APA References

Documenting Sources at the End of Your Paper

Every cited source from your essay, with the exception of personal communications, should appear in your References page, which comes at the end of the essay.

The References page must conform to the following rules:

  • Begin on a separate page at the end of your essay, using the same format as your essay (i.e., one-inch margins and page number).
  • Entries in your list of references should be alphabetized by the authors’ last names. Use the title if a work does not have an author.
  • Center and bold the word References at the top of the page.
  • Double-space all references, even within individual references.
  • Use a hanging indent of 0.5 inches for each reference. This means the first line of each entry will be flush against the left margin, and subsequent lines are indented 0.5 inches.

Click on the following pages to view information on how to create a specific reference entry for your source type.

In this video on APA format, you’ll see a sample references list with some tips on creating a references list of your own.

Video Transcript

This APA video will provide you with the basic information for formatting your References page. Here are some important things to remember about your references list:

  • No source should appear on your references list that is not cited in your paper with in-text citations.
  • Your sources should be listed in alphabetical order by the first word of each entry.
  • Each source type has its own structure, so a book has a certain structure, as does a journal article, a magazine article, etc.
  • You should not try to memorize the structures. You simply have to look up the formatting each time you begin putting together your references. You can use a reference generator, but be careful to always double check, as the generators often make mistakes. The APA References section in the OWL provides you with visual support and clear examples for each source type.
  • Pay close attention to the capitalization rules in your references, as APA does not follow what you might perceive as “standard” capitalization for some titles. For example, in article titles, you should capitalize only the first word, any proper nouns, and the first letter of the subtitle, which is found after the colon. APA refers to this capitalization style as “sentence case” capitalization.

When you begin your References page, you will notice that it is simply another page in your document, so you should have the page number at the top right.

You should center the word “References” at the top of your page and then begin your entries. The word “References” should be in bold font. Keep your line spacing at double-spaced.

In this short video, we cannot address all the many types of sources you might encounter, but this short list of references contains a YouTube video, an article from an online newspaper, a website, and a journal article.

A nice thing about following APA formatting carefully is that your readers can tell by simply looking at your references list what kinds of sources you used because of the structure and order of information. This can help your readers note your diverse and credible sources even at a glance.

Remember, it is important to keep a good APA resource handy as you create your references list. You may rely on the APA Manual, 7th edition or the helpful APA resources in the Excelsior Online Writing Lab.

American Psychological Association.(2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

Grumble... Applaud... Please give us your feedback!