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Basic Rules for APA “References” List

Elements of a citation | Basics of "References" list entries | Citation abbreviations

Note: Spacing in this graphic is not standard. All APA papers and References lists should be double-spaced.

screenshot of the elements of an APA citation

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The list of all the sources you cited in your paper is called "References."

For illustrations of the following rules, see sample "References" list.

  1. Include the "References" list, on a separate sheet, at the end of your paper, with the word "References," centered at the top (without quotation marks).
  2. Double-space the "References" list.
  3. Use hanging indents for each entry (i.e., indent all lines after the first line of each entry, one-half inch from the left margin).
  4. Authors' names
    1. Invert all authors' names (i.e, give last or family name first).
    2. For all first and middle names, give initials only.
    3. For a work with 8 or more authors, list the first 6 authors, insert an ellipsis (...), and then add the last author's name. (see Piper entry)
  5. No author listed (Publication Manual 6.15, 7.15)
    1. Enter works with no author by title of the article, Web page, or book. (see "Reasoning" entry)
  6. Alphabetization (Publication Manual 6.25)
    1. Alphabetize by the first word in each entry (usually the last name of the first author).
    2. List works with the same single author or the same multiple authors in the same order by year of publication, starting with the earliest. (see Stiles entries)
    3. List works with the same single author or the same multiple authors in the same order and published in the same year alphabetically by title. (see Stiles entries)
  7. Publication dates always go in parentheses:
    1. (year) - for a book or a scholarly journal
    2. (year, Month or Season) or (year, Month day) - for magazine or newspaper articles (see Reasoning and Brody entries)
    3. (n.d.) - if no date is available (see PETA entry)
  8. Capitalization
    1. In titles of books, articles, and Web pages, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of the title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or a dash, and proper nouns.
    2. In journal titles, capitalize all major words.
    3. Do not capitalize the first letter of the second word in a hyphenated compound word. (see Cantor entry)
  9. Italics
    1. Italicize titles of longer works such as books, journals or websites.
    2. Italicize periodical volume numbers.
    3. Do not italicize (or underline or put quotation marks around) titles of shorter works such as magazine or journal articles, Web pages, essays or chapters in edited books.
  10. Digital Object Identifier (DOI) (Publication Manual 6.31-2, 7.01)
    1. Important change in the 6th edition of APA style: For scholarly sources available online, APA recommends providing the DOI (Digital Object Identifier). The DOI is a unique alphanumeric code that provides a stable, long-lasting link for online articles. If the DOI is available, it is to be found the first page of an article.
      (See Cantor, Piper, and Stiles entries)
    2. If there is no DOI, provide the database name or the URL of the article found on the free Web. (See Basu entry)
  11. Classical works (Publication Manual 6.18)
    "References" list entries are not required for major classical works (e.g., ancient Greek and Roman works, religious texts). Identify the version used when the work is first mentioned in the text and use chapter, verse, or line numbers in a parenthetical citation in the text.
  12. Personal communications (Publication Manual 6.20)
    Because personal communications, including interviews and emails, do not provide "recoverable data," they are not included in the "References" list. They are cited only in the text. (For an example, see In-Text & Parenthetical Documentation Chart.)

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Citation Abbreviations (Publication Manual, 4.02, 6.22)

Edition: Use ed.
Revised edition: Use Rev. ed.
Second Edition: Use 2nd ed.
Editor or Editors: Use Ed. or Eds.
Translator or Translators: Use Trans.
No date: Use n.d.
Page or pages: Use p. or pp.
Paragraph Use para.
Volume or Volumes: Use Vol. or Vols.
Number: Use No.
Part: Use Pt.
Technical Report: Use Tech. Rep.
Supplement: Use Suppl.

For legal and governmental abbreviations: See Publication Manual A7.01

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