APA Template for Microsoft Word:
Purdue University Online APA Formatting Guide:
Question: How do I find out what an in-text and/or reference page citation should look like and/or what components it should have?
Answer: The best way to understand APA citation requirements is to consult the 6th Edition APA publication manual. Since the information in the manual can, at times, be abstract, I recommend looking at the book in conjunction with strong examples of completed essays and theses. Often times, examples are provided by your professors; however, examples of completed theses can be found at CSUSB Scholarworks and you can also follow the link below to a helpful example essay:
Question: Can I use citation generators or do I have to do my reference page citations myself?
Answer: Citation generators usually require the same amount of effort as if you were to create the citation yourself and are most often inaccurate. It is generally easier and better to understand the basic citation components for the sources you need to cite most often (scholarly articles, webpages, and books) and consult the APA publication manual as necessary.
Question: How do I cite a source cited in another source?
Answer: Citing a source cited in another source is called an indirect citation. This is most often discouraged in research writing; however, if it is unavoidable, you should mention the indirect source (the one you don’t have in front of you) in the beginning of your sentence and then use “as cited in” in your parentheses before your direct source’s (the source you have in front of you) name and year. On your reference page, you will only cite your direct source. Consider the following example in which the source you have in front of you is Vasquez and the indirect source is Welsh:
Welsh (2009) argued that it is not only how many placements a child has during their time in the system, but rather a variety of factors that influence their successful transition out of the system and into adulthood (as cited in Vasquez, 2018).
Question: My professor has asked me to write a paper in APA, but then also asked me to do something different than the Publication Manual says: what should I do?
Answer: APA is often modified for particular purposes, which is something you may notice in the academic articles you read. It is good to know the rules of APA, but you should expect to be flexible, at times, in the application of those rules. If you are unsure about what you are being asked to do, the best things you can do is 1) consult the APA Publication Manual and 2) ask your professor for clarification.
Question: I was told that all verbs in APA have to be past tense. Is this true?
Answer: Only the verbs that you use to introduce your sources need to be in either the past tense or present perfect tense. The rest of your verbs should be chosen to fit the context of your sentence. While past tense verbs are most often used to introduce sources, the present perfect tense can be used to indicate that something is of particular relevance or importance now. See the example below:
The Centers for Disease Control (2012) reported [past tense] a rise in the incidence of the epidemic; however, Johnston (2017) has argued [present perfect tense] that unreliable diagnosis protocols are likely the reason behind the increase.
Question: What if I need to use the same source for several sentences in a row. Do I need a citation for each sentence?
Answer: Technically, parenthetical citations can only represent a single sentence. However, it can be awkward to have the same citation after every single sentence. One way around this is to embed context cues into your sentences that make it clear that you are still using information from the same source. You do this by introducing the source in a signal phrase in your first sentence and then referring back to it in each of the following sentences. See the example below:
Steinbeck and Ritter’s (2013) study [citation] found that the longer students wait to apply for the program of their choice, the less likely they are to be accepted. The results of the same study [context cue] further showed that when applications are filled officially late, students’ chances of acceptance decrease by 47% on average. The authors concluded [context cue] that this decrease was due to two main factors: lower quality/incomplete applications due to lack of time to meet the requirements in combination with higher standards for applications due to most spots being filled by earlier applicants.
USA.gov is a comprehensive database of all of the data available to the public that the United States government collects. This website will lead you to websites and statistics from official U.S. organizations.
The CSUSB Library Guide for Social Work puts you in touch with Joseph Aubele, the research librarian specializing in Social Work, and also contains links to the most useful databases and official websites for research in our field.
Question: I have to use five scholarly sources in my paper, but I need statistics and can’t find them in the academic articles I’m looking in: what should I do?
Answer: While you may be required to use a certain number of scholarly sources, it is likely that if your paper requires you to work with statistics, you are also expected to use other non-scholarly, but reliable sources to find that information (you can check with your professor to be sure). It is difficult to find statistics in the academic databases, and if you can find them they are often outdated. It is better to look for statistics by visiting the webpages of the official organizations who collect the statistics you need to find. If you are not sure where to look, USA.gov is a good place to start.
Question: What should I do if I can’t find any statistics/information about my topic?
Answer: There’s no simple answer to this question. The first strategy should be to try new search terms. For example, if you learned of your topic in a textbook, try going back to that chapter and finding the key terms. You might also try instead of searching for your topic, search for the organizations that you know will be connected to your topic, which will often lead you more easily to the information you need. If you are still struggling after this, you can set up an appointment with either your writing coach (me) or a research librarian for help. These people are waiting and here to help!