How to Cite State Codes or Statutes in APA Style

Cite state codes and legal statutes in APA style for college research or professionally written papers and reports. APA style is a method of citing references developed 80 years ago by the American Psychological Association and is designed to augment a straightforward, precision approach to academic and professional writing. These rules reduce distractions to the reader while still providing proof of the accuracy of information contained in the paper. There are no specific APA rules for citing state documents. Therefore, when citing state codes, you should use the general format for federal documents.

Type the name of the state followed by the title of the codes or statutes using abbreviations.
For example: Virginia State Legislative Code would read Virg. Leg. Code.

Type the chapter number, with the word chapter abbreviated as “ch.” Type the chapter number followed by a comma.
For example: Virg. Leg. Code ch. 26,

Insert “§“ which is the character used to represent section. In Microsoft Word click the “Insert” tab then click “Symbol.” Click “More Symbols” at the bottom of the box and scroll to the symbol. Click “Insert” then “Close.” Follow the character with the section number of the code. Close this portion of the citation with a period.
For example: Virg. Leg. Code ch. 26, § 84.12.3.

Type the name of the act. Capitalize the first letter of each word in the title, with the exception of articles, prepositions and conjunctions with less than four letters.
For example: Virg. Leg. Code ch. 26, § 84.12.3. This Is Not a Real Act.

Type the volume number and name followed by the page number. Close this portion of the citation with a period.
For example: Virg. Leg. Code ch. 26, § 84.12.3. This Is Not a Real Act. 1999 Virg. Code 267.

End the citation with the date of the act followed by a period.
For example: Virg. Leg. Code ch. 26, § 84.12.3. This Is Not a Real Act. 1999 Virg. Code 267. 24 June 2011.

How to List National & State Standards of Education in APA Style

Understanding how and when to apply American Psychological Association style to research papers can mean the difference between passing and failing an assignment or class. Also, failing to properly cite sources may lead to accusations of plagiarism and even expulsion. Avoid these pitfalls by learning to cite references and apply APA style to your writing.

National Standards

The United States does not currently maintain education standards at the federal level. Rather, the responsibility for education standards falls to state governments. However, in an effort to achieve consistency and measurable student preparation across the country, states joined forces to create the Common Core State Standards in 2009. The standards have since been completed, and although there is still significant debate as to the necessity, effectiveness and fairness of the standards, according to the Common Core Initiative, 43 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories have adopted the standards. States and territories that have yet to adopt the standards include Alaska, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia and Puerto Rico.

State Standards

Though many states have adopted the Common Core State Standards, the responsibility for implementing these standards and maintaining them lies with the individual states. States that have not adopted the Common Core must develop and maintain their own educational standards. Detailed information and legislation on state education standards can be found on each state’s department of education web site. These may be accessed via the Common Core Initiative Standards in your State page or through the individual states’ portals.

In-Text References

As you address educational standards in you writing, it is important to cite them to detail where you obtained the information. When using APA style, the first place to cite your references is within the text of your paper. You will need to cite your source within the text any time that you paraphrase, quote or present information that you obtained from a source. To cite standards in-text, include the author’s name, copyright date, and, when available, the page number where you found the information within parenthesis at the end of the sentence or paragraph, for example:

The Standards aim to align instruction with this framework so that many more students than at present can meet the requirements of college and career readiness (Common Core Standards Initiative, 2010, p. 5).

References Page Citations

There are multiple formats for citations on a reference page within an APA-styled document. However, education standards will take the format of a government document or document from a private organization. To cite educational standards on a references page, include the author’s name, copyright year, title, publisher and location of publication. Format standards in the following manner:

Author(s). (Year published). Title of standard. City of publication: Publisher.

Also, if you locate the standards online, include information on where you retrieved the standard online at the end of the citation. For example, you would cite the Common Core State Standards for mathematics as follows:

National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, & Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). Common Core State Standards for mathematics: Kindergarten introduction.

How to Use Reference Sources

There are a number of reference sources that are available for your use in libraries and on the internet. Knowing how and when to use these sources can be tricky for some people. There are a few things that you can do when using reference sources to make sure you are thorough and accurate in your search for information.

