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If you do not find your sought after American Psychological Association (A.P.A.) style sheet information here, try The Bibliography Style Handbook, which also summarizes the new Modern Languages Association (MLA) style used in English.


Who Should Read this Page?

Students who are writing research papers requiring the running of experiments and the statistical analysis of results should use this page as a guide for formatting their papers.

Students who are writing standard essays will NOT require many of the procedures outlined on this page, but they may benefit from studying particular sections, such as the INTRODUCTION, DISCUSSION, REFERENCES, and CITATIONS sections, and our page on the Citations and References in A.P.A. style.

What is on this Page?

What follows are the guidelines for writing an experimental research assignment. They constitute the conventions of the American Psychological Association (APA) which have been used for years as the criteria for setting up professional papers and academic assignments. Much of the material contained herein is organized using the A.P.A. PUBLICATION MANUAL. There are two main areas of content discussed:

  1. the scientific format for writing up an experiment; namely TITLE PAGE, ABSTRACT, INTRODUCTION, METHOD, RESULTS, DISCUSSION, REFERENCES, REFERENCE NOTES if any and rarely an APPENDIX; and
  2. CITATIONS, the rules for acknowledging the work of authors within the text of the research paper.

In our description, we make reference only to the "true" experimental design, one which purports to show a cause-effect relationship between independent and dependent variables. Remember there are other design variations, such as correlational studies and quasi-experimental designs, to which A.P.A. rules apply.

To test an idea scientifically, it is not required that you use facilities beyond the limits of what is available to you, but you are expected to show recognition for the effects of these limitations on your conclusions, acknowledge them in your paper and explain the scientific logic of their influence.


NOTE: To read selected parts of this page, choose from among the following index of links:

Research - Review of the Literature
Theory - Generating Predictions
Stating the Predictions - The Hypotheses
Apparatus - The Equipment used
The Procedure
Figures - Graphical Presentation
Discussion of Results
Consider Alternative Explanations
Theoretical Validity
Form for References in Books
Form for Journal Articles
How to Integrate Citations within a Paper
Quoting Studies with Multiple Authors
General Guidline for Direct Quotations
Short Quotations: not more than four lines
Long Quotations or Block Quotations
Conventions for Punctuating Quotations
Sparing Use of Footnotes



Any dimension, such as length, height, time, 'x', or 'y' which can be assigned values and is thus expressed in particular units. In psychology, some variables are not given numerical values but are expressed as clearly defined conditions; for example, social status.
Independent Variable
The measurement values for a known dimension controlled directly by an experimenter, such as exposing subjects to various known levels of sound vibration measured in Hz. It can also be an unmeasured but describable condtion to which subjects are subjected in an experiment, such as degree of social pressure excerted on subjects in Social Psychology experiment. Thus the independent variable is usually a stimulus or definable condition which the experimenter directly manipulates and knows in order to observe changes in a previously unknown or indeterminate behaviour.
Dependent Variable
The dependent variable is a measure of subjects' reaction or behaviour in the presence of changes in a stimulus variable (independent variable) or some other describable condition manipulated by the experimenter. Unlike the independent variable, the dependent variable is initially indeterminate before the experiment.
Controlled Variable
Conditions which are not being studied in an experiment, but which the experimenter holds uniform for all subjects so as to eliminate their influence on any changes that occur in the dependent variable as the experimenter manipulates the independent variable.
Error Variance
Error variance refers to changes in the dependent variable resulting from unwanted factors, such as subject boredom or room lighting, because these factors have nothing to do with the measure under study in the experiment. The degree of influence of some factors, such as boredom or subject fatigue, cannot be anticipated by an experimenter and are completely beyond his direct control; therefore they are called random variables. The experimenter controls for random variables by randomly assigning subjects to the various groups in an experiment. Random influences are nevertheless still a part of the dependent variable measure even after subjects are randomly assigned to groups, but they now influence all groups in the experiment equally.
Error variance that does not affect subjects' behaviour on a random basis is fixed; for example, room lighting which is dim for one group but bright for another when room lighting is not the factor under study. The experimenter can rule out unwanted fixed variables by directly equalizing their influence across groups in the experiment.
Random variables and unwanted fixed variables are together sometimes called confounding variables because the experimenter can no longer distinguish between the effects of what he intends to manipulate (the independent variable) and the biasing influence of the irrelevant factors he has failed to control.
Operational Definition
Variables and relationships between variables already stated in the hypothesis are formulated in terms of concrete experimental steps or procedures. For example, "aggression" may be operationally defined as the press of a push button which delivers a specific voltage to another person in an experiment under defined conditions. For concrete experimental operations to truly reflect the more abstractly stated variables in the hypothesis, and therefore represent the even more abstractly formulated theory is a major problem in psychology (construct validity).
Theory or Construct
A broad set of interrelated concepts or principles which explains data (research results) and real-life behaviour, and which also predicts the existence of new relationships (hypotheses) which may otherwise have never been formulated. Theories do not necessarily contain ideas which are in themselves directly observable, but they may generate hypotheses which are translatable into definable, experimental operations. In Psychology, there are theories, such as Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis, which do not easily generate concrete laboratory experiments but which have nevertheless had broad historical influence in psychology, and even the arts.
Hypothesis (pl. hypotheses)
A brief prediction of the a suspected relationship between two measurable or definable variables, typically based on or generated from existing theory or past research results, but not simply formulated gratuitously. The relationship can be between an independent and dependent variable (cause-effect) or between two behavioural variables (correlation).
Construct Validity
refers to the degree to which an abstract theory exclusively explains a set of concrete observations whilst competing theories are ruled out. This type of validity is part of the more general concept of cause and effect, where the attempt is made to rule out alternative explanations for a phenomenon in favour of a reduction to a single all-embracing principle.





