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APA Citations (7th ed.): Data Sets and Software

This guide will help you learn how to properly cite sources in APA style and how to avoid plagiarism.

Data Sets

Authors should include an in-text citation and reference list entry for a data set when they have either (a) conducted secondary analysis of publicly archived data or (b) archived their own data being presented for the first time in the current work.

The date for published data is the year of publication and for unpublished data is the year(s) of collection.

When a version number exists, include it in parentheses after the title.

The bracketed description is flexible (e.g., data set, data set and code book).

In the source element of the reference, for published data, provide the name of the organization that has published, archived, produced, or distributed the data set; for unpublished data, provide the source (e.g., a university), if known.

Include a retrieval date only if the data set is designed to change over time.


Common software and mobile apps mentioned in the text, but not paraphrased or quoted, do not need citations, nor do programming languages. "Common" is relative to your field and audience.

Include reference list entries and in-text citations if you have paraphrased or quoted from any software or app, or if you are mentioning software, apps, and apparatuses or equipment with limited distribution.

To learn how to cite software, please see pp. 338-340 of the manual.

Data Sets Template

Data Set

D'Souza, A., & Wiseheart, M. (2018). Cognitive effects of music and dance training in children (ICPSR 37080; Version V1) [Data set]. ICPSR.

National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Fast Response Survey System (FRSS): Teachers' use of educational technology in U.S. public schools, 2009 (ICPSR 35531; Version V3) [Data set and code book]. National Archive of Data on Arts and Culture.

Pew Research Center. (2018). American trends panel Wave 26 [Data set].

Parenthetical citations: (D'Souza & Wiseheart, 2018; National Center for Education Statistics, 2016; Pew Research Center, 2018)

Narrative citations: D'Souza and Wiseheart (2018), National Center for Education Statistics (2016), and Pew Research Center (2018)

Unpublished Raw Data

  • For an untitled data set, provide a description in square brackets of the publication status and focus of the data.
  • When the source of unpublished raw data is known (e.g., a university or a university department), include it at the end of the reference.

Baer, R. A. (2015). [Unpublished raw data on the correlations between the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire and the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills]. University of Kentucky.

Oregon Youth Authority. (2011). Recidivism outcomes [Unpublished raw data].

Parenthetical citations: (Baer, 2015; Oregon Youth Authority, 2011)

Narrative citations: Baer (2015) and Oregon Youth Authority (2011)