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David Becker
Washington, DC
APA Style Expert and Development Editor in APA Books
Interests: psychology, writing, music, drums, mandolin, martial arts, wisecracking, serial commas
Recent Activity
Hi Malene, Thanks for your question! You are correct that the sample reference list entry in that FAQ page does not need a retrieval date since it is a news article with a set publication date, and its content will probably not change over time. We will be updating that FAQ page and using a different example that will not include a retrieval date.
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Hi Joanne, Thanks! In response to your first question, the Publication Manual is primarily designed for writing articles that will be formally published in academic journals, so it's not necessary to include a publication date with the title of an article. For a class paper, your instructor will likely have rules for including a date. I'm not quite sure how to answer your second question. We do have a FAQ about creating running heads (, but I would recommend going to your school's writing center for assistance with using Word.
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Hi Nicole, Thanks for the question! I apologize for the delay in responding, but this is a somewhat complex issue you bring up, so we're considering a follow-up blog post. Stay tuned!
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By David Becker We’ve all had that experience when a dog or a child walks up to you holding something dangerous, disgusting, or some other d-word that you absolutely do not want in the house. What’s the one question we’ve... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2014 at APA Style Blog
Thanks for your question, Satyagraha! Yes, you should use a serial comma in a list of three or more editors in a reference list entry. As stated on page 88 of the Publication Manual, a comma should always be used in a list of three or more items, no matter where it is in your paper and even if you're using & instead of and. In fact, example 39 on page 207 of the Publication Manual shows a sample reference list entry containing a list of editors that includes a serial comma.
Toggle Commented Jul 25, 2014 on Using Serial Commas at APA Style Blog
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By David Becker Dear APA Style Experts, When should I use ibid. in my research paper? I want to cite the same source multiple times in a row, but I’m not sure how. Please help! —Brann D. Dear Brann, Ibid.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at APA Style Blog
By David Becker So far we have covered the general differences between MLA and APA styles and reviewed how their rules differ when creating in-text citations and reference list entries. However, a reader asked that we cover another difference between... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2014 at APA Style Blog
By David Becker Today, we continue with our series of posts highlighting some differences between APA and MLA reference styles. Last week, I outlined how the two styles handle in-text citations. Today’s post focuses on the reference list (or the... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2014 at APA Style Blog
By David Becker Last week, we touched on the general differences between MLA and APA styles. Today, I talk about what is probably the biggest difference between the two styles: how to cite resources. These divergent rules can make transitioning... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2014 at APA Style Blog
Thanks for the great question, Cheryl! Fortunately, there is a relatively simple answer: You should not cite interviews with research participants. Although you can discuss the data from these interviews, it is more important to protect participant confidentiality than to make your sources retrievable by readers. This APA Style post about discussing data retrieved from research participants goes into much more detail and should answer any other questions you may have on this topic. If not, please feel free to leave another comment or contact us.
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2014 on How to Cite Pseudonyms at APA Style Blog
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by David Becker A common mistake people make is to include apostrophes when pluralizing a number or an abbreviation. Apostrophes are generally used in contractions and to indicate the possessive case, but they are not used to form plurals of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2013 at APA Style Blog
by David Becker Time for a brief review of Grammar 101! As you know, a sentence has two major components—the subject and the predicate. The subject is the person, place, or thing that the sentence is about. The predicate says... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2013 at APA Style Blog
by David Becker Have you ever seen a news report that just happened to relate to the topic of a paper you were writing? Did you really want to cite that report but just didn’t know how? For example, say... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2013 at APA Style Blog
By David Becker This Valentine’s Day, I would like to give you a simple piece of advice: Never, ever use et al. when addressing the one you love! It’s fine when you’re citing sources for an academic paper, but it... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2013 at APA Style Blog
Good question! You would cite the Bible as a classical work. The rules for citing classical works can be found in section 6.18, pages 178-179, of the Publication Manual. Also, the APA Style Blog offers more information about how to cite religious texts in particular. You will notice that no author is mentioned when citing religious sources, so you will not need to worry about who to cite.
Toggle Commented Nov 27, 2012 on How to Cite Pseudonyms at APA Style Blog
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Thank you very much for your comment! "Cite what you see, cite what you use" is more of a general guideline that can assist APA Style users with many of the problems the might run into when citing their sources. It is not a hard-and-fast rule, so it's not surprising that at least one exception exists, and I'm glad you pointed it out. If you or anyone else knows of any other exceptions, then I welcome you to share them in the comments. With regards to your specific point, DOIs provide a direct and more permanent way for readers to access one's sources. We ask APA Style users to check for missing DOIs so that retrievability will be less of an issue for their readers. When no DOI can be found, including the journal's homepage provides reliable source, particularly when a subscription is needed to access to the full article. It also provides a more stable source in that URLs are subject to change. However, there are times when including the full URL makes the most sense, such as when searching for a document on a large government website or when trying to locate a particular comment on a blog. In the end, your reference list entry should include whatever retrieval information will be most helpful to the readers in locating your source. Usually, but not always, that involves citing what you see and citing what you use, but it can also involve a judgment call on your part.
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by David Becker Cite What You See is the motto I used in my previous post about citing pseudonyms to explain that you should cite whatever author name you noted in the source you used, whether it’s a pseudonym or... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2012 at APA Style Blog
by David Becker “Whom do I cite: Mark Twain or Samuel Clemens?” In this post, I provide some basic guidelines and suggestions for citing pseudonyms. There’s no official APA Style rule on this, but a few criteria can help you... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2012 at APA Style Blog
by David Becker One basic rule of APA Style is to capitalize the first word after the colon in a title. For example, in the movie title Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, the is capitalized because it is placed... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2011 at APA Style Blog
by David Becker This week we address the serial comma, seventh in the list of the Top 10 most common APA Style errors as identified by Onwuegbuzie, Combs, Slate, and Frels (2010). Also known as the Oxford comma, the serial... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2011 at APA Style Blog
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