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Webinar Transcripts

APA Citations Part 2: Nontraditional Sources

Presented August 2, 2018

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Last updated 9/5/2018



Visual: The webinar begins with a PowerPoint title slide in the large central panel. A captioning pod, Q&A pod, and files pod are stacked on the right side.

The slide says “APA Citations Part 2: Nontraditional Sources” and the speakers name and information: Melissa Sharpe, Writing Instructor, Walden Writing Center.

Audio: Sarah: Hi, everyone. Good evening or good afternoon or maybe even good morning depending on where you are. I am Dr. Sarah Prince. I'm manager of writing across the curriculum here at Walden Writing Center. I am here with my -- or with our presenter, Melissa Sharpe this evening. But before I hand the presentation over to Melissa, I'd like to quickly cover a few housekeeping issues.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Housekeeping

  • Recording
    • Will be available online a day or two from now.
  • Interact
    • Polls, files, and links are interactive.
  • Q&A
    • Now: Use the Q&A box to ask questions.
    • Later: Send to or visit our Live Chat Hours.
  • Help
    • Ask in the Q&A box.
    • Choose “Help” in the upper right corner of the webinar room.

Audio: So first we are recording this webinar so you're welcome to access it later, at a later date via or webinar archive. In fact, it's good to remember that we actually record all of our webinars at the Writing Center so you're welcome to look through that archive for other recordings that might interest you as well. And we might mention a few tonight that would be a helpful follow-up to this webinar.

Also, whether you're attending this webinar live or watching as a recording, note that you'll be able to participate in any polls that we use, files we share, or even the links that we provide, including the PowerPoint slide deck, Melissa will be sharing that with us this evening. And that is actually located in the Files Pod. So, if you see the bottom right-hand corner right by Melissa's picture, you'll see a bunch of files that we are going to talk through tonight. You're welcome to download those files. And actually, the PowerPoint slides are the last file that in that file's pod. So, if you're looking for those slides and would like to download them, that is where you can access those slides.

We also welcome question and comments throughout this session via the Q & A Box. Both myself, well excuse me, I'm just the lone facilitator. I will be watching the Q & A Box. Unless you give me questions, I won't have anything to do this evening. And I'm happy to answer any questions while Melissa is talking. So, if you come across something and you have a question and you're not quite sure, feel free to chime in-text the Q & A Box and ask me that question.

You're also welcome to send any technical issues my way. Although note that there is a help option at the top right-hand corner of your screen. This is actually Adobe technical support. Although I can answer some technical questions, but really, that's really the best place to go for any technical help you might need. All right, with that, I'll go ahead and hand it over to Melissa.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Learning Objectives

After this session, you will be able to:

  • Identify the extra information nontraditional sources require
  • Identify errors in reference list entries
  • Create nontraditional citations based on reference list entries
  • Know where to go for APA help

Audio: Melissa: Thanks, Sarah, my name is Melissa Sharpe, and I'm a writing instructor here at Walden center. And we are here to take a look at some nontraditional sources that you may use in your writing and understand how to reference and cite them. So, at the end of this webinar, you will be able to identify the extra information that makes a reference entry for a nontraditional source a little bit different. You will also be able to identify errors in reference list entries for these nontraditional sources. And you'll be able to create citations based off those reference list entries. And then you will also be able to know some places to go for APA help if you need it during your writing process.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Approach To Teaching APA Reference Entries

[Photo of APA Publication Manual]

Audio: So, one of the first things that is good to remind everyone is that when it comes to learning about APA style and learning how to format APA reference pages is that it's not anything you have to memorize. It's nothing you are expected to know perfectly every single time you go to format a reference entry. In fact, even us here at the Writing Center have to turn to the manual in order to understand how to format reference entries, how to set up our documents. So, what's most important is not that you memorize the APA rules and guidelines, but rather that you know where to go to look them up.

And, of course, as you write in APA and become more familiar and comfortable with it, some of these things you will internalize, including the general formula or template for creating reference entries and citations. So tonight, we're going to be looking at nontraditional sources or sources that you may use, but not quite as often let's say as a book or journal article.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Overview: Creating References Basics

APA Citations Part 1: Methods to the Madness

Author – Date – Title Information – Publication Information (will change the most over time)

Audio: So, to start, we're going remind ourselves what that formula or template is for creating reference entries. And so, for every item that goes on your reference list, which would be every source you used in writing that paper, whatever your document is, when we list that source information on the reference list, we want to include the following information in this order every time and that is the author's name, the date of publication, the title of the source, and that publication or retrieval information. And that's really the part that changes. So, if you have a website, this would be the URL. If you have a journal article, this is going to be the name of the journal and the volume and issue number. So that last a little bit tends to change the most. But this is that general format that we follow.

And, really, for our nontraditional sources, we follow this as well. If you're looking for a refresher on creating reference entries and citations, just the basics, we do have a webinar which is Part 1 of the series, APA citations, method to the madness. And there's a link here on this page. And it's also available in that webinar archive that Sarah mentioned earlier.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Overview: Citation Basics

APA Citations Part 1: Methods to the Madness

Step 1: Create reference entry

            Step 2: Create citation

Author – Date – Title information – Publication information (will change the most over time)

Audio: Along with our reference list, there's also a basic formula or template that we use when creating citations. And first, you need to have a reference entry. And the reason for that is because a citation includes information from the reference entry. So, you have to have that information in place to begin with.

