Reference List Errors in Manuscripts Submitted to a Journal for Review for Publication

Anthony J Onwuegbuzie, Eunjin Hwang


Style errors outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) were examined among 131 manuscripts submitted to Research in the Schools, a nationally refereed journal, over a 6-year period. Specifically, a mixed research design was utilized to determine the frequency and characteristics of APA errors committed in the reference lists of these manuscripts. Findings revealed that authors committed more than 12 reference list errors per manuscript, on average (M = 12.83, SD = 7.25). Further, a total of 466 unique reference list errors were identified, which yielded the following 14 reference list error themes: general errors, reference heading, names of authors, publication year/date, title of work, publisher information, source of journal/periodical, source of authored book, source of edited book, source of website, source of paper presentation, source of dissertation/thesis, source of newspaper article, and source of government document. Implications of these and other findings are discussed.


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