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POLI 245: Courts, Judges and American Judicial Politics

Citing Sources in Political Science

Political Science research generally uses the Chicago Manual of Style as the primary citation format. 

The American Political Science Association (APSA) is a variation of the Chicago author-date system that provides guidance for citing US government documents.


Citing Data

Each data citation should include the basic elements that allow a unique dataset to be identified over time:

  • Title: Complete title of the dataset, including the edition or version number if applicable
  • Author: Name(s) of each individual or organization responsible for the creation of the dataset
  • Date: Year the dataset was published or disseminated
  • Version: Include version or edition number if applicable
  • Persistent identifier: This is a unique identifier, such as a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). A DOI is a unique persistent identifier for a published digital object, such as an article of a study, providing a link to the article or study. 

Sometimes, a data source will provide you with information on how to cite, provide a citation, or will tell you where to find the elements needed for a citation. 

Arrange the basic elements using the order and punctuation specified by the style guide you have been asked to use. Fewer or additional elements may be requested, depending on the style.

Be sure to include as many elements as needed to precisely identify the dataset you have used. When in doubt, it is always better to provide more information rather than less.

Chicago (17th edition) (author-date)

Smith, Tom W., Peter V. Marsden, and Michael Hout. 2011. General Social Survey, 1972-2010 Cumulative File. ICPSR31521-v1. Chicago, IL: National Opinion Research Center. Distributed by Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. doi:10.3886/ICPSR31521.v1

UVA Law Library Videos: Introduction to Basic Legal Citations (2:12)