In part 4 of the Teaching Citation posts, we discussed one of the aspects of APA that students find most confusing: the odd capitalization of titles.
Unlike the normal capitalization of English titles found in the text where content words are always capitalized…
…the book, “Across Borders: Fifty Years of India’s Foreign Policy,” was written…
…the full citations on the References page don’t always have every content word capitalized.
Dixit, J. N. (1998). Across borders: Fifty years of India’s foreign policy. New Delhi: Picus.
On the APA References page, books and articles have only the first words of the main title and the subtitle capitalized. On top of that, some of the titles are italicized, but not all of them.
The way that some APA titles are capitalized and some are not, some are italicized and some are not, is one of the more difficult points for students to master.
This slide may help to clarify this somewhat. It’s from the newest version of one of my live presentations. The slide shows that the distinctions between types of titles are not as haphazard as they might seem at first.
Each type of title is distinguished by one of the features, either capitalization or italics, except for websites and journal names, which share both characteristics. It makes sense that websites and journal names share a style if you think of them as both “collections” of smaller bits of information. Websites are collections of web pages and journals are collections of articles.
You will also notice that the titles of websites, journals, and books are all italicized. If you think of them all as works that could stand alone, unlike the “collected” information, it makes sense that all of those – websites, journals, and books – share a characteristic as well. In this case, italics.
Remember two things: the odd capitalization is ONLY on the full citation page, NOT in your text, and proper nouns are ALWAYS capitalized.
The entire series on teaching citation is found in the categories for citation and academic integrity. If you have questions or comments or use any of this information to work with your own students, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear about it.