And then the citation formula or template is going to be the name of the author, their last name, or the name of the government body or organization followed by the date so, where the reference entry is going to include that information about the title and where to retrieve it, the citation stops just after those first two pieces. If the reader is interested in learning more about that source or reading more, they have the author's name and date to go compare to the reference list. And, so, that is how they will find the full retrieval information.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Overview: References and Citations

Author. (Date). Title information. Publication information.

Garrett, B. (2015). Brain & behavior: An introduction to biological psychology (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

*emphasis beyond italics for the book title is just for demonstration purposes.

Audio: Here's an example of what it might look like. So, we start off with our reference entry where we have the name of the author, which is in blue. And then it's followed by the publication date. And then the title. And here we have a book. And I can tell it's a book, because it is italicized and we italicized the titles of books as well as journals and magazines. And then at the end we have the publication information. Which in this case is the location and name of who published the book. Please note that the emphasis with the bold and the color blue are just there to help you see these different pieces. You do not use color or bolding in your reference list.  

So, this follows that basic formula. Author, date, title, publication information. And then when we go to cite it, remember we want to pull out two pieces of information to include in our citation.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat

How would you create a parenthetical citation for a paraphrase of this source?

Audio: So, in the chat box, go ahead and create a parenthetical citation for a paraphrase of this source. A parenthetical citation for a paraphrase from the book.

[pause as students type]

I'm really glad to see all the entries coming in so far including the two-key piece of information which is the author's last name Garrett and the year of publication 2015. Because we are citing a hypothetical paraphrase, we don't need to include a page or paragraph number. So, I'm really glad that you have omitted that as well. In this particular example, we're looking for a parenthetical citation. So, if you put both the name and year inside parentheses, great job paying attention to those details. That is a parenthetical citation. Now if you have named the author as part of a sentence and put the year in parentheses after, that is also a correct way to cite a paraphrase. It just happens to be called a narrative citation. Thank you for participating in this. We're going to take a look at ways to cite this source.


Visual: Slide changes to the following:

Garrett, B. (2015). Brain & behavior: An introduction to biological psychology (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

                        (Garrett, 2015).  According to Garret (2015)

Audio: So here, following the formula for a citation which is last name and year of publication. We can put that information inside parentheses. And that is appropriate in APA style. Or we can also pullout the author's name and use it as part of the sentence. In which case just, the year will appear in parentheses and both of these are correct.

When we cite nontraditional sources, we're going to follow this same formula. So, we'll see these patterns appear as we look at some of these less typical sources that you may use in your writing.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Nontraditional Sources:

click each link to learn more

Audio: So, let's jump into those nontraditional sources. We're going to take a look at 7 or so today and in the first part of this webinar, we're going to look at these four. We're going to look at how do you reference and cite course materials. Documents that are inside your course. How do you reference discussion and cite board posts? If there was something that happened in a conversation in a discussion board in your class, you can cite that as material in your writing. So, we'll also look at how to include that. We'll also look at how to reference and cite videos or webcasts that appear within your course. And we'll also look although how to reference and cite books that you would read on an eReader.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Reference Sections for the Uncommon Reference

Author – Date – Title Information – [Format description] (the “new” stuff) – Publication information

Audio: So, when we have these less common or nontraditional sources, we're still following that same basic formula or template which starts off with the name of the author, and then we have the publication date, just followed by the title. But before we get to that publication information, we want to take a minute to identify what the source is. And this is what is new and different about nontraditional sources.

And, so, after the title, we usually will include in brackets a little description of what the format is. And this lets the reader know that what they are referring to on your reference list to try to find on their own is a specific document type they may not be as familiar with. We know that a reference list will probably be filled with books and journal articles, but if in the middle of that you have course materials or you have a video file, we want to include that in a little description just so that whoever is looking at your reference list knows that this is an uncommon or nontraditional type of source. They are okay to use in your writing. We just want to give that heads up that it's something a little bit different and after that format description, then we pick up where we left off in the formula or template. And we end up with a publication or retrieval information.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Course Materials (Handouts, Lecture Notes, Etc.)

Laureate Education. (n.d.). Five basic criteria for evaluating sources [Course handout]. Retrieved from

Note Walden home page URL (not exact URL)   

(Laureate Education, n.d.) or

(Laureate Education, n.d., p. 4)

Audio: So, course materials are anything that you may find within your course resources. These could be handouts, PowerPoints slides, we'll take a look at videos that are embedded in your course in a few minutes. Within your course, you'll probably find lots of useful materials. And you will want to refer to them in your writing. And when that happens, you have to reference and cite them following that same formula that we looked at. So, at the very beginning of this reference entry, we're opening up with the name of the author. And for a lot of course materials, the author might be laureate education or Walden University. You will see this name on the document. So, it makes it pretty clear that there's an author. If there's a named author, you will likely find that name near the beginning, or sometimes even at the end of the document. And this is true if you ever struggled to find a named author. Always look at the very beginning or at the end to find the author.

