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Data Services: How to Cite Data

APA style

APA style dataset citation:

Hanging paragraph (first line extends to the left)

Left parenthesis
Right parenthesis
Period, space
Name or Title of the Data set (in italics)
Version number
Description (in square brackets)
"Retrieved from " DOI or URL


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental
    Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. (2013). Treatment
    episode data set -- discharges (TEDS-D) -- concatenated, 2006 to 2009
    set]. doi:10.3886/ICPSR30122.v2

(example from

For more descriptions, see pages 210 through 212 in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition  - King, B.E.S.T., and Music library call number: BF76.7 .P83 2010

What to include in a data citation

What to include in a data citation.

  • Title of the database or dataset
  • Author or owner of the database
  • Date of the data
  • Name of the data set (italicized in APA)
  • Edition or version
  • Publisher, Producer and/or Distributor
  • D.O.I. or URL of the data.
  • Description of the dataset (in brackets in APA)

MLA style

MLA - no specific dataset form, but the following uses rules from anthology, reference work, and electronic materials.  

"Title" (in Quotes)
Title of Dataset (in italics)
Publisher/Archive name
Year or date

American Veterinary Medical Association. "Table 1204: Household Pet Ownership: 2006." Statistical Abstract of the United States. 129th ed. Ed. U.S. Census Bureau. Washington D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010. Web. 14 July 2010. <>.

(example from

For more information, see MLA handbook for writers of research papers - King and Art/Arch call number: LB2369 .G53 2009

Why Cite Data?

Why should you cite data?  

For the same reason you cite journal articles and other resources.

  • Gives credit to your sources
  • Lets people read the source for more information
  • Allows independent verification of yourl results
  • By acknowledging sources, it shows the reader how we came to our conclusions.  
  • Indicates the work required to locate and collect data
  • Gives a context to your conclusions
  • Demonstrates integrity and skill