Answered By: George Clark
Last Updated: Mar 17, 2017     Views: 1574

Note that this is for someone writing in the social sciences, sciences, arts, or humanities in American Psychological Association style, not in a law journal or law review.  Probably best to consult the Bluebook and librarians at the Harvard Law School Library for that.   

First of all, APA 6 is kind of hard to find unless you know the full title. The full title is Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition.  There are a few different listings in HOLLIS as different libraries at Harvard cataloged it differently.  There is a "ready reference" copy kept on the shelf just to the left of the Reference Desk on Level B of Lamont Library.  

Second, the laws part of APA 6 is indexed, but when you look in the index, it's hard to find where that section, section A7.04, is.  You might think that it's an appendix from the "A", and you'd be right, but it's not appendix seven among the appendices at the end of the book, it's the appendix to section seven, appearing at the end of that section. It's pages 216 and following.


For citing laws, like the Clean Water Act, you should follow APA section A7.04 Statutes #11 Sample reference to a statute in a federal code.  Most people will want to follow p. 220, the top one (codified form). Codified means laws that have been put into the overall documentation system (US Code) where they will stay until superceded or revised or whatever.  The exception might be if the law is so new that it's not yet in the US Code.  In that case, use the bottom one, which has a US Congress session and number, instead of a US Code section number.

To find the info that you need to cite in these formats, you also have to find some good version of the item itself, such as from a Govt Printing Office website (FDSYS) or maybe the Library of Congress or whatever:

For laws, Google < us code clean water act > as an example.  That takes you to a good Cornell site that should have the info that you need.  The citation info is also the first footnote in the wikipedia article on the subject.  An official but perhaps less current source than the Cornell site is .

      Executive Orders:

The APA 6 citation format for Executive Orders, like the executive order for environmental justice, is at APA section A7.06 Administrative and Executive Materials # 19 Form for executive order (p.223).

To find the information that you need to properly cite, find the executive order itself in the Federal Register (where Executive Orders are printed).  Search .  The order for Environmental Justice itself is here:

I don't know how far back the FDSYS electronic version of the Federal Register goes.  Other strategies might be needed for older register listings, whether print or electronic.

For more help in using government documents, consult the reference librarian on duty at Lamont Library, Level B, research services (reference desk). You can also email them at

Contact Us