After the author, we always include the publication date. However, for lots of handouts and course materials, there may not be a publication date on that document. In APA, whenever we cannot find a publication date, we're allowed to use n.d. Which stands in for no date.

After the author's name and the publication date, we of course put the title of the document and here's the title of that document, five basic criteria for evaluating sources, and that new piece that we looked at. You'll see in bracket, we have identified this as a course handout. One thing to note when you put the description of the course in brackets, APA does not have a list of words or phrases you can use. It's really, you're given some freedom to put in those brackets whatever best describes the document. However, if you look at reference list, you'll slowly see that there are words and phrase that are more commonly used. So, we typically will use course handout when describing these materials inside courses.
The last piece of our reference entry is of course that retrieval information. And you'll see that we have a shortened URL here. And this is what we use for all materials that are embedded inside your Walden courses. It's as close as a person can get to locating the file, because as you know, you have to sign-in in order to get that document. So, the purpose of this is to just point to somebody as close as they can get. So, in this reference entry, we can see all of those key pieces. We have the author's name, publication date, title of the document, a description of the document, and then the retrieval information.

And, so, this would complete a reference entry for any materials that you want to use in your writing. When you use that course material in your writing, you will of course want to cite it and you could cite it using the author's name and publication year. Which in this case is laureate education and n.d.

And if you quote, you want to include the page or paragraph number that the quote comes from. So you’ll see the second example here is a citation for a quote, because it includes that additional information. We always want to put that page or paragraph number in our citation for quotes, because if the person is looking for the quote, we want to point them as close as we can. If you are looking although a 300-page book, that person isn't going to have the time to look through 300 pages to find the quote. So that's why you would tell them the page number and that just gets them that closer.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Discussion Board Post

Westings, A. Y. (2013, February 12). Module 2 discussion [Online discussion post]. Retrieved from

Audio: The next nontraditional source you may want to use in your writing and would need to know how to include on your reference list is a discussion board post and a discussion board post is something that one of your classmates may have posted about a topic having a discussion with you or with somebody else. But if somebody posted something that you wanted to refer to in your writing, you would want to give them credit in your reference list. So, we're going to follow the exact same formula again.

Which of course we're going to open up with the name of the author. And this would be whoever wrote the post you are referring to. Please note in APA, that we use last name and then just first initial on the reference list. Next, we have the date. And here you'll see that it's not only the year that this discussion board was posted, but also the specific month and date. In APA if you have a specific month and date that something was published or posted, we also encouraged to use that, because it's the most specific date that we have.

After the author's name and date of publication comes the title. And here's the title of that discussion post which is just "Module 2 discussion." We know the title of the discussion board post, because you have that box that you type your title in before you present the post to after. So that's where we go to find the title of the post.

Because this is a nontraditional source, we want to identify what it is in brackets next. So here we have online discussion post. Which lets the reader know exactly what type of document and what type of source this is.

At the end, we're going to put that retrieval information because your discussion board lives inside your course and it's going to have that same shortened URL that we just looked at for course materials. It's going to get somebody as close as they can to this discussion for board posting. They can't get in there, but this just gets them as close as possible. So that's why we use that shortened URL.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat box:

Create a parenthetical citation for a paraphrase from this discussion board posting.

Audio: Now, in the chat box, I want to create a parenthetical citation for a paraphrase from this discussion board posting. Remember that the formula or the template, the key pieces that is you will include in your citation.

[pause as students type]       

Great work. First, I am really excited to see that so many of these are parenthetical, which means that both the author's last name and the publication year are within the parentheses. So that's awesome! And then it looks like everybody is remembering to include the last name and the year of publication, which is exactly what we want to see when we're citing. No matter what you're citing, those are the two pieces of information that you want to include. Thank you so much for participating in this chat.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Discussion Board Post

Westings, A. Y. (2013, February 12). Module 2 discussion [Online discussion post]. Retrieved from

(Westings, 2013) or

(Westings, 2013, para. 2)

Page = p.

Paragraph = para.

Audio: We'll take a look at what it looks like when you cite this source. So, when we want to cite the discussion board, of course we make that reference entry first, so we have it at hand. And then within the citation, we're going to put the author's last name and year. We do not need to include the month and date because APA tells us that in a citation we only need the publication year. That last name and year are enough to point the reader to the source. So, there's no point to include the month and date. If we were going to pull a quote from this discussion board post, we would want to create a citation like the second one. And that one identifies the paragraph number where you can find the information or where you can find that quote. So, if you are just paraphrasing what the post said, there's no need to include the paragraph number. Or however, if you're going to quote, we would include the paragraph number because that's how we give proper credit in APA style.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Course Video/Webcast

Laureate Education (Producer). (2013). Psychology in the workplace [Video webcast]. Retrieved from

                        (Laureate Education, 2013)

Audio: A third nontraditional source that you may use in your writing is any of the course videos or webcasts, or media that appear within your course. And whenever we refer to videos, we of course always open up with the author's name. However, who is the author of a video? We run into some questions here because some things are scripted, which seems like there would be an author, but some things are not. Sometimes in a video, there's a person talking, but there might be five people talking. Because of these complications with videos, APA tells us to name the producer as the author. So, any time we have a video, we're going to name the producer as the author. So, for a lot of the course materials, laureate education will be the producer. And then we give credit to them as being the producer by including that in parentheses after the name. So instead of an author, we want to give credit to the producer when it comes to videos.

