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APA Style: Citing Your Sources

A go-to resource for in-text and reference list

Census Data

Basic Format:

U.S. Census Bureau (year data was published). Name of data or report. Retrieved from [URL].

Example (from American FactFinder):

U.S. Census Bureau (2011). Selected housing characteristics, 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-year estimates. Retrieved from http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_11_5YR_DP04.

Example (from Social Explorer):

U.S. Census Bureau (2013). Median household income, American Community Survey 5-year estimates. Retrieved from http://www.socialexplorer.com/tables/ACS2013_5yr/R11008191.

Federal Statutes

Basic form
Name of Act § Section number, Volume number U.S.C. § Section number (Year).
Name of Act, Pub. L. No. Number , § Section number, Volume number Stat. Page number.

Examples
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 § 102, 42 U.S.C. § 4332 (1994).
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-336, § 2, 104 Stat. 328 (1991).

Congressional Bills

Basic Form
Title, Bill or Resolution Number, Number of Congress Cong., Number of Session Sess. (Year).

Example
Equitable Health Care for Severe Mental Illnesses Act of 1993, S. 671, 103d Cong., 1st Sess. (1993).

Court Cases

United States Supreme Court Decisons:

Basic Format
Name v. Name. Vol. number U.S. Page number. (Year).

Note: The volume and page numbers refer to U.S. Reports. All reporting services include this information. Ignore the "Cite As" at the head of the page in Supreme Court Reporter, because this form of the citation is not used in APA style.

Example
United States v. Lane, 474 U.S. 438 (1986).

California Laws and Court Cases

Format:
Name v. Name, volume number Reporter Abbreviation page number (Court abbreviation year).

Example Entries:
People v. Stockton Pregnancy Control Medical Clinic, 203 Cal. App. 3d 225 (Cal. App.3d 1988).
Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California, 131 Cal. Rptr. 14 (Cal. 1976).

Format 1 - Code: (usually preferred format, using citation to California Codes):
Name of law (if available), State Abbreviation Code Abbreviation § section number(s) (Year if available).

Example Entry:
Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, Cal. Penal Code § 11164 et seq.

Format 2 – Bill/Chapter (use if new law updates many code sections instead of one):
Name of law, State Abbreviation Branch (Assemb. or S.) Bill number, Chapter number (Cal. Stat. Year).

Example Entry:
California Fostering Connections to Success Act, Cal. Assemb. B. 12 (2010-2011),Chapter 559 (Cal. Stat. 2010).

Court Cases:
(Name v. Name, year)
(People v. Stockton Pregnancy Control Medical Clinic, 1988)

Statutes (with a name):
(Name of statute)
(Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act)

Statutes (with no name):
(Code abbreviation § section number)
(Cal. Penal Code § 11164)

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Reports and policies

Government Reports

When citing government documents, provide as much information as you can.  The citation largely follows the format for books where the author is the government office or department.

Example:

National Institute of Mental Health. (1990). Clinical training in serious mental illness (DHHS Publication No. ADM 90-1679). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Non-profit or Non-governmental agency Reports

With a corporate author, retrieved online.

Name of agency. (Year). Title of document(Report number). Retrieved from URL

  •  When there is no specific author, the corporation or group can be treated as the author. When the department is part of a larger agency, provide the necessary information to help locate the document.

With an individual as author, retrieved in print or online
Author, A. A. (Year). Title of document (Report number). Location: Publisher. Retrieved from URL.

  •  If a person authors a report for an agency, provide the author's name, and use the name of the agency as the publisher.
  • Use DC, not D.C.  APA uses the U.S. postal abbreviation system for state abbreviations.

Example:

Paschall, P. (2013). Movement analysis: The impact of the 2012 presidential election on the LGBT policy agenda. Washington, DC: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Retrieved from http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/reports/move_analyisis_2012_elec_obama.pdf.

IRS/Tax Forms

General format:

Government agency. (Year of publication). Title of form. Retrieved from source URL. Here's an example:

Examples:

Internal Revenue Service. (2012). Form 1040: U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Retrieved from http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040.pdf.

Internal Revenue Service. (2012). Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. Retrieved from http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f990.pdf.