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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: If there is no author listed for the encyclopedia article or dictionary definition, you should begin the reference with the article title followed by the date.  This is followed by the word "In" and the names of the editors, the title of the reference book in italics, and the publication information.

For major reference works with a large editorial board, list the name of the lead editor followed by et al.

Titles: Capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title of the artilce and the title of the book.

When citing a work by title in a parenthetical citation, use the first few words of the title in quotation marks in place of an author's name. All significant words in the shortened title are capitalized.

Place information about editions, volume and page numbers in brackets following the title.

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

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

  • Author of article
  • Date of publication
  • Title of article
  • Title of encyclopeida or dictionary
  • Editor or editors
  • Edition number
  • Volume and page numbers used
  • City or location of publisher
  • Publisher
  • URL for articles retrieved from the Internet

Examples of References:

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

Diabetic retinopathy. (2012, March 19). In MedTerms medical dictionary. Retrieved from

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

Rosenthal, M. J. (2007). Diabetes. In J. E. Birren (Ed.), Encyclopeida of gerontology (2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 409-417). San Diego, CA: Elsevier.

Examples of In-Text Citations:

The early stages of diabetic retinopathy do not cause symptoms ("Diabetic Retinopathy," 2012).

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

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

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