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APA Citation Guide: References

Your reference list should begin on a new page, with the page number at the top right and the title, References, boldface and centered. The list is evenly double spaced with no extra spaces between references. Alphabetize entries and use the hanging indent.

Sample Reference List

Listing Authors in References

The first element in any type of APA citation is the author. Some works have just one author--others have many. Some have editors, translators and other contributors in addition to authors. Others have no personal author but are written by a group or corporate author. The following rules apply to listing authors in APA references.


  • One author: Personal names are always inverted, with the last name first. After the comma, you can include first and middle initials. Do NOT write out first or middle names.
    • Example: Jones, M. E.


  • Multiple authors: List up to 20 authors this way, separating them with commas. DO NOT alphabetize the names in the list. Retain the order the authors are listed on the original source as there is often a primary author listed first. Use the ampersand symbol (&) to connect the final author.
    • Example: Jones, M. E., Smith, H. I., Leery, M. O., Hopkins, E. F., & Flint, L. E.


  • Editors or contributors instead of authors: Include an abbreviated description in parentheses if the contributor listed is anything other than the author (this applies to editors, translators, compilers, etc.)
    • Example: Johnson, H. E. (Ed.)


  • Group or corporate authors: If there are no personal authors or editors listed, you may substitute a group or corporate author if one is available.
    • Examples of corporate authors: High Point University, United States Department of Agriculture, Google, etc.


  • No author listed: If the author is listed on the source as "Anonymous" you can put this in the author field. If there is no mention of an author whatsoever, begin the reference with the title of the source in the author field.
    • Example of a source with NO author: Climate change affects us all. (2019).

Anatomy of an APA Reference (4 Parts)

The 7th edition of the APA manual introduces a new way to conceptualize how references are written. Regardless of source type, all references will include these four parts, in this order:

1 2 3 4
Author.  (Date). Title.  Source.

Each of the parts are color-coded in the examples below so you can see how the formula plays out among various source types.

Book example:

Teo, T. (2005). The critique of psychology: From Kant to postcolonial theory. Springer.

Journal article example:

Grady, J. S., Her, M., Moreno, G., Perez, C., & Yelinek, J. (2019). Emotions in storybooks: A comparison of storybooks that represent ethnic and racial groups in the United States. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 8(3), 207–217.

Webpage example:

National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute. (2011). What is an arrhythmia?

Dates in References

The publication date listed on the source should come directly after the author(s), separated by a period, and enclosed in parentheses. For most book and journal sources, the year alone is sufficient. List full dates when given, however, as some source types (newspapers, blog posts, etc.) are published frequently. If you need to write out a full date, use the (Year, Month Day) format and write out the names of Months.

  • (2020).
  • (2020, January 5).
  • (2020, Spring).

If there is no date listed on a source, use the abbreviation "n.d." which stands for "no date."

  • (n.d.).

Titles in References

Italicize the titles of complete works, including book, movie, web page and journal titles.

Do not italicize the titles of articles, book chapters or any piece you cite located within a larger work.

Only the first word of titles and subtitles, along with any proper nouns, should be capitalized. For example:

  • Leading schools: Strategies for the future of education.
  • Chapter five: Education for the next decade.

The only exception is in the case of journal, magazine or newspaper titles. For these, use title case (capitalize every important word). For example:

  • Journal of Educational Leadership
  • New York Times
  • Our State

Sources in References

This is the element that varies according to the type of source you are citing. If you are citing a print book, the source is the publisher, whereas an eBook source is a DOI or URL. For a journal article, the source is the issue of the journal in which it was published, along with any assigned DOI. For a webpage, the source is simply the URL. The source element, then, can look like any of the following:

  • Random House.
  • In Leading schools (pp. 100-115). Random House.
  • Journal of Education, 50(3), 45-50.
  • Twitter.