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Book chapters: What to cite

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Lee, C. (2020, September 21). Book chapters: What to cite. APA Style.
typewriter with words Chapter 1 on paper

Imagine that after reading a long book, you have found one or two facts relevant to your research. Hooray! But it seems like going overboard to cite the entire book when you used just a paragraph or a chapter . . . so what to cite, then, the chapter or the book?

Well, it depends on the kind of book: authored or edited. This blog post explains how to cite both in seventh edition APA Style.

Notes before proceeding

The examples and guidance in this blog post and in the reference examples on the APA Style website apply to both print and digital book chapters, including books and chapters retrieved from academic research databases.

For ebooks and ebook chapters accessed from academic research databases, do not include the name of the database in the reference list entry (read more about why on the page about database information in references).

Authored book chapters

An authored book is a book in which the same person has written all the chapters. If you used information from just one chapter of an authored book, write a reference for the whole authored book, as in the following example. Do not write a reference list entry for only a chapter in an authored book.

Kearney, D. J., & Simpson, T. L. (2020). Concise guides on trauma care. Mindfulness-based interventions for trauma and its consequences. American Psychological Association.

When you have paraphrased a chapter, and you want to inform readers of which chapter, cite the specific chapter in the in-text citation along with the author and year, as shown in the following examples.

  • Parenthetical citation of a paraphrase from an authored book chapter: (Kearney & Simpson, 2020, Chapter 2)
  • Narrative citation of a paraphrase from an authored book chapter: Kearney and Simpson (2020, Chapter 2)

When you have directly quoted from a chapter, use a standard in-text citation for a quotation, which includes the author, year, and page number. (The format for quotations is the same for both authored and edited book chapters.)

  • Parenthetical citation of a quotation: Research has demonstrated that “mindfulness significantly reshapes the clinical course of depression” (Kearney & Simpson, 2020, p. 42).
  • Narrative citation of a quotation: Kearney and Simpson (2020) described how “mindfulness significantly reshapes the clinical course of depression” (p. 42).

Note that it is not required to cite a chapter of an authored book in the text. If you paraphrased information from multiple chapters or from the whole authored book, a standard in-text citation is sufficient, as in the following examples.

  • Standard parenthetical citation of authored book: (Kearney & Simpson, 2020)
  • Standard narrative citation of authored book: Kearney and Simpson (2020)

Last, you can cite more than just chapters in this way. For more information, see the page on citing specific parts of a source.

Edited book chapters

An edited book is a book in which different people have written different chapters, and the chapters have been compiled or put together by an editor. If you used information from just one chapter of an edited book, cite the chapter you used in the reference list. Create separate reference list entries for separate edited book chapters that you used.

Fountain, Y. (2019). Physical activity games. In J. Stone & C. E. Schaefer (Eds.), Game play: Therapeutic use of games with children and adolescents (3rd ed., pp. 79–98). John Wiley & Sons.

In the text, when you have paraphrased an edited book chapter, cite the author(s) of the chapter and the year of publication of the book, as shown in the following examples.

  • Parenthetical citation of a paraphrase from an edited book chapter: (Fountain, 2019)
  • Narrative citation of a paraphrase from an edited book chapter: Fountain (2019)

If the edited book chapter is particularly long or complex, you can add more specific location information (e.g., a page number or page range) to the citation of the paraphrase if desired, but this is not usually necessary and is not required.

Note that it is also possible to cite a whole edited book, for example, to direct readers to a relevant reference work. However, the more common case is to cite edited book chapters individually.

More information

More examples of book and book chapter references are provided in Chapter 10 of the Publication Manual, Sections 10.2 and 10.3. For more information about authored book references, see the authored book reference examples. For more information about edited book chapter references, see the edited book chapter reference examples.

Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment if you have any questions about citing chapters in APA Style.