Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

APA Referencing Style : Reference list

The aim of this guide is to present concisely the basic rules for citing various types of resources in APA Referencing Style (7th edition).

Reference list

All the sources you refer to in your writing (in-text citations) must be included in the reference list at the end of your work. The purpose of the reference list is to provide your readers with detailed information for the sources you used, so that they can find them. It also gives credit to authors whose work you have used and consulted.

Note: List only the sources that you have actually used in the research, i.e. do not include sources for background or further information (as in the bibliography). The authors are responsible for all the information in the reference list.

Include all in-text citations in the reference list, except from the personal communication.

The elements of a reference:author, date, title and source

The basics:

  • Reference list: Place the reference list on a separate page in your work and use the title “Reference list” (capital letter, centered, not italics);

Indent: Use hanging indent of 0.5 for your references.

Right click – Paragraph – Indentation – Special: Hanging​;

Space: Double-space between references.

Right click – Paragraph – Spacing – Line spacing: Double


Each reference element is followed by a period, except the DOI or URL address as this may interfere with the link functionality.

Use commas between parts of the same reference element.

Italicize punctuation marks that appear within an italic reference element (e.g. a comma within a book title) and don't italicize punctuation between reference elements (e.g. a period after an italic book title).


Arrange the reference list in alphabetical order of the authors’ last names. If there are two or more publications of the same author, arrange them by publication date. If the first author is the same and the second authors are different, order them by subsequent author’s name. If there is no author, order them by title (excluding words as “A” or “The”).

  • Author information:
  • Invert authors’ names; give surnames first, followed by a comma and initials.
  • For two or more authors use “&” between the last name.
  • For up to 20 authors, list the names of all.
  • If more than 20 authors, list the first 19 authors’ names, then “…” and last author’s name.
  • If there are authors with the same surname and first initial, give the authors’ full first name in brackets:


Author, A. A. & Author, B. B.

Janet, P. [Paul]…

Janet. P. [Pierre]…

  • If the author’s first name is hyphenated, retain the hyphen and include a period after each initial.


Lamour, J.-B., (for Jean-Baptiste Lamour)

  • Group authors: spell out the full name.


Royal Institute of Technology.

  • Editor information
  • Edited book: place the editors’ names in the author position, adding (Ed./Eds.).
  • Chapter in an edited book: invert the chapter authors’ names, add In and then the editors’ names (NOT inverted), followed by (Ed./Eds.) and the book information; if no editor, include only In before the book title.:


Editor, A. A. (Ed.). (Year). Title of book. Publisher.

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of chapter. In E. E. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (pp.). Publisher.

  • Date information:
  • Give the year of publication in parentheses after the author’s name.
  • For magazines and newspapers, give the exact date of publication (month or month and day, or season).
  • Write "in press" for articles that have been accepted for publication but have not yet been published.
  • If no date available, write (n.d.).

  • Title information:​
  • Journal, magazine, newspaper title – title case (capitalize each word of the title), italicize.
  • Book or article title – sentence style (capitalize the first letter of the title and the subtitle), no italics.
  • Journal article, chapter in an edited book - sentence style, no italics.
  • No title - include a short description of the work in square brackets.
  • Source information:
  • Periodical sources: periodical title (italics, title case); volume number (italics); issue (after the volume, no space between, in parentheses, no italics); page range (no italics, indicate with "p." or "pp.", use an en dash (–), NOT a hyphen (-), for page ranges)
  • Edited book chapters: write "In" followed by the initials of the editors (not inverted), followed with "(Ed.)" or "(Eds.)" then the book title (in italics) and the publisher.
  • Publisher: add full publisher name, no abbreviations, don't add location; don't include designations of business structures (Inc., Ltd., etc.); when the author is the same as the publisher - omit the publisher to avoid repetition.
  • Databases and archival sources: provide database only if it's necessary the readers to retrieve the cited work from that exact database.
  • Works with specific location: e.g. conferences - include the location (city, state, province or territory).
  • Social media: include website name followed by the social media site URL.
  • DOIs and URLs: last element in the reference, include DOI for all works that have DOI; if no DOI, include URL.

Format: present DOIs and URLs as hyperlink (i.e. "http://"); don't include "Retrieved from"; you can use either the underlined hyperlinks or plain text; format the DOI link as "https//"; don't use "DOI: before the DOI link; don't add period after the DOI or URL.

  • No source: a reference without source can't be included in the reference list.

Reference list example

Alred, G. J., Brusaw, C. T., & Oliu, W. E. (2009). The business writer’s handbook.
St Martin's Press.
Best, A. (2004). International history of the twentieth century.
Easton, B. (2008). Does poverty affect health? In K. Dew & A. Matheson (Eds.), Understanding
health inequalities in Aotearoa New Zealand (pp. 97–106). Otago University Press.
Flesch, R. (n.d.). How to write plain English. Retrieved April 12, 2009, from /writing/flesch.shtml
Global warming. (2009, June 1). Retrieved June 4, 2009, from
Li, S., & Seale, C. (2007). Learning to do qualitative data analysis: An observational study
of doctoral work. Qualitative Health Research, 17, 1442–1452. 
Radio New Zealand. (2008). Annual report 2007-2008. /pdf_file/0010/179676/Radio_NZ_Annual_Report_2008.pdf 
Read, E. (2007, November 1). Myth-busting gen Y. New Zealand Management.


DOI (digital object identifier) usually identifies journal articles but can also be found on other types of publications. DOI provides a permanent internet address for the item making it easy to locate. Usually has the following structure:*

* According to APA Manual 7th edition the DOIs are formatted the same as URLs. The label "DOI:" is no longer used.

Note: always include DOI (if available) when referencing a paper; do NOT put a full stop at the end of DOI; place it as last element in your reference.

Oppenheimer, D., Zaromb, F., Pomerantz, J. R., Williams, J. C., & Park, Y. S. (2017). Improvement of writing skills during college: A multi-year cross-sectional and longitudinal study of undergraduate writing performance. Assessing Writing, 32, 12–27.

  • URL – if there is no DOI of the publication, include the URL address.
  • For journal articles without DOI, use the journal URL, NOT the URL of the article.
  • Tip: You can find the URL from the journal home page (e.g., try to Google it).
  • For journals without home page and DOI.
  • This can happen to some discontinued journals, or journals archived in an archival database only.
  • Use the database home page URL. Do not use the full URL of the source that you retrieved from a database.


This is the URL of the book you are reading. The correct URL in the reference for this book should be


Acceptable abbreviations in the reference list:

  • ed. – edition
  • Rev. ed. – revised edition
  • 2nd ed. – second edition
  • Ed. (Eds.) – editor (editors)
  • Trans. – translator(s)
  • n.d. – no date
  • p. (pp.) – page (pages)
  • para. (paras) – paragraph (paragraphs)
  • Vol. (Vols.) – volume (as in Vol. 4); volumes (as in Vols. 1-4)
  • No. – number
  • Pt. – part
  • Narr. – Narrator
  • Tech. Rep. – technical report
  • Suppl. – supplement

Note: APA journals use Arabic numerals (e.g., Vol 3, not Vol. III). But if a Roman numeral is part of the title, it should remain Roman (e.g., Attention and Performance XIII).