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Pollak Library

Communications--Journalism: Citing


cover of APA style manualHOW TO CITE
In Communications research, you will need to find sources (books, articles, websites, etc.) and then cite them.  Meaning:
- Cite (mention) them in the  body of your writing every time you quote or paraphrase them.
- Cite (list) them at the end of your research, in a "Works Cited" or "References" or "Bibliography" page

You cannot mention or list your sources any way you want.  If everyone did that, it would be chaos for readers to properly identify and track down your sources.  So there are rules, or formats, on how to cite your sources.   Some majors use a format called MLA.  Others use a format called Chicago.  In the field of Communications, the most common format is APA  (it comes from the American Psychological Association).

So what are the rules, or formats, for APA style? 
- The official explanation is from the APA website, here.  (And their APA stylebook is for sale here).
- A more detailed, yet easier to understand, explanation is from Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL), here
- The CSUF Pollak Library also has a handy APA summary guide too, here.
- A good training video, of using APA to cite, is available from the CSUDH Library, here: icon of video play button
- This PDF handout gives specific examples of citing sources (articles, books, newspapers, etc.) for COMM majors:

There are several ways you can compile, or keep track of, all your sources:
1. Compile them yourself (manually).  As you find books and articles, you can use the "cite" tool (button)--available on OneSearch and the databases--to autormatically put your sources in APA format (note: these auto-cite buttons are not always 100% accurate; use them, but double check them yourself for accuracy). Then you can copy-&-paste these into a Word document--your master source list.
2. Store them in OneSearch pins & databases folders.  OneSearch and the databases allow you to save citation info (author, title, link, etc.) in personalized "pins" (OneSearch) or "folders" (the databases). Then the next time you return to OneSearch or the databases, you can login to your pins or personalized folders and see all your saved sources still there. 
3. Use EndNote Web.  EndNote Web is separate program that helps you compile and organize all your sources into APA format
4. Use ZoteroZotero is a Firefox browser add-on that collects, manages, and cites research sources.

These are two terms you may hear your professors say they want from you.  But what are these?
- A Literature Review is an essay where you briefly describe (summarize, compare) all the sources you found.  You don't need to go into excessive detail; a few sentences describing each source is typical.
- An Annotated Bibliography is your list of sources at then end of your paper but with a short summary (few sentences), under each source, describing what the source is about.
The CSUF Pollak Library has created a detailed guide on creating Literature Reviews and Annotated Bibliographies, here.

AP Style: Quick Tips

In newspaper or magazine articles, sources are not typically cited or listed at the end like in an academic paper (using APA, MLA, or Chicago citation style). Newspapers and news magazines typically follow the Associated Press (AP) Style guide for writing rules.  The following summary, below, shows some of the common AP Style guidelines from the AP Style guide 2015 edition which is available at the library’s OneSearch catalog as an ebook (the library does not have the 2020 edition yet).

- write out percent (but % okay in headline)
- write out and ("&" okay in a company name)
- use $500 instead of 500 dollars.

- don’t abbreviate days/months (no Mon, Feb)
- do not use “Xmas”; spell out Christmas
- do not use “4th of July”; use “Fourth of July”
- date order is month day, year (April 9, 2015)

- Gender titles (Mr., Mrs.) aren’t used unless a quote
- Job title abbreviations: Gov., Sen., Rep., Rev., Dr.
- Job descriptions, before name, are not capitalized
  (singer Taylor Swift, actor Tom Cruise)
- Not abbreviated: Attorney General, District Attorney,
  President, Professor, Superintendent

- First use is spelled out (American Medical Association)
- Exception: in headline (“FCC announces new rules”)

- Use traditional state abbreviations, not the two-letter
   postal abbreviation (Calif., not CA)
- Streets: abbrev. okay if exact address; if not, then spell
   out (125 Pine St., Elm Avenue)
- Use St. not Saint.  Don’t abbreviate Fort or Mount.
- Well-known cities do not require a state after them 
  (New York, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, etc.)

- Proper nouns capitalized (Boston pie, German measles)
- Regions are capitalized but not directions (Southern
  California, East Los Angeles.  The west part of town)
- Departments: universities=no, government=yes 
  (sociology department, Fullerton Fire Department)
- Armed forces and ranks (Army, Navy, Sgt. Major)
- Races capitalized (Caucasian, African American, etc.)
  but color descriptions are not (black, white)

- use numbers for numbered streets (125 10th St.)
- use numbers for ages (3 days old; John Williams, 60)
- Millions/billions: spell out, don’t use   numbers
- Percent: use the number (3 percent, not three percent)
- Time: use numbers (6:32 p.m., not six thirty two)
- Ordinal numbers (-nd, -rd, -th): do not use for dates 
  (May 4, not May 4th), but okay for formal titles (2nd Lt.)
- Constitution Amendments: spell out first through ninth

- use to separate items with commas (offices in 
  Anaheim, Calif.; Boston, Mass.; Chicago, Ill.)

- Put around titles of books, songs, TV shows, movies, 
  poems, etc. (“60 Minutes”).  Do not underline 
  or italicize.
- Do not use quotes for titles of magazines, newspapers.
- Punctuation goes inside quotations (“That’s right.”)

Hyphen: for compound adjective (fastest-growing company)
Dash: for a break in though (oranges—from Florida—are being exported) 
Comma: when listing items, no comma is needed after the items before and
(example: milk, eggs, cream and butter).
Apostrophe: do not use for decades for acronyms 
(1990s, not 1990’s; CDs, not CD’s).
Parentheses: AP styles recommends avoiding parentheses;
try rewording text or using dashes

The correct spelling and capitalization is as follows for these common terms:
- download    - Internet
- e-book    - iPhone
- email        - social media
- cellphone    - smartphone
- Facebook    - Twitter
- Google    - website
- hashtag,     - You Tube


Communications Librarian

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John Hickok