Using APA 6th ed. - FAQ

1. Do I have to reference lecture notes?

2. How do I label my appendices?

3. I don't know what I should cite, and what I can leave out of my reference list.

4. I'm writing up my dissertation. Should I separate my sources into categories such as books, articles, webpages?

5. I've heard someone mentioning ibid. and op. cit. How do I use these?

6. I've used two chapters from an edited book. Should I reference the whole book in my reference list as well as the chapters?

7. Should I number the items in my reference list?

8. What do I do if a publication doesn't have a date?

9. What if I can't find an author?

10. What if I can't see any page numbers?

11. What if I have a title but no author and the title starts with a number, 'A', or 'The' - where do I put the reference?

12. What if I haven't read the original source?

13. What if no place of publication or more than one place of publication is listed?

14. What if the source I'm using isn't English?

15. What is the difference between a citation and a reference?

16. What is the difference between a reference list and a bibliography?

17. When the title of a source is all in capitals, should I use all capitals in my reference list?

18. What order should I follow in my reference list?

19. Where do I find the details needed in a reference list?

20. Where would I find further guidance?


 

1. Do I have to reference lecture notes?   [Index]

You must reference anything you use which is not your own work in order to avoid being accused of plagiarism.

Having said this, you will find that many departments at Portsmouth do not allow you to use lecture notes as the source for your essays. You should use the reading list which your lecturer has given you and turn to those sources when writing your essay. If your lecturer has not indicated where they got their information, and you want to use it, go and ask for the source.

 

2. How do I label my appendices?   [Index]

Appendices to your own essay or dissertation are not included in the reference list. If your work has only one appendix, you should label it Appendix. If it has more than one, each should be labeled with a capital letter (Appendix A, Appendix B, etc.) in the order in which it is mentioned in the text of your work. For example:

... were seen throughout the century (for more details see Appendix A).

The results from this study (see Appendix B) show ....

If you choose to include tables or figures in the appendix, the APA manual (2010, p.39) suggests that you number each table and figure and "precede the number with the letter of the appendix in which it is included (e.g., Table A1). In a sole appendix which is not labelled with a letter, precede all tables, figures ... with the letter A to distinguish them from those of the main text. All appendix tables and figures must be cited within the appendix and numbered in order of citation."

 

3. I don't know what I should cite, and what I can leave out of my reference list.   [Index]

Cite: a direct quotation; a paraphrase; someone else's idea or theory; the result of someone else's research; statistical information collected by someone else; a statement of law or fact; a definition.

Don't cite: a concrete fact easily verifiable in a reference book; knowledge which is so generally available as to be taken for granted in any general reader (common knowledge); your own idea or theory; a result of your own empirical research; the result of a survey you have personally conducted; anything I have read but not used in my work.

 

4. I'm writing up my dissertation. Should I separate my sources into categories such as books, articles, webpages?   [Index]

In APA your reference list is arranged in alphabetical order, so you should just have one long alphabetical sequence containing everything you've used. Do not list books, articles, webpages etc. separately.

 

5. I've heard someone mentioning ibid. and op. cit. How do I use these?   [Index]

The simple answer is that you don't! Ibid and op cit are used in footnotes and because APA mostly does away with the need for footnotes, students shouldn't now be using these terms. The exception would be the SSHLS History students who are required to use footnotes.

 

6. I've used two chapters from an edited book. Should I reference the whole book in my reference list as well as the chapters?   [Index]

If you have used a couple of chapters and have referenced these chapters properly in your reference list, there is no need for another reference to the whole book in the reference list as well.

 

7. Should I number the items in my reference list?   [Index]

In APA you always arrange your reference list in alphabetical order of author (or title where you have something which does not have an author, so the title is where the author would normally be). You never number the items in your list.

 

8. What do I do if a publication doesn't have a date?   [Index]

There is a standard abbreviation for when something doesn't have a year of publication - you use (n.d.).

 

9. What if I can't find an author?   [Index]

If no author is named on the item you are trying to reference, move the title to the start of the reference and follow that by the year of publication (+ month and day if it's a newspaper). Do not use Anon. or Anonymous unless the publication actually says that. If a work is signed Anonymous, your reference must begin with the word Anonymous, followed by the date etc. as normal.

Example:

The Africa issue: Still optimistic, but no sleep until G8 promises fulfilled. (2006, May 16). The Independent, p. 5. Retrieved from http://www.lexisnexis.com/uk/nexis

Top Tip: If you are dealing with a newspaper or magazine article, check whether the author's name appears in the first few lines of the article or is listed next to the word "byline".

