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APA Format for Course Materials


It is critical that you cite your sources in an academic paper, even if you acquired your sources in class. Though the instructor will know that your information is credible since she gave it to you, it is important that you cite the source anyway to demonstrate that you are not trying to take credit for research that you did not conduct or opinions that are not your own. The American Psychological Association, or APA, manual provides detailed guidelines to help writers properly attribute textbooks, class handouts, and digital presentations.

Textbooks

Type the author's last name, a comma, a space, his first initial and a period. If there is more than one author, insert a comma after the preceding first initial and period. Then enter the next author's last name and first initial in the same inverted format. Place an ampersand between the names of the last author and the author who precedes him. Make an open parenthesis. Enter the publication year followed by a close parenthesis and period. Type the title of the textbook in italicized sentence case: only capitalize the first letters of the first word, proper nouns and the first word after a colon (if any). If the textbook is a revised edition, leave a space after the title then make an open parenthesis. Enter the edition number in Arabic numerals followed by an ordinal suffix. Leave a space and add the abbreviation “ed.” succeeded by a close parenthesis. Add a period to the end of the title or after the parenthetical edition number if you entered one. Note the city and state of publication, using the two-letter abbreviation for the state. Insert a comma after the city and a colon after the state. Leave a space. Type the name of the publisher followed by a period. For example:

Hamilton, A., Madison, J., and Jay, J. (2013). The Federalist Papers primer: A text for students (italicized) (12th ed.). New York, NY: The New York Packet Press.

Handouts and Digital Presentations Containing Original Content

Type the author's last name, a comma, a space, his first initial and a period. Make an open parenthesis. Enter the year in which the instructor made the handout or presentation, which will likely by the year in which you are taking the course. Add a close parenthesis and period. Type the title of the handout or presentation in sentence case. Citing an informal title is acceptable. Do not italicize the title. Leave a space and make an open bracket. Note the source's medium in sentence case. Add a close bracket and period. If the instructor gave you a hard copy of the materials, type the name of the academic department in which the instructor works. Add a comma and a space. State the name of the school. Add another comma and space. Enter the city and state in which the school is located followed by a period. Spell out the state name. If you accessed the handout or presentation online, type the phrase “Retrieved from” after the bracketed medium notation. Then, paste the web address for your source. You do not need to cite departmental, school or location information for class materials you obtained online. For example:

Hamilton, A. (2013). The American economic system [Class handout]. Department of Economics, Columbia University, New York, New York.

Jay, J. The American judicial process [Prezi slides]. Retrieved from http://columbia.edu/jay/judicialprocess/prezi02/

Handouts and Digital Presentations Containing Edited Content

Type the original author’s last name, a comma, a space, his first initial and a period. Make an open parenthesis. Enter the year in which the instructor made the handout or presentation. Add a close parenthesis and period. Enter the title of the excerpted work in sentence case followed by a period. Do not italicize the title. Type “In” followed by the instructor’s first initial, a period, a space and the instructor’s last name. Leave another space and make an open parenthesis. Type the abbreviation “Ed.” Add a close parenthesis, a comma and a space. Type the name of the course material in italicized sentence case. Leave a space after the title and make an open parenthesis. Enter the page or slide numbers for the referenced content, preceded by the abbreviation “pp.” Add a close parenthesis and a period. If you are referencing a handout, enter the city and state of the school, using the two-letter state abbreviation. Insert a comma after the city and a colon after the state. Leave a space. Type the name of the school followed by a period. If you accessed the handout or presentation online, type “Retrieved from” then paste the URL. Conclude the reference by giving the publication information for the original source, if it is available. Make an open parenthesis. Type “Reprinted from” followed by the italicized title of the book or periodical from which the instructor acquired the material. Add a comma. Enter the page numbers followed by a comma. Then, add the original publication year succeeded by a close parenthesis. For example:

Madison, J. (2013). Federalist no. 62. In E. Kagan (Ed.), Interpreting the Constitution after two centuries (italicized) (pp. 50-55). New York, NY: Columbia University Law School. (Reprinted from The Federalist papers (italicized), 207-213, 1788)

Madison, J. (2013). Federalist no. 62. In E. Kagan (Ed.), Interpreting the Constitution after two centuries (italicized) (pp. 50-55). Retrieved from http://columbia.edu/kagan/interpreting/ppt/ (Reprinted from The Federalist papers (italicized), 207-213, 1788)

In-Text Citations

All APA in-text citations follow the author-year-page format, even if you are citing course materials. Cite the last name of the person who originally authored the content you are referencing. For example:

(Hamilton, Madison & Jay, 1789, pp. 87-99) (Hamilton, 2013, p. 4)

About the Author

Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.

Photo Credits
  • Jetta Productions/Lifesize/Getty Images