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APSA Citation Guide: Citations and References

APSA Citation Guide: Citations and References

The American Political Science Association is specifically designed for students and researchers in the political science field. The style is the variation of the Chicago style and is a close relative of it. It is one of those citation styles that are designed to be used by a specific field of study. Unlike APA and MLA, which are quite widespread, these styles are not that commonly used.

The APSA style is unlike the mainstream and commonly used citation styles, other than being used in the field of political science, specifically, there are some other things that make it different from other styles.

In this blog, we will help you know about them and understand how to work with this distinct citation style.

What Is the APSA Citation Style?

Abbreviated for the American Political Science Association, the citation style is commonly used by people working in the field of political science. It is a variation of the Chicago Manual of Style with a special focus on the documents and reports produced by the government of the United States.

Like other distinctly developed styles like NLM, ACS, and IEEE style, it works with formats that are important in the field of political science.

The APSA’s revised 2018 edition is based on the 17th Chicago Manual of Style and follows the variation of the guidelines given in it. However, unlike the Chicago style, the APSA style does not consider or add footnotes as the main element of their citation.

The APSA style uses the author’s last name and year of publication but the student could use the footnotes to present some information and references. This should be done only when cross-referencing other sources.

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How do I Format APSA Style Paper?

The American Political Science Association (APSA) style paper has the same sections as any other citation style. The paper has sections including:

  • the title page
  • the main body of the paper
  • the in-text citations
  • the list of references
  • Times New Roman, 12 pt with half an inch margins on all sides of the page

How to Make APSA Style Cover Page

The cover or title page is the first section of any essay. It includes information like the full name of the student, the title of the paper, the name of the subject, and the deadline of the paper. Sometimes, teachers ask the students to add their contact details like their email address or contact number also, in case they need to talk about something.

The title of the paper is centered and moved about a third down the page. Other details like the name of the student, class, etc. are added after a few lines below the main paper title. If the title has a subtitle then the subtitle will be separated from the main title and added below it. The title page will be double spaced.

How to Create APSA In-Text Citation?

The in-text citations are added within the text of the paper and inform the readers about the works that have been consulted while preparing the paper. It serves a number of other purposes also like intimating the readers about the depth of the paper’s research and avoiding plagiarism also.

Both references and in-text citations serve the same purpose but the list of references is added at the end of the paper. Like the Chicago referencing style, APSA follows the writer’s name and date of publication type of in-text citation.

However, there are a number of ways of doing it that are given below:

  • Add the direct quote and add the last name of the author and the year of publication at the end and in the parenthesis
  • Mention the name of the author and add the year of publication after it in the parenthesis
  • Mention the page number at the end of the cited quote or idea
  • If the page number is not mentioned then add the in-text without it


Walker (2000) compared reaction times...

In a recent study of reaction times (Walker 2000)...

According to Jones (1998), “Students often had difficulty using APSA style” (199)

She stated, “Students often had difficulty using APSA style.” (Jones 1998, 199)

How to Create APSA Style References?

Since the APSA style citation follows the Chicago Manual of Style, it titles the list of references as ‘References’. It is added at the end of the paper and is arranged alphabetically. To make the references, take care of the following things:

  • The author’s last name is followed by a comma and the author’s first name
  • Avoid using initials of the author’s name and spell the whole name, however, add the initials if they are used by the author himself
  • The author’s name is the very first element of a reference. If there is no author’s name then add the editor’s name and if both the editor and author’s names are missing, start the reference with the title of the book or article that you are citing
  • The titles of the books and periodicals should be italicized
  • The titles of the articles and chapters should be added with the quotation marks
  • Each word in the reference should be capitalized, excluding the prepositions and conjunctions

Below are some examples of how to format and create your references for different types of sources.

For Print Books with One Author:

Gates, Robert M. 1997. From the Shadows: the Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War. New York: Touchstone.

For Print Books with Two Authors:

Mitchell, T. R., & John Larson. 1987. People in Organizations: An introduction to organizational behavior. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

For Edited Books and Collections:

Manley, William A. & Sigrid Roteutscher, eds. 2007. Social Capital and Associations in European Democracies: A Comparative Analysis. New York: Routledge.

For Chapters of the Book:

Wilson, Graham K. 1996. “The Clinton Administration and Interest Groups.” In The Clinton Presidency: First Appraisals, ed. Colin Campbell and Bert A. Rockman. Chatham, NJ: Chatham House Publishers.

For the Articles and Chapters from an Edited Book or Collection:

Levine, Charles H. 1990. “Human Resource Erosion and the Uncertain Future of the U.S. Civil Service.” In Current Issues in Public Administration, ed, Frederick S. Lane. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 329-353.

For Journal Articles with One Author:

Britton, Ann Hartwell. 2006. “Bones of Contention: Custody of Family Pets.” Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 20: 1-37. LexisNexis Academic (January 29, 2007).

For Journal Articles with Two Authors:

Herrmann, Richard K, and Jonathan W. Keller. 2004. “Beliefs, Values, and Strategic Choice: U.S. Leaders’ Decisions to Engage, Contain, and Use Force in an Era of Globalization.” Journal of Politics 66 (May): 557-80.