The title is centred at the top of the page and only important words are capitalized. It includes a very brief statement of the main variables (independent and dependent) in the study. There are many different ways to formulate the variables in the title, but here are some examples:

Conformity and Learning as a Function of Information Source and Noise Level

"As a Function of" means "are caused by". "Conformity" and "Learning" are the dependent variables (the initially indeterminate measures the experimenter is trying to assess) and "Information Source" and "Noise Level" are the independent variables (the known measures that the experimenter controls directly. The expression "as a function of" is a clue that the experiment proposes a cause-effect relationship between the externally manipulated variables and the behaviours of learning and conformity. The causal variables and the effect variables can therefore be clearly identified in the title. Notice that there are two independent variables and two dependent variables. Here is another formulation for the title of the same experiment:

The effect of Information Source and Noise Level on Conformity Behaviour and Learning

Notice that the title allows the reader the most succinct summary of the main "players" in the experiment and the character of their relationship to each other.

The experimenter's name is centred below the title along with the name of the university or research institution.



An ABSTRACT is a highly condensed and very brief summary of 100 to 175 words. It includes a statement of the manipulations of the independent variables and a precis of the results of the research. Do not include review of the literature or theoretical background, but leave these for the Introduction and Discussion. The Abstract is placed on a separate sheet after the title page and is numbered "page 1". Do not indent. Since the abstract includes a brief statement of the findings, leave writing it to the end. Here is a summary of the content of the ABSTRACT and its order of presentation:

  1. Identification the subject population,
  2. Specification of the research design,
  3. Apparatus and data gathering procedures,
  4. Summary of the results including statistical significance levels,
  5. Report on the inferences made or comparisons drawn from the results.

In the library, or on computer, you will find the Psychological Abstracts where you can see examples of abstracts.

These abstracts, which appear at the beginning of a scientific paper are also used by Psychological Abstracts for indexing and information retrieval. It will be vital for you to be able to read abstracts whenever you do a research paper or a thesis. These summaries can give you an idea as to whether a research paper is relevant to your research requirements.



The introduction begins immediately and is NOT given the label "Introduction." It begins on a new page which is numbered "2." Put down the title once again as on the face page, but do not repeat your name.

