Sometimes you can copy a reference from the citing article.

However, I just wanted to share this tip for quickly getting APA formatted references for when you find an article through Google Scholar.

  • Set Google scholar preferences to permit exporting of Bibtex refences
  • Search in Google scholar for your article; click on Import into Bibtex
  • Copy the bibtex reference to the clipboard
  • Paste into this form: http://ref.lexique.org/
  • Copy and paste results (an APA formatted reference) into your answer

Feel free to share any other tips for getting formatted references into Stack Exchange answers.

  • 1
    Thanks a lot! :) Usually I just googled 'till I found it. – Steven Jeuris Jun 9 '12 at 13:51
  • Wish I knew this in college...I always searched for papers that cited the paper that I needed and stole^H^H^H^H^H appropriated the citation – Ben Brocka Jun 9 '12 at 16:59

I don't know if there has been a change with the coding of ref.lexique.org since this posting, but I have found a problem when trying the tip @JeromyAnglim gave to quickly obtain a citation rather than manually typing it.

When going to an APA article online, as pointed out, there is an APA style reference citation available on the APA site for you to use. However when you go to some other sites where an APA citation is not available, BibTeX exports are available. Now this is where the problems lies.

Let's take for example, the atricle at https://doi.org/10.1016/0005-7967(96)00033-2

When you click on export at the top of the site, and select BibTeX for the citation format, you get the following

title = "Psychometric properties of the PTSD checklist (PCL)",
journal = "Behaviour Research and Therapy",
volume = "34",
number = "8",
pages = "669 - 673",
year = "1996",
issn = "0005-7967",
doi = "https://doi.org/10.1016/0005-7967(96)00033-2",
url = "http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0005796796000332",
author = "Edward B. Blanchard and Jacqueline Jones-Alexander and Todd C. Buckley and Catherine A. Forneris"

If you paste that into http://ref.lexique.org/ as suggested, you get

"Edward B. Blanchard, Jacqueline Jones-Alexander, Todd C. Buckley & Catherine A. Forneris" ("1996"). "Psychometric properties of the PTSD checklist (PCL)". "Behaviour Research and Therapy", "34", "669 - 673".

All those quotation marks shouldn't be there when following the APA format, which you can see an example of at http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2011-20330-001 (an APA article)

One thing I have found however, is that if you do a Google Scholar search for the article you want to reference, you can obtain an APA reference by clicking on the image of a set of quotation marks

google scholar link

When you click on the quotation marks you get MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard and Vancouver format references with export options for BibTeX, EndNote, RefMan, and RefWorks.

MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard and Vancouver format references

  • 1
    Yep. GS has made it much easier now that it directly provides formatted refs. – Jeromy Anglim Mar 5 '18 at 22:59
  • 1
    The "One thing I have found however, ..." should possibly be at the top of the answer? This has been my approach so far as well (thought it was also documented somewhere on meta) and is by far the most efficient way I know of. – Steven Jeuris Mar 6 '18 at 12:39

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