Citation Guide: American Psychological Association (APA)

References Format

The end documentation in the APA system is called References.  It is located at the end of a document and contains publication information for all sources that you have cited within your document, with two exceptions. Entire websites and personal communication, such as e-mail messages, letters, and interviews, are cited only in the text of the document. 

Begin the list on a new page at the end of the document, and center the title “References” at the top. Organize the list alphabetically by author (if the source is an organization, alphabetize it by the name of the organization: if the source has no know author, alphabetize it by title). All the entries should be double-spaced with no extra space between entries. Entries are formatted with a hanging indent: the first line is flush with the left margin, and subsequent lines are indented one-half inch. Only the initial word and proper nouns (names of people, organizations, cities, states, and so on) in a source title and subtitle are capitalized. 

In longer documents, a references list may be given at the end of each chapter or section. In digital documents that use links, such as websites, the references list is often a separate page to which other pages are linked.

For information on how to format individual entries instead of the page as a whole, see the References pages


Below is a list of accepted abbreviations for the References list to use in entries:

Abbreviation      Book or publication part

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)

Vol.                       Volume (as in Vol. 4)

Vols.                      Volumes (as in Vols. 1-4)

No.                        Number

Pt.                         Part

Tech. Rep.             Technical Report

Suppl.                   Supplement

Order of References

The basic rule to alphabetize seems simple, but questions and complications inevitably arise.  Below are some rules for the order of Reference entries.

  1. Nothing precedes something: Gold is listed before Golding; Villavicencio is listed before Villa-Zorro; Muros is listed before Muros de Allende.

  2. Several works by the same author: If it is a one-author entry, arrange them by year of publication, with the earliest date first. 

 Peterkin, J. (1927). Black April. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 48.

 Peterkin, J. (1928). Scarlet sister Mary. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 92.

 If the dates are the same, arrange them alphabetically by title and attach suffixes to each year (a, b, c...). 

Smith, S., Wesson, P., & Winchester, T. (1988a). Title alpha. 

New York: Macmillan, 324.

Smith, S., Wesson, P., & Winchester, T. (1988b). Title beta. 

New York: Macmillan, 76.

Smith, S., Wesson, P., & Winchester, T. (1988c). Title zeta. 

New York: Macmillan, 101-103.

3.   List one-author works before co-authored works with the same first author.  Do this even if the publication date for the co-authored work is earlier.  

Shor, I. (1986). Culture wars: School and society in the

conservative restoration, 1969-1982. Boston: Routledge

and K. Paul, 55.

Shor, I. & Friere, P. (1987). A pedagogy of liberation:

Dialogues on transforming education. New York:

Bergin and Garvey, 112-115.

     If there are different co-authors, entries are listed alphabetically by the second author.  If the second authors are the same, then alphabetize by the third author, etc.

Smith, M., Brown, N., & Black, L. (1993). Title one. New York: Macmillan, 57.

Smith, M., White, Q., & Toggle, V. (1989). Title two. Boston: Bedford, 32-36.

4.   If you have two different authors with the same last name, alphabetize by their first initial.

Duke, K. (1998).

Duke, N. (2003).

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