The purpose of the introduction is to state clearly the specific problem under study, formulate the hypothesis or hypotheses for the experiment in the light of a short review of relevant research done by others and in the context of theory. The following can be accomplished without excessive prolixity:

  1. Research in the area under study is part of the background against which the writer states the present problem. Review previous studies in the area of interest and describe the current proposal in the light of questions these other studies leave unanswered. Explain how their design flaws or methodological shortcomings are being answered by your own. How will your own experiment differ from the other studies? The answer to this last question helps to establish the point of the paper. In your summary of previous research, avoid non-essential detail.
  2. Theory is an important source of predictions (hypotheses).  Researchers use deductive logic, or some other disciplined thought form, such as mathematical equations, to generate predictions from theory. Because a theory generates hypotheses, the theory is supported if its hypotheses are confirmed. A theory is said to be heuristic (GK. heuretikos inventive) if it generates many hypotheses which support it, and which otherwise would probably not have been devised. Clearly state the theory involved and from the theory and research derive your own hypothesis or hypotheses (see below) using an argument.
  3. Avoid editorialization, personal opinion and judgmental statements. Stay close to the data, theory, design and hypotheses. Your hypotheses should never appear to come out of nowhere or to be derived from personal opinion and preference.
  4. Hypotheses are usually stated formally in the closing paragraph of the introduction. If you have more than one hypothesis, state them in a logical order using numbers. Although your experiment may contain more than one independent variable and dependent variable, each hypothesis can contain only one of each type of variable. You state them in conceptual terms rather than in terms of the specific procedures (operational definitions) used in your experiment. To help formulate your hypotheses, ask yourself the following questions:

- What variables am I as the experimenter manipulating? (independent variable)

- What results do I expect? (dependent variable)

- Why do I expect these results? The rationale for these expectations should be made explicit in the light of your review of the research and statement of theory.

Concepts and terms are to be defined clearly as soon as they are introduced and then used consistently thereafter. Make sure you do not include the term you are defining in the body of the definition (tautology).   Read the definitions at the top of this page for examples of non-tautological definitions.



Centre the word "METHOD" on the page and underline it as above. The method section begins immediately after the introduction and does not start on a new page unless space requirements demand it. Use the past tense.

The method is divided into several subsection headings which you should use in the organization of your paper. These headings are placed flush to the left margin, are underlined and stand alone on the line as follows:


...description of the subjects...


...content for apparatus...


...content of the procedure...

Who are the subjects? The "Subjects" subsection specifies who participated in the study. The subjects are described according to age, gender and other relevant social or demographic considerations.
How many subjects are there? State the total number of participants and the number assigned to each experimental condition. If any subjects did not complete the study, give the number and reason.
How the subjects are selected Report how the subjects were selected for the experiment and how the chosen subjects were assigned to groups. For example, was some sort of randomization technique used or was some other method necessary? Report such things as payments or promises made to subjects.

The apparatus: This subsection (if one is required) gives a brief description of the equipment or materials used in the study. Standard hardware such as stop watches need not be described in detail. Remember the description must be detailed enough so that the reader can replicate the study.

The procedure: Being a kind of recipe of each step in the execution of the experiment, these instructions to the subjects must be recorded verbatim. The formation of groups and the specific experimental manipulations performed on each group are included. Procedures such as randomization, counterbalancing and other control procedures are also detailed. To assist yourself in the clear execution of this section, keep in mind that one of the purposes of it is to allow another experimenter to replicate exactly what you have done.



Centre the word "RESULTS" on the page and underline it. Do not begin on a new page unless space considerations require it.

The result section summarizes the data and the statistical treatment of them. If the data are relatively simple, they may be reported entirely in text without the use of TABLES or FIGURES. Use tables and graphs accordingly as discussed in the section dedicated to them in this report.

Summarize the main idea of your findings and report them whether or not your hypothesis(es) have been confirmed. Present the results in the same order as you have made your predictions (hypotheses) in the introduction and do so in simple sentences.

Example: As predicted, the high noise level group had a significantly lower learning score than the low noise level group F (1,18) = 16.21, p<.01. The mean learning score in the high noise level group was 6.30, while the low noise level group's learning mean was 2.20. There was a highly significant effect for information source indicating that high status sources of information yield much higher learning scores than low status sources. F(1,17)=247.32., p<.0001. The mean learning scores...

