Types of Documentation

In-Text or Parenthetical Citations

APA Style

The APA style, established by the American Psychological Association, is the most widely used documentation style and is used in this guide. You'll want to use this style unless your teacher specifies otherwise. APA requires that you use Arabic numbers, p. or pp. for page numbers, and a list of references for the citations. It also requires that you add a bibliography if you consulted works but did not specifically cite them, or if you are suggesting other books and articles for further information.

When students write a paper or a thesis, they are producing what the APA style manual calls a “final” manuscript. Students who are required to use APA style should get clarification from their instructors about whether they are expected to use the style for students’ papers or the style for “copy” manuscript, which is prepared for journal publication and must undergo typesetting. Many instructors don’t realize that APA makes such distinctions.

For example, in journal submissions, APA style requires that reference list entries for articles (considered copy) be double-spaced. For reference lists in student manuscripts (considered final), APA style permits the entry to be single-spaced. Another difference is that reference lists for student manuscripts contain only the references cited in the text, unless there is a specific requirement (by citing references) to give evidence that students have read more widely or are more widely knowledgeable about the field. (For more details, see appendix A of the APA style guide.)

Although most of the APA style manual discusses the correct style for copy manuscripts, the in‑text citations are the same for both students’ assignments and journal article manuscripts read by editors and reviewers. These journal article manuscripts are then typeset to conform to the specific style of the publications for which they are prepared. Final manuscripts, such as students’ papers, have a wider audience and are read as they have been written. These differences account for the differences in the styles.

Unlike MLA style, however, the APA style is concerned about dates and requires that the author and date of a source be mentioned in the citation. Notice that APA style uses commas to separate the elements of the citation. Here is an example of APA citation style for student papers.

Example of Citation Using APA Style

“The lifting of the eyebrows in surprise allows the taking in of a larger visual sweep and also permits more light to strike the retina. This offers more information about the unexpected event, making it easier to figure out exactly what is going on and concoct the best plan for action” (Goleman, 1995, p. 7).

This citation would appear the following way in the section called References, which lists the sources from which citations were taken. Again, we have added three references to illustrate this bibliographic format.

Example of Citations Listed in References Section
Using APA Style

References

Carson, R. C., Butcher, J. N., & Mineka, S. (2000). Abnormal psychology and
       modern life
 (11th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ.
       New York: Bantam.
American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual of the American
       Psychological Association
 (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

If you were preparing an article for publication in a journal, these same citations would appear this way:

Example of Citations Listed in References Section
for Journal Articles Using APA Style

References

Carson, R. C., Butcher, J. N., & Mineka, S. (2000). Abnormal psychology and
       modern life
 (11th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ.
       New York: Bantam.

American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual of the American
       Psychological Association
 (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

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