After the name, we, as always, are going to include the publication year. And here we have one it is 2013. Remember you may not always have one, which in this case you can use n.d. after the date. After the name and the year, we include the title of the source. And here our title is psychology in the workplace. You'll notice this is italicized. And when APA tells us that when we have a video that is either stand alone on the page or the main content of the page, we are welcome to put title in italics. If it's a video that is embedded as a small part of a larger document, then we want no italics. So why is it that weird split? In APA, all of the biggest and longest pieces are put in italics. So entire books go in italics. The name of the journal goes in italics. The name of the magazine goes in italics. And all the things inside are not italicized. So, chapter titles, article titles, single web pages, and so if the focus of an entire page is a video they allowed us to italicize it which is similar to if you were going to reference a DVD collection, the name of the collection would be in italics. But the individual video clips would not. It sort of mirrors that.

So now that we have our title, we are going to identify what source type it is. And in this case, it's a video webcast. We can even put video, whatever your descriptive phrase is. And, again, it's going to appear in brackets. Then after that, we are going to include the retrieval information and, in this case, it's a video that is within a course. So, we're going to put that course URL. And it's the same shortened one we have looked at before.

And if we're going to cite this, we want to pull out the same two pieces of information, which is just the name of the producer and the year that it was published or I guess uploaded in this case. You'll notice that it's just the name. We no longer identify laureate education as the producer.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: What if we want to cite a speaker in the video?

The key is to give context within your sentence

In the course video, Zuckerman (Laureate

Education, 2013) advised students to read critically.

Audio: A common question we get is if we are watching a course video and we want to refer to somebody who is speaking in the video, how do we cite that person whose speaking? Maybe there's an expert in the video, and we want to use the information they say. How do we give credit to the person speaking in the video? Well, the whole -- the best way to address this, because we know in the reference list and in the citation, we have to name the producer. The best thing to do is to use context within your sentence.

So, if you are looking at a video, and there's a person named Zuckerman who said something that you really want to include in your writing, you can go ahead and name that person as part of the sentence. Which will just give us that context. So, here's an example. In the course video, Zuckerman advised students to read critically. So, we know who we're giving credit to this idea. But we also know the source you found it in is going to be that laureate education source from 2013, which happens to be a course video. So, it's all about giving context. You're welcome to name a specific speaker. But your citation should always be for the video itself. So, we want to name the producer in the citation.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: eReader Books

            See the APA Style Blog for more examples!

Inman, J. A. (2000). Taking flight with OWLs: Explaining electronic writing center work [Kindle version]. Retrieved from


  • Do NOT use location numbers
  • CAN use any of the following:
    • Page numbers
    • Paragraph numbers
    • Paragraph number + abbreviated heading
    • Abbreviated heading

Audio: Another type of nontraditional source that you may use in your work are books that you read on an eReader. And just like our other nontraditional sources, we're going to open up with the name of the author. And we're going to follow that name with the year of the publication. And then the title of the source. This is a book, so it is in italics like we do with a book. And after the title, we have to identify what type of source it is and here, this is a Kindle version. If you look at different types of eReader version, you can put that in brackets. Remember, you are welcome to put in brackets whatever best describes that nontraditional source that you're using. And, of course, we need the retrieval information. And, so, here we're going to use the URL where you can retrieve that e-Book if you want to. And in this URL will vary depending on what type of eReader is and as well as, where you've accessed that e-Book.

Now, when it comes to citing e-Books, there's something that makes this a little bit complicated. Which if you use an e-Book, it will generate location numbers instead of pages for you. I know that my Kindle does this and we don't want to use those location numbers because it may vary from eReader to eReader depending on the setting the person has. So, the location may help you locate something but it may not translate well, if someone else wants to find information. However, you can use, if they have static page numbers, you are welcome to use page numbers to identify information.

If your eReader creates its own page number, that's something you want to stay away from. Because if you have your setting with really really tiny tiny font, you're going to have fewer pages than a person who has the font set to be huge. So, you want to make sure the page number is static and would be the same regardless whoever is looking at it. You are welcome in your citations for your eReader text to use the paragraph numbers. Because paragraph 7 will always be paragraph 7 no matter who is accessing it or what size font they're using. You can also use a paragraph number combined with an abbreviated heading. So, if you have an e-Book that has bold headings throughout, you are welcome to include those headings in the citation in order to help us identify where to find a quote from that e-Book.

