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APA 7th Edition Guide

This guide provides an overview of the APA citation style and provides students with basic information to begin learning and applying this style in their academic writing.

References List Basics

Reference List


The Reference list appears as its own page at the end of a research paper. It lists all of the resources cited with in-text citations within the text of the paper. Its purpose is to provide the reader with enough information to be able to retrieve the source material cited in the paper.

An APA reference is composed of four elements:


  • Author:  Who created the work?  It can be an individual or a group author.
  • Date:  When was the work published?
  • Title:  What is the name of the work?
  • Source:  What information is needed to retrieve the work?


NOTE: The author, date, and title elements are usually straight forward. The information needed for the access element of the reference varies depending on whether the item is an article, book, or webpage. Click on the tabs to the left to view pieces of information needed to create a reference as well as an example reference and links to additional resources. 

Consider viewing this informative video from the APA Style Experts:

Formatting the Reference List


Listed below are formatting rules that you should keep in mind when creating your reference list:

  • The reference list begins on its own page following the text of the paper
  • References is centered and bolded at the top of the page
  • Entries are listed in alphabetical order according to the first word in the reference
  • Double space the entire list; do not add extra space between entries
  • Use a hanging indent for entries that require more than one line
  • List authors by last name, first and middle initials; do not include titles or professional degrees
  • Titles should be capitalized using sentence case. This means capitalize only the first letter of the first word in the title and subtitle, with the exception of proper nouns/terms, as you would when writing a sentence.
    • Titles of works that stand alone (e.g., books, journals, reports, webpages) are written in italic sentence case. Example: Typographic design: Form and communication.
    • Titles of works that are part of a greater whole (e.g., journal articles, book chapters, dictionary entries) are written in sentence case without italics. Example: Baseline characteristics and outcomes of 1591 patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 admitted to ICUs of the Lombardy region, Italy.


Consider using NoodleTools or Academic Writer to create and format your reference list.  See the Citation Tools tab for more information.

Example of a reference list:


Where to Find Information to Create a Reference

From Basic Principles of Reference List Entries, by the APA Style Experts (2020), ( Copyright 2020 by the American Psychological Association.

Are you not sure what resource type you are trying to cite?

View this FAQ for help identifying the type of resource you are citing (ie, ebook, article, website).

Missing information?  

See the Missing Information tab for assistance.

Use these citation tools to generate APA references as well as create APA formatted References lists and annotated bibliographies:

Check out the Citation Tools Guide for information about each tool as well as guides for selecting the right tool for your research assignment.


APA Academic Writer: A Student Point of View

Watch this video about how Academic Writer can be used to create references and write papers in the APA style.