How to Cite Encyclopedias in Research Papers

by Maggie Lourdes, Demand Media

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed., 2nd printing) and The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.) both provide citation rules for encyclopedia references. APA is generally followed in social science studies. MLA is typically used in liberal arts and humanities courses. You should confirm your professor's writing style requirements and properly cite your research sources to avoid allegations of plagiarism.

APA Style

APA begins an encyclopedia cite with the last name and first initial of the entry's author followed by the publication date in parenthesis. Next, the word "in" precedes the name of the encyclopedia, which should be in italics. The volume and page number follow in parenthesis. The cite concludes with the place of publication and the publisher's name. For example: Sachs, S. (1993). Rare Skin Rashes. In The American Encyclopedia Collection. (Vol. 44, pp. 72-72). New York, NY: Duke Publishing House.

MLA Style

MLA begins an encyclopedia cite with the name of the entry in quotes. The title of the encyclopedia in italics, the edition, the publication year and the medium of print follow. MLA does not require volume and page numbers for references that are organized alphabetically, such as encyclopedias. For example: "Venomous Snakes." The British Encyclopedia. 3rd. ed. 2013. Print.

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About the Author

Maggie Lourdes is a full-time attorney in southeast Michigan. She teaches law at Cleary University in Ann Arbor and online for National University in San Diego. Her writing has been featured in "Realtor Magazine," the N.Y. State Bar's "Health Law Journal," "Oakland County Legal News," "Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal," "Eye Spy Magazine" and "Surplus Today" magazine.

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