APA Referencing – How to Cite Conference Proceedings
  • 3-minute read
  • 28th March 2016

APA Referencing – How to Cite Conference Proceedings

Occasionally, academics from across the world will emerge from their ivory towers to gather and share ideas at academic conferences.

New research is often presented at these conferences, with the collected papers published as the ‘conference proceedings’ afterwards. Citing conference papers therefore allows you to draw upon the latest ideas in your field (or simply material that hasn’t been published elsewhere).

In this post, we cover the basics of how to cite conference proceedings using APA referencing.

In-Text Citations

The in-text citations for a conference paper (or the overall proceedings) are the same as for other sources in APA. For a single paper, simply provide the author name and year of publication in parentheses (plus page numbers if quoting directly):

Autocorrect is regarded with suspicion by some proofreaders (Smith, 2015).

To cite the conference proceedings as a whole, do the same but with the editor name in place of the author.

Reference List: Conference Proceedings

If you’re citing the proceedings of a conference, the information to include in the reference list is:

Editor Surname, Initial(s). (Ed.) (Year). Title of conference: Subtitle, Location, Date. Publisher.

For example, the published proceedings for an (imaginary) proofreading conference would appear as:

Jones, A. N. (Ed.) (2015). Other people’s mistakes: Proceedings of the red pen conference, University of Melbourne, September 2015. PMD Publications.

Reference List: Conference Papers

If citing a published conference paper, provide the author name and title as well as details of where it was published:

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Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year). Paper title. In Editor’s Name (Ed.). Title of conference, Location, Date (page range). Publisher.

A paper from the proceedings of The Red Pen Conference would therefore appear as:

Smith, B. (2015). The perils of autocorrect. In A. N. Jones (Ed.). Other people’s mistakes: proceedings of the red pen conference, University of Melbourne, September 2015 (pp. 205-212). PMD Publications.

The use of lower case in the paper title and conference name here is because APA uses sentence case capitalisation in the reference list. As such, only the first words in titles and subtitles, as well as any proper nouns, are capitalised.

If you’ve attended a conference but the proceedings haven’t been published, you can still cite presentations as unpublished conference papers. In the reference list, this requires giving the title of the presentation and details of when it was presented:

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year, Month). Paper title. Paper presented at Conference Title, Location of Conference.

Prior to publication, Smith’s paper would therefore appear as:

Smith, B. (2015, September). The perils of autocorrect. Paper presented at Other People’s Mistakes: Proceedings of the Red Pen Conference, University of Melbourne.

Here, upper case is used for the conference title since it refers to the conference itself, not a published version of proceedings. Confusing? Yes. But that’s the wonderful world of academic referencing for you.

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