Wednesday, March 2, 2005

APA Guidelines – Names in Citations

Imported from my old Online Education blog

Here’s a quick topic for tonight. I’m trying to get in the groove for posting as close to every day as possible but I just finished a paper comparing Java and C++ so this one is going to be short.

Basic format for an author’s name is simple. Like with most reference formats, the APA style uses a last-name-first (surname, family name, etc.) format. Only the first initial is used for first (given) name and any middle names. Titles (Jr., Sr., etc) come between the last name and the first initial and include an extra comma. That said, here are some examples:

If you are citing a web page that is not based on a print source and the author is not explicitly stated then this is pretty easy; don’t put any names in the citation, just use the name of the page.

When names are available, you will need to use them in the citations. The APA style divides the citation types into two groups; references with one or two authors and references with three or more authors. When building the reference list, each of the authors should be listed for a resource; the differences come in when it comes time to include parenthetical citations in the text of the research paper. Here is a sample of a work with three names (stolen from yesterday’s post :)

    Kraut, R., Olson, J., Banaji, M., Bruckman, A., Cohen, J., Couper, M.
How about that? Easy isn’t it? Now for reference/parenthetical citations. For works with a single author just put the author’s last name and the publication year separated by a comma. If your resource has two authors, use both their last names separated by an ampersand (&).
    (Drapers, 2005)
    (Herbert & Anderson, 2002)

With three or more authors things get a little trickier. The first time you cite one of these resources you will use all the last names separated with commas. Each subsequent citation, however, will only use the first author’s last name and “et al.” will be appended before the comma separating the name from the publication year (including italics). SO, to take from the example above, a reference to this resource would be look like…

    (Kraut, Olson, Banaji, Bruckman, Cohen, & Couper, 2004)
…and following citations would look like…
    (Kraut et al., 2004)
There you have it. One final note though. In references with authors along the lines of “Byrd & Associates” the word “associates” seems to count as one author. I do not have any specific documentation to back this up but that is what it looks like from the resources I have found.

Next Issue: I’ll probably get started on print resources and sometime soon I will try to locate some online resources to back up my articles and give you some more variety. Things have been a little sparse in this area but I will do my best.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

APA Guidelines – Citing Electronic Resources

Imported from my old Online Education blog

Web-based resources are easy to find via your favorite search engine. For technical topics, I prefer Google but there are other good search engines. (Post comments below if you have a differing opinion!) When citing an electronic resource you must make it available to the reader of your paper so make sure the URLs provided link as close to the document as possible. It is not uncommon to provide several links to pages in the same domain so don’t try to combine all your citations into a single entry. Most importantly, make sure the links work at the time you turn in your assignment. Instructors do check these things out so make sure your information is backed up.

Although not formatted as such here, the official style guide states that the citations should be double-spaces and should have a hanging indent (no indent on first line, all subsequent lines indented). I have not been that particular in the papers I have turned in and have not received any points off yet. I, personally, do not see the value in double-spacing electronic documents but that is what the guide says. I would hope that any instructors will tell us in advance how strict they are going to be with regard to the APA style rules and I hope they do not make me post my Java code in APA style!

Web Site
This will probably be the most common resource in online classes. It is important to note, however, that not all internet resources are necessarily any good. Make sure that your resources are reliable before you use them. I will post some more on checking the quality of resources in future article. Also not that you should use one of the more specific citation formats if they apply; always supply the most information about your sources as possible to enhance your credibility.

Page Title. Retrieved <date> from <url>.

CTU Online Career Trackers – IT Consultant. Retrieved on March 1, 2005 from

Internet Article Based on a Print Source
This is used if you find a web page that is a reproduction of an article originally published in print. I prefer to use these over print resources because it provides a readily available source that the reader of my paper can verify without hunting down the publication.

Author(s) (<year of publication>). <article>. <publication>, <issue>, <page>. Retrieved <date> from <url>.

Kraut, R., Olson, J., Banaji, M., Bruckman, A., Cohen, J., Couper, M. (2004). Psychological Research Online: Report of Board of Scientific Affairs' Advisory Group on the Conduct of Research on the Internet. American Psychologist, February/March 2004, 105-117. Retrieved March 1, 2005 from

Electronic Versions of Print Articles
You can use this if you are using a PDF or other electronic version of a print article. If I found the electronic version on the web, however, I tend to use the Internet Article Based on a Print Source format. I would only use this if I got the article on a CD or from a paid download that others would not have access to.

Author(s) (<year of publication>). <article> [Electronic Version]. <publication>, <page>.

Drapers, Gert (2005). CLR Checklist [Electronic Version]. SQL Server Magazine, Volume 7 Number 3, 26.

Citation Dates
Note the date format used in the examples above. This is part of the APA style too so make sure your dates are in “Month d, yyyy” format meaning that the month should be spelled out and precede the day number and year. The day number should not have a leading zero (0) and the year should include all four digits.

Next Issue: Citing resources with multiple authors and maybe a start on print resource citations…