 

 

10. What if I can't see any page numbers?   [Index]

There are two aspects to this:

1. If you're using a full-text database (e.g. Nexis UK to access newspapers), the article you want to use may not give page numbers on the screen. As long as you give the rest of the reference properly and indicate that you got the reference from Nexis UK etc. you should just miss out page numbers altogether in this situation if no page numbers are shown on the screen.

Example:

Roberts, A. (2006, May 15). Britain - climate change 'set to hot poor hardest'. Morning Star. Retrieved from http://www.lexisnexis.com/uk/nexis

2. If you have a printed publication such as a pamphlet which doesn't show page numbers, the local advice at Portsmouth is to write (no pagination) after the title of the publication in your reference list. There is no guidance given on this issue in the APA Manual.

 

11. What if I have a title but no author and the title starts with a number, 'A', or 'The' - where do I put the reference?   [Index]

Use words to express any number that begins a title, e.g. 10 things to know for Monday should be included in your reference list and in-text reference as:

Ten things to know for Monday

Ignore 'A' or 'The' at the start of a reference and look at the next word when deciding where to put the reference in your alphabetical sequence. Example number 2 in the list below illustrates what to do - although the entry begins with 'The', you put it with any other items beginning with the letter 'A' in your list since Africa is the first main word.

Sample reference list:

Adams, T. & Ridley, I. (1999). Addicted. London: CollinsWillow.

The Africa issue: Still optimistic, but no sleep until G8 promises fulfilled. (2006, May 16). The Independent, p. 5. Retrieved from http://www.lexisnexis.com/uk/nexis

Banks, I. (n.d.). The NHS Direct healthcare guide. Retrieved from http://www.healthcareguide.nhsdirect.nhs.uk Roberts, A. (2006, May 15). Britain - climate change 'set to hit poor hardest'.

Morning Star. Retrieved from http://www.lexisnexis.com/uk/nexis Tonge, N. (1993). Industrialisation and society. Walton-on-Thames: Nelson.

 

12. What if I haven't read the original source?   [Index]

If you haven't read the original source, you do not give the details of the original in your reference list, you just list the item which you have actually read. The only place where you mention the original source is in your text itself where you write something like:

Smith (1970, p.27) cites Brown (1967) as finding ...

Brown (1967), cited by Smith (1970, p. 27), found that ...

It was found (Brown, 1967, cited by Smith, 1970, p. 27) that ...

 

Harrison (2011, p.107) cites Marshall (1999); Thornton et al. (2004) ...

It was found (Marshall, 1999; Thornton et al., 2004, cited by Harrison, 2011, p.107) that ...

In your reference list, include Smith or Harrison, but not Brown, Marshall or Thornton, the authors whose work you have not seen. What you include in your reference list is what you have actually seen.

 

13. What if no place of publication or more than one place of publication is listed?   [Index]

If no place of publication is listed, you may be able to find the publisher's location on the Internet.  If you have found out the location of the publisher from elsewhere e.g. the Internet, use square brackets to indicate information that does not appear on the publication itself. For example:

Doeller, R. J. (2010). Marketing God to teens. [Bloomington]: Xlibris

 

If more than one place of publication is listed, choose the first.

 

14. What if the source I'm using isn't English?   [Index]

Give the title in the original language. Then, immediately after the title, and before the full stop, give a translation enclosed in [square brackets]. There is a page showing how to do this for a book not in English. Use a similar method for articles and other sources. Cite the source in the usual way, including the author, year and page numbers/s (where applicable) in your in-text reference.

 

15. What is the difference between a citation and a reference?   [Index]

A citation (or in-text reference) is made up of the brief identifying details written into the text of your assignment, which should match the full details of the item used found in the reference list.  It refers to a specific source which you may have paraphrased or quoted in an assignment, giving credit to the original author.

A reference describes the full information needed to identify and recover an item. This would include details like author, title, publisher, place of publication, journal title, volume and part number.

 

 

16. What is the difference between a reference list and a bibliography?   [Index]

The APA referencing style distinguishes between a reference list and a bibliography in the following way:
A reference list
provides the information necessary to identify each source used in the piece of work, but only those sources.
A bibliography also lists items for background or further reading, which may include descriptive notes (an annotated bibliography).
Work written according to APA style is required to have a reference list, not a bibliography.

