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How to Cite an Adaptive Document in APA Format


An adaptive document is an element included in your research paper that you yourself do not create; you "adapt" it to illustrate a point. Adaptive documents are either illustrative figures, such as pictures, graphs, charts, tables or maps, or they are non-illustrative materials, or sections of text lifted from outside sources. American Psychological Association citation style allows writers to cite adaptive documents with the APA style manual.

Adapted Journal Articles and Citing Them

If you "adapt" a journal article's text, your reference citation would include the word "note" in italics, a brief description, the article's title, author's first initial and last name, and year. Follow this with the journal title, volume and page number, copyright year and name of the copyright owner. Add "adapted with permission" at citation's end.

The citation reads:

Note (italicized). Body linguistics often confuse business negotiation situations. Adapted from "Supportive body language for business strategies," by R. Weber, 2012, Business Administrative Psychology (italicized), 23, p. 121. Copyright 2012 by Business Administrative Psychology Association. Adapted with permission.

Book 'Em, In Your Report

If you were to adapt a book's section, the citation is virtually the same, with the exception of italics being used instead of quotes for the book's title. You also add a page number in parenthesis for the adapted text, along with the publication city, the publisher's name and the copyright information.

The citation reads:

Note (italicized). Strategies for Business Negotiation. Reprinted from Proven Methods for Business Negotiations (italicized) (p. 317), New York: Business Administrative Printers. Copyright 2012 by Business Methodologies and Strategies Publications. Reprinted with permission.

Picture This, An Illustrative Citation

A figure, such as a chart, table or other illustrative element taken from a journal is cited with the notation "Figure" in italics along with the Figure's number, a brief description, the article's title, author and year, the journal's title, volume and page number, copyright year, holder and the phrase "adapted with permission."

The citation reads:

Figure 4 (italicized). Models of body language while standing, sitting in negotiations. Adapted from "Supportive Body Language for Business Strategies," by R. Weber, 2012, Business Administrative Psychology (italicized), 23, p. 121. Copyright 2012 by Business Administrative Psychology Association. Adapted with permission.

Citing In Text

Citations of adaptive documents in the text of a research paper are done with the parenthetical elements of author and year. If you were citing the author of the works listed above, your sentence would read "According to Weber (2012)," followed by a direct quote; a simpler version would read "Weber (2012)," followed by quoted material. If you do not directly name the author, or if you paraphrase the quote, add author, year and page number in parenthesis. The citation sentence would read "She has stated that negotiations break down on this point (Weber, 2012, p. 213)."

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About the Author

Michael Stratford is a National Board-certified and Single Subject Credentialed teacher with a Master of Science in educational rehabilitation (University of Montana, 1995). He has taught English at the 6-12 level for more than 20 years. He has written extensively in literary criticism, student writing syllabi and numerous classroom educational paradigms.

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