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How to Cite Government Agencies in APA Format


The American Psychological Association compiles a style guide that details editorial guidelines for manuscripts in the social and behavioral sciences. Written over 80 years ago, and updated annually, the APA Style format has become the most commonly followed style guide in the field. When creating a manuscript in APA style, it is important that references are cited correctly--both in the form of in-text citations and in the reference list. When citing government agencies, differences exist between how printed and electronic documents are cited as references.

Cite the government agency as the main author of the document--even if individual authors are named. This information should proceed all other information given in the reference field. Follow the government agency's name by a period and the publication year of the document in parenthesis.

Include the full name of the study or publication being cited--regardless how long the title is. This is particularly important when there are numerous publications that have similar titles. When citing the title of a publication in APA style, italicize the entire name.

Include the Superintendent of Documents call number after the publication title for in-print resources. For government agency information found on the web, include the date the information was retrieved and where it was found.

For example, information that was found on the Department of Agriculture's website on October 14, 2009 would read: "Retrieved on October 14, 2009 from the Department of Agriculture's website." The full web address of the cited material should follow the name of the government agency.

About the Author

Lynn Burbeck is a professional writer with over five years of experience writing for the Web. She has published numerous articles for print and online media including "Grit" Magazine. Burbeck holds a B.A. in journalism and political science.

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