I have a question about citing a reference in APA format. The following reference was created by one of the members of my school group for a paper we are working on (let's just dismiss indentation on SE); I do not yet know if it was created manually or generated:

The Standard Group. (2012, September 12). Is Ghana the next African economic tiger?. Retrieved July 19, 2014, from http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000065384

The title of the article "Is Ghana the next African economic tiger?" ends in a question mark. As shown in the reference, there is a period appended, "Is Ghana the next African economic tiger?." Two questions:

  • Does the period still get appended to the end?
  • Is the period supposed to be italicized?
  • Did you mean to repeat the title? I can't tell which of the two post-title periods you're asking about in the second question… – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 20 '14 at 16:11
  • 1
    Why not cite it in the format that The Standard Group demand in their terms of service? – Frank Jul 20 '14 at 16:21
  • Isn't this essentially a question requesting one particular opinion about style rather than a genuine request for an overview of accepted different usages? Which I believe could well be claimed to make it OT because of subjectiveness. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 20 '14 at 16:22
  • @Frank - paper requires APA format, no other, unless The Standard Group is APA format. I am unfamiliar with multiple format styles and am asking only about this one specific style. – JoshDM Jul 20 '14 at 16:41
  • 5
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about how to use the American Psychological Association (APA) citation and format style (see this Wikipedia article) rather than general English usage. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 20 '14 at 21:08

The answer appears to be no.

On page 22 of this sample reference list by the APA, there is an example of an article that ends in a question marks, just like yours (though it’s from a paper journal, not an online one):

Ohnishi, T., Matsuda, H., Tabira, T., Asada, T., & Uno, M. (2001). Changes in brain morphology in Alzheimer’s disease and exaggerated aging process? American Journal of Neuroradiology, 22, 1680–1685.

As you can see, they leave out the period after the title when it ends in a punctuation mark. This is similar to how any final punctuation in author name(s) is merged with the required period: “… & Uno, M. (2001)”, not “… & Uno, M.. (2001).”—though of course with author names, you’re a lot less likely to come up against question or exclamation marks.

You should also note that articles are not italicised; only full works and journals are italicised.

  • 1
    Please provide a citation for this source ;) – Frank Jul 20 '14 at 16:59
  • 1
    @Frank Shush, you! – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 20 '14 at 17:00
  • 1
    The citation generators that are built into some interfaces for databases of periodical/scholarly literature often add the period where it is superfluous, as here, which shows how underdeveloped the algorithms are. I always advise students to use such auto-generated citations as starting points but to take responsibility for correcting them. Article titles in APA references are not "italicised," as JBJ notes; I would add that (contrary to OP's example) they are not enclosed within quotation marks either. – Brian Donovan Jul 20 '14 at 18:21
  • @Brian He only adds the quotation marks when discussing them in the question (where perhaps he doesn't use APA); in the actual example reference, there are no quotation marks. (Incidentally, were yours around the word ‘italicised’ scare quotes? And if so, why?) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 20 '14 at 18:30
  • They are not scare quotes, inasmuch as I am precisely quoting a specific and identified source, who spells the word otherwise than as I (an American) would and do. For me to Americanize your spelling were to misrepresent you; not to do so were to misrepresent myself; the quotation marks seemed thus the least of three evils. – Brian Donovan Jul 20 '14 at 18:38

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.