The APA style blog has examples of all of these things. So, if you want to see them in action, you can use the link in that’s on this slide to find it. Your also welcome to use just an abbreviated heading when you’re citing from an e-Book. So, e-Book citation can be a little more complex than the ones we have looked at. What matters is that you are doing your best to point your reader to a specific location where they can find that information as well.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat box:

Create a citation for a quote on para. 5 of this source.

Audio: All right. I'm going to open up a chat box now for you to create a citation from this e-Book and the citation is for a quote that's located on page 5.

All right. I want to thank everybody for your responses. I'm really glad to see everybody is using just the last name of this author, because in our citations we only use the last name. You also have the publication year. And I said page 5.

[pause as students type]

Alright I want to thank everybody for your response I’m really glad to see that everybody is using just the last name of this author. Because in our citation we only use the last name. We also use the publication you. And I said page 5, so people are identifying it in the citation as page 5, although on the slide it says paragraph 5. If you put para 5 that is probably the most correct answer, so, I apologize for misspeaking. But these citations look spot on for citing a quote from this e-Book.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: eReader Books

Inman, J. A. (2000). Taking flight with OWLs: Explaining electronic writing center work [Kindle version]. Retrieved from

                        (Inman, 2000, para. 5) OR

Inman (2000) noted that “quote” (para. 5).

Audio: And here are a few of the ways it could look after you cite a quote. In the first example we have the author's name, the year of publication, and that specific location of paragraph 5 all within parentheses. Or as we know that we are welcome to pull out the author's name as part of the sentence. In which case, we're just going to put the publication year in parentheses. And then after the quote, we'll follow-up with the paragraph number. APA allows us to split our citation in half like that when we name the author as part of the sentence.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions?

Audio: All right. I'm going to stop now to see if there's any questions that have come in about these four types of nontraditional sources before we move on to look at the next ones.

Sarah: Great. Thanks Melissa. There hasn't been a lot of questions so that speaks to your ability to explain these nontraditional sources really well. We did have one question about when to include a retrieval date. So, a lot of the sources you mentioned are actually electronic sources. And those come with retrieval information. So, when is it appropriate to include a retrieval date per APA guidelines and when is it just not necessary?

Melissa: That's a really great question. APA tells us that we can use a retrieval date when we find electronic sources if the source is likely to change. So, the answer to this question I think is something that a lot of people get frustrated with, because it just depends on what you're looking at. This is one of those situations whereas the writer, you have to use your best judgment in order to determine if a retrieval date is really worth it. Is that source likely to change? Does the reader need to know you looked at it on this date? If the reader is reading it in the future?

I very, very rarely myself as a writer will include a retrieval date for an electronic source. I think you see it less frequently in APA style as a whole versus some of the other style guides. But I rarely use it. Maybe if I was referencing something like a WIKI that I knew would probably change rapidly. I would want to include a retrieval date there. But I almost never use one. However, the answer is you have to use your judgment as the writer to determine if including a retrieval date would be appropriate or not.

Sarah: Thanks, Melissa. And that's really all the questions pertaining to the four nontraditional sources provided thus far. So, thanks so much.




Visual: Slide changes to the following: Other Uncommon Sources:

click each link to learn more

Audio: Melissa: Great. Thank you. All right, we will move on then to look at a few other less common sources. Now we're going to take a look at how we reference and cite personal communication or a conversation we have with another person. Maybe an interview or a series of e-mails. We'll also look at how to reference and cite secondary sources or a source that your source mentions. And then we'll also take a look at what do we do if our source has the same author and the same publication year?


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Personal Communication: Chat box:

You conduct an interview with your boss,

Amy Kubista, on June 11, 2018.

 What should your citation (narrative or parenthetical)

look like? What should your reference entry look like?

Audio: So, first, I want you to kind of think about how you could apply some of what you know about APA to the situation. You conduct an interview with your boss with Amy Kubista on June 11, 2018. What would your citation look like and what would your reference entry look like?

[pause as students type]

I'm really impressed to see so many people applying what you know about APA to this personal communication situation. And I also feel really bad that we have opened the second half of this webinar with a completely, just a trick question. But some of you are a little bit ahead of me and already know what to do with this tricky situation. So, let's take a look at it, because personal communication really is going to define what we know about APA citation and reference entries.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Personal Communication

            (A. Kubista, personal communication, June 11, 2018)

A. Kubista (personal communication, June 11, 2018) stated…

à No reference entry is needed for personal communication sources.

Audio: So, when we come across personal communication, we need to cite it within our writing. And that's because you are referring to information that you got from somebody else. And we have to give that person credit. However, unlike all of the other APA citations where we just put the author's last name and publication year, when it comes to personal communication, we have to put a lot of details into this citation. And the reason for that is because there's no reference entry that we include for personal communication. If you have a conversation with another person, if you interviewed them, or you have a series of e-mails that are private between and you that other person, there is no record that your reader could find that conversation or go find that series of e-mails.

Those course materials, even though they're password protected, if somebody had the password, they could follow that link and eventually find it. However, there's nothing you can do to transport somebody back in time couple of months to sit in on this interview with you. So, there's no reference entry. That reference list is meant as a way for your reader to go find your sources, to find the sources that you used. And they can't find the interview. So, we're not going to put it in the reference list. Now because it's not in the reference list, we do have to include a few more details in the citation than usual, because the reference list isn't there to provide the details. And this is why when we have personal communication, we're going to use that first initial.

