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APA Toolkit: APA Reference List

APA Style: Reference List page Format

APA References 
Basic Rules:

Your Reference list should appear at the end of your paper, starting on a new page. The list will provide your reader with the necessary information so that she or he can find and retrieve any of the sources you've cited in your paper. All of the sources you've cited in your paper should appear on the Reference list and there should be at least one in-text citation for every source that you list on your Reference list.

Again, your Reference list should start on a new page right after the last page of text in your paper. Title this page "References" - center the title at the top of the page and don't put it in bold, don't underline it, and don't add quotation marks. The entire Reference page should be double spaced -- don't put extra spaces between entries.

  • Start the first line of each entry on the left hand margin and subsequent lines of an entry should be indented 1/2 inch from the left margin - this is called a hanging indent (you can set this in your word processing program so that the page is automatically formatted correctly).
  • Use the format: Last name, First initial (Smith, F.) for all authors of a source up to seven. If there's more than seven authors, list the first six and then use ellipses after the sixth author's name. After the ellipses, list the last author's name.
  • Put reference entries in alphabetical order according to the first author's last name; if no author, alphabetize according to the article title.
  • If you have more than one article by the same author, the entries should be listed in chronological order, from earliest to most recent.
  • Include the full title of the journal in the entry -- do not abbreviate. Keep the same punctuation and capitalization that's used by the journal.
  • All book, journal, magazine, newspaper, and report titles should be in italics.
  • Capitalize all major words in journal titles.
  • For books, chapters, articles, or websites, capitalize only the first letter in of the first word of the title and subtitle, and the first word after a colon or a dash in the title and proper nouns. Don't capitalize the first letter of the second word in a hyphenated compound word.
  • Don't italicize, underline, or put quotes around shorter works such as article titles or essays in edited collections.

Note: The APA manual has examples of quite a few different common types of sources; however, it doesn't cover everything. So, if you have a source not included in the manual, APA's suggestion is to find the example most similar to your source and use that.

APA Style: Reference List Entry Examples

| Books | Print Periodicals | Other Print Sources |
| Electronic Sources (Web Publications) | Other Non-Print Sources | Citing Legal Materials |

Here are some specific examples that show you how to cite/format different types of sources in the APA style. The best approach to citing is to figure out what kind of source you have, then use a resource like this, the Purdue OWL's APA Formatting and Style Guide or the APA's Publication Manual (7th edition) to look up that kind of source and plug the bibliographic information from your source into that example. When it comes to creating a Reference list page,  the details count, including the nitty gritty details of capitalization, where you place the punctuation and word order matter -- so make sure you're doing it all correctly. Article databases often have a tool that can create a citation for you and tools on the web such as NoodleTools, Citation Machine, or EasyBib can also help you create a correctly formatted citation, but these often contain slight errors. Be sure to check a style guide to make sure each entry is correct. 

Please note that the examples below are not correctly formatted (with a hanging indent).

To see how the sources listed below should look like in a correctly formatted Reference list page, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the References link.

Citations pulled from the Purdue OWL APA Formatting and Style Guide.

Citing Books

Book citations in APA style generally require author name, publication year, work title, publication city, and publisher.

General book format:

Stoneman, R. (2008). Alexander the Great: A life in legend. Yale University Press.

Two authors:

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2017). The next big five inventory (BFI-2): Developing and assessing a hierarchical model with 15 facets to enhance bandwidth, fidelity, and predictive power. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology113(1), 117-143.

Three to twenty authors:

List by last names and initials; commas separate author names, while the last author name is preceded again by ampersand. This is a departure from APA 6, which only required listing the first six authors before an ellipsis and the final author's name.

Nguyen, T., Carnevale, J. J., Scholer, A. A., Miele, D. B., & Fujita, K. (2019). Metamotivational knowledge of the role of high-level and low-level construal in goal-relevant task performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117(5), 879-899.

More than twenty authors:

List by last names and initials; commas separate author names. After the first 19 authors’ names, use an ellipsis in place of the remaining author names. Then, end with the final author's name (do not place an ampersand before it). There should be no more than twenty names in the citation in total.

Pegion, K., Kirtman, B. P., Becker, E., Collins, D. C., LaJoie, E., Burgman, R., Bell, R., DelSole, R., Min, D., Zhu, Y., Li, W., Sinsky, E., Guan, H., Gottschalck, J., Metzger, E. J., Barton, N. P., Achuthavarier, D., Marshak, J., Koster, R., . . .  Kim, H. (2019). The subseasonal experiment (SubX): A multimodel subseasonal prediction experiment. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society100(10), 2043-2061.

Author with an editor:

Malory, T. (2017). Le morte darthur (P. J. C. Field, Ed.). D. S. Brewer. (Original work published 1469-70)

Chapter or section of book:

Armstrong, D. (2019). Malory and character. In M. G. Leitch & C. J. Rushton (Eds.), A new companion to Malory (pp. 144-163). D. S. Brewer.

Corporate/Organization author:

Merriam-Webster. (2008). Braggadocio. In Merriam-Webster’s Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary. Merriam-Webster.

Unknown Author:

Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (11th ed.). (2003). Merriam-Webster.

Two or more works by the same author:

Use the author's name for all entries and list the entries by the year (earliest comes first). List references with no dates before references with dates.

Urcuioli, P. J. (n.d.).

Urcuioli, P. J. (2011). 