Note that the name of a statistical test is underlined (i.e., F or t ratios) and is reported with the degrees of freedom following in parentheses, and then there follows a record of the significance levels.

Do not discuss the implications, interpretations, or theoretical significance of your results in the RESULTS section. Raw data may be included in an APPENDIX for the purpose of your assignment, otherwise, only "summary measures" such as means, standard deviations, and t-test or F-test results are reported in the results and not the raw data from which they are derived.



While the APA suggests that all tables appear at the end of the paper, each on a separate page, circumstances may require them to be placed in the results section of the paper. Tables should be underlined and ordered with arabic numerals as follows: Table 1. Tables are reserved for the most important data directly related to the experiment. Tables are economical in that they compress data and allow the reader to see relationships not otherwise discernible at a glance. A good table should not duplicate the text of the RESULTS but the text should highlight the data by referring to the table.

The table should be self explanatory as well as related to the text. Always refer to table numbers in the text: If tables are included in an APPENDIX, these are identified with capital letters (e.g., Table A).

For example, you might say the following:

as shown in Table 2, there is an increase ...

or ... adults who score higher (see Table 2).

Tables always appear in the order in which they are mentioned in the text.

Every table is given a brief explanatory title written in telegraphic style. It is placed below the table number and above the table.

Table 2

Mean Numbers of Correct Responses on Verbal Tests by Children
with and without Pre-training


Girls With 20 (18) 289 319
Girls Without 20 (19) 240 263
Boys With 20 (19) 281 317
Boys Without 20 (20) 232 262

Note: Maximum score = 320

a Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of children who completed all tests.

Notice that the specific levels of the variables are clearly labelled in the first column. Enough space is used to render the table easily readable. Notes of sub-headings are employed to explain abbreviations, parentheses or units of measurement (See Table 2).



What has been said of Tables applies generally to the figures of the results section as well. Figures are graphs, charts, and illustrations. The caption is placed below the figure instead of above. The word "Figure 1" appears first followed by the caption. Only the first word of the caption is capitalized. If there is enough space, you may place it on the same page as text, but a separate page should otherwise be used, especially for publishing purposes. Remember to place the dependent variable on the vertical axis and to follow the rules for correct calibration of the data. Both axes should be clearly labelled, and the graph lines too when appropriate. See the journals for examples.


The word "DISCUSSION" is centred and underlined. Do not use a new page unless it is necessary.

General Conventions

The discussion section is the opportunity to for qualification of the results

Discussion of Results:
The discussion addresses the original see hypotheses again in the light of the results. Begin by an examination of the support or non-support of the predictions and then analyze the quality and extent of construct validity (see below); that is, the degree to which the results support the theory put forward in the INTRODUCTION. Avoid personal opinion. Do not use words such as "prove" which imply dogmatic certainty. Remember that the results are only probabilistic and not absolute. If you have a statistical trend, but it is non-significant, do NOT treat it as a partial confirmation of an hypothesis but as a chance result.
Alternative explanations
Alternative explanations are causal factors other than those predicted by manipulating the independent variable, may result from unwanted influences which cause error variance, changes in the dependent variable resulting from events of no interest to the experimenter. Specify what you would do to correct the experimental procedures in future research so as to better isolate the effects of your independent variable manipulations. It is expected that you will acknowledge how the limitations under which you worked detracted from any failure to establish a clear cause-effect relationship, and that you will suggest alternative explanations for results which may have been compromised even if the data shows statistical significance.
Theoretical Validity
or Construct Validity:Just as an hypothesis is accepted or rejected based directly on data, so is a theory supported or unsupported depending on the status of the hypothesis which depends on it (construct validity).  Discuss whether more than one theory may explain the behaviour observed in the study; that is, whether or not a theory accounts for the accepted or rejected hypothesis. It is often very difficult in psychology to show that an hypothesis can unreservedly be related to only one theory (construct validity).  Should only one theory appear to explain an hypothesis, show how another theory is ruled out; otherwise briefly develop an argument in favour of alternative theoretical explanations for the findings.