Usually in APA, the first initial of the writer or producer only appears in the reference list. But because we don't have a reference list entry, we're going to include that first initial here in the citation. So here we have Amy's first initial and it's followed by her last name. After that, we have to let the reader know what's going on, because what we're looking at looks totally different from all the other citations. So, we're going to give them a little "Hey here's what's going on" by including personal communication which just identifies the citation as to why it is so different. And after that, we'll include the date that that personal communication took place.

Again, because we don't have a reference entry to house all of the details, we're going to put the full date here. Typically, we only include the year in our citations. But because we don't have that reference entry, we're going to put the full date here. And this is all that you need. The citation looks radically different, but once it's done, it's done. You don't need the reference entry to go with it. If you cite the person more than once, you're welcome to reuse the citation. So, for personal communication, once you write the citation one time and you've worked through the details, you are all set. Just like with all sources, you are welcome to go ahead and name your speaker as part of the sentence. And if I pull out Amy Kubista as part of the sentence, I'm going to just have my citation left with the rest. So that would be personal communication and the date.

So, these ones look very different. However, they still follow some of those APA norms in identifying our sources.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Secondary Source

            You read about what Ryan and Zimmerelli (2006) said in the following book:

Garrett, B. (2015). Brain & behavior: An introduction to biological psychology (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

(Ryan & Zimmerelli, as cited in Garrett, 2015).

            According to Ryan and Zimmerelli (as cited in Garrett, 2015)…

Audio: Another nontraditional source that you may want to use would be a secondary source. Or sometimes we call this like a quote within a quote or source within a source. And that is when you read something by some experts that you really like, but you read about them in someone else's book or article. So, for example, if you were to read a book by Garrett in 2015, and at one point, Garrett references Ryan and Zimmerelli's work from 2006, and you really like Ryan and Zimmerelli's work from 2006, you have to give credit to both these original thinkers or writers as well as the source where you've read it. So, this type of citation gets a little bit more complicated.

One of the things that I suggest to students is if you're reading your Garrett book and you find another source that you really like, like this Ryan and Zimmerelli one, go ahead and try to find the one that you really like. Because it will -- you're going to have the full context of Ryan and Zimmerelli said and you're going to take it right to the source and read what they wrote originally. If you're able to find the secondary source the way it was originally published, it's a good thing to go ahead and use that one. However, if you want to refer to the secondary source, we are going to follow these APA rules.

Which it starts with giving everybody credit. So, we really like Ryan and Zimmerelli's ideas so we're going to name them because we want to give credit that these were the thinkers and original writers. So, we're going to include their names. However, APA says that we can only reference and cite the sources we actually read. I did not read Ryan and Zimmerelli. So, I cannot put Ryan and Zimmerelli 2006 because I did not read that. However, I did read Garrett. So, I'm going to give a nod to the original thinkers and writers. And then I'm going make it clear that it's as cited in. And my full citation is going to be for the book I've read. So, I want the last name of the author and the year of publication.

The rest of the citation has that context. So, the reader knows that what they're reading, we're going to give credit to Ryan and Zimmerelli for thinking it, however, I read it in Garrett's source. So, this longer citation is what lets the reader know where the ideas came from.

Something to note is that as in all APA citations, we are of course welcome to name the original thinkers and writers as part of the sentence. So, we can pull them out of the citation and all that's left is the as cited in the Garrett source. Which is the one that I read. Something to note here in the reference list, we can only include the source that we read. So, in my references, I will have this Garrett book. I will not have a reference entry for Ryan and Zimmerelli's 2006 work, because I did not read it. So, I'm giving them credit and some notice within my writing, but they do not get an entry in the reference list because I did not read it.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Sources with the Same Author/Year

Institute of Education Sciences. (2013a). Methodological resources. Retrieved from

Institute of Education Sciences. (2013b). Peer review process. Retrieved from sro/peer_review/index.asp

Audio: The next situation that may appear when you are creating your reference list and your citation is that you may have some sources that have the same author name and were published in the same year. And this may happen a lot if you're using government documents, you know, the CDC may publish a lot of things in one year that you refer to. Or here we have the Institute of Education Sciences. And I have two of their websites. And they were both updated in 2013. So, when I have sources that have the same author and same year, we have to identify them in some way to keep them separate and we do that by adding in a letter after the year. So, my first source is going to have an A after the year. And my second source will have a B. And if I were to have more, I could keep going through the alphabet, C, D, and so on.

We choose the order for listing these in our references according to the source title. We can't alphabetize by the author name because the author name is identical. We can't order it by publication year, because the publication year is identical. So, we just move on to the next piece of information. And that would be the source title. So, we want to alphabetize it according to that source title. And then plug in the letters accordingly.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat box:

Create a citation for one of these sources.

Audio: In the chat box, I want to create a citation for one of these sources. And unlike the personal communication, which was a little bit of a trick question, you can apply what you know about citing sources in APA style. So, we're looking for those same familiar pieces that go into a citation.

