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How to Cite a Questionnaire


Citations are as much a part of formal papers as commas and periods. While citing journals, websites and books is fairly easy, citing other forms of correspondence can be more difficult. Citing a questionnaire is tricky, but once you learn the steps, you will be able to include questionnaires in your body of research.

Citing a Questionnaire

Determine what format the questionnaire is in -- whether it is online or an original survey. This must be done before you can cite a questionnaire as a source for your paper or project.

Determine which style format your paper calls for. Each school or college may use a different format, so it is important to know which format you will need to use. If you will be writing papers often, you may want to consider buying a copy of the stylebook that you will be using. The three most common style formats used are the American Psychological Association format, the Modern Language Association format and the Chicago Style format.

Cite your questionnaire using the style format you have chosen. For example, in APA style, the last name of the first author is placed first followed by a comma and the author's first initial followed by a period and a comma. If a year for the questionnaire is available, it follows the author's name and is enclosed with parenthesis. A period follows the parenthesis, and the title of the questionnaire follows the period. The only capital letter in the title occurs at the beginning unless there is a proper noun in the title. If the questionnaire is published, list the publisher here and capitalize the publisher. If the questionnaire is unpublished, state it here. Finally, give the source of the questionnaire. If you found the questionnaire online, give the link.

Write an MLA citation for your entry. Know that it differs a bit in the organization of the citation from APA. The author's last name is still first, but the first name is spelled out. A period follows the first name. The title of the survey is next in the citation, set off with quotation marks and with each work in the title capitalized and a period. Next will be the word survey, capitalized and followed by a period. If the source of the questionnaire is a website, the name of the website is next, italicized and capitalized, followed by a period. The publisher of the website follows, capitalized and followed by a period. The date of retrieval is the final piece of information, again followed by a period. Notice the day is first, followed by the month and the year. The month is abbreviated.

Write a citation format for Chicago Style. Know that the entries for Chicago Style are the same as MLA for questionnaires, except the date is the standard month, day and year format. The months are spelled out. If you accessed the internet for your questionnaire, you must put the words "accessed on" before the date. You must include the URL of the website after the date.

About the Author

Lori Garrett-Hatfield has a B.J. in Journalism from the University of Missouri. She has a Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University of Georgia. She has been working in the Education field since 1994, and has taught every grade level in the K-12 system, specializing in English education, and English as a Second Language education.

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