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Professor Ussery Social Work Class Resources: Citing Sources

Citing Sources

Like most social sciences, the fields of psychology and social work utilize the writing standards published by the American Psychological Association, generally referred to as APA Style.

The basic citation rules are listed below and more in-depth rules and examples can be found in the APA Publication Manual and in Purdue's Online Writing Lab guide.

APA Basics

Basic Rules for Most Sources - from Purdue OWL

  • All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation.
  • All authors' names should be inverted (i.e., last names should be provided first).
  • Authors' first and middle names should be written as initials.
    • For example, the reference entry for a source written by Jane Marie Smith would begin with "Smith, J. M."
    • If a middle name isn't available, just initialize the author's first name: "Smith, J."
  • Give the last name and first/middle initials for all authors of a particular work up to and including 20 authors (this is a new rule, as APA 6 only required the first six authors). Separate each author’s initials from the next author in the list with a comma. Use an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name. If there are 21 or more authors, use an ellipsis (but no ampersand) after the 19th author, and then add the final author’s name.
  • Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.
  • For multiple articles by the same author, or authors listed in the same order, list the entries in chronological order, from earliest to most recent.
  • When referring to the titles of books, chapters, articles, reports, webpages, or other sources, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of the title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and proper nouns.
    • Note again that the titles of academic journals are subject to special rules. See section below.
  • Italicize titles of longer works (e.g., books, edited collections, names of newspapers, and so on).
  • Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as chapters in books or essays in edited collections.

Borrowed from the Purdue OWL APA Guide: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_basic_rules.html

APA Style Manual

Online guide

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