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Note: All TESL-EJ articles should be prepared in Microsoft Word or in RTF format. All formatting, such as italics, diacritical marks, etc., should be included in the manuscript. Please put tables and figures in place in the manuscript (not at the end) and number and title all figures and tables.



Version 3.0, Revised December 2003

Prepared by & Maggie Sokolik <>
(Previous versions developed by Maggie Sokolik and Ron Corio <> with the assistance of Abraham Lee)

Adapted from:

American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, Fifth Edition. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

The following is not a complete overview. If you have a reference or citation that does not fit the examples given here, please consult the official APA style guide. More information can be found on their website:


Include a reference list (headed "References") at the end of the TESL-EJ article that documents your sources and provides the necessary information to identify and retrieve each source. References must include only the sources that were used in the research and preparation of the article. A reference list cites specific works that support a particular article. A bibliography cites works for background or for further reading. APA journal style requires reference lists, not bibliographies.

Please note that the examples used in this document are for illustration only, and should not be used for actual citations. Many are fictional or partly fictional. Check all your sources carefully.

I. In-text Documentation

Citation within the text of a document refers the reader to an alphabetical reference list at the end of the article. APA format uses the author-date method of citation. The surname of the author and the date of publication are inserted at the appropriate point in the text.

A. One work by single author

If the name of the author appears in the text, cite only the year of publication in the text. Do not include suffixes such as Jr.

    O'Hannon's (1989) linguistic analysis....

Otherwise, place the surname of the author and the year of publication with a comma separating the two.

    ...lead to successful language learning (Minton, 1988).

Within a paragraph you need not repeat the references to an author's work as long as it cannot be confused with other work cited in the article.

B. One work by two or more authors

When a work has two authors, always use the surnames of both authors in all citations. Join the two names by an ampersand (&) within parentheses, or by "and" within the text.

...or simply read it (Will & Tarry, 1988).

... or as Will and Tarry (1988) state...

When a work has 3-6 authors, use the surnames of all authors in the first citation. In subsequent citations, include only the surname of the first author followed by "et al."

...process the text hierarchically (Little, Baker, & Showe, 1984)....

When a work has more than six authors, use only the surname of the first author followed by "et al."

...on a test with exclusively open-ended questions (Willets et al., 1988).

C. Works with no authors

When a work has no author, cite the first two or three words of the reference list entry followed by the year. The first entry is usually the title. Underline the title of a periodical or book and use double quotation marks around the title of an article or chapter.

...on language use ("World languages," 1992).

... in the book (Language Use, 1991).

D. Specific parts of a source

To cite a specific part of a source, include the page, chapter, figure, table, or equation in the citation. The words "page" and "chapter" are abbreviated in such citations (see Abbreviations).

...and rewriting what is read (Freire, 1983, p. 11).

E. Abbreviations
chap. chapter
ed. edition
Rev. ed. revised edition
2nd ed. second edition
Ed. (Eds.) Editor (Editors)
Trans. Translator(s)
p. (pp.) page (pages)
Vol. Volume (as in Vol. 4)
vols. volumes (as in four volumes)
No. Number
Pt. Part
Tech. Rep. Technical Report
Suppl. Supplement

Geographical abbreviations: For the U.S., states and territories in the reference list should use the official two-letter U.S.P.S. abbreviation. City names and country names should not be abbreviated.

F. Personal communications

Letters, memos, telephone conversations, etc. are not included in the Reference List, thus are cited in the text only. Include the initials as well as the surname of the author and provide as exact a date as possible.

...according to D.B. Cooper (personal communication, April 15, 1969).

G. References in parenthetical material

If a reference appears within parentheses, use commas (not brackets) to set off the date.

...the second level (see Figure 1 of Powell & Goss, 1992, for full explanation.)

II. Reference List

A. Complete reference list

The reference list should be in alphabetical order by author's surnames. With names including "de", "von", etc., those names should be alphabetized according to the rules of the language from which they originate. Each entry should be indented five spaces from the second line forward ("hanging indent"), and there should be a blank line between entries.

B. APA style

  1. Periodicals

    Doyle, W. (1977). Learning the classroom environment: 
         An ecological analysis. Journal of Teacher 
         Education, 28, 51-55. 

  2. Books

    a. Entire books

    Bishop, A. J., & Whitfield, R. C. (1982). Situations in 
         teaching. London: McGraw-Hill.

    b. Article or chapter within a book

    Heath, S. B. (1989). The learner as culture member, In M. L. 
          Rice & R. L. Schiefelbusch (Eds.), The teachability of 
          language (pp. 333-350). Toronto: Paul H. Brookes. 

