If you're writing a research article, you probably want to use information gathered from a survey. By citing such information, you can allow your readers to verify your work on their own and protect yourself from accusations of plagiarism. When using the American Psychological Association (APA) citation style, the citation format will vary depending on whether you are using a published set of survey data that someone else has collected, or whether you do reference to a survey you have conducted yourself.
Method 1 of 2: Use a published survey dataset
Step 1. Begin entering the bibliographic references by writing the author or publisher
The typical entry to bibliographic references in APA format begins with the author's last name followed by the initial of his first name (and the initial of the second if available). However, most survey datasets do not have a specific author. Rather, the institution responsible for conducting the survey is considered the author. Then put a period after the name.
Example: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Step 2. Put the publication date in parentheses
Generally, you should use the year the dataset was published. It is not necessary to use a more specific date. However, if the month or year is included in the publication information, put a comma after the year followed by the month and day. Do not abbreviate the names of the months. Then put a period after the closing parentheses.
Example: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. (2019)
Step 3. Italicize the title and font type
Includes the title of the dataset. When writing it, use a capital letter starting only in the first word and in any proper noun. Then, use the normal font and put the words "Data set" in square brackets. Now place a period after the closing of the brackets.
Example: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. (2019). Muggle pop culture in the wizarding world [Dataset]
Step 4. Include publisher or distributor if it varies from author
If you included the name of the publisher as the author and there is no other publisher or distributor, you can omit this item. However, if they are different, include the name along with a description in brackets of the role the institution performs (either "publisher" or "distributor"). Then put a period after the closing of the brackets.
Example: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. (2019). Muggle Pop Culture in the Wizarding World [Dataset]. Ministry of magic [Distributor]
Step 5. Include a URL in case you are referring to an online source
Typically, you will access a survey data set over the Internet. In that case, type the words “Retrieved from” followed by a direct, full URL of the dataset to finalize the bibliographic reference. You don't need to put a period at the end.
Example: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. (2019). Muggle Pop Culture in the Wizarding World [Dataset]. Ministry of magic [Distributor]. Retrieved from
APA style bibliographic references format:
Author / publisher. (year). Dataset title [Dataset]. Editorial / Distributor. Retrieved from URL
Step 6. Use the author or publisher, and the year of publication for in-text citations
In the body of the article, a parenthetical citation will direct readers to the full bibliographic reference of the source. Include the name of the author or publisher, as well as the year of publication at the end of the sentence, inside the parentheses.
- For example, you could write "Surveys indicate that most witches and wizards are unfamiliar with even the most well-known references to Muggle pop culture (Hogwarts College of Witchcraft and Wizardry, 2019)."
- If you use the name of the author or publisher in the body of the article, then include the year of publication in parentheses. You do not need to add an additional parenthetical quote. For example, you could write "According to a survey conducted by Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (2019), witches and wizards don't pay much attention to Muggle pop culture."
Method 2 of 2: Reference Your Own Survey
Step 1. Describe your survey directly in the text of the article
If you conducted your own survey in connection with your research article, include information about it at the beginning of the document. Let your readers know why you took the survey and what you hope to learn from it.
Meticulously relate your survey to the topic of your article and explain why it was necessary to take it. For example, you probably wanted to reproduce a survey conducted in the 1980s with the same demographic to determine if or how the results have changed
Step 2. Include a brief description of the methods you used to conduct your survey
When describing your survey, explain how you conducted it and how many people participated. If it's relevant to your article, you could also include information on the demographic of those who participated in it.
The way the questions were asked can also affect the answers, so be sure to include that information as well. For example, participants may be more honest answering anonymous online surveys than speaking to someone face-to-face, especially if they are about personal or relatively sensitive questions
Step 3. Make it clear when you refer to data that is derived from your survey
The APA format does not require specific parenthetical citations if you are referencing data from your own survey. Simply specify in the text that the data mentioned comes from your own survey.
For example, you could write "I interviewed 50 Hogwarts students and none of them could name more than one Muggle pop band today."
Since the survey is not published anywhere and cannot be accessed independently by readers, it is not necessary to include an entry in the bibliographic reference list at the end of your document.
Step 4. Include a copy of your survey questions as an appendix to your article
Since your survey is not published anywhere, include a copy of the questions asked to allow readers to review it on their own. Technically, they could reproduce your survey using the same questions (if they wanted to) and see how the answers would vary.
Label the questions “Appendix A” and place them at the end of the article. If you have multiple appendices, label each one with a capital letter in alphabetical order
Check with your instructor or supervisor if you also include the response data sets as an appendix in addition to the questions. If you include both, tag them as separate appendices.
Step 5. Use parenthetical citations to refer to the appendix in the text
If you quote one of the questions or refer to the answer data set, use a parenthesis at the end of the sentence to tell readers where to find that information. Since you will be referring to an important part of your article and not a quote, use the word "See" followed by the tag in the appendix.