Here is the summary of what is expected in the DISCUSSION section.

  1. Discuss the results in the context of the research and theory you already brought forward in the introduction. This will unify your work. Avoid personal opinion and irrelevant or undisciplined speculation.
  2. Show awareness of the shortcomings and uncontrolled variables in your work and qualify your results accordingly, showing your ability to identify any other explanations for your data that may suggest themselves.
  3. Specify what variables you would control or change in future research to correct for the problems in your present study.
  4. Taking your results at face value, suggest other research avenues for the future. An experiment may answer questions, but it generally raises other questions that may not have been considered before.
  5. Briefly draw out any practical implications of the study, if any.

The discussion section will show your grasp of the inductive and deductive thinking routines involved in experimental work.



NOTE: If you do not find the required detail on references here, try The Bibliography Style Handbook (A.P.A.)

Centre the word "REFERENCES" at the top of the page, but do NOT underline it or place it in quotation marks. A reference list cites works that are publicly available. This section is always placed on a separate page, and the page number is omitted. Works cited in the text of your experiment must appear in the reference list and conversely each entry in the reference list must be cited in your text. Since reference lists are intended for the use of the reader, they must be accurate and complete. A reference consists of the following broad subsections: AUTHOR, DATE OF PUBLICATION, TITLE and PUBLICATION DATA.

General Conventions

Note that the first line of the reference is NOT indented; the remaining lines in each reference are to be indented five spaces at the left margin.
All lines within a reference should be double spaced.
Punctuation and Underlining
Use periods to separate the FOUR major subdivisions of a reference: author, date of publication, title, and publication data.
Arrange the entries of the reference list in alphabetical order by the surname of the first author (inverted order).   In the case of multiple authors, use inverted order for all names, separating each name from the preceding name with a comma. Use the comma and an ampersand (&) before the final name, even if there are just two authors: Brown, J.R., & Smith, D.F.
Date of Publication
Place the date of publication in parentheses immediately after the author section.
Article title (italics)
chapter (not underlined), book title (italics)
Publication data
For journals - author(s), date of publication, journal name in full, volume number, inclusive pages.
For books - author(s), date of publication, title, edition (if any), city of publication, publishers name.


Book References

Rules for separating the FOUR subsections with periods apply. The title of the book is italicized and the edition is placed in brackets. Capitalize any proper names in the title, the first word in the title, and also do the same for the first word in the subtitle, if there is one. Leave all the other words in the title small case.

Basic Book Reference with single Author
The entry begins with the author's last name, followed by the initial(s).  Date of publication follows, in parentheses. The title is in italics, and only the first word is capitalized. Place of publication comes next, then the publisher. Use a colon after the place of publication. Each of the main parts of the reference is followed by a period and two spaces.
Bowlby, J.  (1973). 
     Attachment and loss.  New York: Basic Books.

Book Reference with Multiple Authors
If there are two to six authors, cite all of them. More than six authors requires citation of the last name of the first author followed by et al. Et al. is the Latin for et alteri meaning "and others".
Festinger, L., Riecken, H., & Schachter, S.
(1956).  When prophecy fails.  Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press.
Roeder, K. et al.  (1967).
Nerve cells and insect behavior.
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Book References where the Authors have the same Name
When ordering several works by the SAME first author, repeat the author's name and proceed according to alphabetical rules by using the second author. "Brown" precedes "Browning" according to the rule that "nothing precedes something".
Several references to the same author are arranged by year of publication, the earliest first:

Brown, R.  (1958).  Words and things.

      New York: Free Press, Macmillan.

Brown, R.  (1965).  Social Psychology

      New York: Free Press, Macmillan.

If the publication date is the same, then the entries should appear alphabetically by title (excluding "A" or "The"):

Neisser, U.  (1967).  Cognitive psychology.

      New York: Wiley.

Neisser, U.  (1967).  Personality and assessment.

      New York: Wiley.

Listing Specific Editions (also note "Jr" in name)
Note the edition information in parentheses immediately after the title; for example, "5th ed." or "rev. ed." Do not use a period between the title and the parenthetical information; close the entire title, including the edition information, with a period.

