How to Cite a Report in APA

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Do you need to make an APA report citation for your research paper? This guide will teach you how to cite a report in APA and create accurate references and text in-citations for various types of reports. That includes citations for  government reports, annual reports, and reports made by both individuals, task forces, & organizations. The content of this guide is based on the 7th edition of the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (pp. 329-331).

Are you looking for information on how to cite a different kind of resource? Check out this EasyBib guide on creating an APA citation for a web page, or this one on formatting an APA book citation.


What is Gray Literature?

In order to begin, let’s take a few moments to define what is gray literature.

Basically, gray literature includes any research or work that was produced by an individual or organization through non-traditional publishing routes. 

A report is one example of gray literature. Reports are original research documents that are published by companies, organizations, or working groups that are intended to present the key findings of a specific research project. Since they are not distributed in a traditional way, reports are considered gray literature.

Though gray literature isn’t a traditional source type (like books, journals, newspapers, etc.), there can be a lot of value in gray literature.

Types include:

  • Annual reports
  • Codes of ethics
  • Conference proceedings
  • Financial health reports
  • Government accountability reports
  • GrantsPeriodic reports
  • reports
  • Issue briefs
  • Policy briefs
  • Pharmacological studies
  • Press releases
  • Progress
  • Technical reports
  • Unpublished clinical trials

What You Need

A reference entry for a report, and other gray literature, will contain the the following source details: 

  1. Author name
  2. Date published. Either year (2020) or year, month day (2020, February 14)
  3. Title of the work (in sentence case)
  4. Associated number (if applicable). Examples: Report No. 22, Project No. 567, Issue 101, etc.
  5. Work description (if needed). Examples: [Grant], [Policy brief], [Press release]
  6. Publisher name
  7. DOI or URL (if applicable). DOi would be formatted as https://doi.org/xxxx

Here’s a basic structure for citing gray literature:

Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Date published). Title of the work (Associated number). Publisher Name. DOI or URL


When the Title Doesn’t Describe the Literature Type

In some cases, the type of gray literature that you are referencing may not be clear by the title alone, as is sometimes the case with policy briefs and press releases. In these instances, you should include a bracketed description of the gray literature immediately after the title.

Structure:

Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Date published). Title of the work [Work description] (Associated number). Publisher Name. DOI or URL

To see an example of brackets in use, go down to the section on how to cite a press release.


When the Author and Publisher Name are the Same

According to the Publication manual, when the author and publisher are the same, do not add the publisher element (329). To avoid redundancy in these references, you only need to use the name as the author.

Structure:

Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Date published). Title of the work [Work description] (Associated number). DOI or URL

Example:

In this example, the report has been both authored and published by the U.S. Department of the Interior. In cases such as these, provide the name of the organization or agency only once as the author element at the beginning of the reference.

U.S. Department of the Interior. (2016). Agency financial report FY 2016. https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/doi_fy_2016_afr.pdf

In-text citation example:

  • Parenthetical citation: (U.S. Department of the Interior, 2016)
  • Narrative citation: U.S. Department of the Interior (2016)

If you’re still a little unsure about how to cite a report, try our EasyBib citation form for reports. 

If you are interested in learning more about how to cite gray literature, check out Section 10.4 of the Publication manual. 


How to Cite a Report from an Organization or Government Agency

Structure:

Organization or Agency. (Year Published). Title of report or gray literature in sentence case (Associated number). Publisher Name. DOI or URL

Example:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. (2017). NIH Turning discovery into health. (NIH Publication No. 11-7634). https://www.nih.gov/sites/default/files/about-nih/discovery-into-health/nih-turning-discovery-into-health.pdf

In-text citation example:

Some government publications will have many departments listed as the author. According to the Publication manual, you should choose the most detailed department and use that as the in-text citation author (Section 9.11).

  • Parenthetical citation: (National Institutes of Health, 2017)
  • Narrative citation: National Institutes of Health (2017)

How to Cite a Report With Listed Author(s)

If the report has a specific person or persons listed on the title page, then their names belong in the author position, and the organization belongs in the publisher position.

