Reference List


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Each element of reference list formatting is prescribed by the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, and different kinds of sources have different reference formats. Here are some of the basics:

Basic format: Author. (Publication date). Document name. Publishing information.

Specific formatting: The formatting of these elements depends on the type of reference. Reference information helps a reader to locate the sources used in a paper.

References page: The reference list appears on its own page, with the title References at the top.

Hanging indent: All references have a hanging indent, which means the first line is flush left, and all subsequent lines are indented ½ inch on the left. Learn how to create a hanging indent under "APA Formatting".

Order of sources: References appear in alphabetical order by surname of the author. If there is more than one source with the same author, then those references appear in chronological order, earliest source first.

For specific examples of numerous reference formats with notes and tips, see the Common Reference List Examples page.


APA Software

Many students use citation management programs (i.e., Zotero), library databases that export reference entries, and APA software programs (i.e., EndNote). These programs can be helpful shortcuts in organizing research, but keep in mind that the programís formatting is often imperfect when used for your references list.

APA has nuanced rules and formatting that computer programs may not recognize. Students using these tools should review their references carefully to ensure the details are in place.

The Writing Center does not use any of these programs, so we are unable to give recommendations. However, you may find the Libraryís information about Zotero helpful. Additionally, try asking your classmates for their suggestions.