Format Of Writing References In Research Paper

Always ask your mentor which style to use before you begin to write your paper.

The APA style refers to the method of writing research papers recommended by the American Psychological Association. The APA style is used in the social sciences and is governed by two basic ideas. The first is that a scientific paper attempts to show something that has already been proven true, so it calls for the past or present perfect tense when you cite the work of others. Second, the year of publication is important, so you need to feature it immediately after any named source in the text.

Smyth (1972) found that children often studied while watching television.

Williams and Maier (1994) have defined a new theory of cognition.

Use the present tense for generalizations and personal comments. Use the past or present perfect tenses only to introduce the work of cited sources.

Evidence of the rise of the heroin use exists for every age group, even children. Burroughs and Bruce (1996) reported on five incidents of heroin overdose in the under 10 age group.

Basic APA Facts

  • Always double space, including the text of your paper, quotations, notes, and the reference page.

  • Leave margins of at least one-inch at the top, bottom, right, and left of every page.

  • Use parenthetical citations to acknowledge direct quotations, indirect quotations, and/or any ideas you have borrowed from another person.

  • Use a reference page for reference to parenthetical citations.

  • Within the text of your paper, underline titles of books, plays, pamphlets, periodicals, films, television programs, and recordings; place in quotation marks titles of articles, essays in anthologies, book chapters, and lectures.

  • Number pages in the upper right hand corner. Include a running head.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the use of the words and/or ideas of another person without acknowledging the source. Plagiarism is generally grounds for failure of a course and can lead to dismissal from college. To avoid plagiarism, acknowledge your sources with in-text citations and a reference page. Enclose direct quotations in quotation marks or otherwise indent them from the body of your text. If you use another person's idea or paraphrase another person's words, be sure to use your own language and style of writing — don't simply rearrange the words. Use an in-text citation to acknowledge the source, then list on a reference page the publications or sources from which you obtained your citations. For more detailed information on plagiarism and how to avoid it, see the handout available at the GVC Writing Center.

In-text Citations

Cite the first appearance of another person's words and/or ideas by introducing the quotation or paraphrase with the author's name. After the first appearance, cite the author's name either within the text of your writing or within the parenthetical citation immediately following the cited passage. Always use the last name of the author/authors and the year of publication. The year of publication always follows the name of the cited/quoted authority. Note that commas separate items within parentheses. Following are some examples of in-text citation methods in the APA style.

In his study of the effects of alcohol on the ability to drive, Smith (1991) showed that the reaction times of participating drivers were adversely affected by as little as a twelve ounce can of beer.

If you don't use the author's name in the text, place it within the parenthetical citation with the date.

A recent study of the effects of alcohol on the ability to drive showed that as little as twelve ounces of beer adversely affected the reaction time of participating drivers (Smith, 1991).

Provide a page number when you use an exact quotation. Use quotation marks. Use the singular "p." or the plural "pp." to indicate page number(s).

In his study on the effects of alcohol on drivers, Smith (1991, p. 104) stated that "participants who drank twelve ounces of beer with a 3.5% alcohol content reacted, on average, 1.2 seconds more slowly to an emergency braking situation than they did when they had not ingested alcohol."

As an alternative, place the page number within parentheses at the end of the quotation. If you do so, remember to place the date immediately after the author's name.

In his study on the effects of alcohol on drivers, Smith (1991) stated that "participants who drank twelve ounces of beer with a 3.5% alcohol content reacted, on average, 1.2 seconds more slowly to an emergency braking situation than they did when they had not ingested alcohol" (p. 104).

Indent a direct quotation of 40 or more words five spaces from the left margin. If the quotation includes more than one paragraph, indent the first line of succeeding paragraphs five more spaces (ten spaces total). Don't use quotation marks, and be sure to double space the quotation as well as your own writing.

In her study of adult patterns of television watching, Roberts (1996) reported the following behaviors:

Response behaviors exhibited by participants who watched television without any other persons present in the viewing room included imitating the facial expressions and hand movements of television characters as well as talking to individual characters. Affective behaviors included exhibitions of anger such as shouting and throwing magazines at the television.

     Such behaviors were less evident behaviors in participants who watched television in groups of three. Instead, participants in group watching were more likely to interject critical or humorous comments regarding the content of particular television programs.

If you're citing an author who's been quoted in another book or article, use the original author's name in the text, and cite in parentheses the source in which you found the quotation.

Behavior is affected by situation. As Wallace (1972) postulated in Individual and Group Behavior, a person who acts a certain way independently may act in an entirely different manner while the member of a group (cited in Barkin, 1992, p. 478).

