. Sometimes you may need to search the internet for the homepage of the journal that published the article (if there is no DOI).

The image below is of an article listing inside the Discovery database. You can see that all the information you need to create an APA reference is provided. Color key: Authors. Title. Date. Access.

Actual Articles

If you are in an actual article, the information you need is usually at the top of the first page of the article itself. If not or if incomplete, your next steps will be to look at the headers and footers of the article in case the needed information is there.

The image below shows the top havel of the first page of an article. All the information needed to create an APA reference for is there. Authors. Title. Date. Access.

For more information on Author Date Title Access see the box below.

Click Here to view examples of citations for journal articles.

Articles from Magazines

Look at the top of the first page of the article and the headers or footers of each page for the information you need: Author. Date. Title. Access.

Date: For magazine articles, the date usually includes a day and month in addition to the year.

Access: For articles, access is usually the name of the magazine, volume and issue numbers (if available), page numbers of the beginning and end of the article (if available), and the DOI or the URL of the magazine's homepage.

Database providers like EBSCO and ProQuest do a wonderful job of providng the Author. Date. Title. Access. information in results lists and/or in "cite" buttons.

Database Listings

Database listings of articles usually include all the information you need to create a reference. Sometimes you may need to search the internet for the homepage of the magazine that published the article (if there is no DOI).

The image below is of an article listing inside the Discovery database. You can see that all the information you need to create an APA reference is provided: Authors. Title. Date. Access.

Actual Articles

If you are in an actual article, the information you need is usually on the first page or two of the article itself. If not or if incomplete, your next steps will be to look at the headers and footers of the article in case the needed information is there (magazine title, volume and issue), and then at the last page of the article (to get the complete first-last page numbers for the article).

The image below shows the first page of an article. Most of the information needed to create an APA reference for is there. Authors. Title. Date. Access. What is missing:

  • Access.volume and issue: sometimes they are not provided with magazines and if this is the case leave them out
  • Access. last page of the article: need to get to the end of the article to get that information
  • Access. url: need to search for the web addres for the magazine, Newsweek, since no DOI is provided

For more information on Author Date Title Access see the box below.

Click Here to view examples of citations for magazine articles.

Articles from Newspapers

Look at the top of the first page of the article and the headers or footers of each page for the information you need: Author. Date. Title. Access.

Date: For newspaper articles, the date usually includes a day and month in addition to the year.

Access: For articles, access is usually the name of the newspaper and the URL of the newspaper's homepage.

Database providers like EBSCO and ProQuest do a wonderful job of providng the Author. Date. Title. Access. information in results lists and/or in "cite" buttons.

Database Listings

Database listings of newspaper articles usually include all the information you need to create a reference. Sometimes you may need to search the internet for the homepage of the newspaper that published the article.

Author: newspaper articles frequently do not list an author. If that is the case, the title of the article takes the place of the author.

The image below is of two newspaper articles listed inside the Discovery database. You can see that most of the information you need to create an APA reference is provided: Authors. Title. Date. Access.  The second article has no author (leave it out) and for both, a search for the url of the newspaper's homepage will need to be made to complete access information.

 

Actual Articles

If you are in an actual article as accessed from one of the library's databases, the information you need is usually on just above the article.

The image below shows the informaiton above an article from our Discovery database. Most of the information needed to create an APA reference for is there. Authors. Title. Date. Access. What is missing:

  • Access. url: need to search for the web addres for the newspaper, Toronto Star.

For more information on Author Date Title Access see the box below.

Click Here to view examples of citations for newspaper articles.

Webpages

Look at the top of the webpage, including the URL and title bar for the information you need: Author. Date. Title. Access. If you are missing author or year, those can also frequently be found at the bottom of the webpage.

Author Tip: web page authors are frequently group authors (you will list not the name of a human being but instead the name of an organization or government agency). If you truly have no author you might reconsider whether or not this source has the authority needed to be a source in your paper or discussion post. Author = authority.

Date Tip: if the date of publication is not at the top, it is usually towards the bottom. Be careful. The date might be at the bottom of the article (half way down the web page) and not at the bottom of the comments, references, and extra materials. Look carefully.

Access Tip: access is the URL at the top of the page if it will take anyone back to the exact webpage you were looking at.


...middle of webpage article deleted so you can see...


For more information on Author Date Title Access see the box below.

Click Here to view examples of citations for websites.

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Locating Author, Date, Title, Access Information

Author

Who:

  • The authority that wrote and is accepting responsiblity for the quality and credibility of the work.
  • An individual human being or group of human beings (listed individually or with a group name).

