APA format tips, guidelines, and examples

Reference page

All sources cited in your paper should be included in the reference page. The reference page should appear at the end of your APA essay. This page makes it easy for readers to find all the materials you cited.

Any content quoted in the main text must appear in the reference section, and anything contained in the reference section must be quoted somewhere in the main text.

Your references should start on a new page, titled “References” in bold, and centered at the top. Don’t underline, italicize, or use quotation marks around the title.

Basic reference page rules

Don’t forget these rules when organizing reference pages:

  • List the references in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author of each source.
  • All main words in the title of the journal (ie, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology) are capitalized.
  • Capitalize only the first letter of the article title. If a colon appears in the title, the first letter after the colon should also be capitalized. The title should not be placed in quotation marks, underlined or italicized.
  • Double spaces for all quotes.
  • Italicize the titles of books and journals.
  • When the same author is cited multiple times, the references are listed in chronological order, with the oldest first and the most recent.
  • Use hanging indentation for each reference; the first line of the reference should be aligned to the left, but each additional line needs to be indented.
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Periodicals and Periodicals

Journal articles should appear in your reference list in alphabetical order. More APA format tips include:

  • Capitalize the first letter of the first word in titles, subtitles, and proper nouns.
  • Italicize the publication name and volume number.

The basic format for journal article citations is to list the authors’ last names first, followed by their initials. Next, the publication year is enclosed in parentheses, followed by a period.

The title of the article should follow, with only the first letter of the first word capitalized, and the first letter of any proper nouns.

The italicized title of the journal follows, followed by a comma. Put the volume number next, also in italics. Use the question number in parentheses, followed by a comma.

Then, place the page number, and if it is a series of pages, use a hyphen between them. Put a period after this. Finally, if there are hyperlinks available, include the hyperlink containing the DOI number.

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This style is suitable for printed text. The format of the cited book is as follows:

  • Author’s name (last name, first letter)
  • Publication date in brackets
  • Title Italic
  • If applicable, please put the edition of this book in parentheses
  • Publisher name
  • Hyperlink with DOI name

Note: Put a period after each element.

Electronic resources

The basic format of an electronic reference is very similar to the basic format of any other reference. However, you usually need to include the online location of the document.

Because online URLs may change, APA recommends using digital object identifiers (DOI) in your references whenever possible.

The DOI is a unique alphanumeric string that begins with 10 and a prefix (usually a four-digit number assigned to the organization) and a suffix (a number assigned by the publisher).

Many publishers include the DOI on the first page of the electronic document. If the DOI is available, simply include it as a hyperlink at the end of the reference, like this: https:/doi.org/10.0000/00000000000.

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Be sure to check the latest information from the American Psychological Association for more information on citing electronic resources.