What are APSA citations?

American Political Science Association citations (also known as APSA citations or APSA references) are a type of research citation used to show where another author has contributed to a new research paper or study.

The referencing system is used across all papers submitted for publication by the American Political Science Association. The well-known political science citation style uses a parenthetical system, which means that there is a citation within the text and a full reference in an alphabetical list at the end of the paper.

This system shows the reader where other sources have contributed to the work and directs them to the full reference, which they can use to locate the original source for themselves.

How to APSA reference

An APSA citation is made up of two or three components; it always includes the author’s name and the year of publication and often shows the page number as well to help the reader to find the contributing information, theory or data.

The citation is always shown in brackets. However when the author’s name is already used in the sentence, only the year of publication and page numbers are shown within the brackets and should be placed directly after the author’s name. Each citation relates to a full reference, formatted to be easily found by searching for the author’s name in an alphabetical list.

The full reference should be located at the end of the paper in the reference list or bibliography. The APSA bibliography format is very similar to Harvard style and begins with the author’s name followed by a full account of the information needed for the reader to find the original source.

It’s important to make sure that the referencing style you use is correct for the source type you have used. There are different formats for each type, for example, when referencing a book, the format should be different to that of a website or journal article.

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APSA referencing example

In-text example:

(Cottrell 2013)

Bibliography example:

Cottrell, Stella. 2013. The Study Skills Handbook. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.