Find credible sources. Print media like books, journals, and magazines are usually reliable and credible sources. It is easy to locate the writer, publisher and other copyright information for these publications should you need to verify information. The internet is tricky in the sense that anyone can post anything. Even sites that look credible can end up being opinions or blogs.

Use a variety of different material. Do not rely on one type of source for your reference materials. Find supporting documentation from at least three different places, like books, encyclopedias, newspapers, magazines and journals.

Find documentation for the issue as a whole. Do not keep only one-sided or biased information that you uncover during your search. Make sure that you understand the entire issue and are knowledgeable about the different sources and opinions.

Select a writing style. Knowing what information you will need to cite your sources will depend on what type of style guide you are using. Some examples of different styles are Modern Language Association (MLA), Chicago Language Association (CLA) and American Psychological Association (APA).

How to Type the Best Reference Letters

Writing a reference letter for someone you know does not have to be a big deal or a difficult task. However, that does not mean that you should not do it carefully; you should type a good reference letter that can help to highlight the person’s skills and attributes. Many people use reference letters to help them get interviews for professional positions they are applying for. Writing the best reference letter that you can will enhance the person’s likelihood of getting called in for an interview.

Start at the top of the document in your word processing program. Type the name of the recipient of the reference letter.

Press Enter to get to the next line. Type the recipient’s address with the street number and name on one line and the city, state and zip code on the next.

Skip one line by pressing Enter twice. Type the date that you are typing the letter.

Press Enter twice to skip one line again. Then, type the greeting for the reference letter. Whenever possible, address the person directly, such as “Dear Ms. Sampson.”

Skip one line between each paragraph of the reference letter by pressing Enter twice.

Introduce who you are and specify your relationship to the person for whom you are writing this letter of reference in the first paragraph. Include your profession and education, as well as your years of experience.

Type a paragraph to discuss the qualifications of the person for whom you are writing the reference. Describe their assets and experiences and double check any facts of which you are uncertain.

Include a paragraph about how good of a worker or student you believe the person is. This is your opinion, but in a reference letter, always try to emphasize positive traits. When you can, include an anecdote to show that the person is a hard worker, such as his exceptional job on a difficult assignment or project.

Say one last positive thing about the person in the final paragraph, such as a general statement about work ethic or vast experiences. Then, include your contact information and invite the recipient to contact you, if necessary.

Press Enter twice and type “Yours sincerely” or a similar closing.

Press Enter four times and type your full name.

Print out the reference letter on your professional letterhead when possible. Sign your name in blue or black ink below the closing.

How to List References on Term Papers

When working on a term paper, it is critically important to acknowledge all of your references. Doing so helps other scholars know where to look for more information on your subject. In addition, listing your references gives credit to your sources and avoids plagiarism. Most professors require references listed in a specific format, depending on the field of study. For most undergraduate work, the MLA (Modern Language Association) style is preferred. Keep in mind that references should first be noted with in-text citations, and then listed alphabetically in the correct format in a “Works Cited” page at the end of your paper.

Works Cited in MLA format

Basic format for a book lists the book by the author’s name. Pay attention to the placement of all punctuation: Author’s last name comma(,) first name period (.) Title underlined colon(:) Subtitle underlined period(.) Place of publication colon(:) Publisher comma(,) date period(.)


Herrera, Hayden. Frida: _A Biography_of_FridaKahlo. New York: Perennial, 1983.

If the book has a corporate author, list the entry under the name of the corporate author, even if it is the same as the publisher.

Articles from an encyclopedia or dictionary are listed by the title of the article, unless a specific author is given for that entry, in which case the author’s name comes before the title of the article. (“)Article title in quotation marks period(.)(“) Title of encyclopedia underlined period(.) Date period(.)

“Croatia.” _The_New_EncyclopaediaBritannica. 1991.

Articles from periodicals should include the exact date of publication, not only the year. Author’s last name comma(,) first name period(.) (“)Title of article in quotation marks period(.)(“) Title of publication underlined Date of publication colon(:) page numbers period(.)

Bernard, Tinamarie. “The Threesome.” San Diego_JewishJournal Jan. 2010: 32-34.