When citing a work with two, three, four, or five authors within the text of the paper, name them all in the first entry, e.g., (Smith, Andrews, & Lawrence 1995). After the first entry, cite only the first author's name followed by "et al.," for example, (Smith, et. al., 1995).

When citing a work with six or more authors, name only the first author followed by et. al., for example, (Fredericks, et. al., 1995). If the author is not given, use the first word or two of the title in the parenthetical citation.

Massachusetts state and municipal governments have initiated several programs to improve public safety, including community policing and after school activities ("Innovations," 1997).

If "Anonymous" is specified as the author, treat it as if it were a real name: (Anonymous, 1996). In the bibliographic references, also use the name Anonymous as author.

The Reference Page

You must always have a reference page as well as in-text citations to avoid plagiarism. The Reference Page immediately follows the text of the paper. Items on the reference page are listed alphabetically. Begin the first line of a reference at the left margin (i.e., do not indent the first line as you did in the body text). All subsequent lines for a reference should be indented one-half inch this is sometimes known as an "outdent" or "hanging indent"). APA has a second format that uses normal (one-half inch) indents on the first line of a reference, then left justifies subsequent lines to the left margin. This format is only for documents being submitted for publishing. Student papers should always use the first (hanging indent) format. For the reference page, use the running head and page number, then center the title "References" two lines below.


List the author's last name first with initial of the first name; year of publication in parentheses; title of book underlined (capitalize only the first word of the title and of any subtitle, and all proper nouns); the edition (if any) in parentheses; place of publication; and publisher. Omit the words Publishing Company and Inc. from the publisher's name. Use one space after periods and other punctuation.

Book by one author

Zimbardo, P. (1992). Psychology and life (13 ed.). New York: Harper Collins.

List more than one book by the same author chronologically, earliest edition or work first.

Book by two or more authors—List authors as they are listed in the book; use an ampersand to indicate "and."

Brasco, D. & Corleone, M. (1992). Child development: A behavioral approach. New York: Calavita.

Tork, P., Jones, D., & Nesmith, M. (1968). Adolescent development: Behavioral mimicry. Los Angeles: Pasquin.

Textbook or anthology—List cited author, date of the cited author's work, the chapter or section title, the editor's name preceded by "In" and followed by (Ed.), the title of the textbook/anthology, edition number (if appropriate), page numbers on which the cited author's work is found, place of publication, and publisher.

Bailey, B. (1992). Jobs in the nineties. In V. Westerhaus (Ed.). Issues for the 21st century (pp. 55-63). New York: Holt.

Book with a corporate author—List alphabetically with authors; if published by the author of the book, list the publisher as the author.

American Psychiatric Association. (1992). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (3d ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Book with no author or editor—Alphabetize by book title.

Student planning guide for degree programs and portfolios. (1996). Saratoga Springs, NY: Empire State College.


Journal Article—List the author(s), year of publication in parentheses, title of article without quotation marks and with only the first word, proper nouns, and words after colons capitalized, name of the journal underlined and with all major words capitalized, volume number underlined, and inclusive page numbers not preceded by "p." or "pp."

Smith, A. (1975). Driver age and crash involvement. American Journal of Public Health. 9. 326-327.

Brown, W. & Williamson, L. J. (1983). The myth of carcinogenic elements in tobacco smoke. American Journal of Public Health. 14. 419-431.

Magazine—List the author(s), year and month of publication (without abbreviations), title of the article without quotation marks and with only the first word and proper nouns capitalized, name of the magazine underlined and with all major words capitalized, volume number, and inclusive page numbers preceded by "p." or "pp."

Jackson, L. M. (1997, April). Taking back the streets. School Planning and Management. pp. 30-31.

Newspaper—List the author(s), year, month, and day of publication (without abbreviations), title of the article with only the first word and proper nouns capitalized, complete name of the newspaper underlined with all major words capitalized, and the section with discontinuous page numbers preceded by "p." or "pp."

Raymond, C. (1990, September 12). Global migration will have widespread impact on society, scholars say. The Chronicle of Higher Education. pp. A1, A6.

Computer Sources

The following information is provided in Harnack, A., & Kleppinger, E. (2000). Online! A Reference Guide to Using Internet Sources. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's.

World Wide Web sites

To document a specific file, provide as much as possible of the following information:

  • Author's name

  • Date of publication or last revision (if known), in parentheses

  • Title of document

  • Title of complete work (if relevant), in italics or underlined

  • "Online" in square brackets

  • Availability (indicated by the word "Available")

  • URL

  • Retrieval Date (indicated in square brackets at end of citation)

Patterson, O. (2001). Cultural continuity and collective memory. In The Emory center for myth and ritual in American life [Online]. Available: [2001, October 29].

