How to Cite a Code of Ethics in APA Referencing
  • 3-minute read
  • 25th May 2023

How to Cite a Code of Ethics in APA Referencing

As you know, citing every source you use during your academic research is essential. And if you’re using APA style, you might already be confident working with straightforward and commonly used sources, such as journal articles and books. But what about other types of sources – for example, ethics codes? Want to know more? Keep reading to learn how to cite a code of ethics in APA referencing.

What Is a Code of Ethics?

A code of ethics is a set of principles that outline the ethical standards and expectations for a particular group or profession. It can include guidelines on a wide range of ethical considerations, such as confidentiality, accountability, honesty, and fairness. These codes are intended to promote ethical behavior among employees, maintain professional standards, and protect the reputation of the organization. They can also help employees navigate complex ethical dilemmas. Different professions tailor their specific codes of ethics to their unique situations.

How to Cite a Code of Ethics on a Reference Page

References entries for codes of ethics follow the same format as entries for reports. Include the organizational author, the year of publication, and the publisher. If the code is available online, include the URL. The basic formats for print and online codes are:

●  Print: Author Organization. (Year). Title of code. Publisher.

●  Online: Author Organization. (Year). Title of code. Publisher. URL

For codes of ethics, the publisher is often the same as the author organization. If so, you can omit the publisher to prevent repetition.

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Here’s an example of what this kind of entry might look like on your reference page. Most codes of ethics are available online, so this example includes the URL:

The East Coast Medical Association. (2022). Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct for East Coast Medical Practitioners.

How to Cite a Code of Ethics in the Text

You can reference codes of ethics as parenthetical or narrative citations. Parenthetical citations follow a phrase, clause, or sentence and include, in parentheses, the name of the author organization and the year of publication, separated by a comma:

(East Coast Medical Association, 2022)

Narrative citations will name the author organization in the sentence, with the year of publication following in parentheses:

The code of ethics for the East Coast Medical Association (2022) states…

To cite a particular section in an ethics code, create a reference entry for the entire code and then cite the specific section in the text. Use the terminology of the code in your citation (e.g., standard, section). For example:

(East Coast Medical Association, 2022, Section C.2)

The code of ethics for the East Coast Medical Association (2022, Section C.2) states…


The reference list and in-text citations are important parts of your research, so make sure you’ve formatted them correctly and included all the necessary information. Be sure to check out our helpful guide to APA referencing before writing your next paper.

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