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APA Style Guide: Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

This guide is designed to help students learn about APA style and cite sources for their research.

Quick Tips

Authors: For entries in a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia, with a group author or organization, use that as the author (e.g., Merriam-Webster). For works with an individual author or authors, cite the work as you would any author in APA. See the Article tab for how to cite one author, two authors, three to twenty authors, and twenty-one or more authors. 

Dates: When an online reference work is continuously updated and the versions are not archived, use "n.d." (meaning "no date") as the year of publication and include the retrieval date. If the online reference work is archived, a retrieval date is not needed. 

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

Information required for a reference to an article from an encyclopedia or dictionary includes the following:

  • Author of article (group author or individual author)
  • Date of publication
  • Title of article
  • Title of encyclopedia or dictionary
  • Editor or editors (if applicable)
  • Edition number (if applicable)
  • Volume and page numbers used (if applicable)
  • Publisher
  • URL for articles retrieved from the Internet
  • Retrieval date (if online reference work is continuously updated and entries are not archived)

Examples of References

Diabetic retinopathy. (2008). In Stedman's medical dictionary for the health professions and nursing (6th ed., p. 437). Wolters/Lippincott.

Graham, G. (2019). Behaviorism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Summer 2019 ed.). Stanford University, 

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Self-report. In dictionary. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from 

Quinn, L. (2004). Diabetes: Management. In M. D. Mezey et al. (Eds.), The encyclopedia of elder care (pp. 213-215). Prometheus.

Rosenthal, M. J. (2007). Diabetes. In J. E. Birren (Ed.), Encyclopedia of gerontology (2nd ed., pp. 409-417). Elsevier.


Examples of In-Text Citations:

Parenthetical citations:
Diabetic retinopathy is defined as "retinal changes occurring in diabetes of long duration" (Diabetic Retinopathy, 2008, p. 437).

A formal definition of self-report is "a report about one's behavior provided especially by one who is a subject of research" (Merriam-Webster, n.d.).

The benefits of an exercise program must take into account the presence of complications in elderly patients with type 2 diabetes (Quinn, 2004, p. 2013).

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