How to Cite Primary Literature Citations in Lab Reports

How to Cite Primary Literature Citations in Lab Reports thumbnail
Lab reports form an important part of the science world.

When you cite someone else's primary literature citation, this is called an indirect or secondary citation. While various methods of citing secondary sources in lab reports exist, the most common are those American Psychological Association lays out in the "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association." To cite your secondary source, you will need to create both an in-text citation and a reference page entry. The in-text citation shows your reader where to find the reference to the primary source in the secondary source, and the reference page entry gives your reader publication information related to the secondary source.


    • 1

      Locate the original source if possible and cite it directly, enclosing in parentheses the author's last name separated by a comma from the year of publication. If you quote directly from the original source, give the page number from which you took your quote using the abbreviations p. for one page and pp. for multiple pages. For example:

      (Phillips, 2001) or "Results of multiple tests were inconclusive for most subjects" (Phillips, 2001, p. 212)

    • 2

      If you cannot find the original source, give the original source's name in the body of your sentence.

      Phillips found. . .

    • 3

      Place the name of the secondary source that referenced the primary source in parentheses, along with the year and page number separated by commas.

      Phillips found. . . (as cited in Roth, 2007, p. 67).

    • 4

      List only the secondary source in your references. Give the author's last name and first initial and enclose the year of publications in parentheses to begin your reference list entry.

      Roth, D. (2007)

    • 5

      Put the article's title in sentence case -- this means you capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle, if there is one, and any proper nouns. Then write the name of the journal in italics and give the volume and page numbers.

      Roth, D. (2007) Cognitive music therapy: A primary study. Journal of Music Theory, 32, 242-267.

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  • "Publication Manual of the APA"; American Psychological Association; 2009


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