[pause as students type]

As always, these responses look great. I see that everyone is including the name of the author, which in this case is an organization. As well as the year of publication. And you were able to tell from looking at the year that important to include either the A or the B when we are citing either one of these sources. Great work, everybody! Let's take a closer look at these.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Sources with the Same Author/Year

Institute of Education Sciences. (2013a). Methodological resources. Retrieved from

Institute of Education Sciences. (2013b). Peer review process. Retrieved from sro/peer_review/index.asp

(Institute of Education Sciences, 2013a)

(Institute of Education Sciences, 2013b)

Audio: So, when we cite a source, the whole purpose of that citation is to help the reader find the full retrieval information if they wanted to look it up. So, if our citation did not include the A and B, the reader would say, okay, so I'm looking for this Institute of Education Sciences webpage of 2013. And they would go to the reference list, but they would see two sources from that author in that year. That's why you want to include the A or the B., this way our reader says, okay I'm looking for the Institute of Education Sciences 2013A source. And when they come to the reference list, they would be able to find the name of that document as well as the link to go ahead and read it themselves. So, when you have sources that have the same author, and the same publication year, we want to include that little letter after the year to help keep them organized both in the reference list as well as our citation.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Final Quick Tips

  • Picky citation rules
  • APA resources

Audio: We're going to move on to take a look at some final quick tips that come up when we look at these less traditional APA sources. Before I move into the quick tips, I just want to pause to see if there are any questions that came in that I should address about those last type of nontraditional sources.

Sarah: Yes, Melissa, we do have one question that might be helpful for you to just provide a reminder for the group. Because I know this is something that's commonly confused and really nitpicky. But one of our students asked: "Do you have to use "As cited in" for secondary sources or can you also use "As cited by?"

Melissa: That's a good question. I always use the language that is in the APA manual. Because I like to follow their lead whenever I'm unsure and I look something up, I try to use the same language. So, I always use "As cited in." And honestly, I'm not sure if "As cited by" would be a big enough difference for somebody to flag as being incorrect or that would slide. Do you have any insight?

Sarah: I'm generally in the same camp as Melissa. So, like she said, whereas, you know, the language might not be caught frankly by a lot of reviewers and I think it's fair because it means the same general thing. APA suggests that you use "As cited in." And you can always come across a really nitpicky professor who has taken that as their personal crusade to make sure you use that language correctly. So, I would stick with "As cited in" for secondary sources. Thanks, Melissa. Sorry to put you on the spot there.

Melissa: Oh, no. No problem at all. And that is also my philosophy for many things that if I have questions about. And I say this in paper reviews all the time. Sometimes I'll see phrases that are capitalized as proper names. And I'm not always sure if they are or not. So, my tip for the student is what do your sources do? If the experts in the field all capitalize this phrase you should to. But if in your sources it’s in lowercase, then follow their lead. So that's one way to kind of pick up on the norms of your field, the language and style they use. And it works for APA as well. All right.

So, we're going to take a look at some final quick tips about some picky citation rules. And then I'm also going to share some APA resources that we have. We do have a page on our website all about citation variations. Because even when we go over the rules of creating reference entries and citations to match them, I'm sure you have noticed that instances creep in that just don't seem to fit the formula or template perfectly, or something might be missing and you can't find an author. So, there are a lot of variations that can appear here and there as you're referencing and citing your work. So, we have a page that explores some of those variations. And I'm just going to look at some of these citation rules that we come into most often.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Final Quick Tips: Picky Citation Rules

Multiple sources in a single parenthetical citation:

Several studies have linked increased television watching to a rise in rates of obesity (Cappell, 2012; Lenard & Swann, 2009; Richardson, 2012).

Semicolon to separate sources

Audio: So, one of the things that may happen is you write a sentence that contains information that is pulled from several sources. For example, if I were to say several studies have linked increased television watching to rise in rates of obesity. I've said several studies, so in my citation, I better be prepared to list several studies. So, if you're going to put multiple sources within a single citation, you're going to put them in that citation in alphabetical order. Which is the same order they appear on your reference list. So, we have that nice kind of like tidy APA style as evident here.

And because we have commas within our citation, we know there's a comma between the author's name and year. We're going to put a semi-colon to separate each of these sources. It really helps them to standout. And it follows also a rule that you can use within your sentence, which is if you have a list of items and the items in the list include a comma, then we separate each item with a semi-colon instead. It just helps to piece things out. So here we can tell clearly there are 3 source that have linked television watching to the rise of rates in obesity and I see all three of them here listed in alphabetical order with a semi-colon between each. If you ever need to refer to several sources, you are welcome to as long as you follow these guidelines.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Final Quick Tips: Picky Citation Rules

            Using “et al.” in in-text citations (meaning “and others”)

            1-2 authors: Never use

3-5 authors: Use after first mention of source

6+: always use

The combination of a sedentary lifestyle and frequent fast food consumption increases chances of obesity (Kellar, Smith, & Jones, 2010). Kellar et al. (2010) also noted this combination decreases overall energy levels.