Online document

Author's name (last name, first and any middle initials). (Date of Internet publication). Document title. Where available: URL (or other retrieval information). Retrieval date.

Shapiro, H. (1999). Professional Communications. Available: [November 6, 2001].


An online book may be the electronic text of part or all of a printed book, or a book-length document available only on the Internet (e.g. a work of hyperfiction).

Bryant, P. (1999). Biodiversity and Conservation. [Online]. Available: [October 4, 1999].

Article in an electronic journal (ejournal)

Fine, M., and Kurdek, L.A. (1993, March 9). Reflections on determining authorship credit and authorship order on faculty-student collaborations. Available: American Psychologist. 48. 1141-1147 [June 7, 1999].

Article in an electronic magazine (ezine)

Adler, J. (1999, May 17). Ghost of Everest. Available: Newsweek: [May 19, 1999].

Newspaper article

Azar, B., & Martin, S. (1999, October). APA's Council of Representatives endorses new standards for testing, high school psychology. Available: APA Monitor. [October 7,1999].

Government publication

Bush, G. (1989, April 12). Principles of ethical conduct for government officers and employees. Exec. Order No. 12674. Pt. 1. Available: [November 18, 1997].

E-mail. (Simply include a reference to the date sent and the subject heading)

Ward, Neil ( (2001, October 22). Tutoring Japanese students. E-mail to Shirley Jackson (

However, if the E-mail source is a consistently retrievable, subscriber-based journal or other text/document on E-mail, include it in the reference page as follows:

Funder, D. C. (1994, March). Judgmental process and content: Commentary of Koehler on base-rate [9 paragraphs]. Psycoloquy [On-line serial], 5, (17). Available E-mail: psyc@pucc Message: Get psyc 94-xxxx


Include the following information if your citation refers to an entire CD-ROM:

Beekman, G. (1991). Computer confluence (Version 1.0) [CD-ROM]. New York: Benjamin/Cummings.

Include the following information for an abstract on a CD-ROM:

Meyer, A. S., & Bock, K. (1992). The tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon: Blocking or partial activation? [CD-ROM]. Memory & Cognition, 20. 715-726. Abstract from: Silver Platter File: PsycLIT Item: 80-16351


Norton, P. (1990). The new Norton guides 4.0 [Computer software]. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Whereas you might not always be able to supply all the above information, follow the general APA format for the specific type of source you are citing (journal, article, chapter, book, etc.). Include all necessary information to allow the reader to access the source material.


The APA style requires an abstract, an 80 to 120 word summary of the contents of the paper that immediately follows the title page. Be sure to ask your mentor whether or not s/he requires an abstract. The abstract should include the purpose, thesis, and conclusions of your paper and be accurate, self-contained, concise, coherent, and readable. Do not use a paragraph indentation for the abstract. The abstract requires a separate page and immediately follows the title page.

Addiction 2


Nicotine has been identified as an addictive substance since the mid-nineteenth century, when it was the first substance used to explore and map the synaptic system of receptors. Moreover, the common perception of American society throughout the twentieth century regarded cigarette smoking as a bad "habit" akin to addiction. Yet, despite more than a century of scientific study into and acceptance of nicotine as an addictive substance, American political, medical, scientific, and common societies still carry on a dialogue regarding whether or not nicotine is addictive. This dialogue is the very foundation of the prevailing negative attitudes toward tobacco. The scientific and medical communities proclaim the costly outcomes of nicotine addiction while the tobacco industry claims that nicotine is a relatively innocuous product.

APA format requires a title page that establishes a running head. Ask your Mentor if you need to provide a title page for your paper.

Addiction 1 


Addiction: Societal Denial

of the Addictive Nature of Nicotine

William M. Reynolds

Austin Peay State University

Running Head: Addiction


Each successive page will then have the running head "Addiction" followed by the page number in the upper right-hand corner.

This style sheet was produced with the
aid of the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (3rd ed.) and the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (4th ed.)

Term Paper: Format of Citations and References

1. Introduction

As you write your term papers, it will be important for you to document where you obtained the information cited in your report. Many of the references you use will come from published sources. Some may come from electronic sources such as the World Wide Web, Melvyl and Harvest databases available through the UC Davis library, CD references and the like, and some may come from interviews. An important component of your writing will be the effective use of reference material. This skill will serve you well in writing papers of all types, not just those required for classes.

