The promo for new customers: 5% discount on the first order!


Briefly about APSA format

June 9, 2020

The American Political Science Association has developed its requirements for writing and submitting papers in political science. This style covers the following aspects:

  • manuscript preparation and writing;
  • style;
  • punctuation;
  • citations; 
  • references;
  • notes;
  • tables;
  • figures;
  • additional sources.
How to Cite a Book and Other Resources According to APSA format

General information and requirements

Citations are brief notes that are indicated in a text and provide information without any interruptions of your manuscript. You need to make citations for opinions, facts, direct quotations, and paraphrasing. 

To prepare your writing according to the APSA requirements, you should apply the author-date format. In this case, you use in-text parenthetical citations at the end of a respective sentence without a comma between the author’s last name and the year of publication of the cited work. 

If the cited work has no date, then state the only n.d. after the author’s name.


… (Jackes, 2020).

For quotes, dates, ideas also include page and chapter numbers to prevent any ambiguities. In this case, a comma should be placed after the year of publication and before the number of pages or chapters.


…(Smith 2020, 20-22)

According to the APSA requirements, you should not place a comma after a parenthetical citation. This citation is usually before the punctuation at the end of a sentence. 

If you mention an author somewhere in your text in any form, indicate the year of publication after his/her last name in parenthesis.


Jakes (2008) illustrates these cases and …..

For parenthetical citations in notes of your manuscript, use the same rules as for in-text citations. 

According to the APSA requirements, the roman terms chap., para., vol., and sec. are also acceptable to clarify the location of a cited text. 


(Jakes et al., 2019; chaps. 5 and 7).

 How to cite correctly? 

For a book with one author, use the described above approach.

For a book with two or three authors, indicate the last names of all authors using and (but not an ampersand (&) before the last author’s surname.  


(Smith, Jackes, and Donalds 2020).

For a book with four and more authors, use et al. after the first author’s name, including in the first reference. If the same author appears in several references, then you should indicate the last names of the first and the second authors.


(Jackes et al. 2020).

When you cite more than one book, include all of them in the same parenthesis and separate by the respective number of semicolons.


(Evans 2019; Ferguson 2020; Smith et al. 2018).

If you cite several resources of the same author published in different years, you can indicate his/her last name only once, before the year of the first cited work. The logic of inclusion in the numbers of pages and chapters is the same. 


(Evans 2019, 12; 2020, 25). 

If you cite several resources of the same author published in the same year, use lowercase letters nearby the years of publication to label them.


(Evans 2018a, 2018b).

Special cases 

Indicate the first initials of authors if they have the same last name to avoid ambiguities.


(S. James 2019; M. James 2018).

If you cite in one sentence the same resource more than once, indicate only page numbers for the second reference. 

If a document that you cite originates from an organization only, indicate its acronym or a short form in parenthesis after the first reference.


According to the last report of the United Nations (2020, 12; hereinafter the UN)…

For statues and court cases, indicate their titles and years in parenthesis; indicate the title of a case in italics (except for v.) 


(Jackes v. Smith 1956)

For reprints, indicate the year of reprint also.


(Mitchell and Smith [1927] 2019, 67).

How to make references?

Your reference list is placed at the end of your manuscript and provides details about all cited resources. 

General requirements 


The name of an author, an editor, or a translator should be stated as it is indicated in the cited source. In a reference, the first author’s, editor’s or translator’s name (if only one) is inverted – you should state the last name first. 

However, for multi-authored resources, such names are not inverted and separated by commas. Use and (but not an ampersand (&) before the final last name. 

Don’t use et al. for making reference, unless you cite a work with ten or more authors. In this case, state the first seven authors and use et al.

If the cited source has no author but has its editor or translator, indicate their names along with the abbreviations ed. or eds., or trans. That follows the name(s). Separate such by commas. 

If the cited work does not have its author, editor, or translator, then you should indicate only its title. Avoid using the term “Anonymous,” unless the cited source is explicit states “Anonymous.”


