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APA reference page

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Purpose of a reference page

A reference page contains the sources cited in the text. It provides complete information of the sources given as in-text citations so that the reader can explore each source if they wish to learn more about the topic. Sources are listed in alphabetical order in the reference list.

Guidelines to formatting a reference page

Always begin the reference list on a new page after the main text of the paper. However, your reference pages should appear before any figures, tables, or appendices.

  • 1-inch margin around the page.
  • Page title should be “References.” Bold and center it at the top of the page.
  • Double space lines.
  • Student papers include the page number in the upper right corner.
  • References are organized by the first word (usually the author’s surname) of the reference. Additional scenarios are discussed later in this guide.
  • Keep the first line of each entry flush left. Give a hanging indent of 0.5 inches for the second and subsequent lines.

Rules for formatting reference entries

You can divide each reference entry into four major units: (i) author field, (ii) publication year, (iii) title of the work, and (iv) the source of the reference.

Author field

This field is vital, as entries are arranged alphabetically in the reference list according to the surname of the authors. Use initials for the first and middle names of the authors. Suffixes like Jr., Sr., and XIV should come after the initials. A few examples are given below for the author field.

Templates (T) and examples (E):

T: Author Surname, F. M.

E: Spitka, T. F.

T: Author Surname, F.

E: Holun, A.-H.

T: Author Surname, F. M., Suffix.

E: Bernard, K. S., Jr.

Note that each element in the author field is separated by a comma.

Publication year

This field appears after the author field. The publication year is enclosed in parenthesis. Depending upon the type of publication (e.g., journal article, website, or YouTube video), this field will have the year or the month and year, or even the day, month, and year. When the day, month, and year are to be used, you should follow the format (Year, Month Day). When the publication year is not known, use “n.d.” in parenthesis. The abbreviation “n.d.” stands for “no date.” If two or more publications have the same author group and same publication year, use lowercase letters as suffixes to the publication year to differentiate publications. If a paper cited is still in press, use the phrase “in press” in place of the publication year. A few examples are given below for your easy understanding.

Templates (T) and examples (E):

T: (Publication year)

E: (2007)

T: (Month Year)

E: (April 2016)

T: (Year, Month Day)

E: (2021, August 11)

T: (n.d.)

E: (n.d.)

T: (Publication year followed by a lowercase alphabet as a suffix)

E: (1994a)

T: (in press)

E: (in press)

Title of the work

This field lists the title of the paper. Formatting and capitalization vary according to the type of publication that is mentioned. For example, titles of a journal article and a book chapter are set upright and in sentence case. The journal title is italicized and set in title case. The book title is italicized but set in sentence case. For more information, see the article on APA citation examples. Note that the below examples show only the formatting of the titles, and in the reference list entry, they do not appear exactly in the same order as shown here.

Templates (T) and examples (E):

T: Article title: Subtitle. Journal Title

E: Pedagogising the university: On higher education policy implementation and its effects on social relations. Journal of Education Policy

T: Chapter title: Subtitle. Book title

E: Introducing raciolinguistics. Raciolinguistics: How language shapes our ideas

T: Title of the website

E: The art of copyediting

T: YouTube title

E: How to live peacefully

Source of the reference

This includes volume, page, publisher, edition, and website address. The element you need to choose depends on the type of reference you are trying to cite. For more information, see the article on APA citation examples.

Rules for formatting the reference list

One-author entries are arranged by publication year. Entries with no dates are listed first, then come the publications in chronological order, and, finally, “in press” entries.

Rachel, N. P. (n.d.)

Rachel, N. P. (1987)

Rachel, N. P. (1989a)

Rachel, N. P. (1989b)

Rachel, N. P. (in press)

If the surnames of the first author of multiple entries are the same, list the one-author entries first, even if the multiple author entries have earlier dates.

David, P. R., Jr. (2006)

David, P. R., Jr., & Glen, T. R. (2005)

Multiple-author entries are arranged by publication year. Entries with no dates are listed first, then come the publications in chronological order, and, finally, “in press” entries.

Heather, R. R., & Gold, R. M. (2013a)

Heather, R. R., & Gold, R. M. (2013b)

Heather, R. R., & Gold, R. M. (2014)

Multiple entries with the same first author and different subsequent authors are organized alphabetically like normal, then by the second author’s surname. If the second authors’ name(s) are the same, then arrange them by the surnames of the third author and so on.

Joan, L. E., Dun, B., & Ying, S. E. (2021)

Joan, T. E., & Rio, G. K. (2018)

Point, S. P., Chung, W.-X., & Pond, S. H. (2019)

Point, S. P., Chung, W.-X., & Wallace, P. P. (2019)

Arrange works by first authors with the same surname and different initials alphabetically by first initial(s), without considering the number of authors.

Blake, K. M., & Noor, G. J. (2015)

Blake, T. (2014)

Examples of a few reference types along with templates

Some examples of reference entries along with their templates are given below. Note that “F” and “M” denote the first and the middle initials.

Website

The website name is set in italics. Follow the format given in the template and example for setting the date, month, and year.

Template:

Author or Organization Name. (Year, Month Day of Publication ). Title of the Website. URL

Example:

McQuillan, S. (2021, June 2). PSYCOM.net. https://www.psycom.net/food-addiction-symptoms-treatment/

Book in print

The title of the book is set in italics and sentence case.

Template:

Author Surname1, F. M., Author Surname2, F. M. (Publication Year). Title of the chapter in sentence case. In F. Editor1, F. Editor2, & F. M. Editor3 (Eds.), Title of the book (pp. #–#). Publisher.

Example:

Peck, J., & Tickell, A. (2006). Conceptualising neoliberalism, thinking thatcherism. In H. Leitner, J. Peck, & E. Sheppard (Eds.), Contesting neoliberalism: Urban frontiers (pp. 26–50). Guilford Press.

Journal article

The article title is set upright and in sentence case. The first word of the subtitle is capitalized. If page details are present, a DOI is not mandatory. However, retain the DOI if provided. Add “https://” before the DOI number.

Template:

Author Surname1, F. M., & Author Surname2, F. M. (Publication Year). Article title: Subtitle. Journal Title, Volume(issue), page range. URL or DOI

Example:

Bernstein, B., & Solomon, J. (1999). Pedagogy, identity and the construction of a theory of symbolic control: Basil Bernstein questioned by Joseph Solomon. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 20(2), 265–279. https://doi:10.1080/01425699995443

YouTube video

Set the video title in sentence case and italicize it. Capitalize the first word after the colon. Enclose the word “Video” in brackets after the title of the video. Then, use “YouTube.” Finally, give the link. Note that the end period is not given after the URL.

Template:

Uploader’s name. (Year, Month Day Published). Video title. [Video]. YouTube. URL

Example:

Stanford. (2011, February 2). 2. Behavioral evolution. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0Oa4Lp5fLE


For additional information on APA format, select from one of the source types below. For help creating APA citations, check out the BibMe APA citation generator.

Source Types:

APA Format:

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