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Reference List

General Rules

Your reference list is a separate list at the end of your paper.  It provides the reader with information necessary to identify and retrieve all the sources you cited in the body of your paper.

  • Label this page References.  It is centered, in bold, at the top of the page.
  • Double space the entire list - both between and within entries.
  • Arrange entries alphabetically by the last name of the first author of each work.  If no author is given, start with the first significant word in the title.
  • In titles of articles and books - but not journal titles - capitalize only the first word of the title, the first word of the subtitle, and proper names.
  • Each entry starts at the left margin.  If there is more than one line, each subsequent line should be indented on half inch. - use "hanging indent" in the paragraph menu of Microsoft Word. - See the example in the Formatting Your Paper tab

Sometimes you may come across a source of which you can not find an example.  The APA guide suggests to find an example that is most like your source and follow that format.  It is always better to provide more information than less.

See chapter 9 in the Publication Manual for more information.

The author is the person(s) or group responsible for a work.

List authors in the order they appear in the document or text.  Begin with the last name first followed by the first and middle initials. Place a period between each initial.  Separate authors with a comma.  When a work has more than one author, use an ampersand (&) before the last author.

     Example: Flygare, J.A., Voyles, K.D., & Longo, J.M.

     Example: Sterba, A.P., & Edwards C.R. (Eds.)

2 - 20 Authors - List 2-20 authors by last name, first and middle initial separated by commas in the order they appear on the document.

21 or More Authors - List the first 19 then three eclipses and the last author's name

     Example: Flygare, J., Sterba, A.B., Longo, J., Edwards, C.E., Thompson, D., Earls, A.B., Palone, K., Caban, S.E., Beezley, S., Jones, B., Mahin, C.D., Tabatabai, H., Davis, K., Willard, N., Musslewhite, J., Buckley, B. B., Voyles, K.D., Smith, S., Martin, J.A., ...Zhang, Z.Z. 

See sections 9.7 - 9.12 in the Publication Manual for more information.

APA Style Blog: How Many Names to Include in an APA Style Reference

The date refers to the date of publication.

Books -  Use the date shown on the copyright page. The date follows the author's name and is in parenthesis.  The period in the sentence goes after the parenthesis.  

     Example:  Kessler, J. (2017).

Journals - Journals often show a month and year of publication.  List only the year of publication.     

     Example: Kessler, J., & Smith, A.P. (2017).

Magazines & Newspapers -  Most newspapers and magazines list a day, month and year.  Give all the information in the following format (Year, Month Day) separated by a comma.  Always spell out the month.  

     Example: Chamberlin, J. (2008, March 25).

Websites - Include as much information as you can.  If a year an month are listed, use that.

No Date -  If no date is listed, use n.d.  for no date.

Example:  Johnson, D.B. (n.d.).

Retrieval Dates - The majority of references do not include retrieval dates.  Use retrieval dates for those online sources that are inherently designed to change such as a dictionary entry, Twitter profile, or Facebook page.  See the Reference Examples.

See section 9.13 - 9.17 in the Publication Manual for more information.

The Title refers to the title of the work being cited. This could be works that stand alone, or works that are part of a greater whole.

Works that stand alone - books, reports, webpages and websites

Italicize the title and capitalize using sentence case - only the first word in the title, the subtitle, and any proper nouns.

      Example: Treatment of childhood disorders

Works that are part of a greater whole - journal articles or edited book chapters

Do not italicize the title or use quotation marks. Capitalize using sentence case - only the first word of the title, the subtitle, and any proper nouns.

      Example: Enhancing worker well-being: Occupational health in the United States

Journals, Newspapers, & Magazine Titles - Give the title in full, using both uppercase and lowercase letters.  Italicize the name of the periodical.

      Example:  Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Web Pages - The title for a basic webpage follows the same format as a book: Capitalize only the first word of the title, the subtitle, and any proper nouns.

     Example: APA formatting and style guide.

APA Style Blog: Title Case Capitalization

In a reference, the source indicates where readers can retrieve the cited work.

Journals & Magazines

  • Give the title, volume number and page range.  The volume number is italicized.
  • Capitalize the title of the periodical using title case and italics
  • If there is an issue number, include that in parenthesis.  This is not italicized.

      Example:  Social Science Quarterly, 84(3), 39-47.


  • Write the publisher name as shown on the work.
  • If two or more publishers are listed, use the one listed first.

     Example: McGraw-Hill      

Edited Books

For works with editors, write the word "In" followed by the initials and surnames of the editor(s) and the word (Ed.). Add the title of the whole book and the page range of the chapter. 

Example: J.A. Flygare (Ed.), Title of book (pp. 22-44). Publisher.

See sections 9.23-9.33 in the Publication Manual for more information or reference examples.


Database and Archive Sources - 9.30

The purpose of a reference list entry is to provide readers with the details they will need to perform a search themselves, not to replicate the path. Much periodical and book content is available through a variety of databases or platforms.

Provide database or online archive information in a reference only when it is necessary for readers to retrieve the cited work from that exact database or archive.

Provide the name of the database when it publishes original proprietary works available only in that database.

Website Sources - 9.33

Provide the website name in the source element.  

Example: Avramova, N. (2019) The secret to a healthy life. CNN.

See more examples in the Reference Examples.

Most reference list entries end with either a DOI or URL.

What is a DOI?

 A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a string of numbers that is unique to each article.  It is typically found on the first page of an article near the copyright notice and starts with a

     Example:  Herbst-Damm, K.L. (2005). Volunteer support: Terminally ill patients. Health Psychology 24(2), 225-250,

  • Include a DOI for all works that have a doi regardless if you used an online or print version
  • For works without DOIs from academic databases, do not include a URL or database information. The reference should be the same as the reference for a print version.
  • For works without DOI from websites, include the URL as long as it will work for readers
  • For works from a database that publishes works of limited circulation or original proprietary information, include the name of the database
  • It in not necessary to include the words "Retrieved from" or "Accessed from" before a DOI or URL


See sections 9.34-9.37 in the Publication Manual for more information.