Structure:

1st Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial., & 2nd Author Last Name, First Initial, Middle Initial. (Year Published). Title of report in sentence case (Associated number). Publisher Name. DOI or URL

Example:

Gerling, M., & Wilson, T. (2019). Evaluating the June area survey’s field enumerator training (RDD-19-01). U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Research and Development Division. https://www.nass.usda.gov/Education_and_Outreach/Reports,_Presentations_and_Conferences/reports/Evaluating_the_June_Area_Surveys_Field_Enumerator_Training.pdf

For this example we have chosen a research report which utilizes the U.S. Research and Development Division’s own indexing system (RDD-19-01). If the report is presented with a report number like this, it is included in the reference within parentheses right after the title.

In addition, there are multiple government agencies responsible for the report in addition to the individual authors. In this case, the agencies are all included in the publisher position and separated by a comma.

In-text citation:

  • Parenthetical citation: (Gerling & Wilson, 2019)
  • Narrative citation: Gerling & Wilson (2019)

Here’s one more example reference:

Gorbunova, Y. (2013). Laws of attrition: Crackdown on Russia’s civil society after Putin’s return to the presidency. Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/04/24/laws-attrition/crackdown-russias-civil-society-after-putins-return-presidency#page

Note: Since no report number was identified, it was not included in the citation.

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How to Cite a Report That is Part of a Series

Structure:

Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial., & Author 2 Last Name, First Initial, Middle Initial. (Year Published). Title of report in sentence case (Series Name, Series Number). Publisher Name. DOI or URL

Example:

Robson, S.G., Heiny, J.S., Arnold, L.R. (2000). Geohydrology of the shallow aquifers in the Boulder-Longmont area, Colorado (Hydrologic Atlas, 746). https://doi.org/10.3133/ha746D

In-text citation:

  • Parenthetical citation: (Robson et al., 2000)
  • Narrative citation: Robson et al. (2000)

How to Cite a Report by a Group, Task Force, or Working Group

Structure:

Name of Group. (Year Published). Title of report in sentence case (Associated number). Publisher Name. DOI or URL

Example:

International Space Station Independent Safety Task Force. (2007). Final report. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/170368main_IIST_%20Final%20Report.pdf

In-text citation:

  • Parenthetical citation: (International Space Station Independent Safety Task Force, 2007)
  • Narrative citation: International Space Station Independent Safety Task Force (2007)

How to Cite an Annual Report     

Structure:

Name of Organization or Company. (Year Published). Title of report in sentence case. URL.

Example:

Yum! Brands. (2019). 2018 Annual Report. https://www.annualreports.com/HostedData/AnnualReports/PDF/NYSE_YUM_2018.pdf

Since annual reports are almost always published by the companies or organizations that commissioned them, the author and publisher name would be the same in a reference. To avoid this duplication, the organization name only needs to be listed once as the author; the publisher element can be left out.

In-text citation:

  • Parenthetical citation: (Yum! Brands, 2019)
  • Narrative citation: Yum! Brands (2019)

How to Cite a Press Release

Structure:

Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Date published). Title of the work [Work description] (Associated number). Publisher Name. DOI or URL

Example:

Chegg. (2019, June 6). Chegg reveals first of its kind equity plan to help its US employees pay off their student debt. https://investor.chegg.com/Press-Releases/press-release-details/2019/Chegg-reveals-first-of-its-kind-equity-plan-to-help-its-US-employees-pay-off-their-student-debt/default.aspx

In-text citation:

  • Parenthetical citation: (Chegg, 2019)
  • Narrative citation: Chegg (2019)

References 

American Psychological Association. (2020a). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

American Psychological Association. (2020b). Style-Grammar-Guidelines. https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/basic-principles/parenthetical-versus-narrative


Published August 10, 2012. Updated March 24, 2020.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.


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