How to Cite an Outline Using APA Format

Outlines remain an uncommon source for papers and written reports. Still, if another individual created the document and you used it as a reference in your own writing, you need to cite them as with any other source. The American Psychological Association format, or APA format, has a few general guidelines for citing sources such as outlines, brochures and class lecture notes.

Step 1

Create a bibliographic entry for the outline. This citation will appear on the “References” page at the end of your report and will include the full entries for all the sources you cited in your written work.

Include the last name and first initial of the outline author, the year the outline was created in parenthesis, a title for the outline, a description of the outline, and if possible a place of creation, such as a university or institute.

An example outline bibliographic entry would be:

Smith, J. (2005). Major Issues Outline. Unpublished outline. U.S. University.

If the outline is published within a reputable source, such as a book, create an entry that follows the parameters for citing a book.

An example entry would be:

Smith, J. (2005) Major Issues. Chicago: U.S. Printing Press.

Underline the title of the major work.

Step 2

Use the last name of the outline author within an in-text parenthetical citation. This citation should fall at the end of the sentence in which you quoted or utilized the outline.

For example, a citation at the end of this sentence would like this: (Smith).

Step 3

Create an in-text citation for the outline using page numbers. If the outline is long or has been published and you are using a specific segment of the outline, include the page number in the in-text citation.

For example: (Smith, 3).


Always cite information that is not commonly known and which is not your own original idea.

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