For Encyclopedia Articles:

Buenger, Walter L., and James Alex Baggett. 1996. “Constitutional Union Party.” The New Handbook of Texas. Vol. 2, p. 286-287. Austin: Texas State Historical Association.

For Works with Multiple Volumes:

Eisenhower, Dwight D. 1970. The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower. 21 vols. Eds. Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. and Stephen E. Ambrose. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

For Dissertations:

Munger, Frank J. 1955. “Two-Party Politics in the State of Indiana.” Ph.D. diss. Harvard University.

For Government Publications and Articles:

U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of Census. 2006. Statistical Abstract of the United States. Washington, D.C.: Department of Commerce.

For the State Hearing:

U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations. 1956. The Mutual Security Act. 84th Cong., 2d sess., S. Rept. 2273.

For Legal Cases:

Baker v. Carr. 1962. 369 U.S. 186.

For Statutes or Laws:

Administrative Procedure Act. 1946. Statutes at Large. Vol. 60, sec. 10, p. 243.

For Treaties:

U.S. Department of State. 1963. Nuclear Weapons Test Ban, 5 August. TIAS no. 5433. U.S. Treaties and Other International Agreements, vol. 14, pt. 3.

For the Technical Reports and Documents:

Gottfredson. L.S. 1980. How Valid Are Occupational Reinforcer Pattern Scores? Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University. ERIC, ED 182 465

For Magazine Articles:

Prufer, Olaf. 1964. “The Hopewell Cult.” Scientific American, December, 13-15.

For Articles in Daily Newspaper and Without an Author:

Sacramento Bee. 2004. “Eyes on Sudan: Victims of Racist Repression Need Help Now.” 9 July.

For Newspaper Articles with One Author:

Talev, Margaret. 2004. “No Budget Accord in Cards This Week.” Sacramento Bee, 9 July.

For Online Newspaper Articles:

Balz, Dan. 2007. ”Mixed Reviews for Clinton in Iowa.” Washington Post, January 29. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/28/AR2007012801321.html (January 29, 2007).

For Database Journal Articles:

Brzoska, Michael. 2003. “From Dumb to Smart? Recent Reforms of U.N. Sanctions.” Global Governance 9 (October-December): 519-535. Academic Search Premier (September 27, 2005).

For Website Documents:

King. Gary, Michael Tomz, and Jason Wittenberg. 1998. “Making the Most of Statistical Analyses: Improving Interpretation and Presentation.” September 7. http://gking.harvard.edu/preprints.shtml (October 22, 1988).

For Website Documents Without the Author and Date of Publication:

Death Penalty Information Center. 2005. “Crimes Punishable by the Death Penalty.” http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?did=144&scid=10 (January 29, 2007).

For a Private Organization Report Published on its Official Website:

Burtless, Gary. 2004. “The Labor Force Status of Mothers Who Are Most Likely to Receive Welfare: Changes Following Reform.” The Brookings Institution. http://www.brookings.edu/ views/oped/burtless/20040330.htm (April 10, 2005).

For Online Executive Agency State Documents:

U.S. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. 2004. Crime and Safety in America’s Public Schools: Selected Findings from the School Survey on Crime and Safety. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2004/2004370.pdf (July 23, 2005).

For Online Legal Bills:

California Legislature. Assembly. 2004. Homeowner’s Insurance: Dog Breeds. 2003-2004 sess., A.B. 2399. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/03-04//bill/asm/ab_2351- 2400/ab_2399_bill_20040219_introduced.html (November 15, 2006).

For Presidential Documents:

Bush, George W. 2004. “Remarks to the American Conservative Union 40th Anniversary Gala.” The American Presidency Project. May 13. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=62738 (November 14, 2006).

How do you Cite Multiple Authors in the APSA Citation Format?

Some works are co-authored by two or more authors. Often, students are confused about how to cite such sources. About citing multiple authors in the APSA style, refer to the below section of the guide.

In-Text Citation for Two or Three Authors:

(Kelly, Colter, and Lane 1980 )

In-Text Citation for More than Three Authors:

(Angel et al. 1986 )

APSA Style Paper Example

Below, we have added a sample of an APSA style paper that will help you understand it further.

APSA Style Paper

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Can I Use an APSA Citation Generator?

Many students use automatic generators to create citations and reference lists. However, relying on them completely and only is not a solution. You can use them for additional help but studying how the APSA citation style works is a better option than using an online citation generator.

Still, if you need help to understand how this distinct citation style works then MyPerfectWords.com is just a click away. We are a professional writing service that works with students of different academic levels and provides relevant and accessible essay writing service to them.

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Frequently asked questions

Is in-text citation and referencing the same?

The terms referencing and citation are often used interchangeably, although a reference usually refers to the full bibliographic information at the end of an assignment. A citation tends to refer only to where you acknowledge your sources within your text.

What citation system does political science use?

Many political science papers follow the Chicago / APSA style.

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