Brockett, O.  (1987).  History of the Theatre.

      (5th ed.).  Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Mitchell, T. R., & Larson, J. R., Jr.  (1987).  People.

      in organizations: An Introduction to

     organizational behavior.  (3rd ed.).

     New York: McGraw-Hill.  (3rd ed.).

Multivolume Works
The publication dates are inclusive for all volumes. The volume numbers are shown in parentheses, immediately following the book title. Do not use a period between the title and the parenthetical information; close the entire title, including the volume information, with a period.
In text, the parenthetical date citation should correspond to the publication dates: (Wilson & Fraser, 1977-1978).

Brown, L.  (Ed.).   (1993).

      The new shorter Oxford English dictionary:

      On historical principles.  (3rd ed.).

     (Vols. 1-2).  Oxford: Clarendon Press.

One Book in a Series
The series title should be included immediately following the book title and should not be underlined. Close with a period.

Cousins, M.  (1984).  Michel Foucault.

      Theoretical traditions in the social sciences.

      New York: St. Martin's Press.

Edited Book
Here the editors of for a text are listed. An edited volume contains chapters written by different authors.
a) The editors names are in the same order as authors' names (last name first and then initials), followed by the designation (Ed) or (Eds.) in parentheses.
b) The book's title is underlined as usual.
c) The place of publication is followed by a colon.

Higgins, J.  (Ed.).   (1988).  Psychology.  New York: Norton.

Grice, H. P., & Gregory, R. L.  (Eds.).   (1968).  Early language

development.  New York: McGraw-Hill.

Edited Book: Citing an Article in an Anthology
You may wish to refer only to a particular chapter. Note the following details:
a) The chapter is not underlined.
b) The editors names are in the same order as authors' names (last name first and then initials), followed by the designation (Eds.) in parentheses.
c) The book's title is underlined as usual.
d) The place of publication is followed by a colon.

Bjork, R. A.  (1989).  Retrieval inhibition as an adaptive mechanism

in human memory.  In H. L. Roediger III & F. I. M. Craik (Eds.),

Varieties of memory & consciousness.  (pp. 309-330).

Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Book with no author or editor
Place the title in the author position and underline. Alphabetize books with no author or editor by the first significant word in the title (Merriam in this case).

Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary.  (10th ed.).   (1993).  Springfield,

MA: Merriam-Webster.

Entry in an Encyclopaedia.

Bergmann, P. G.  (1993).   Relativity.  In The new encyclopaedia

Britiannica.  (Vol. 26, pp. 501-608).  Chicago:

Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Citation of a work discussed in a secondary source (e.g., for a study by Seidenberg and McClelland cited in Coltheart et al.)

Coltheart, M., Curtis, B., Atkins, P., & Haller, M.  (1993).   Models of

reading aloud: Dual-route and


approaches.   Psychological Review, 100, 589-608.

Book, revised edition

Rosenthal, R.  (1987).  Meta-analytic procedures for social research.

(Rev. ed.).  Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Book, Corporate Authorship (government agency or private agency) as publisher
The first example is a government agency; the second, a private one. Alphabetize group authors by the first significant word of the name. When the author and publisher are identical, use the word Author as the name of the publisher.

Australian Bureau of Statistics.  (1991).  Estimated resident

population by age and sex in statistical local areas

New South Wales. June 1990  (No. 3209.1).

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Author.

American Psychiatric Association.  (1994). Diagnostic and

statistical manual of mental disorders.

 (4th ed.).  Washington, DC:


A Translated Work
After the underlined title, which ends with a period, place the following in parentheses: the initials of the translator followed by his last name and a comma, then the abbreviation "Trans." Place of publication and publisher come next as usual, but no punctuation after the publisher. Finally, the note "Original work published", followed by the date, is placed in parentheses. Each portion of the reference should be separated by a period and two spaces as usual.

