Report [from Electronic source using APA 6th ed.]


If documents found on the internet are clearly facsimiles of books in print format they should be referenced as e-books. Useful clues to look for are ISBNs or a PDF format with clear publication details and original covers. This format covers reports from the government (see also guidance on referencing a Government Department Publication) and other public bodies, and market research reports from online resources such as Key Note, Mintel, and Passport. However, where a publication is not presented as a single document, but broken down into separate HTML pages or PDF files, it is better to treat these as web pages, and reference them individually.

Where there is a choice of format, the PDF version may be easier to reference, and the orginal pagination can be used to pinpoint sources in the in-text citation. If in doubt, use the standard form below.

Many electronic sources do not provide page numbers. If paragraph numbers are visible, use them in place of page numbers (using the abbreviation para.), e.g. para. 582. Alternatively, cite the chapter or section, followed by the paragraph number (if appropriate) e.g. Chapter 4, para. 3). 

Provide a description of the form inside brackets when it would assist the reader in identifying less typical types of sources (e.g. brochures, press releases, fact sheets etc.). Otherwise omit this.

Webpages can be volatile and subject to unannounced change. Therefore, it is important include the web address (or URL) for the webpage you accessed, as it may not be at that location when your work is assessed. A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the technical term for a webpage address. URLs can change, for example if the material you are viewing is generated 'on-the-fly' using content management software. URLs from these sites may be only viewable at the time of retrieval.

Whenever possible the URL you give should be a stable URL and link directly to the webpage itself. A stable URL, also known as a 'Permalink' will not be generated 'on-the-fly' and is more likely to remain accessible. To check if a link to a URL is stable, paste the link into the address bar of an Internet browser to make sure that it works. If there is no stable URL for the item, give the homepage of the website e.g. for reports from the Key Note database, or for reports from the Passport database.

Although you must give the full web address (or URL) in your reference list, you do not show this in the body of your essay. Your in-text reference must match the start of the reference as it appears in your reference list. Use the author if your reference has one; otherwise use the first few words of the title.

Standard Form

Corporate author(s):

Author. (year). Title. (Series Title and number - if there is one) [Description of form - if applicable]. Retrieved from web address

Named author(s):

Author, Initials. (year). Title. (Series Title and number - if there is one) [Description of form - if applicable]. Retrieved from web address

No author:

Title. (year). (Series Title and number - if there is one) [Description of form - if applicable]. Retrieved from web address


Corporate authors:

Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health. (1998). Report of the Scientific Committee on Tabacco and Health: Part one: The scale of the smoking problem. Retrieved from the Official Documents website:

United Nations Security Council. (2001). Resolution 1373 (2001) (S/RES/1373 (2001)). Retrieved from

Named author(s):

Harris, J., & Grace, S. (1999). A question of evidence? Investigating and prosecuting rape in the 1990s (Home Office Research Study 196). Retrieved from the UK Home Office website:

Mintel report
Wisson, C. (2012). Chocolate confectionery: Issues in the market. Retrieved from

No author:

Key Note report
Airlines business report. (2011). Retrieved from

Mintel report
Digital cameras UK May 2012: Competitive context. (2012). Retrieved from

Passport report
Organic packaged food in Finland: Category briefing. (2011). Retrieved from

Report with chapters by different authors
Dabelko, G. D., & Dabelko, D. D. (1995). Environmental security: Issues of conflict and redefinition. In Environmental change and security project report 1 (pp. 3-13). Retrieved from

Database record
Film Industry Data. (n.d.). Dark Night Rises [database record]. Retrieved from[]=28387

Citation in Text

The lung cancer mortality rate for men had fallen more than for women (Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health, 1998, para. 1.13) as a result of the Health of the Nation strategy ...

... difficulty of prosecuting rape where the parties are well-known to one another (Harris & Grace, 1999, p. 36) is due ...


  • If no date appears on the item you are trying to reference, insert (n.d.) where you would normally give the year.
  • Note that in the second example under Government Department author(s), the report is published in sections as separate HTML pages. The example relates to the relevant section. If you cite more than one section, you would have to create two entries in your reference list, and the dates would be 1998a and 1998b.
  • If there is a series title, it should be capitalised.
  • If there is no identifiable author, begin your reference with the title of the report. Cite the first few words of the title in the text of your work and italicise them.