How to Do a Handout in APA Style

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Handouts that conform to American Psychological Association (APA) style correctly cite any sources writers reference in their material. A handout generally consists of a subset of information from another source such as a book, magazine, journal or newspaper. Writers need to know the original source of the material in the handout to write the references properly using the APA format, including information such as the author's name, date of publication, title and more.

Things You'll Need

  • Author's name
  • Date of publication
  • Title of the chapter or handout
  • Editor's name
  • Title of the complete work
  • Location and Publisher name
  • URL (if an online handout)
  • Invert the author's name so it appears as "Last name, Initials."

    For example: Doe, J.A.

  • Put the date of publication after the author's name and in parentheses. Use the following formats: Year only: (2011); Year, Month: (2011, May); Year, Month Day: (2011, May 1); or Year, Months: (2011, November/December).

    So far, you have:

    Doe, J.A. (2011, May).

  • Enter the title of the chapter or handout. Only capitalize the first word. For example: "Causes of post-traumatic stress disorder."

    You now have:

    Doe, J.A. (2011, May). Causes of post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • If there is an editor, do not invert the editor's name, and precede it with the word "In." After the editor's name, include "(Ed.),". For example: "In J.Q. Smith (Ed.),".

    You have now built:

    Doe, J.A. (2011, May). Causes of post-traumatic stress disorder.

     In J.Q. Smith (Ed.),

    After the first line, indent subsequent lines of the reference.

  • Enter the title of the complete work in italics. Only capitalize the first word. Include the pages of the handout in parentheses after the title. For example: "Post-traumatic stress disorder (pp. 23-35)."

    Here is what you have built so far:

    Doe, J.A. (2011, May). Causes of post-traumatic stress disorder.

     In J.Q. Smith (Ed.), Post-traumatic stress disorder (pp. 23-35).

    If there is no editor, include the word "In" before the title of the complete work. For example:

    Doe, J.A. (2011, May). Causes of post-traumatic stress disorder.

     In Post-traumatic stress disorder (pp. 23-35).
  • Enter the location and publisher's name as follows: "Location: Publisher, e.g., New York: Rand McNally."

    The complete handout reference will look like this:

    Doe, J.A. (2011, May). Causes of post-traumatic stress disorder.

     In J.Q. Smith (Ed.), Post-traumatic stress disorder (pp. 23-35).

    New York: Rand McNally.

  • Drop the location and publisher and add the reference required for the URL as follows if the handout is from an online source:

    "Retrieved from http://www.xxxxxxx"

    Do not include a period at the end of the URL.

    In this case, your complete handout reference will look like this:

    Doe, J.A. (2011, May). Causes of post-traumatic stress disorder.

     In J.Q. Smith (Ed.), Post-traumatic stress disorder (pp. 23-35). Retrieved from  http://www.xxxxxxx

Tips & Warnings

  • If any of the elements of the reference are not available, skip it and move on to the next element in the appropriate order.
  • If unsure, including more information in the reference is better than less. You want to make it easy for someone to locate your reference.

References

  • Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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