  3. Technical and research reports

     Cummins, J. (1981). The role of primary language
          development in promoting educational 
          success for language minority students. In California 
          State  Department of Education (Ed.), Schooling 
          and language minority students: A theoretical framework. 
          Los Angeles: California State University, 
          Evaluation, Dissemination, and Assessment Center. 

  4. Proceedings of Meetings and Symposiums

    Olson, D. R., & Hildyard, A. (1980). Literacy and the comprehension 
          of literal meaning. Paper presented at the Conference  
          on the Development and Use of Writing Systems, 
          Biefefeld, Germany.

  5. Doctoral Dissertations and Master's Theses

    Besnier, N. (1986). Spoken and written registers in a 
          restricted-literacy setting. Unpublished doctoral  
          dissertation, University of Southern California, 
          Los Angeles.

  6. Unpublished Manuscripts and Publications of Limited Circulation

    Parry, J. (1982). Popular attitudes towards Hindu  
          religious texts. Unpublished manuscript.

  7. Translations and Non-English Text

    • Translation:

      Freud, S. (1920). A general introduction to psychoanalysis
           (J. Riviere, Trans.). New York: Pocket Books. 

    • Non-English Text:

      Raynaud de Lage, G. (1975). Introduction à l'ancien francais 
           (9e ed.). [Introduction to Old French (9th ed.)].
           Paris: Société d'Edition d'Enseignement Superieur. 

  8. Reviews and Interviews

    Reviews should indicate the medium (book, film, etc.) being reviewed within the bracketed information.

    • Book review:

      Rea, P.M. (1984). [Review of the book Issues in Language 
            Testing by Charles Alderson and Arthur Hughes, Eds.].  
            Language Learning 34, 3, 175-188. 

    • Published interview:

      Smith, D. (1998). [Interview with Wu Leong]. English  
            Yesterday 10, 5, 57-90. 

  9. Nonprint Media

    • Film:

      Kirosawa, A. (Director & Producer). (1970). Dodes 'kaden
            [Film]. Tokyo: Films Ltd. 

    • Audio Recording:

       Carter, B. (Speaker). (1977). The growth of English  
            (Cassette Recording No. 222). New York: Audio

  10. Electronic Media

  • Computer Programs:

     Sandford, J.A. & Browne, R.J. (1985). Captain's log: Cognitive 
          Training System (Version 1.3) [Computer program]. Indianapolis: 
          Psychological Software Services, Inc.
  • Online databases:

    The educational directory [Online]. (1992). Available:  
          Knowledge Index File: The Educational Directory (EDUC6).
  • Abstract on CD-ROM

    Albee, I. (1998). The great adventure [CD-ROM]. Adventuring 
          Spirit 9, 34. Abstract from: JSTOR 234567.
  • Online Periodical

    Martin, G., Knappen, S., & Dorr, J. (2003). Role of accent in 
          the selection of international teaching assistants 
          [Electronic version]. Journal of ITA Research, 5, 11-13.

    If you are referencing an online article that has been changed (e.g., the format is different from the print version or the page numbers are not indicated) or that includes additional information, add the date you retrieved the document and the URL.

    Martin, G., Knappen, S., & Dorr, J. (2003). Role of accent 
         in the selection of international teaching assistants 
         [Electronic version]. Journal of ITA Research, 5, 11-13. 
         Retrieved October 21, 2003, from
  • Article in an Internet-only journal

    Sherman, B. D. (2001, May 17). The use of pronominal reference in Urdu.
          Urdu Linguistics, 13, Article A1. Retrieved November 2, 2001, from 
  • Stand-alone document, no author identified, no date
  • GWU's 9th English language survey. (n.d.). Retrieved August 8, 2003, 

    If the author of a document is not identified, begin the reference with the title of the document.

Citations in Text of Electronic Material

The following is excerpted from the 5th edition of the APA Publication Manual. Some elements of the fifth edition's style guidelines for electronic resources differ from our previously published guidelines.

To cite a specific part of a source, indicate the page, chapter, figure, table, or equation. Give page numbers for quotations. The words page and chapter are abbreviated in text citations:

    (Cheever & Williams, 1991, p. 32)
    (Simon, 1989, chap. 12)

For electronic sources that do not provide page numbers, use the paragraph number, if available, preceded by the paragraph symbol or the abbreviation para. If neither paragraph nor page numbers are available, cite the heading and the number of the paragraph following it to lead the reader to the location of the material.

    (Bayers, 2002, ¶ 3)
    (Statler, 2001, Introductory section, para. 3)

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