How to Write an APA Style Reference When Information Is Missing

While referencing you will come across certain material that has some of the normal referencing elements missing, ie no date of publication, no author etc. When this happens you may need to change your reference slightly. Below are some examples of what you may need to do.

 

APA style

What is missing ?

What’s missing? Solution Position A Position B Position C Position D
Nothing—all pieces are present List information in the order of author, date, title (with description in square brackets if necessary for explanation of nonroutine information), and source Nothing—all pieces are present Author, A. A. (date). Title of document [Format]. or Title of document [Format]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx or Retrieved Month Day, Year, from http://xxxxx or Location: Publisher. or doi:xxxxx
Author is missing Substitute title for author; then provide date and source Title of document [Format]. or Title of document [Format]. (date).

same as in (1)

Date is missing Provide author, substitute n.d. for no date, and then give title and source Author, A. A. (n.d.). Title of document [Format]. or Title of document [Format].

same as in (1)

Title is missing Provide author and date, describe document inside square brackets, and then give source Author, A. A. (date). [Description of document].

same as in (1)

Author and date are both missing Substitute title for author and n.d. for no date', then give source Title of document [Format]. or Title of document [Format]. (n.d.). n/a

same as in (1)

Author and title are both missing Substitute description of document inside square brackets for author; then give date and source [Description of document]. (date). n/a

same as in (1)

Date and title are both missing Provide author, substitute n.d. for no date, describe document inside square brackets, and then give source Author, A. A. (n.d.). [Description of document].

same as in (1)

Author, date, and title are all missing Substitute description of document inside square brackets for author, substitute n.d. for no date, and then give source [Description of document]. (n.d.). n/a

same as in (1)

Source is missing Cite as personal communication or find a substitute n/a n/a n/a

n/a

If everything! The Source is missing

Solution  Cite as personal communication or find a substitute

 


Note.

Italicize a title when the document stands alone (books, reports, etc.) but not when it is part  of a greater whole (chapters, articles, etc.). The retrieval statement should reflect either a URL (for online documents without DOIs), a publisher location and name (for print sources), or a DOI (for any document that has one). Include a retrieval date with a URL only when a source is likely to change (e.g., wikis). Create an in-text citation by using the pieces from Positions A and B. For titles in Position A, use italics for works that stand alone (Title of Document, date) and quotation marks for works that are part of a greater whole (“Title of Document,” date). Retain square brackets for descriptions of documents in Position A ([Description of document], date).

Download the PDF version from here 

WHEN INFORMATION IS MISSING


References:

http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/

http://libguides.unitec.ac.nz/

2 Comments
  1. Sani Lawal (Daura) Natambu. says

    Very Educative indeed.Pls, continue to impart more to us. Thanks!

  2. RABIU BENA says

    IT IS TIMELY. THERE IS NEW VERSION OF APA STYLE OF REFERENCING THAT REQUIRES NO BORDERS ON TABLES IN A TEXT AND SO ON. I HOPE OUR PAPER VERIFICATION COMMITTEE WILL COME TO TERMS WITH THIS DEVELOPMENT. NO PAPER SHOULD BE REJECTED ON GROUND OF MIXED REFERENCING…WE NEED CHANGE AND FAIRNESS!

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