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APA Style Guide: References

A guide to help users create citations using APA (American Psychological Association) style.

Citing a source with missing information

The APA Style Blog post, "Missing Pieces: How to Write an APA Style Reference Even Without All the Information," provides a fantastic table that helps you solve the mystery of putting it all together.  This table is also referenced in the APA Style Blog post, "How to Cite Something You Found on a Website in APA Style."

For your convenience, it is available here:

Basic Rules

These are some basic rules for your references page:

  • The word "References" is centered at the top of the page, and capitalized at the first word (no underlining or italics are needed).
  • Arrange references in alphabetical order by the author's last name.
  • Double space between and within references.
  • Use initials for the first and middle names of authors.
  • Have a hanging indent at the second line of the reference.

Guidelines for Building a Citation - APA

Each entry in your References usually contains the following information, in this order: author(s) or editor(s), date of publication, title of work, and publication data. There are specific rules around the formatting of each part of the citation. The general format is given below; refer to the APA Manual for more information.

Author Surname, First Initial. Second Initial. (Year). Title of the work: Subtitle. Place of Publication: Publisher.

APA Citation Example

Author or Editor Information

Authors are listed by surname and initial(s). Use only the initial(s) of the author’s given name(s), not the full name (p.184), even when the full name is given.

If there is more than one author, use commas to separate them. For 2 to 7 authors, use an ampersand (&) before the last author. For 8 or more authors, refer to the APA Manual (pp. 174-177).

If there is no author, move the title to the author position, before the date of publication (p. 176).

In a reference to an edited book, place the editor(s) name in the author position, with the abbreviation Ed. or Eds. in parentheses after the last editor's name (p. 184).

Date of Publication

Give the year that the work was published, in parentheses, followed by a period (p. 185).

If no date is available, write n.d. in parentheses, followed by a period (p. 185).

Title of Work

Capitalize only the first word of the title (and subtitle if given) and any proper nouns (p. 185).

Italicize the title of a book or periodical. Do not italicize the title of a chapter within a book or an article within a periodical (p. 185).

Include any additional information needed for identification of the work (e.g. an edition statement) in parentheses immediately after the title (p. 185).

Publication Data

For books, give the location of the publisher, followed by the name of the publisher (pp. 186-187).

Example:
Location: Name of Publisher.

For periodicals, give the volume number after the periodical title. Italicize the volume number, but do not use the abbreviation Vol. before the number. For more information about periodicals (e.g. issue number, page numbers), refer to the APA Manual (p. 186).

Unusual Rules

APA has a few unusual rules about formatting references. It is helpful to remember that:

  • you will want to use double spacing both in between and within entries.
  • Only the first letter of the first word of a title of a book chapter or journal article is capitalized, unless it is a proper noun.
  • The title of the book or journal is italicized, not the title of a chapter or journal article.
  • Include the Running Head on your references page.
  • Remember to include the page number on the references page.

Examples & Templates

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