The APA Format for Listing References Found in an Encyclopedia

by Susan Sherwood, Demand Media
The first English-language encyclopedia, the “Encyclopedia Britannica,” was published in 1768.

The first English-language encyclopedia, the “Encyclopedia Britannica,” was published in 1768.

Writers do not use encyclopedias for references as often as they once did. Because of the time and labor involved in publishing, an encyclopedia may not have the most current information. In addition, it is not an original source; it draws its information from a variety of places. Still, if you choose to use an encyclopedia as a reference, the sixth edition of the "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association" provides citation guidelines.

In-Text Citation

When you discuss material from an encyclopedia, use an in-text citation within parentheses. Insert the author's last name, a comma and the publication year, such as: (Smith, 2000). If you mention the author's name in text, omit it from the parentheses.

References Page

Include an in-text citation of an encyclopedia on the References page. Begin with the author's last name, a comma and initials. Add a period. Insert the publication date inside parentheses. Add a period. Identify the title of the article in sentence format with a period. Include "In" without quotation marks, then list the italicized title of the encyclopedia. Add a period. Within parentheses, put the volume number, using the abbreviation "Vol." without quotation marks, a comma and the page number(s). Use "p." to abbreviate "page" and "pp." to abbreviate "pages," but omit quotation marks. Add a period. Finish with the publication location, a colon, the publisher and a period; such as: Smith, A. (2000). Water buffalo. In The Greatest Encyclopedia Ever. (Vol. 24, pp. 23-24). New York, NY: The Greatest Encyclopedia Ever.

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About the Author

Living in upstate New York, Susan Sherwood is a researcher who has been writing within educational settings for more than 10 years. She has co-authored papers for Horizons Research, Inc. and the Capital Region Science Education Partnership. Sherwood has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University at Albany.

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