What:

  • A human name or grouping of human names. Example: John Smith, Jane Miller, and Sarah Baker.
  • A government agency name. Example: Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • An association or organization name. Example: Mayo Clinic.

Why:

  • The quality of the author heps the reader assess the quality of your information. A well known and respected author will lend credibility to your writing. An unknown or disreputable author will detract from your writing. The lack of an author may also cause your reader to question your wisdom in choosing a source.

Where:

  • Authors are very important so the name of the author is usually found:
    • In front: on the cover or image of a book or on the tile page (found among the first couple of pages of the book).
    • On the top: of an article or web page.
    • Near the title: in a database listing, on a book cover, on a article, or web page.

Additional Hints/How:

  • Chelsea Lea of APA's Style Blog has a great entry on "The Generic Reference: Who" to help you figure out odd author situations.

Date

What:

  • The year (and sometimes day and month) that a work was published.
  • The publication date and the copyright date can be the same or different. Use the publication date.
  • If you cannot find a date, use the APA abbreviation for no date: n.d.
  • Tip: do not assume the copyright date is the date of the publication, when in doubt, use n.d.

Why:

  • The date of publication lets the reader know when the information information in the work was created and if it is current enough to be valuable.

Where:

  • Dates sometimes hide but you can usually find them:
    • Close to the front: on the title page (found among the first couple of pages of the book) or back of a title page.
    • On the bottom or corner: of an article or web page.

Additional Hints/How:

  • Jeff Hume-Pratuch at APA's Style Blog has a great entry on "The Generic Reference: When?" to help you figure out weird situations with dates.

Title

What:

  • The name of the work (book, article, website).
  • Describes the topic and and nature of information that is presented in the work.

Why:

  • The title of the work lets the reader know what information was covered in the work.

Where:

  • Titles may be the most important information about a source so they are usually found:
    • In front: on the cover or image of a book or on the title page (found among the first couple of pages of the book).
    • On the top: of an article or web page.

Additional Hints/How:

  • Font: Titles can sometimes stand out because of their unique typography style. Watch for: ALL CAPS,  Special Fonts, Colorized Font, Capitalization of All Key Words, Bold, or Italic phrases that descibe the content of the work.
  • Length: The title length is usually short for a book or eTexbook: maybe 2 to 5 words. The title for a magazine or journal article is usually longer, more than ten words is not uncommon.
  • Subtitles: Titles can sometimes come in multiple parts: a main or general title and a subtitle that limits or more narrowly defines what the work actually covers. Example title/subtitle: Ebola: Risk of exposure.
  • Sarah Wiederkehr of APA's Style Blog has a great entry on "The Generic Reference: What" to help you figure out titles.

Access

Who:

  • Where anyone in the world can go to get access to the source you used. This is usually location information the organization, publisher, publication, company, or individual responsible for publishing the item.

What:

  • For a print book: the name of the publisher in brief format (drop Inc., & Co., Ltd., etc.) and their location as indicated on the title page of the book (for U.S. locations, include the city and postal abbreviation for the state; for international locations use the city and country)
  • For an eBook: the DOI or the URL of the home page of the publisher's website
  • For an article in a periodical (journal, magazine, or newspaper): the DOI or the name of the periodical; the volume and issue if available, the date if not); the page numbers of the article, and the URL of the periodical's home page
  • For a website: the URL

Why:

  • To allow your readers easy access to your sources so they can do similar research or verify your findings with ease.

Where:

  • Finding the access information can vary depending on the resource type (book, article, website, etc.) and format (electronic or print). See ORANGE underlines and boxes in the box above for where access information resides.

Additional Hints/How:

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Creating a Reference

References follow an Author Date Title Access pattern.

  • Author - Who wrote it? Individual, group, association, organization? 
  • Date - When was it published?
  • Title - What is it titled?
  • Access - Where can it be retrieved? Publisher, Issue, URL, DOI?

The purpose of the reference is to provide the reader with the information needed to retrieve the full text of the resource that is cited in your paper.

The format for a reference follows this pattern:

Author. (Date). Title. Access.

Each of the four elements ends with a period.  However, if a reference ends with a URL (Access element), do not include a period. 

Missing Information -- In some cases, elements needed to create a reference my not be available.  For example, a resource may not have a date of publication or the name of the author may not be clearly identified.  Click here , then click on the tab "What if information is missing?" for helpful information about creating citations that have missing elements.