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How to Cite an Autopsy Report in APA


Contrary to popular belief, an autopsy is not automatically performed when an individual dies. The investigation is held under specific circumstances, such as in an unexpected death, after a newly-hospitalized patient dies, upon the family’s request or after the death of a child. The sixth edition of the "Publication Manual for the American Psychological Association" offers guidelines for referencing this type of government document because writers and researchers in the behavioral and social sciences sometimes use autopsy reports as sources.

In-Text Citation

After mentioning the autopsy report in the text, add the in-text citation within parentheses. List the office that performed the autopsy, such as the county Health Department, a comma and the year; for instance: (Sunshine County Health Department, 2001). If the office is named within the text, omit it from the parentheses.

References Page

Any outside information mentioned in the text must have the full source information included on the References page. Begin with the name of the office that performed the autopsy and a period. Put the year in parentheses. Add a period. List the italicized title of the report in sentence case, place the case number in parentheses and add a period. Identify the city and state. End with a period. If the report was accessed online, insert "Retrieved from" and the URL; for example: Sunshine County Health Department. (2001). Autopsy report (Case No. 000001). New York, NY. Retrieved from URL

About the Author

Living in upstate New York, Susan Sherwood is a researcher who has been writing within educational settings for more than 10 years. She has co-authored papers for Horizons Research, Inc. and the Capital Region Science Education Partnership. Sherwood has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University at Albany.

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