Adaptierter Apsa Style Bibliography

Citation and bibliography formatting using the APSA Style

This handout should be used in conjunction with the handout on citation requirements for students taking my courses, which is available on my website.

There are several ways to provide citation for sources in your papers and reports. The most common format used by political scientists in their conference papers and journal articles is to employ short embedded citations (i.e., Smith 2003, 12) in combination with a bibliography that provides inforamation on each reference at the end of the paper. The APSA style is a derivative of the widely used "Chicago" manual of style.

APSA-style in-text citations 

There are a handful of other caveats to be aware of to make sure that you correctly cite materials used in your papers:

Sometimes, you will find that key ideas have come from several works (Bates et al. 2016, 14-45; Jones 2000, 88). Note the use of the semi-colon in the citation to separate the different sources.

Also observe how you should punctuate citations "when text is being quoted" (Smith 1995, 23) . Each citation has the date the material was published in it (Smith 2015, 3), unless the author has been previously mentioned in the sentence-e.g, Setzler has provided additional citation instructions elsewhere on his website (2000, 3).

When the same author has more than one work from a single year, the citations are referenced like this: 2017a, 2017b, and so on when using the APSA format (Elster 2017b, 43).

More than three authors are cited as: (First_author's_lastname, et al. 2010, 54).

If a material's author is not available, the in-text citation should list source the issuing organization as the author. Articles from the English newsmagazine, The Economist, for example, typically do not list an author (Economist 2017, 12-13).

If available, page numbers must be used whenever the reference applies to a specific section of an author's work. If you have obtained a work electronically (e.g., from a class website or an on-line full-text database), you still must cite page numbers (Lee 2008, 3) if they are available. The only time you do not use page numbers is when an entire work sums up the ideas you are expressing: Elster's vision of politics (1990) has changed the way that people look political science, especially his use of "rational choice" theory to define his terms (Elster 2000, 156).

For articles that have no pagination, make a notation of "np" in the citation (Setzler 2012, np). Similarly, if a source does not have a date, note "nd" in the cite (Smith nd, 354-55).

If you are citing a source that has been found within another source , you should note this in your citation (de Tocqueville 1837, 23 as cited in Gil 2003, 15) and include the original source in your bibliography.

Finally, when you have a quotation longer than about five lines, make it a block quote. To do this you indent on the left just as much as you would for a paragraph. You also indent from the right the same amount. The block quote should be single-spaced within the quote, but double-spaced between the regular paragraphs and the quote. Include your citation at the end of the block quote paragraph (King, Keohane, and Verba 2004, 16).

After the quote, continue on with the paragraph without an indent, unless you a ready to start a new paragraph immediately after the quote.

General rules for the bibliography

At the end of the paper, make sure include a "References," "Works Cited," or "Bibliography" section. There are lots of on-line resources to help you, but here are some useful tips:

The first author of any work is listed last name first:

Smith, Joe A. 2015. "The Article Title." Journal Title 55 (February): 112-42.

With two or more authors/editors, only the first author is listed last name first. Authors should be listed in the order found in the source material rather than alphabetically. Other names (e.g. volume editors or translators) are also listed as they appear in the source material, using the first-name last-name format:

Smith, Joe A., Juan R. Sanchez, and Peter Spink. 1995. "Chapter Title." In Book Title in Italics, eds. Joe Smith and Robert N. King. Baltimore, MD: Publisher. Pp. 125-58.

If the text's author is an organization or corporate author, list the author as the source and format the work according to its type:

Economist. "The King is Dead, Long Live the King." 2004. Economist, 22 December, 15-18.

American Civil Liberties Union. 1999. Title of Publication . Austin: The American Civil Liberties Union.

If no author or editor is given, start your citation with the title of the source (Washington Post 2002, 12) . Then, list the item in your bibliography according to the title's first word (not counting a, an, or the):

"Article Title." 2003. Washington Post, 14 July: A2, A15.

Bibliographic entries for journal articles should note the volume and issue number. In this example, 55 is the volume number, February is the issue (sometimes, only an issue number will be available, and should be placed in parentheses in lieu of the month). The numbers 112-42 are the page numbers the article spans:

Smith, Joe A. 1995. "The Article Title." Journal Title 55 (February): 112-42.

Smith, Joe A. and Robert C. Herman. 1995. "The Article Title." Journal Title 55 (1): 112-42.

If the city where a book has bee published is well known (e.g. New York) or if the state is implicit in the publisher (e.g. The University of North Carolina), then the state initials are left out:

Parker, Joseph A. 2015. Book Title. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press.

Parker, Joseph A. 2000a. Another Book. New York: Columbia University Press.

Parker, Joseph A. 2000b. Yet Another Book, but From the Same Year. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

If the book is a later edition:

Parker, Joseph A. 1999. Title of Publication, 3rd ed. Austin: The University of Texas Press.

If the book is a reprinted edition:

Parker, Joseph A. [1964] 1999. Title of Publication. Austin: The University of Texas Press.

If the book is a translated edition:

Aristotle. 1947. Rhetoric, trans. Henry Freese. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

You rarely need to cite an edited book unless you are referring to arguments made in the whole volume (note the use of ed. and eds.):

Sanchez, Miguel A. and Sandra Roberson, eds. 1995. Book Title. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Thames, Frank C., ed. 1995. Book Title. New York: Cambridge University Press.

