APA (American Psychological Association) documentation is used in scientific research papers. Because Internet technology is constantly changing, so is the APA documentation style for information published on the Net. The purpose of this Web page is to provide you with the most up-to-date information about APA style for documenting electronic sources. (To document other sources, please see our handbooks, or check the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.) On this page, you will also find links to the pages of a sample APA research paper.
APA style prefers a reference to the print form of a source, even if it is available on the Net. If you have read only the electronic form of an article’s print version, add “Electronic version” in brackets after the title of the article. If an on-line article has been changed from the print version or has additional information, follow the same general format for the author, date, and title elements of print sources, but follow it with a “retrieved” statement, citing the date of retrieval and the electronic address.
NOTE: Titles and subtitles of articles are not capitalized (except for the first word) or enclosed in quotation marks. (The names of periodicals are capitalized and italicized.)
Periodical, identical to print version
Author, A., & Author, B. (year, month day). Title
of article [Electronic version]. Title of
eriodical, volume number or other designation,
inclusive page numbers.
Periodical, different than print version
Author, A., & Author, B. (year, month day). Title
of article. Title of Periodical, volume number,
inclusive page numbers. Retrieved Month day,
year, from electronic address
Notes: Include an issue number in parentheses following the volume number if each issue of a journal begins with page 1. Use “p.’ or “pp.” before the page numbers of newspaper articles. Page numbers are often not relevant for Internet-only sources. End the citation with a period unless the final element is an electronic address.
Article on a Web Site
Volz, J. (2000, January). Successful aging: The second
50. APA Monitor 31(1). Retrieved January 11, 2000,
Article in an Internet-Only Journal
Dellasega, C. (2001, October-November). Mothers who
write: Juliana Baggott. Writers Write, 5(9).
Retrieved January 3, 2002, from http://www.
Notes: The title of the article is followed by the name of the journal (italicized), the volume number (italicized), and the issue number (in parentheses, not italicized). If applicable, “Article 000’ (or other designation) is placed after a comma that follows the issue number. The entry ends with the “retrieved” statement, omitting end punctuation. When forced by line length to break an Internet address, always break it after a slash mark or before a period, and never insert a hyphen at the break.
Article or Abstract from an Electronic Database
Belsie, L. (1999). Progress or peril? Christian Science
Monitor, 91(85), 15. Retrieved September 15, 1999,
from DIALOG on-line database (#97, IAC Business
A.R.T.S., Item 07254533).
Notes: If the document cited is an abstract, include “Abstract’ before the “retrieved’ statement. The item or accession numbers may be included, but are not required.
Other Nonperiodical On-Line Document
Boyles, S. (2001, November 14). World diabetes day has
people pondering their risk. Retrieved Nov. 16,
2001, from http://my.webmd.com/content/
Notes: To cite only a chapter or section of an on-line document, follow the title of the chapter with “In Title of document (chap. number).” If the author is not identified, begin with the title of the document. If a publication date is not identified, use “n.d.” in parentheses.
Document or Abstract Available on University Program or Department Web Site
Magill, G. (2001). Ethics of stem cell research.
Retrieved November 23, 2001, from St. Louis
University, Center for Health Care Ethics Web
Note: The host organization and the relevant program or department are listed before the URL when a document is contained within a large, complex Web site.
Report from a University, Available on Private Organization Web Site
Kaiser Family Foundation and University of Wisconsin,
Sonderegger Research Center. (2000, July).
Prescription drug trends – a chartbook. Retrieved
November 19, 2001, from http://www.kff.org/content/
Note: If the private organization is not listed as an author, identify it in the “retrieved” statement.
U.S. Government Report Available on Government Agency Web Site
United States Department of Commerce, Office of the
Inspector General. (2001, March). Internal controls
over bankcard program need improvement. Retrieved
July 23, 2001, from http://www.oig.doc.gov/
Note: If no publication date is indicated, use “n.d.” in the parentheses following the agency name.
Paper Presented at a Symposium or Other Event, Abstract Retrieved from University Web Site
Smale, S. (2001, November 7). Learning and the
evolution of language. Paper presented at Brains
and Machines Seminar Series. Abstract retrieved
November 23, 2001, from http://www.ai.mit.edu/
Select the link below to view a sample research paper in APA style. It is a PDF file, which means you need to use the Adobe Reader (or Adobe Acrobat) to view it. Click the logo on the right if you do not already have the reader. (It is a free download.)
Research Paper in APA style
Annotated Bibliography Example
This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.
Contributors: Geoff Stacks, Erin Karper, Dana Bisignani, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2018-02-09 12:16:53
Stem Cell Research: An Annotated Bibliography
Holland, Suzanne. The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy. Boston: MIT P, 2001.
This is the annotation of the above source, which is formatted according to MLA 2016 (8th ed.) guidelines for the bibliographic information listed above. If one were really writing an annotation for this source, one would offer a brief summary of what this book says about stem cell research.
After a brief summary, it would be appropriate to assess this source and offer some criticisms of it. Does it seem like a reliable and current source? Why? Is the research biased or objective? Are the facts well documented? Who is the author? Is she qualified in this subject? Is this source scholarly, popular, some of both?
The length of your annotation will depend on the assignment or on the purpose of your annotated bibliography. After summarizing and assessing, you can now reflect on this source. How does it fit into your research? Is this a helpful resource? Too scholarly? Not scholarly enough? Too general/specific? Since "stem cell research" is a very broad topic, has this source helped you to narrow your topic?
Senior, K. "Extending the Ethical Boundaries of Stem Cell Research." Trends in Molecular Medicine, vol. 7, 2001, pp. 5-6.
Not all annotations have to be the same length. For example, this source is a very short scholarly article. It may only take a sentence or two to summarize. Even if you are using a book, you should only focus on the sections that relate to your topic.
Not all annotated bibliographies assess and reflect; some merely summarize. That may not be the most helpful for you, but, if this is an assignment, you should always ask your instructor for specific guidelines.
Wallace, Kelly. "Bush Stands Pat on Stem Cell Policy." CNN. 13 Aug. 2001.
Using a variety of sources can help give you a broader picture of what is being said about your topic. You may want to investigate how scholarly sources are treating this topic differently than more popular sources. But again, if your assignment is to only use scholarly sources, then you will probably want to avoid magazines and popular web sites.
The bibliographic information above is proper MLA format (use whatever style is appropriate in your field) and the annotations are in paragraph form. Note also that the entries are alphabetized by the first word in the bibliographic entry. If you are writing an annotated bibliography with many sources, it may be helpful to divide the sources into categories. For example, if putting together an extensive annotated bibliography for stem cell research, it might be best to divide the sources into categories such as ethical concerns, scholarly analyses, and political ramifications.
For more examples, a quick search at a library or even on the Internet should produce several examples of annotated bibliographies in your area.