Audio: Something else that appears in citations is the use of et al. in citation and that is a little bit of Latin that tells us and of others. And this is a little tool that you can use to shorten citation. Because if you have a source with a lot of authors. Instead of putting all of their names, you can put et al. and letting everybody know it's this author and as well as other authors that helped write the source. However, if your article or webpage or book has one or two authors, you're never going to use this. You're just going to have name those two authors in the citation every time.

If you have a source that has 3 to 5 authors, the first citation you are going list every single one of the authors. However, once you've listed them once, you are free to go ahead and use et al. and this is what we see in the example on the screen. In this first citation, you'll see that we have all of the author's name. We have Kellar, we have Smith, and we have Jones. Because this source has 3 to 5 authors, that means we're welcome to shorten it every other time we refer to this source. And, so, immediately here we see that we just have the first named author Kellar followed by et al. And this just means everybody else. So, every single citation after the first one, we're welcome to condense those 3 to 5 authors down into et al. APA is kind to tell us that if we have a source that has 6 or more authors, we can just use et al. from the very first citation. It would be up to the reader to locate the source information on the reference list to see the full list of authors. You list them in the order which they're listed in that publication. They were chosen to be listed in that order for a reason. So, we respect that on our end by following the same order.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Final Quick Tips: Using APA Resources

Develop your APA skills

Get APA quick help and answers

Audio: So, as I've said at the beginning of this webinar, when it comes to APA, it's not so much about learning and memorizing all of these rules. It's more about becoming familiar with the general formulas and templates that APA follows. And then knowing where to go to find your answers. So, you'll be able to find all of these links in the slides from tonight if you're interested in downloading those. Because we have here in the Writing Center a ton of APA webinars in addition to this one. We also have those one-on-one paper review appointments, which are available to students who are working on their regular coursework or the premise or prospectus documents. And the paper review appointments, we look at the writing as a whole. However, we will help you develop your APA skills as needed within those documents.

We also have APA related modules, specifically ones that are geared to helping you learn the norms of citations and reference entries. Also, if you ever have an APA question, you are more than welcome to e-mail that to us. You can e-mail us right at, you can also pop into Live Chat our hours are listed on the home page for the writing center. And when it’s live you will typically see a chat now button on the side of your screen, so you can always pop in and ask us something.

Another tool that is a great resource is a quick answer bar on our home page. Right in the middle of that home page there's a place for you to ask questions or type in some keywords. And you'll receive answer to the question along with some helpful links related to it. And today even though we looked at quite a lot of sources and how to format them in a reference list, we have a page on our website which I refer students to all the time. And it's called the common reference list examples page. And on it there are a whole bunch of examples of reference list entries for sources that are commonly used by students. So, we have all of this available to you. And these links are accessible in the slides if you want to download those from the Files Pod.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions: Ask Now or Later

writingsupport@waldenu.eduLive Chat Hours

Learn More:

APA Citations Part 1: Methods to the Madness

Top 10 Errors: Reference List Checklist

Audio: And, so, I just want to thank everybody for joining me tonight and I'll hand it over to Sarah again to see if there's any last questions we should address before wrapping up.

Sarah: Yeah, Melissa, we had couple of questions come in. One I think is a good reminder also. So, one of the students asked are there any special rules for citing an author multiple times throughout a paragraph? So, if you are referencing the author's work several times throughout the paragraph, do the citations look any different upon second or third citation? How often do you cite that author?

Melissa: Yes. And this is, we have a blog post on this topic which is one of our most popular blog posts out there that Amber wrote. When you're citing an author multiple time in a paragraph, there is a little APA loophole. If you are citing an author and you're putting a parenthetical citation at the end of your sentence, which means the author's name or publication year are in that citation, you're going to do that every single time you refer to the source, even if you refer to them four times within a paragraph. However, if you pull the author's name out and make it part of the sentence, if you do like: And according to Smith. After you fully cite the author once with that publication year, you're welcome to call the author's name in the rest of the paragraph. This will reset in the next paragraph however. So, you have to start all over again. And if you come to our homepage and you take a look for that blog post by searching the topic, you'll find the link. And maybe while Sarah wraps us up, maybe I can grab it real quick and put it in the Q & A Box if you're interested in seeing that rule in action.

Sarah: Yeah, thanks, Melissa. You know that was frankly, that was all the questions we had. So that would be fantastic if you can put that in the chat box. I'm nervous to pull this link because I've been having some technical issues tonight. But I want to thank all of you for attending this webinar. I hope you all gotten some great tips and tricks out of it. I know Melissa covered a lot of nontraditional sources but there are certainly a lot more out there. So, if you do come across one of those nontraditional sources that is Melissa didn't cover, you're welcome to do a quick search on our website. Chances are we have it. If we don't have it, you still have questions, makes sure to e-mail writing support. Again, I want to thank you all for being here. If you have additional questions, e-mail us. Also, be sure to check out our APA citation Part 1 webinar in which we have more APA tips and tricks for your reference list and for your citations. So, thanks so much. And have a good evening. We'll see you soon.