APA Style - Citing Government Sources

The examples below supplement the basics of APA Style.

Important:  The “author” of any government material is
almost always “institutional” — an agency, office, committee, department, etc. — not an individual person.

When in doubt, provide the full “hierarchy” of the issuing agency.

Here are basic examples of citations for a printed item and an online item (taken from the Diana Hacker site).

Below is a much more detailed discussion of the care and feeding of APA Style citations for government publications, but the above examples from the Hacker site should address the vast majority of situations.


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Examples of Printed Items

You should always include a complete title, even when it’s of unwieldy length, in order to differentiate
between that item and others with similar titles.

United States. Congress. House of Representatives. Committee on 
     Banking and Financial Services.  (1998).  Conduct of 
     monetary policy; Report of the Federal Reserve Board 
     pursuant to the Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act 
     of 1978, P.L. 95-523, and the state of the economy: Hearing 
     before the Subcommittee on Domestic and International 
     Monetary Policy of the Committee on Banking and Financial 
     Services, U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred Fifth 
     Congress, second session, July 22, 1998.  Washington: 
     Government Printing Office.   (Y 4.B 22/1:105-70)

Personal authors, as differentiated from agency authors, may be identified
after the title. If the agency author is also the publisher, a shortened
form of the name is enough. If the publication is obviously labeled as one in a
series, you should identify the series.

United States. Department of Justice.  Office of 
     Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice.
     (1998). High school youths, weapons, and violence:
     A national survey by J.F. Sheley and J.D. Wright.
     Washington DC: National Institute of Justice.  
     (Research in brief)   (J 28.24:Y 8)

 


It is always desirable to identify a report number or document,
particularly with Congressional publications, as a means of
differentiating among items with similar titles.

United States. Congress.  Senate.  Committee on Commerce, .
     Science, and Transportation.  (1999). Satellite Television 
     Act of 1999: Report of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
     Transportation on S. 303, together with minority views.  
     Washington DC: Government Printing Office. (Senate Report 106-51)   
     (Y 1.1/5:106-51)

Examples of Online Items

Again, an agency is usually the “author,” although the same document may appear on several different agencies’ Web sites, perhaps, resulting in different authors and/or titles for the same document.

Following is a citation of the online “version” of the first printed example above, found on the Web here.

United States. Federal Reserve Board.  (1998, July 22).
     Conduct of monetary policy; Report of the Federal Reserve Board 
     pursuant to the Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act 
     of 1978; July 21, 1998 report.  Retrieved 3 December 
     1998 from the Federal Reserve Web site: 

http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/hh/1998/july/fullreport.htm

United States. Federal Reserve Board = issuing agency/author

(1998, July 22) = date of page

Monetary policy… = title of document

Retrieved… = found/read/used on World Wide Web on date given

http://… = full URL of page/document


Following is a citation of the electronic “version” of the second printed example,
above, found on the Web here.

United States.  Department of Justice.  Office of
      Justice  Programs.  National Institute of Justice.
      (1998, October)  High school youths, weapons,
      and violence: A national survey by J.F. Sheley
      & J.D. Wright.  (Research in brief)  Retrieved
      December 3, 1998 from the Department of Justice Web site:

http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/172857.pdf

United States Department of Justice… = issuing agency/author

High school youths… = title

J.F. Sheley & J.D. Wright = personal authors

(1998, October) = date of page

(Research in brief) = series

Retrieved… = found/read/used on World Wide Web on date given

http://… = full URL of page/document