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Citing Technical and Research Reports in APA


A student Citing Technical and Research Reports in APA

As you research for your school paper, you’ll likely come across sources in the form of technical and research reports. These types of reports are useful as secondary sources and to help you find primary sources but should not be relied on as the basis of your thesis. However, original qualitative and quantitative research papers are considered primary sources.

Creating APA Citations

It’s simple to create your reference list entries for technical and research reports as you simply follow the basic book citation format:

Author, AA. (1998). Title of work (Report No. xxx). Location: Publisher.

As you can see, there is a place to enter a report number enclosed in parentheses after the title. There will not necessarily be a report number, so don’t worry if you can’t find it. That number may also be called:

  • Contract number
  • Monograph number

Note: Reports published by the U.S. Government Printing Office will use Washington, DC: Government Printing Office for the publisher name and location.

Online Reports

If the publisher is also the author, place the name of the agency as the author.

If not,

Retrieved from Name of Agency website, https://www.xxxxxx at the end of the citation.


Corporate Author, Government Report

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2006). Understanding drug use: A guide for schools (NIH Publication No. 02-2301). Retrieved from https://www.xxxxxxx


Task Force Online Report

Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Retrieved from http://www.xxxxxxx


Nongovernmental Organization Report

A nongovernmental organization, or NGO, is a non-profit organized around a common goal for the betterment of society. NGOs will often publish research results.

Terry, M.A & Lopez, F. M. (2010). Racism and poverty in the Bay Area. (Research Report No. 10.4). Retrieved from Organization Name website: http://www.xxxxx


Institutional Archive

Many libraries, universities and other institutions interested in preserving documents, provide archives for collections of work, including technical reports. Here is an example of a report archived at the University of Michigan.

McDaniel, J.E., & Miskel, C. G. (2002). The effect of groups and individuals on national decisionmaking: Influence and domination in the reading policymaking environment (CIERA Report 3-025). Retrieved from University of Michigan, Center for Improvement of Early Reading Achievement website: https://www.xxxxxx


Issue Brief

An issue brief is a short summary outlining the problems surrounding an issue, written for a layperson. Include the issue brief number inside parentheses after the title, as shown.

Employee Benefit Research Institute. (1992, February). Sources of health insurance and characteristics of the uninsured (Issue Brief No. 123). Washington, DC: Author.


(Source for examples: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association)

Government reports are good ways to find authoritative sources for your school report. Study the reports carefully to determine whether they are primary or secondary sources.

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About the author

Adrienne Mathewson

Adrienne Mathewson, Editor-in-Chief of Bibliography.com, is an Information Professional with a Master’s in Library, Information & Science from San José State University with an emphasis on information literacy and scholarly publishing. She is a certified librarian through the State of New Mexico.

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