Instructional Materials for Craig White's Literature Courses


APA Documentation

adapted from

UHCL Writing Center

American Psychological Association URL: 

In reporting or attributing research for academic writing, college-level students must document their research findings. Among several styles of documentation, the most common are APA and MLA.

If required to use APA style, acquire or consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition, which can be found in public libraries, university libraries, university writing centers, many bookstores, and book services. The 6th edition, published summer 2009, makes several changes from the 5th edition.

This handout briefly describes some basic APA documentation procedures. It is not intended to be inclusive, nor is it intended to replace the style manual.

For WRIT 3037 spring 2014 UHCL-Ramsey, you may use either MLA or APA documentation. Your instructor is more familiar with MLA style, which prevails in Literature and Humanities courses, but can make sense of APA style, so use the style that best suits your interests.

Both APA and MLA styles constantly evolve so that documentation can operate as unobtrusively and efficiently as possible in achieving its goals. These changes can be frustrating because the documentation forms you learned one year may change while you aren't looking.

Electronic publishing has driven much recent change in documentation. Students often welcome the quickness and ease of electronic research, but electronic research often lacks the editing and verification expected for printed publications.

What are the major differences between MLA and APA?

The APA serves rapidly-evolving fields like Psychology and other Social Sciences (Sociology, Anthropology, etc.), and therefore emphasizes the date of the source, with newer sources being more important than older.

Since MLA serves Humanities disciplines like Literature, History, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Art History, etc., sources may not lose validity with age. Therefore, the emphasis is on quality of the source, not its up-to-dateness.

How to create citations within the text:

Author's name in text: Put the year in parentheses following the author's name.
     Example: Johnson (2007) argues for the continuation of . . .


Author's name in reference: Put the author and date (separated by a comma) in parentheses at the end of the cited segment.
     Example: In a recent study of chemical reactions, . . . (Johnson, 2007)

Quoted material in text: Enclose quotations of fewer than 40 words in double quotation marks (do not indent or block off). In parentheses, include the page number of the quoted text preceded by "p.".
     Example: Johnson (2007) found that "earlier studies on reactions could not be verified" (p. 32).

Works with no identified author:
     Cite the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year.
     Example: Numbers seeking free care have doubled in the past year ("Study Finds," 2009).

Quoted material from an Internet source without pagination:
     a) If paragraph numbers are provided, use them in place of page numbers.
     Example: Basu and Jones (2007) suggest the need for an "intellectual...cyberspace" (para. 4)

     b) If neither page nor paragraph number is provided, but headings are used, cite the appropriate heading and the number of the paragraph following it. You will need to count the paragraphs yourself.
     Example: Verbunt (2008) found that "the level...condition" (Discussed section, para. 1).

     c) If neither page nor paragraph is provided and headings are too long to be cited in full, use a shortened heading with quotation marks. Again, you will need to count the paragraphs yourself.
     Example: According to Golan (2007), "Empirical...behavior" ("Mandatory Labeling Has Targeted," para. 4).
(The original heading was "Madatory Labeling Has Targeted Information Gaps and Social Objectives.")

Guidelines for writing the References section: (In APA, "References" replaces the MLA's "Works Cited" or earlier styles' "Bibliography.)

  • Center the word References at the top of the page of this section.
  • Double-space all lines. Note: To save space, the examples on this tipsheet are not double-spaced.
  • Indent the second and following lines of a reference entry.
  • Use only the initials of the author's first and middle (if given) names.
  • Place the date of publication in parentheses following the author's name.
  • If no author is given, start with the title and then the date.
  • APA uses capitalization sparingly. In titles of articles and books, capitalize proper names, and the first words of titles and subtitles. Do capitalize important words in the titles of periodicals.
  • Do not put quotation marks around article titles. Titles of books and names of journals are italicized.
  • For periodicals: include volume number (italicized) and page span (not italicized). Example: 4, 16-19
  • For books, include publication city and publishing company. Example: Grand Rapids, MI: Longman.
  • Give surnames and initials for up to and including 7 authors. When authors number 8 or more, include the first six authors names, then insert thre ellipses, and add the last author's name. Note: this is a change from the 5th edition.

Listed below are two important changes made to the References section in the 6th edition:

1) Previous editions required a retrieval date for online sources (Retrieved on Date from URL). The 6th edition no longer requires a retrieval date.

2) The 6th edition discusses a new way of locating online material--the digital object identifier, or DOI. The DOI, not used by 2600 publishers, is a unique series of numbers assigned to online books and journal articles. The series of numbers, usually found on the first page of an electronic document, should be used to replace the URL in an entry in the References section. See the examples below. (For more information on the DOI, se pp. 188 and 198 of the APA manual.)

Examples of how to list selected materials in References:


Book with one author:
Clark, I.L. (2008). The biological basis of personality. London, England: Taylor & Francis.

Book with two authors:
Broadhead, G.J., & Freed, R.C. (2009). Deflecting immigration: Networks, markets and regulation in Los Angeles. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois.

Citations of They Say / I Say

Graff, G., & Birkenstein, C. (2010). They Say / I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed. NY: Norton.

Electronic version of a print book:
With DOI:
Schiraldi, G. (2001). The post-traumatic stress disorder sourcebook. doi: 10.10360071393722

Without DOI:
Shotton, M. (1989). Computer addiction. Retrieved from

Article in a reference book:
International working-class movement. (1977). In Great Soviet encyclopedia. (Vol. 15, pp 76-86). New York, NY: McMillan.

Article or chapter in a book:
Haybron, D.M. (2008). Philosophy and the science of subjective well being. M. M. Eid & R. J. Larsen (Eds.), The science of subjective well being (pp. 17-43). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Articles from The Norton Reader

Bronowski, J. (1953). The Nature of Scientific Reasoning. L. H. Peterson, J. C. Brereton, & J. E. Hartman (Eds.). The Norton Reader  9th ed. (pp. 1011-1015). NY: Norton.


Journal article with DOI:
Herst-Damm, K. L. (2005) Volunteer support...and terminally ill patients. Health Psychology, 24, 225-229. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.24.2.225

Journal article with continuous pagination and without DOI:
Light, M. A. (2008). The geographical enforcement. Law Enforcement Journal, 8(1), 73-82.

Journal article without DOI and paginated by issue:
White, J. R. (1999). The way to use APA: Insider's guide. Writing Center Market, 12(3), 21-23.

Newspaper article:
Schwartz, J. (1993, May 30). status. The Washington Post, pp A1, A4.

Online newspaper article:
Brody, J. (2007, May 1). Mental reserves. The New York Times. Retrived from

Magazine article:
Chamberline, J. (2008, May). Enhancing worker well-being: Monitor on Psychology, 39(5) 26-29.

Online magazine article:
Clay, R. (2008). Science and ideology: Psychologists fight back. Monitor on Psychology, 39(6). Retrieved from

Tyre, P. (2012). The Writing Revolution. The Atlantic, October 2012. Retrieved from

Special citations for our course

(see also above)

(These are somewhat improvised but continue to operate under the principle of providing as much information as possible or helpful. Even if your reader might never have access to the "instructor's responses to your essays," you can make a convincing case that you're not making these up, that they really exist.)


White, C. (2012). Check-Sheet for Essay Organization. Instructional Materials for Craig White's Literature Courses.

(For the example above, you don't really need to write out the web URL address beginning with http unless you're so inclined. For convenience in our situation only, write something like White Coursesite.)

Instructor's responses to essays:

White, C. (2012) "Essay 1 Rewrite." Personal note. 8 November 2012.

Much of this information was taken from the following edition of the APA manual:
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.