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Articles in Print Periodicals

APA style dictates that authors are named with their last name followed by their initials; publication year goes between parentheses, followed by a period. The title of the article is in sentence-case, meaning only the first word and proper nouns in the title are capitalized. The periodical title is run in title case, and is followed by the volume number which, with the title, is also italicized. If a DOI has been assigned to the article that you are using, you should include this after the page numbers for the article. If no DOI has been assigned and you are accessing the periodical online, use the URL of the website from which you are retrieving the periodical.

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages.

Article in an electronic journal:

When citing an article in an electronic journal, include a DOI if one is associated with the article.

Baniya, S., & Weech, S. (2019). Data and experience design: Negotiating community-oriented digital research with service-learning. Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement, 6(1), 11–16.

Article in a newspaper:

Schultz, S. (2005, December). Calls made to strengthen state energy policies. The Country Today, 1A, 2A.


Peterzell, J. (1990, April). Better late than never. Time, 135(17), 20–21.


Baumeister, R. F. (1993). Exposing the self-knowledge myth [Review of the book The self-knower: A hero under control, by R. A. Wicklund & M. Eckert]. Contemporary Psychology, 38(5), 466–467.

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Other Print Sources

Dissertation Abstract:

Angeli, E. L. (2012). Networks of communication in emergency medical services. Dissertation Abstracts International, 74, 03(E).

Dissertation, Published:

Angeli, E. L. (2012). Networks of communication in emergency medical services (Publication No. 3544643) [Doctoral dissertation, Purdue University]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Dissertation, Unpublished:

Samson, J. M. (2016). Human trafficking and globalization [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Conference Proceedings:

Huang, S., Pierce, R., & Stamey, J. (Eds.). (2006). Proceedings of the 24th annual ACM international conference on the design of communication. ACM Digital Library.

Government Document:

United States Government Accountability Office. (2019). Performance and accountability report: Fiscal year 2019.

Work Discussed in a Secondary Source:

Note: Provide the secondary source in the references list; in the text, name the original work, and give a citation for the secondary source. For example, if Deleuze and Guattari’s work is cited in Nail and you did not read the original work, list the Nail reference in the References. In the text, use the following citation: 

Nail, T. (2017). What is an assemblage? SubStance46(1), 21-37.

And do this for the in-text citation:

Deleuze & Guattari’s concept of the assemblage (as cited in Nail, 2017)….

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Electronic Sources (Web Publications)

Article from an Online Periodical with DOI:

Drollinger, T., Comer, L. B., & Warrington, P. T. (2006). Development and validation of the active empathetic listening scale. Psychology & Marketing, 23(2), 161-180.

Article from an Online Periodical with no DOI:

Perreault, L. (2019). Obesity in adults: Role of physical activity and exercise. UpToDate. Retrieved January 12, 2020, from

Dissertation/Thesis from a Database:

Duis, J. M. (2008). Acid/base chemistry and related organic chemistry conceptions of undergraduate organic chemistry students. (Publication No. 3348786) [Doctoral dissertation, University of Northern Colorado]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.


It is not necessary to note that you have used an eBook or audiobook when the content is the same as a physical book. However, you should distinguish between the eBook or audiobook and the print version if the content is different or abridged, or if you would like to cite the narrator of an audiobook.


E-mails are not included in the list of references, though you should parenthetically cite them in your main text:

(E. Robbins, personal communication, January 4, 2001).

Graphic Data (Interactive Maps and Other Graphic Representations of Data):

HatchMed. (2017). 8 ways to improve patient satisfaction [Infographic]. Post:

Note: If the Facebook post includes images, videos, or links to other sources, indicate that information in brackets after the content description. Also attempt to replicate emojis if possible.

U.S. Department of the Interior. (2020, January 10). Like frosting on a cake, snow coats and clings to the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah [Image attached] [Status update]. Facebook.

Online Forum or Discussion Post:

Stine, R. L. [RL__Stine]. (2013, October 23). I’m R.L. Stine and it’s my job to terrify kids. Ask me anything! [Online forum post]. Reddit.

Online Interviews:

Schulman, M. (2019, December 8). Peter Dinklage is still punk rock. The New Yorker.

Online Lecture Notes and Presentation Slides:

Smith, C. (2017, October 13). AI and machine learning demystified [PowerPoint slides]. SlideShare.

Online News Article:

Richards, C. (2019, December 9). Best music of 2019: Lana Del Rey sings lullabies about the end of America. Washington Post.


Prime, K. (Host). (2019, March 29). For whom the cowbell tolls [Audio podcast episode]. In Radiolab. WNYC Studios.


Note: If the tweet includes images, videos, or links to other sources, indicate that information in brackets after the content description. Also attempt to replicate emojis if possible.

National Geographic [@NatGeo]. (2020, January 12). Scientists knew African grays are clever, but now they’ve been documented assisting other members of their species—even strangers [Tweet; thumbnail link to article]. Twitter.



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Other Non-Print Sources

Film or Video:

Loyd, P. (Director). (2008). Mamma mia! [Film]. Universal Pictures. 

Music Album:

The National. (2019). I am easy to find [Album]. 4AD.


Bae, P. (Executive Producer). (2017-present). The big loop [Audio podcast]. QRX.

Series (TV) Episode:

Korsh, A. (Writer & Director). (2019, September 25). One last con (Season 9, Episode 10) [TV series episode]. In D. Liman & D. Bartis (Executive Producers), Suits. Untitled Korsh Company; Universal Content Productions; Open 4 Business Productions. 

YouTube Video:

Tasty. (2018, March 7). 7 recipes you can make in 5 minutes [Video]. Youtube.


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Citing Legal Materials:

For information on citing legal sources on your reference list, see Citing Legal Materials in APA Style from the Ely Library at Westfield State University.

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