This is only a part of the copyright date. If the cited work does not have its year of publication, indicate n.d. Instead of it. 

If the publication is forthcoming, use the respective term forthcoming in roman, in place of the year. 

Titles, volumes, and pages

Spelling, punctuation, and hyphenation should be saved as in the original title with the following remarks:

  • change words in capitals to uppercase and lowercase;
  • apply the headline-style capitalization;
  • titles should be italicized;
  • change ampersands to and;
  • capitalize the first word of the subtitle after a colon.

Use Arabic numerals for the numbers of pages and volumes, unless the cited source itself contains roman numerals. Omit terms, p. and pp. in any case. If it is necessary to indicate a volume number, it should be placed before the page numbers and separated from them by a colon. 

URLs and DOIs

If you use any online source, you should indicate a direct link with other citation data. You may use:

  • URL (uniform resource locator)

It should be present in full, starting from the protocol. Capitalization and punctuation should be preserved in full. 

  • DOI (digital object identifier) 

This can be found in databases and requires the slashes and numerals after .org/ indicated as doi and afterward the numerals


Making your reference list

Indicate all references in alphabetical order according to the last names. Note that single-authored resources should precede multi-authored starting from the last name.

For multi-authored sources with the same first author, alphabetize such according to the second author’s name. If it is impossible to alphabetize sources according to the author’s name, apply the year (from the oldest to the newest), the editor’s name, title, or descriptive phrase. Forthcoming and undated sources follow all dated sources. 

If you cite several works of the same author, indicate such chronologically and state first the earliest single-authored source and multi-authored works afterward. 


For a book, indicate its author’s name, date, title (italicized), its publisher city, and title.


Smith, Dorothy. 2020. About modern political science. New York: University of New York Press. 

If you cite a chapter of any book, indicate it in quotation marks.

Smith, Dorothy. 2020. “Preconditions of the modern political processes.” About modern political science. New York: University of New York Press. 


For a journal article, indicate its author’s name, date, title in quotation marks, the italicized journal title volume (number), and pages.


Smith, Dorothy. 2019. “Basics of political science.” Political Science Journal 25 (3):10-15.

For a newspaper article, indicate its author’s name, year, title in quotation marks, the italicized title of such newspaper, the month and the day of its publication, its section (if applicable). 


Smith, Dorothy. 2019. “Basics of political science.” American Newspaper, June 27.

Electronic resources 

For a document from a website, indicate its author’s name, the year of publication, its title in quotation marks, and its date.


Smith, Dorothy. 2019. “Several political considerations.” American Electronic Paper, July 27. (July 27, 2019).

If the cited document has no author, indicate the title of an organization of its origin, the year of publication, its title in quotation marks, its link, and date.


Civil Society Informational Center. 2019. “The latest political trends.” (August 10, 2019)

Other resources 

For a legal action, you should indicate its title, the date of publication, its source, volume, section, and page numbers. In the case of electronic source, also include its URL.


Civil Rights Act. 1964. U.S. Statutes at Large. Vol. 78, sec.12, p. 215.

Make references to reports, brochures, and similar mediums in the same manner as to books, and references to press and news releases – as to periodical articles.

Titles of dissertations and theses should be written similarly to books, but not in italics. It is also necessary to indicate the words Ph.D. diss. After its title.


Johns, Jessica. 2017. “Politics in the State of New York.” Ph.D. diss. New York University.

Presentations and lectures should include the term presented after their location information.


Johns, Jessica. 2017. “Politics in the State New York.” Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Association of Political Researches. New York. 

References to various dictionaries, encyclopedias should be made in your text or the endnotes, but not in the reference list.


The style of the American Political Science Association deals with many writing and formatting aspects related to your manuscript. For citations, use the author-date format and place them at the end of a sentence. 

Feel free to refer to this article if you need more information about how to make your citations in line with APSA format.