November 14th, 2008

APA Citations in an Electronic World

If you are trying to cite electronic resources based on what you find in the APA Manual, you may have had your share of frustration. The internet has changed so quickly, and the Manual hasn’t been able to keep up with all of the online possibilities. Even with the addition of the APA Style Guide to Electronic References,
which is available on the Capella Library Guides & Tutorials page, electronic resources can be confusing.

So confusing, in fact, that you may not even know where to begin. If you’re tempted to create a citation that contains just the URL, STOP!!!

It is almost impossible for an internet resource to be both valid for scholarly research and have no citation information beyond the URL.

Scholarly resources on the internet typically mimic scholarly resources in the print world. You should see a title, author names, and a date. If it’s an internet journal, it probably has a journal volume and issue number as well.

Sometimes you’ll see useful resources that don’t have a specific person named as the author. If it’s from the government or a professional/scholarly organization, that group is probably the “author.” You may have to do some investigating to figure out exactly who is the author. Page 273 in the APA Manual has some examples that may help you understand how to cite an author when there’s no personal name.

Remember: You can search the internet quickly and easily, but determining what you can use in a paper and how to cite it often takes a bit of thought and effort.

For example, if you wanted to cite this blog post, you’d have a lot of information to include. There’s a web address (URL) and retrieval date. There’s a title for the post, a post date, and the name of the blog. Only my first name appears at the bottom of the post, but you can easily get my full name by clicking About Us. That’s exactly the type of extra work you may need to do to properly cite a web resource.

– Erin

Write a comment