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Social Work Research Guide

Resources for students and faculty in the School of Social Work.

About APA Style

APA Style is a popular style among the social sciences. When editors or teachers ask you to write in APA Style they are referring to the editorial style that many of the social and behavioral sciences have adopted to present written material in the field. APA Style was first developed in 1929 by a group of social scientists who wished to establish sound standards of communication. Since that time, it has been adopted by leaders in many fields and has been used by writers around the world.

References List

Jones, P.J, & Williams, W.W. (2009). Books that don’t exist. Augusta, ME: Capitol Publishers.

Schiraldi, G.R. (2001). The post-traumatic stress disorder sourcebook: A guide to healing, recovery, and growth

[Adobe Digital Editions version]. doi:10.1036/0071393722 


Sedaris, David. (2019). david sedaris: The Official David Sedaris Site. Retrieved from

Audubon Field Guide: Common Raven. (n.d.) Retrieved from

Herbst-Damm, K.L. & Kulik, J.A. (2005). Volunteer support, marital status, and the survival times of terminally ill patients.

Health Psychology, 24, 225-229. doi:10.1037/0278-6133.24.2.225 

JOURNAL ARTICLE WITHOUT DOI (when DOI is not available)
Sillick, T.J., & Schutte, N.S. (2006). Emotional intelligence and self-esteem mediate between perceived early parental love and adult

happiness. E-Journal of Applied Psychology, 2(2), 38-48. Retrieved from

Schwartz, J. (1993, September 30). Obesity affects economic, social status. The Washington Post, pp. A1, A4.

Brody, J.E. (2007, December 11). Mental reserves keep brain agile. The New York Times. Retrieved from

In-Text Citations

There are several ways to cite a quotation within a document with APA format, but the same citation information (author’s last name, publication date and page number) must be included. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) gives the following examples:

Quotation 1 - use double quotations:  
When author is mentioned in the beginning:
Miele (1993) found that "the 'placebo effect', which had been verified in previous studies, disappeared when [only the first group's] behaviors were studied in this manner" (p.276)

When author is mentioned at the end:
... "the 'placebo effect', which had been verified in previous studies, disappeared when [only the first group's] behaviors were studied in this manner" (Miele, 1993, p. 276)

Quotation 2 - block quotation of 40 words or more; no quotation marks used; indent 5 spaces from the left margin:
Miele (1993) found the following:

The “placebo effect,” which had been verified in previous studies, disappeared when behaviors were studied in this manner.  Furthermore, the behaviors were never exhibited again [emphasis added], even when reel [sic] drugs were administered. Earlier studies (e.g., Abdullah, 1984; Fox, 1979) were clearly premature in attributing the results to a placebo effect. (p. 276)

The publication manual also notes that sometimes electronic sources (such as an HTML full-text document from an online database or information from a website) do not have page numbers. If no page numbers are listed, use the paragraph number and, when given, the heading or section title. The manual provides the following two examples:

Quotation 1 - when paragraph numbers are visible, indicate with (para.):
Basu and Jones (2007) went so far as to suggest the need for a new "intellectual framework in which to consider the nature and form of regulation in cyberspace" (para. 4).

Quotation 2 - document uses headings rather than paragraphs or page numbers:
In their study, Verbunt, Pernot, and Smeets (2008) found that "the level of perceived disability in patients with fibromyalgia seemed best explained by their mental health condition and less by their physical condition" (Discussion section, para.1).

Quotation 3 - when headings are too unwieldy to cite in full, use a short parenthetical title enclosed in quotation marks:
"Empirical studies have found mixed results on the efficacy of labels in educating consumers and changing consumption behavior" (Golan, Kuchler, & Krissof, 2007, "Mandatory Labeling has Targeted", para. 4).

Further Resources

Print Copy at the Reference Desk:

American Psychological Association. (2019). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

American Psychological Association. (2010). Concise Rules of APA Style (6th ed). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

Online Guide:

The OWL at Purdue University

The OWL resources will help you learn how to use the American Psychological Association (APA) citation and format style. This section contains resources on in-text citation and the References page, as well as APA sample papers, slide presentations, and the APA classroom poster.


The Mansfield Library subscribes to RefWorks to make research and citation easier for you. RefWorks is a citation management tool that stores your electronic articles in one place for easy access, organization, citation and sharing. You can save web page content and metadata, create collections to organize or share documents and citations, and upload PDF and Office documents.

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