For this class, we will be using the documentation style of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2001) modified with italics substituted for underlining. This format is very similar to that of the Modern Language Association, and these are the most commonly used styles for publishing in the social and natural sciences. The general form of citations in the body of the text is to include the author and date in parentheses (as above) and optionally include the page number(s) after the date. If the author's name was just mentioned in the text, it is not necessary to repeat it in the citation. The rules are described in more detail, with examples, in section 3.

2. Basic Guidelines

The purpose of the term paper in ECS 15 is for you to learn how to do effective research on a subject and then write it up clearly, showing where you got your information.

A research paper requires searching for information pertinent to a given subject, organizing it, and presenting it effectively in written form. Oral research reports are also useful, but this course does not cover them.

In the following sections, we will present the way that we want you to cite your references in the term paper for this course. The required format meets the accepted practices cited in Li and Crane (1993), a reference that is currently considered the best authority on citing electronic sources. This book in turn follows the basic format for the American Psychological Association (APA, 2001), which is a good format (though by no means the only acceptable one in technical publications). You may be required to use slightly different formats for other papers, such as papers submitted for publication to refereed journals, each of which typically have their own styles. Learning how to follow one such set of rules is a worthwhile exercise. You will therefore be expected to use the format set out below.

3. In-text Citation to References

When citing a reference from your reference list, please use the following conventions. Put in parentheses the author(s) last names, the year, and optionally the page number(s) separated by commas.

For one author, use the author's last name and year separated by a comma. For example: (Walters, 1994) or (Austin, 1996).

For two to five authors, use their last names separated by commas and with an ampersand "&" before the very last name in the list, then the year separated by a comma. For example: (Li & Crane, 1993) (Charniak, Riesbeck, McDermott & Meehan, 1994).

For more than five authors, use the first author's last name and "et al." For example: (Walters, et al., 1992).

For the date, use the year. If there are two references by the same author(s) for the same year, use letters after the year: (Walters, 1993b).

If there are specific page numbers for a citation, add them after the year (Walters, 1994, pp. 31-49).

If you include the author's name(s) in the text of a sentence in the paper, you may omit their names from the parentheses as follows: "Austin (1996) includes valuable references to ...." or "The examples given by Li and Crane (1993) on web addresses ...".

Do not use footnotes in this class for citations. You can use them for explanatory text, but not for references. Have the citation make it easy to find the reference in the "References" section. All references in that section should be complete enough for readers to obtain a copy for themselves.

4. Your List of References

Create a list of references, one for each item cited in the paper, in a section called "References". This section goes at the end of your paper. The references are to be alphabetized by the fist author's last name, or (if no author is listed) the organization or title. If you cite more than one paper by the same first author, sort them by year of publication, earliest year first. Do not use footnotes for citations.

Single-space the entries in your list of references. Start at the left margin for the first line of each bibliography entry. Each additional line of each entry should be indented a reasonable amount. Separate the entries with a blank line. Do not number the references. Doing so means you have to renumber all the references whenever you insert a new reference.

4.1. Author, Date, and Title

The general format for the author, title, and date in your reference list is as follows:

    Author. (date). Title. [the full reference, which follows, is discussed below]

The following explains these fields.


First author's last name, followed by the initials. If there are two authors, separate their names with "and". For three or more authors, separate all but the last author's name with commas, and use "and" before the last author's name in the list. If published by an agency with no author given, list the name of the agency. End with a period. For example:

    Walters, R.F.

    Walters, R.F. and Reed, N.E.

    Walters, R.F., Bharat, S. R. and Austin, A.A.

    Charniak, E., Riesbeck, C., McDermott, D. and Meehan, J.

    National Bureau of Standards.


Enclose the date in parentheses. Use a date sufficiently specific for the item. For example, give the year of publication for a book, the year and month of publication for a monthly magazine or journal, and the year, month, and day for a newspaper or daily periodical. End with a period. For example:


    (1992, October).

    (1995, August 30).


If the title is that of an article, use the regular font; if it is the title of a book, italicize it. Capitalize only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns. If there is a subtitle, it too should begin with a capital letter. End with a period. For example, an article's title would look like:

    Computer-based systems integration.

and a book's title would look like:

    The abc's of MUMPS: An introduction for novice and intermediate programmers.

4.2. Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers

The following apply to citing the name and identifying information for journals, magazines, newspapers, and periodicals in general.


When citing the name of a journal, magazine or newspaper, write the name in italics, with all words capitalized except for articles, prepositions and conjunctions.

