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Background: I'm writing a master's thesis with APA citations.

In one paragraph, I cite two unrelated pieces of information that happen to come from different chapters of the same textbook. It's obvious from the chapter titles where in the book the second piece of information is located, but it's not obvious where the first piece is located. For the reader's sake, I'd like to be able to write something like:

Here's what I'm doing. Here's an interesting fact (Trout, chapter 2, 1946) and this is what it implies in the context of my research. I then fit this interesting model, described by e.g. Trout, chapter 8 (1946).

References:
Trout, Kilgore. (1946). Ice-9 and its Applications. Ilium, NY: Slaughterhouse Press.

I've never seen this done before and I couldn't find anything like it in the Purdue OWL APA style guide. Another idea would be to cite each chapter separately, as in:

Here's what I'm doing. Here's an interesting fact (Trout, 1946a) and this is what it implies in the context of my research. I then fit this interesting model, described by e.g. Trout (1946b).

References:
Trout, Kilgore. (1946a). Why ice is nice. In Ice-9 and its Applications. Ilium, NY: Slaughterhouse Press.
Trout, Kilgore. (1946b). Containment methods. In Ice-9 and its Applications. Ilium, NY: Slaughterhouse Press.

How should I cite this? Is there an established convention for this? Am I worrying too much?

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I would suggest the following:

Here's what I'm doing. Here's an interesting fact (Trout, 1946, Ch. 2) and this is what it implies in the context of my research. I then fit this interesting model, described by e.g. Trout (1946, Ch. 8).

References:

Trout, Kilgore. (1946). Ice-9 and its Applications. Ilium, NY: Slaughterhouse Press.

However, you should consider whether citing pages would point the reader more directly to the fact than an entire chapter. Only you can judge this but it is rare that a fact needs an entire chapter to be stated. If you cite a theory or some larger concept the chapter may be an appropriate entity to be cited. If pages are better suited your references would look like, for example:

Here's what I'm doing. Here's an interesting fact (Trout, 1946, p 56) and this is what it implies in the context of my research. I then fit this interesting model, described by e.g. Trout (1946, Ch. 8).

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If the chapters are part of a unified work (e.g., a textbook or monograph), then it's appropriate to use one citation, and to say the chapter in the text:

Here's what I'm doing. Chapter 2 of (Trout, 1946) presents an interesting fact. I then fit the interesting model, described in Chapter 8 of (Trout, 1946).

References: Trout, Kilgore. (1946). Ice-9 and its Applications. Ilium, NY: Slaughterhouse Press.

I'm not quite sure of where APA puts the parentheses; my point is about handling chapters as prose.

On the other hand, if the chapters are separate pieces of a collection (e.g., contributed texts in a "recent results in..." book), then each should have an independent entry in the bibliography.

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Chapters and page numbers are not included in in-text citations or the reference list for monographs in APA style. The APA style guide is comprehensive and definitive and my understanding is that deviations are not allowed, even if they are helpful.

Both of your examples deviate from APA style. The APA compliant way is:

Here's what I'm doing. Here's an interesting fact (Trout, 1946) and this is what it implies in the context of my research. I then fit this interesting model, described by e.g. Trout (1946).

References:

Trout, K. (1946). Ice-9 and its Applications. Ilium, NY: Slaughterhouse Press.

You need to decide if you want to give the reader all useful information or stick strictly to APA style.

  • Thanks for clarity on the official rule. I like Peter Jansson's answer, but I understand that citation rules should be taken seriously. I realize now that I should ask my professor if the deviation is okay; I will edit or comment with updates if they turn out to be relevant to more than just myself. – shadowtalker Nov 10 '14 at 11:55
  • I would like to know, however, if/where the APA rules forbid citing two chapters of the same book as separate works. Jakebeal suggests not doing so unless the book is indeed a collection of separate works, but it would be nice to know if there is an official rule – shadowtalker Nov 10 '14 at 11:58
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    Actually, it seems like it is in fact acceptable to cite chapters in text, if the APA style blogger is to be believed: blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2011/02/… – shadowtalker Nov 10 '14 at 12:03

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