 

17. When the title of a source is all in capitals, should I use all capitals in my reference list?   [Index]

No, only use capitals for proper nouns e.g. people, places, organisations etc. or after a subtitle in your reference list. For example:

The Africa issue: Still optimistic, but no sleep until G8 promises fulfilled. (2006, May 16). The Independent, p. 5. Retrieved from http://www.lexisnexis.com/uk/nexis

 

18. What order should I follow in my reference list?   [Index]

Arrange entries in alphabetical order by the surname of the first author followed by the initials of the author's given name. Alphabetise letter by letter.  When alphabetising surnames, remember that "nothing precedes something".  Brown, J. R., comes before Browning, A. R., even though i comes before J in the alphabet. For example:

Singh, Y., comes before Singh Siddhu, N.
Villafuerte, S. A., comes before Villa-Lobos, J.

I've got two items by the same author published in different years. Should I list the earliest or the latest work first?
References with the same authors in the same order are arranged by year of publication, the earliest first.  For example:

Pinar, N. (2003).
Pinar, N. (2005).

Hayward, J. A., & Saunders, B. (1997).
Hayward, J. A., & Saunders, B. (1999).

What about items published by one author and multiple second or third authors?
One-author entries come before multiple-author entries beginning with the same surname (even if the multiple-author work was published earlier). For example:

Allen, B. R. (2004).
Allen, B. R., & Edwards, T. (1999).

What about items published by the same first author and different second or third author?
References with the same first author and different second of third authors are arranged alphabetically by the surname of the second author or, if the second author is the same, the surname of the third author, and so on. For example:

Banting ,F. S., & Burkinshaw, O. H. (2007).
Banting, F. S., Carling, J., Freeman, V., & Martin, L. (2006).
Hawkins, D., Fisher, A., & Brown, G. (1999).
Hawkins, D., Fisher, A., & Sands, G. (1999).

What about items with no identifiable author?
List the items alphabetically in title order.

Do I include titles or military rankings?
No, APA doesn't use any titles (e.g. Dr, Professor) including military rankings.

 

19. Where do I find the details needed in a reference list?   [Index]

  • Keep a careful note of all sources used as you prepare your assignments.
  • Record all the details you need about a library book (including page numbers for any quotations) before you return it - someone else may have the book if you try to go back and check later.
  • Make sure you write down the source details you need on any photocopies you make or that they are properly aligned so that page numbers and headings are clearly visible.
  • Remember to print or save details of any webpage you want to refer to (your tutor may ask to see this) and record the date when you accessed the information.

Books

  • The details needed for a book can be found on the front and back of the title page. Ignore any reprint dates; you need the date when the first, second, third edition, etc. of the book was published, according to which edition of the book you are using.
  • Make sure you locate the name of the publisher rather than the printer or typesetter. You need the name of the publisher in your reference list.
  • The place of publication should be a town or a city, not a county or country. If in the UK, just the town or city. If in the USA, the town is unlikely to be mistaken for a place in UK, but add two letter state code if confusion could arise e.g. Cambridge MA for Harvard University Press. If more than one place of publication is listed, just choose the first one.
  • The library catalogue gives the place of publication and publisher's name, if you are in any doubt.
  • If you haven't got the book, it is probably best to try and retrace your steps. If it is an item you borrowed via the library you can look at your loan history under My Account in the library catalogue and check basic details. If it is something you read in the library check the catalogue for details. If you obtained the book from another source, www.copac.ac.uk is useful for verifying bibliographical details.

Journal articles

  • The details needed for a journal article can usually be found on pages which contain the article, but you can also check the contents list or front cover of the journal issue.

Electronic sources

  • Access electronic sources again directly by retracing your steps through the relevant e-book collection, e-journal article or database.
  • It is very important that when you use general Internet sources, other than facsimiles of printed articles or books, you record at the time the full details, including the internet address (or URL).

Films/Videos/DVD

  • The details you need can be more difficult to identify, but the first resort is again to examine the original item.
  • More information on feature films can be found on IMDB (Internet Movie Database)
  • The fullest details can be found by using the combined details link for a specific film.
  • If you are tracking a specific DVD edition of a film to identify extras you may find the merchandising link useful.

Television and Radio programmes or recordings

  • The details you need can be more difficult to identify, but the first resort is again to examine the original item.
  • Television and radio channels may publish some information on their websites.
  • Tracing details of these after the broadcast can be difficult. The best source of information is TRILT (Television and Radio Index for Learning and Teaching) which gives details of television and radio programmes schedules from 2001 onwards for over 330 different channels plus a substantial selection of terrestrial television programmes back to 1995. However, this may not give you responsibility data.
  • A general web search with what details you do have, may help track down a source for details.

 

20. Where would I find further guidance?   [Index]

APA 6th ed referencing example
An example essay with references from print and online sources

Bibliographic references APA style (6th ed)
This leaflet is a summary of the APA style guidelines as contained in The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed., 2010