Freud, S.  (1970) An outline of psychoanalysis.  (J. Strachey,

Trans.).  New York: Norton.  (Original work published



Periodicals: Journal Articles, Magazine Articles and Abstracts

The name of the journal article is not underlined; the name of the journal itself and its volume number are italicized. Use commas within the subdivisions (e.g., between date and volume number in a journal entry).

Capitalization: Capitalize the initial letter in all major words of journal titles: e.g., Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. Capitalize the initial letter of only the first word of the article itself. Make exceptions according to common sense by capitalizing proper names, German nouns, first word of a title within a title, and the first word after a colon or a dash.

Double Spacing: The lines of a references should be double spaced (not shown in the following examples).

Journal article, one author

Bekerian, D. A.  (1993).  In search of the typical eyewitness.  American Psychologist, 48, 574-576.

Journal article, two authors

Klimoski, R., & Palmer, S.  (1993).  The ADA and the hiring process in organizations.  Consulting Psychology Journal: Practive

and Research, 45.  (2), 10-36.

Journals with Continuous Pagination
Journals with continous pagination are really normal entries and require no special modification. By contrast, journals with non-continous pagination require the issue number in parentheses following the volume number (see non-continuous pagination).

Passons, W.  (1967).  Predictive validities of the ACT, SAT, and high school grades for first semester GPA and freshman courses.

 Educational and Psychological Measurement, 27, 1143-1144.

Journals with Non-Continuous Pagination
As with the previous reference, pagination begins anew with each issue of this journal, it is necessary to include the issue number in parentheses after the volume number. Note that there is a comma between the issue number and the page numbers, but no comma between the underlined volume number and the issue number.

Parker, D.E.  (1980).  The vestibular apparatus.  Scientific American, 243.  (5), 118-135.

Articles in Monthly Periodicals
Because this a newsletter that appears monthly, the month is included after the year of publication and both are enclosed together in parentheses. Because this is a newsletter, rather than a journal, no volume or issue number is listed, and the abbreviation "pp." is used to introduce the page numbers.

Chandler-Crisp, S.  (1988, May) "Aerobic writing": a writing practice model.  Writing Lab Newsletter, pp. 9-11.

Articles in Weekly Periodicals
A weekly magazine shows the month and day of publication followed by the year in parentheses. As with the monthly, because it is a magazine, no volume number is given and the abbreviation "p." is used to introduce the page numbers.

Kauffmann, S.  (1993, October 18).  On films: class consciousness.  The New Republic, p.30.

Magazine article
Give the date shown on the publication -- month for monthlies or month and day for weeklies. Also give the volume number.

Posner, M. I.  (1993, October 29).  Seeing the mind.  Science, 262, 673-674.

Abstract as Original Source
If the title of the periodical does not include the word abstracts, place Abstract in brackets between the abstract title and the period.
(Note that it is generally preferable to read and cite the original document.)

Woolf, N. J., Young, S. L., Fanselow, M. S., & Butcher, L. L.  (1991).  MAP-2 expression in cholinoceptive pyramidal cells of rodent

cortex and hippocampus is altered by Pavlovian conditioning.  Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 17, 480.



Should you wish to cite material that is not widely and easily available; for example, reports of limited circulation, unpublished works, personal communications, pages presented at meetings, symposia and works in progress, only do so if it is absolutely essential. These are not to be placed in the reference list but on a separate page called "reference notes" which precedes the reference list. The notes, unlike the entries of the reference list, are numbered.

1. Barnes, J.  (1970 July 18).  Personal communication.

2. Harris, J., & Baker, H.T.  (1989 May) Evaluation of the tail biting behaviour of aardvarks.   Paper presented at the meeting of the Ontario

Psychological Association, Toronto.

The citation in your text is as follows: Barnes, (Note 1) ...



Give credit through referencing to ideas that are the property of other writers. This procedure shows how your ideas fit into a larger framework and also shows how your reader may find further information about the theory and methods you discuss. It is not necessary to document ideas that you are certain constitute common knowledge; i.e., Pavlovian conditioning. If in doubt about this, you should document. Most of your documentation will occur in the 'introduction' and 'discussion' sections of your paper.


How to Word Citations in a Research Paper
The authors cited are named in the text, followed by the date of publication:

Schmidt and Hanover (1983) found that...