For chapters in edited voluemes, cite both the relevant chapter's author and the book's author. As in an article, a book chapter's pages from the beginning of the article to the end (Pp.) are included in the citation (note that editors are listed first_name, last_name and in the order listed in the source rather than alphabetically):

Washington, Roberta L. 1996. "Chapter Title." In Book Title in Italics, ed. Joe Smith. Baltimore, MD: Publisher. Pp. 125-58.

If the edited book has multiple authors, note the use of eds. instead of ed.):

Washington, Roberta L. 1996. "Chapter Title." In Book Title in Italics, eds. Joe Smith and Robert N. King. Baltimore, MD: Publisher. Pp. 125-58.

If the chapter and volume editor are the same, repeat the name:

Chang, Tse-min. 1996. "Chapter Title." In Book Title in Italics, ed. Tse-min Chang. Baltimore, MD: Publisher. Pp. 125-58.

References to magazine articles require the author, year, article title, month, day (for a weekly or bimonthly). In this example, the entire article comes from page 24 of this magazine's July 14th edition:

McRee, Gary P. 1999. "Article Title." Magazine Title, 14 July: 24.

Course Packets. Normally, you should treat and cite on-line reading assignments from a class website or materials obtained from the library reserves just like you would any original document, listing the original pagination of the cited materials. If, however, a reading assignment does not include the original authors' pagination or is missing some essential component of the citation, you will need to note your instructor as the material's compiler. For example :

Smith, Ann. 2001. "Democracy's Modern Challenges." Journal of Democracy 23 (Fall): 112-142. Electronic Reserve Reading. Comp. Mark Setzler. University of Portland, Spring Semester 2001.

An alternative way to treat class materials obtained from class websites is listed below with the instructions on how to cite electronic materials.

Citing Indirect Sources.If you have a source/quotation that you only have access to because it is quoted or cited by another author, you need to cite both the original source of the quoted material and the secondary source, linking the two citations with the phrase "Quoted in" or "Cited in" (note that the second citation does not reverse authors):

Washington, Roberta L. 1996. "Chapter Title." In Book Title in Italics, ed. Joe Smith. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press. Pp. 125-58. Cited in Gary P. McRee, Albert B. Lingren, and Willard Dobbs. 2002. Title of Publication. Austin: The University of Texas Press. P. 123.

Article Databases. If you are citing an article from an electronic database where both the original publication data and original pagination is available, cite the article as you would if you found it in the library. You do it this way because, as a rule, you want to cite the most widely-available source of your materials.

If, however, you do not have the original pagination or a complete citation for a source you should give as much data about the original article as you can, followed by the appropriate name of the electronic source (Academic Elite in the example that follows) and the date you accessed the materials:

Carter, Heather A. and Robert L. Jones. 1995. "The Article Title." Journal Title 55 (February): 112-142. EBSCOhost Academic Elite, June 31, 2002.


As with article databases, when you are citing an already-published work--that is, an electronic form of a paper-published document, you should just cite the original source, so long as the pagination is correct and you have complete citation information. If you do not have complete information on the original source or cannot provide specific page references that accurately correspond to the paper version of the document, than you must place as much information about the source document as you can and then list the appropriate web address information. In this example, I am listing the citation for an article drawn from one of my old course web sites (it is unclear what the pagination was in the print version, so internet location information must be provided):

Economist. "The King is Dead, Long Live the King." 2002. Economist, 22 December, 15-18. < ~msetzler/PolSysLC/CPSf2002readingsbank/ econKing.html>. Accessed: April 10, 2003.

If materials are only available in electronic form (i.e., it is not clear that the document has ever been published anywhere), you should provide as much basic citation information as you can, and then provide a detailed description of the website from which the material was downloaded.

In the first example, the author of the materials cited (person or organization) is known, as is the organization sponsoring the web site (Citizens for Fair Elections). The access date refers to the day the material was downloaded from the internet site (make sure to include this date, since specific web addresses may change over time):

Smith, Susan. 1998. The 1998 Election in Oregon. < articles/ susan_smith.html>. Boston: Citizens for Fair Elections. June 20, 2001.

In a second example, the author is not known and the materials referenced have no date listed on the web site (remember, the point is to include as much information as you can that will help your reader track down your source to verify your interpretation or to use the source in her/his own work):

Citizens for Fair Elections. ND. Elections Outcomes. <>. Boston: Citizens for Fair Elections. June 20, 2014.

Guide: How to cite a Website in APSA style

Use the following template to cite a website using the APSA citation style. For help with other source types, like books, PDFs, or websites, check out our other guides. To have your reference list or bibliography automatically made for you, try our free citation generator.


Pink text = information that you will need to find from the source.
Black text = text required by the APSA style.

Reference list

Place this part in your bibliography or reference list at the end of your assignment.


Author Surname, Author Forename. Year Published. 'Title'. http://Website URL (Date Accessed).


romkyns, StackExchange User:, and Byron Schmuland. 2011. 'Example Of A Stochastic Process Which Does Not Have The Markov Property - Mathematics Stack Exchange'. (14 June 2014).

In-text citation

Place this part right after the quote or reference to the source in your assignment.


(Author SurnameYear Published)


"A stochastic process has the Markov property if the conditional probability distribution of future states of the process depends only upon the present state. [...] given the present, the future does not depend on the past." (romkyns and Schmuland 2011)

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Cite A Website in APSA style

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