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APA 6th ed. Style Guide: Government Docs

Guide to using the American Psychological Association (APA) style manual.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This guide refers to the APA 6th edition. As a university, we will be transitioning to the APA 7th edition beginning in June, 2021.

  • Graduate Education students starting their action research or thesis in January 2021 should refer to the 6th edition to complete your paper.
  • Students starting their thesis or action research in June 2021 should refer to the APA 7th edition. (For help with the 7th edition, either go to the Darling Library's APA 7th edition LibGuide or to the Purdue Online Writing Lab.)

2021-01-19 --rrh

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Cite Government Documents

Use the Reference style for items listed alphabetically at the end of the research paper. The In-Text style is for the same items referred to in the body of the paper. Include page numbers in the In-Text style only when quoting from a source. When paraphrasing from a source, omit the In-Text page numbers.

APA Citation Style does not have a separate category for government publications. According to APA, government documents can be considered Books, Technical/Research Reports or Brochures.

Helpful Tips:

  • Treat a government document as a book, report, or brochure.
  • If a person is named on the title page, use her or him as author.
  • If no person is named, use the government agency, department, or branch as a group author (Publication Manual, Ex. 31, p.205).
  • Give the name of the group author exactly as it appears on the title page. If the branch or agency is not well known, include its higher department first.
  • When the author and publisher are the same, use the word Author as the name of the publisher after the location (p. 203).
  • If there is a series or report number, include it in parentheses after the title (p. 205).
  • The manual refers to the GPO (U.S. Gov. Printing Office). Canadian equivalents may be: Queen’s Printer, Ministry of Supply and Services, Canadian Government Publishing, etc.
General Formats & Examples

In-text Citation (paraphrase):

(Government Author, Year)

In-text Citation (quotation):

(Government Author, Year, page or paragraph number [if available])

Reference (print document):

Government Name. Name of Government Agency. (Year). Title of Document: Subtitle (Report No. xxx [if available]). Publisher.

Example (print document):

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. (Y 4.B 22/1:105-70). Government Printing Office.

Reference (online document):

Government Name. Name of Government Agency. (Year). Title of Document: Subtitle (Report No. xxx [if available]). Retrieved from Agency name website: http://www.xxxxxxx

Example (online document):

United States. Federal Reserve Board. (1998). Monetary policy report to the Congress Pursuant to the full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978; July 21, 1998, report. Retrieved from the Federal Reserve website:

Please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed., for a complete guide to citing your resources and for additional commentary on particular rules, rules of thumb, and formatting.