You may also say for example:

A recent study (Schmidt & Hanover, 1982) shows that...

Note that when the author's names appear outside of the parentheses, the conjunction "and" is used, but when they are inside the parentheses, the ampersand (&) is employed. If there are two authors, always list both names whenever you cite their work in the text. If there are three or more authors, list all names the first time you refer to the work:

Goldstein, Shrewbury, and Duncan (1980) found....

Thereafter, you should in subsequent references to the same work, list only the first author, followed by 'et al' and the year of publication:

Goldstein et al.  (1980) found...

"Et Al." is the Latin for "et alterie" and means "and others".


Citation of several authors
If several research papers by different authors are cited at the same time, it is because their studies have something in common. In this case, the format is as follows:

Retarded children have been found to function better in more stimulating environments (Jones, 1958; Smith, 1960; Vern, 1959).

Notice the use of the semicolon and the alphabetical ordering of the authors. The period to end the sentence follows the reference itself and not the last word of the sentence.

The preceding applies to references to other works that do not involve direct quotations.

General Guideline for Using Direct Quotations:
Direct quotations are used for support and elucidation of the text. They should not be over-used but be limited to very central material. An assignment that contains a large proportion of quoted material is not credible.


Short Quotations
Short quotations (of no longer than four lines as a general rule) are incorporated in the text and enclosed by double quotation marks. They must always be given a reference including a page number. If these quotations themselves contain quotations, then set the quotation within the quotation off by single quotation marks even though the original used double ones.

Example: "They [respondents] might respond '4,' '2,' or '13'" (Gleitman, p. A2).

Notice also in this example, that if the subject or object of the sentence is not clear from the quote, you may insert the appropriate noun in square brackets after the pronoun for clarification, even though it is not part of the original; the square brackets are used to enclose additions and explanations inserted in a quotation by some person other than the original author.


Block Quotations
Longer quotations are set off from the text as a free-standing block with no quotation marks. It should remain single spaced even though you are writing your paper in double spaced format. To present a block quotation, indent the entire quote from both margins and separate it from the rest of the text at the top and bottom by a space. Do not indent the opening paragraph of the quotation from its own margin. If the block quotation contains a quote, use double quotation marks to set it off. Note the following example:

Gleitman (1986) states the following:

Sometimes the scores assigned to individuals are merely categorical .... For example, when respondents to a poll are asked to name the television channel they watch most frequently, they might respond "4," "2," or "13." These numbers serve only to group the responses into categories. They can obviously not be subjected to any arithmetic operations.

Ordinal numbers convey more information, in that their relative magnitude is meaningful - not arbitrary, as in the case of categorical scales.  (p. A2-A3)

The ellipses points (...) are used to indicate omitted material within a quoted sentence. They are typed as three periods ... separated from each other and preceding and following text by spaces. Any omission between two sentences within a quotation is indicated by four dots (a period followed by three spaced dots).   This applies to short quotations as well.

In the case of a block quote, the period at the end follows the last word in the sentence and not the last bracket of the reference as is the case with a short quote shown above.


Punctuation and Quotations
Punctuation at the end of the sentence may be changed to fit the syntax, but interior punctuation, spelling and wording must remain the same as the original even if it is incorrect. One may indicate that the error is in the original text by placing the word "sic" in parentheses following the quoted error. "Sic" is Latin for "so" or "thus" and means "thus used" or "thus spelt".

Example: Martin et al. stated that "mentally reterded (sic) children 'usually have multiple handicaps' (Smith, 1888, p.276) and this complicates diagnosis..." (p. 594).

Note also the quote within the quoted sentence; the source of it is cited immediately and placed in parentheses after the single quotation marks, and then the sentence continues. The page reference for your own quote is included at the end of the quoted sentence after the double quotation marks and the period is placed outside the final parenthesis, although you could have also used the form: Martin et al.  (p. 594) stated that "mentally....


Footnotes are rarely used in psychology. They may be used to acknowledge a research grant or assistance of others in preparation of a study. Avoid footnotes.

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