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APA Guide: References: What to Include

A guide to writing papers and citing sources in American Psychological Association style.


For a References page, your citations need to be double spaced and have a hanging indent. A hanging indent just means that every line after the first in your citation is indented 0.5". 

In Microsoft Word (PC or Mac), highlight your citation and right click on it. Select "Paragraph" in the menu that appears, then under "Indentation" click on the Special drop down and select "Hanging". Make sure the "By" field is set to 0.5".

References Rules

Your list of references will start a new page at the end of your paper. Title it "References" centered at the top of the page (without bold, underline, or quotation marks) and double-space the text. Basic rules follow.

  • Use hanging indentation for all entries. See the sidebar for instructions on how to do this.
  • Alphabetize your references by the last name of the primary author.
  • If you have multiple entries by the same author, order chronologically starting with the oldest
  • Write journal titles in full- do not abbreviate
  • Use the capitalization and punctuation used by the journal- do not "standardize" it
  • For most other sources, capitalize the first word of the title, subtitle, first word after a colon or dash, and proper nouns
  • Italicize the titles of longer works- books, journals, films. Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works.

Author Names

Author names are inverted (last name first). You will use the full last name and initialize the first and (if available) middle name(s). List all authors up to seven. For two authors, separate the names with an ampersand (&). For three to seven, use commas and the ampersand. If you have a work with more than seven authors, list the first six, add an ellipses (...), and then list the final author's name. Keep the order of authors as in the original source- do not alphabetize them!

If you have an organization or corporation listed as the author, treat the publishing organization as the author and retain the normal formatting. If you have no listed author (common with dictionaries and encyclopedias), use the title as the author.

If you have two or more works by the same author, include the author's name in each citation and order the citations by year, earliest first. If the works were published in the same year, alphabetize by title and assign a letter suffix to each year (2019a, 2019b). This will allow you to differentiate the sources in your in-text citations. If you have an author appearing as the only author on one source and the primary author of a group for another source, list the single-author entry first. For multi-author entries with the same first author but different subsequent authors, alphabetize by the second or third author, whichever is different.