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Public Policy Formation (34:833:510)

This guide is designed to help you find resources to complete your papers for Professors Crowley and Hetling, Fall 2023

Citing in APSA - Video

Citing Government Documents: APSA Formatting and Examples

Developed using the APSA Style Manual (2018 Version)

A few basic tips: 

  • Many common legislative terms (House, Senate, Congress, etc) are abbreviated in the APSA citation format. See the notes column for further elaborations about what is abbreviated. 
  • It's important to know the difference between the session of congress and the bill/law number, as you'll need them in your citations. See the numbering note in this libguide. 
    • Examples:
      • P.L. 111-217 is 217th law passed by the 111th session of the US Congress. 
      • 107 H.R. 263 is the 263 bill introduced during the 107th session of the US Congress 

Reference List Citation Formatting 

Document Type Reference Format  Example Notes 
Bill [Name of the Proposed Act], [Bill Number (without the session number)], [Session of Congress]. [(Year)].  Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, H.R. 1599, 114th Cong. (2015). 

Use H.R. for House or H.R. Res. for House Resolution

Use S. for Senate or S. Res. for Senate Resolution 

Use Cong. for Congress

Laws or Statutes* 

[Name of the Act], [Public Law Number], [Statute Number] [(Year)].

Homeland Security Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107–296, 116 Stat. 2135 (2012).

Use  Pub. L. No. for Public Law Number

Use Stat. for Statute


[Name of the Hearing]: "Hearing Before the"  [Committee Name or Names], [Session of Congress]. [(Year)]. ("statement of" [Name of Witness], [title of witness]). 

Facebook, Social Media Privacy, and the Use and Abuse of Data: Joint Hearing Before the S. Comm. on the Judiciary and the S. Comm. on Commerce, Science and Transportation, 115th Cong. (2018) (statement of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook).

Use Cong. for Congress 

Congressional Report or Document 

[Author Last Name, Author First Name]. [(Year)]. [Report or Document Title]. [Publisher or report/document type - see note]

Shimabukuro, Jon O. (2021). Worker Classification: Employee Status Under the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the ABC Test. Congressional Research Service.  For reports and documents originating from the House of Representatives, use H.R. Rep. or H.R. Doc. accordingly as abbreviated forms. For those from the Senate, use S. Rep. and S. Doc. accordingly.
Debate [Volume Number of the Congressional Record] "Cong. Rec." [page number] [(Year)].  112 Cong. Rec. 16 (1996).

All US congress debates are published in the Congressional Record. The record is organized into volumes. You must know the volume of the Congressional Record in order to cite a debate. 

Use Cong. Rec. for Congressional Record

State Law or Local Ordinance

[The Publication for the Law/Statute you're citing] § [Chapter] [(Section)] Year. 

See notes for more information on the publication 

NJ. Rev Stat § 59(2-7) 2021

There are slight variations on how each state organizes its laws. For more information on citing State law, visit the Cornell State Statute Citation Guide

Laws or statutes can be published in many places. For instance, New Jersey has statutes and chapter laws, similar to how the US has both the Statutes at Large and the US Code. 

In this example, we're using the New Jersey Revised Statutes, which is abbreviated NJ Rev Stat

For more information in these different ways government organize their laws, see the glossary in this guide.

Book Author. Year. Book Title. Publisher City: Publisher Name. Levi, Margaret. 1988. Of Rule and Revenue. Berkeley: University of California Press.  
Journal Article [Author]. [Year]. "[Title]." [Title of Journal] [volume]([issue]) ([Month Day]). [Date Accessed]. [URL or DOI].  Hlatky, Mark A., Derek Boothroyd, Eric Vittinghoff, Penny Sharp, and Mary A. Whooley. 2002. "Quality-of-Life and Depressive Symptoms in Postmenopausal Women After Receiving Hormone Therapy. Journal of the American Medical Association 287(5) (February 6). Accessed Februrary 8, 2010.


Newspaper Article  [Author]. [Year]. [Title of Article]. [Publication]. [Month Day].  Seward, Zachary. 2006. Colleges Expand Early Admissions. Wall Street Journal. December 14.  

In-Text Citation Formatting 

Document Type Format Example Notes


(Name of the Act Year)  (Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act 2015)    
Federal Law or Statute  (Name of the Law/Statute Year)  (Homeland Security Act 2002)  

(Name of the Hearing Year) 

(Facebook, Social Media Privacy, and the Use and Abuse of Data 2018)   
Congressional Report or Document (Author Date) (Shimabukuro 2021)   
Debate (Number of Congress Year)  (112 Cong. 1996)   
State Law or Local Ordinance  (Title of Publication Year)  (NJ. Rev Stat 2021)   
Book (Author Date) (Levi 1988)  
Journal Article  (Author Date) (Hlatky et al. 2002)  For four or more authors, use et al. in your in-text citation (for any resource type) 
Newspaper Article  (Author Date) (Seward 2006)  


*Wondering what the difference between a statute and a law is? Take a look at the glossary of terms in this libguide! 


Citation Management


RefWorks3 is a web-based application for managing citations, and is free to Rutgers students, faculty and staff. It enables you to import references from many electronic databases, include citations while you write papers, and build a bibliography according to different stylesheets.

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