APA Help

Determining information for a government document citation can be challenging. Take advantage of indexes, such as ASU Library One Search, for assistance. For more information on the APA style, see the APA Publicaton Manual or the APA page on Electronic Reference Formats

Author

  • Enter the name of the specific department, agency, institute, etc. that produced the report.
    • A well known agency does not need to follow a higher departmental name, e.g., Federal Bureau of Investigation, etc. Enter the name in the "Department/Agency" box and check the "Cite by well known agency" box.
    • If the case is unclear, select the government name, enter the top-level department in the "Department/Agency" and the lowest level agency in the next box.
  • If the document is in a deposit service, e.g., NTIS or ERIC, use the Personal Author fields. When appropriate, include the byline, e.g., Ed., Comp., etc.
  • The Online Catalog may not be of much help for the author because of rules of use for corporate authors.

Title

The title of a document can be hard to decipher.

  • Use the title on the title page rather than the one on the cover if they differ.
  • For microfiche use the title on the title page, not what is printed at the top of the sheet.
  • If there is still doubt, consult an index, such as ASU Library One Search.

Place of Publication

  • The place of publication is usually found on the front or the back of the title page, although it can also appear at the end of the document or in it in a preface or letter of transmittal.
  • If the Government Printing Office printed the document, click that checkbox. The program will automatically supply the place and publisher.

Publisher

  • If the Government Printing Office appears in the document, click the checkbox. The program will automatically supply the place and publisher.
  • The issuing agency can also be the publisher. If so, click the checkbox.

Date of Publication

  • The date is usually found on the front or the back of the title page, although it can also appear at the end of the document or in it in a preface or letter of transmittal.
  • If no date is available, click the "No Date" option.

Date of CD-ROM

  • The date of a CD-ROM can appear in a number of places, e.g., on the front or the back of the cover slip, on the CD-ROM, etc.

Publication is on the Internet

Internet Dates

Citations for Internet resources require two dates, the Publication/Revised and the Access Dates, because documents can be readily altered.

  • The "Publication/Revised Date," similar to the copyright date, is when the document was last changed. It appears on the document or web page itself.
  • The "Access Date" is when the researcher viewed that document.

Database Producer & Name

Some, though not all, documents are part of a database, such as GPO Access or the Department of Energy's Information Bridge.

  • Include the database producer and name in the citation.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

The most efficient way to find an Internet document is through its online address - the URL.

  • Include the entire address, although it can be long.


The APA Citation is based on:

  • American Psychological Association. (1994). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
  • Electronic reference formats recommended by the American Psychological Association. (1999, November 19). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Retrieved May 8, 2000, from the World Wide Web: http://www.apa.org/journals/webref.html.