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APA Style Guide: Citing Visuals

A guide to help users create citations using APA (American Psychological Association) style.

General Guidelines

The purpose of visual materials or other illustrations is to enhance the audience's understanding of information in the document and/or awareness of a topic. Writers can embed several types of visuals using most basic word processing software: diagrams, musical scores, photographs, or, for documents that will be read electronically, audio/video applications.

Necessity. Visual material such as tables and figures can be used quickly and efficiently to present a large amount of information to an audience, but visuals must be used to assist communication, not to use up space, or disguise marginally significant results behind a screen of complicated statistics. Ask yourself this question first: Is the table or figure necessary? For example, it is better to present simple descriptive statistics in the text, not in a table.

Relation of Tables or Figures and Text. Because tables and figures supplement the text, refer in the text to all tables and figures used and explain what the reader should look for when using the table or figure. Focus only on the important point the reader should draw from them, and leave the details for the reader to examine on her own.

Documentation. If you are using figures, tables and/or data from other sources, be sure to gather all the information you will need to properly document your sources.

Integrity and Independence. Each table and figure must be intelligible without reference to the text, so be sure to include an explanation of every abbreviation (except the standard statistical symbols and abbreviations).

Organization, Consistency, and Coherence. Number all tables sequentially as you refer to them in the text (Table 1, Table 2, etc.), likewise for figures (Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.). Abbreviations, terminology, probability level values must be consistent across tables and figures in the same article. Likewise, formats, titles, and headings must be consistent. Do not repeat the same data in different tables.

APA Rules

APA 6th

  • does NOT provide specific rules or examples for citing images;
  • includes images in its rules for Figures and Tables;
  • this is the Library's interpretation of these rules.
    • Figures - graphs, flow charts, maps, drawings, photographs etc.
    • Tables - information displayed in orderly columns and rows

Citing Images

Images, diagrams and artistic works should be cited as you would cite any other type of work.
Note:
  • Images in text are also generally accompanied by a caption that includes copyright information and a statement of permission for use. Please check with your instructor to see if this is necessary.
Tip: You should give as much information as possible about the images that you have used, including these basics:
  • creator's name (author, artist, photographer etc.)
  • date the work was published or created
  • title of the work
  • place of publication
  • publisher
  • type of material (for photographs, charts, online images)
  • website address and access date
  • name of the institution or museum where the work is located (for artworks and museum exhibits)
  • dimensions of the work (for artworks)
General Format 
      In-Text Citation (Paraphrase): 
      (Artist Surname, Year)
     
      In-Text Citation (Quotation):
      (Artist Surname, Year)
    References:
      Artist Surname, First Initial. Second Initial. (Year). Title of the artwork [Format].
            Retrieved from URL (address of web site)

       Reference (No Author)
      Title of work [Type of work]. (Year image was created). 
            Retrieved from URL (address of web site)

       Reference  (No Author, No Title, No Date)
      Many images found on the Web fall under this category. 
      Try to locate the missing information by clicking on the image,
      and/or looking at the bottom of the image.
             [Subject and type of work]. Retrieved from URL (address of web site)

  
Example
 
      In-Text Citation (Paraphrase):
      (Baumel, 2010)
      In-Text Citation (Quotation):
      (Baumel, 2010)
      References (Basic):
      Baumel, A.  (2010). Cholera treatment center in Haiti [Online image]. 
             Retrieved October 2, 2010 from https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org

 
        Reference (No Author)
      Flu epidemic [Online image]. (1919).Retrieved November 6, 2010
             from http://www.history.net/photo/flu-epidemic-art/collections 
       Reference  (No Author, No Title, No Date):
       [Untitled illustration of a sleeping dog ]. Retrieved December 5, 2010
             from http://www.sleepinganimals/pix.com

APA in-text citation example:

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