Where to start is the big question when it comes to APA. The following headings offer various places depending on what you need.
If you have never used the American Psychological Association (APA) Style Sheet, try this 20-minute power point presentation from the American Psychological Association: http://www.apastyle.org/learn/tutorials/basics-tutorial.aspx
It covers formatting and citation. If you are a visual learner, this power point demonstration will be great to look at before you turn to a manual.
Electronic Citations in the Reference Page
If all you need is to know how to cite an electronic journal article or a web page on the reference page, then try this page from the Purdue Online Writing Lab: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/
Electronic Citations in an In-Text Citation
If your electronic source has an author, then just give the name and date in parentheses just like you would any other source.
Example: (Gilmore, 2005).
If your electronic source does not have an author (a web site, for instance, might not have an author listed), then begin with the title of an article in quotation marks. For a book or a journal, italicize the title.
Example: (“Trade Agreements”, 2007).
If you are using a web site that is large, offer the reader some help in finding the passage you are citing by numbering the paragraphs and referring to the section. Use the abbreviation "para." to refer to the word paragraph.
Example: (Gilmore, 2005, Conclusion section, para. 17).
If no date is given, then use "(n.d.)," which means "no date."
More examples can be found at the Purdue Online Writing Lab site http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/03/
You do not put the URL in the in-text citation.
A Sample APA Paper Marked with Comments
Sometimes just seeing a model helps you with formatting. Here is a link to a sample paper: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/media/pdf/20090212013008_560.pdf
Books to Help You
The APA Manual is written for researchers, not students, so if your needs are basic, then consider one of the following resources (all are available at the CSU bookstore):
- Concise Rules of APA Style. This text is well organized with lots of short examples; however, there is not a sample paper.
- The Writer's Resource by Elaine Maimon, et al. This text is well organized, and it has a sample paper; the print, however, is smaller and the handbook itself is more expensive.
- The Writer's Reference by Diana Hacker. Like the previous source listed, this text is well organized, and it has a sample paper; the print, however, is smaller and the handbook itself is more expensive.
What Truly Drives Professors Crazy
APA requires attention to detail in ways that other style manuals do not (even though they require details too). When you refer to a handbook, take care to notice the following details:
- The words "Running head" occur on the first page and the title goes after a colon in all caps—at the left margin
- Capitalization inside titles varies depending on what kind of source you are using.
- The ampersand (&) is used in reference and in-text citations but not in the text for two or more authors
- The first initial is used—never the full name
- Italicize journal titles and volume numbers
- Double space within and between reference list entries
- There are no extra spaces in the text between paragraphs
- Be careful where periods go (as opposed to where commas go)
- Center your headings
- Boldface major headings and subheadings