Electronic Media - Internet
With the advent of the Internet over the past decade there has been an increasing requirement for information about how to properly treat the citation of Internet sources.
In recent years I have received ever more frequent requests to add the "citation of Internet sources" to the APA Format and APA Style pages on my Writing Help Central Website.
Accordingly, the following is my summary of the key points for including APA citations in a paper, as per the APA Publication Manual.
Please take note that the material below is based on my understanding of the APA standards that I consulted when I wrote this. If you have a complex citation situation, please check the APA Publication Manual.
APA Citation of Sources On the Internet
Authors using and citing sources on the World Wide Web (i.e. Internet) should observe the following two guidelines:
- Direct readers as closely as possible to the specific information being cited. So, whenever possible, reference the specific document to which you refer, rather than mome or menu pages.
- Provide addresses (i.e. hyperlinks) that work.
Documents available via the Internet include articles from periodicals (e.g. newspapers, newsletters, journals, etc.); They may stand on their own (e.g. research papers, government reports , online books, brochures, etc.); or they may be in Web-based format (e.g. Web pages, newsgroups, blogs, etc.).
Following are the key points with respect to citing Web sources:
- At a minimum, an Internet source reference should include; document title or description, date of publication or retrieval, and an Internet address (i.e. a valid URL, or uniform resource locator). When possible, identify author name(s) as well.
- The URL must be working, or your paper or argument will suffer. The best way to avoid a typo in a URL is to copy it directly (with your word processor) from the address/location field when you are actually at that particular Web page that you want to cite. For example, the URL for this particular page that you are viewing right now is "http://www.writinghelp-central.com/apa-citation-internet.html". That is the unique identifier for this one particular page of information that differentiates it from all of the other billions of pages online.
- When you cannot copy the URL directly, be sure that you record it carefully; exactly as it is stated wherever you are copying it from. Always use lower-case letters when citing a URL.
- Test all URLs that you cite in a browser program such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. Make sure that it takes you to the exact Web page that contains the info you are citing. It is a good idea to test URL's periodically since third-party information often gets relocated online or taken down.
Sample APA Citations - Internet References
Following are example citations for some of the more common citations of online sources. (All sources cited are fictitious):
Internet Published Article Based On Printed Source Article:
Waterston, F., Dixon M. (2007). Cuisine as a cultural and
religious marker [Electronic version]. National Journal
of Anthropology, 7, 125-132.
Internet Article In An Internet-Only Journal:
Wiltshire, R. D. (2006, May 5). Changing thinking patterns
to reduce depression. Psychology For the Future, 3, Article
0012. Retrieved March 15, 2007, from http://www.
Internet Article In An Internet-Only Newsletter:
Perez, A. R., Winters, S., Jackson D.B., et al. (2005, June).
Using video to increase conversion rates. Marketing News
Online (05-06). Retrieved October 15, 2006, from http://
Internet Report Posted Online
Montreal Region Task Force On Crime, Interim Report
Number Two. (2006, November). Statistics and trends in
crime. Retrieved February 12, 2007, from http://
Document On Government or University Web site
Bank of Montreal,Business Coach Series, Developing Your
Business Plan, Retrieved August 5, 2007,from Government
of Canada, Canada Business Web site: http://
Report From Private Organization - On Their Web Site
Rassmussen, Inc. (2005, October 28). Knowledge ProcessMessage Posted To A Newsgroup
Outsourcing in Asia, Retrieved July 20, 2007 from http://
Frentzen, W. (2006, December 15). The money is in the listMessage Posted To A Web Log (Blog)
[Msg 127]. Message posted to news://imf.internet.marketing
Gravely, S. (2007, June 12). Re: Letter writing for small
businesses. [The Write Place blog]. Message posted to
The above examples are for what I consider to be the most typical types of citations that would be made in the average paper. If you have an Internet source reference situation that is not covered here you'll have to check out the APA Publication Manual.
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