Both students and researchers in multiple scientific fields often need to reference a lab manual in their work. As with every type of source material, it is important to cite this type of document correctly. Here is a look at how to do so properly in accordance with the APA Style Guide, as well as why it matters.

The Importance of Citing a Lab Manual Correctly

When writing a paper or other type of research-based publication, it is vital to cite sources in a way that correctly credits the original author. If this is not done properly, it can result in the writer being accused of plagiarism. An accusation such as this could not only result in an academic penalty, but could also discredit one’s work – or even cast a shadow over one’s entire career.

It also gives your work a more professional appearance, as incorrectly formatted citation pages or in-text references can make an otherwise well-written work look less polished.

How to Cite a Lab Manual

According to the American Psychological Association (APA) Style Guide, this type of source should be cited in the same way that a book would be. There are two parts to this citation process: in-text citation and a corresponding reference page.

In-Text Citation

As the name implies, in-text citation is a reference to the source material within the text of the report itself. This, too, can be broken down into two smaller subsections: parenthetical and narrative references. In both cases, you will use what the APA refers to as the “author-date” citation format. Both paraphrases and quotes need citations.

If you don’t know the author’s name you may write the title of the publication in italics in its place.

Here are some examples:

  • Parenthetical Reference
  • Parenthetical references come at the end of a quote or paraphrased sentence and include the author’s surname, the date of the lab manual’s publication, and the page number of the page being referenced (Surname, 2021, p.129).
  • If you don’t know the name of the author, you may put the title in its place (Title, 2021, p.129).
  • Narrative Reference
  • Narrative references are used when the name of the work or author is mentioned in the sentence. In this case, you need only put the year in parentheses after the title or author. According to How to Cite a Lab Manual (2021), “this is an example of the format.”
  • If you mention both the author/title and the year in the sentence, you do not need to add a parenthetical statement.

Reference List Entry
At the end of your paper, there should be a references page, where a source is cited in full. This should include the author’s surname, first initials, the lab manual’s year of publication, the title of the article referenced (if applicable), and the title of the source itself with pages referenced and web address (if applicable), as follows:

Smith, J.S. (2021). How to Cite a Lab Manual. Lab Manual Title, 129.

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