Volume, number, and page numbers

Give the volume number in italics, followed by the issue number in parentheses (if there is an issue number), and the page number(s). For magazines, precede page numbers with "p." (if the article is on a single page) or "pp." (if the article is on multiple pages). For example:

    Communications of the ACM, 27(2), 141-195.

    Journal of Advertising Research, 32, 47-55.

    Time, 146, pp. 42-44.

Publisher and Location

Give the city and state (if in the United States), followed by a colon and the publisher name, followed by a period. For example:

    Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall.

    London: Edward Arnold

4.3. Interviews

If you choose to include any personal interviews, reference them with the person's name, their professional title and employer, and the date, time, and place of the interview. For example:

    Albert Einstein (1935, January 5), Professor of Theoretical Physics, Princeton University, 3:00pm, Princeton, NJ.

4.4. References Found in Electronic Form

Many resource materials are available through Melvyl and Harvest, which are the electronic access points for the UC Davis library. More are on CDROM, or on the Internet. These can serve as appropriate references for research reports and term papers. It is important, however, to acknowledge the sources of these documents, even though you may never have seen "hard copy" (printed versions) of the file(s) you wish to cite. This section describes how you are to cite references that you have obtained from electronic repositories.

The basic form of your reference will be similar to printed references, but you will need to add some important additional information: the type of medium used, and the material's availability.

In general, if you wish to cite an electronic file, you should include either the term "[Online]" or the term "[CDROM]" (enclosed in square brackets) before the closing period terminating the title of the work cited. If you are citing a part of a larger work, you should give the title, followed by a comma, the word "In" followed by the larger work, and then add "[Online]" or "[CDROM]" as appropriate, followed by a period.

Citing the availability of an electronic document should give the reader enough information to know where to locate the file and, if necessary, the specific portion of the file cited. Electronic documents can come from several types of locations:

    ftp: identify the ftp server, location (path), and file name

    Internet (e.g., world wide web): give the location and file name; the URL is sufficient

    mailing lists, newsgroups: identify the server, method of access, and file name; do not cite personal email

    databases (e.g., computer database in Melvyl): identify access method

In each case, you should give enough information to let the reader know how to access the information electronically. Generally, giving the site (Internet-style server name) on which the information resides, the name of the file, and the complete path (list of directories) showing how to get to it is sufficient.For example:

    [Online]. Available: email: Message: Get POETICS TODAY.

    [Online] Available: FTP:, Location: /usenet/bionet/neuroscience, File: 9512.newsm.

    [CDROM]. Available: UMI File: Business Periodicals Ondisk Item 91-11501.

    [Online]. Available:

5. Samples of Complete References

All of the examples given above may be summarized by citing a few references in the form we would like you to use. Here are some examples that would be cited in the text as (Crosley, 1988), (Essinger, 1991, May 28, pp. 97-99), (Armstrong & Keevil, 1991, p. 103), and so forth.

5.1. Printed Book

Crosley, L.M. (1988). The architects' guide to computer-aided-design. Toronto: John Wiley & Sons.

5.2. Magazine Article

Essinger, J. (1991, May 28). Just another tool of your trade. Accountancy 108, pp. 91-125.

5.3. Journal Article

Armstrong, P. and Keevil, S. (1991). Magnetic resonance imaging-2: Clinical uses. British Medical Journal 303(2), 105-109.

5.4. Interview

Computer, Christopher C. (1996, January 10) Professor, Computer Science Department, University of California - Davis, 3:00 pm, Davis, California.

5.5. World Wide Web Address

Austin, A. (1996) Annotated List of World Wide Web Technical Writing and Computer-Aided Composition Resources [Online]. Available:

Burke, J. (1992, January/February). Children's research and methods: What media researchers are doing, Journal of Advertising Research, 32, RC2-RC3. [CDROM]. Available: UMI File: Business Periodicals Ondisk Item: 92-11501.

5.7. FTP

Blood, T. (1995, November 30). Re: Brain implants: the Chinese made it! [Online] In Newsgroup: bionet.neuroscience, Available FTP:, Directory: /usenet/bionet/neuroscience, File: 9512.newsm, Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 20:39:35.

Watson, L, and Dallwitz, M.J. (1990, December). Grass genera of the world-interactive identification and information retrieval. Flora Online: An Electronic Publication of TAXACOM (22). [Online]. Available FTP:, Directory: pub/newsletters/, File:022gra11.txt.

6. References

American Psychological Association (APA) (2001). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (Fifth Edition).Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Li, X. and Crane, N.B. (1993). Electronic style: A guide to citing electronic information. Westport, CT: Mecklermedia.

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