For models for citing specific sources, see our APA Reference Models.
The reference list includes all the sources from which you obtained information that you used within the text. Its purpose is to allow readers to find and use your research for their own projects. Your references should be listed alphabetically. The reference page must include the running head that is on every page of your paper, “References” as the title of the page, and the references themselves. Here are some general requirements to follow:
- The page header should appear at the top right hand corner of the reference page(s) as previously set up on the cover page and should be numbered along with the rest of the paper.
- The title informs people that this is the reference page. The word “References” should be centered at the top of your page and typed in the normal font with no bold, underline, or quotation marks.
- References are ordered alphabetically by the authors’ last names (they are written inverted, last name first).
- Each reference should be indented after the first line. This is called a hanging indent. To have this happen automatically, select the text of the reference, right click, and select “Paragraph.” From underneath “Indentation” select the options for “Special” and then select “Hanging.”
- Two or more works by the same author appear in chronological order by date of publication; you should also repeat the name of the author in each entry.
- Note that when you know the author’s first and middle initials, you should include both. In some cases, you may not have access to that information or the author may only have a first name. Only in those cases should you omit the middle initial.
The best advice for documenting references is to find the correct model for the type of source you have. So, for example, if you are documenting a newspaper article, look up the model for newspaper articles and follow the model exactly, paying close attention to what is capitalized and what isn’t and how the reference is punctuated.
In addition, it is important to understand that where you located the source determines the model you must use. If you accessed a newspaper article from an actual printed newspaper, then you would follow one model. If you accessed a newspaper article from the newspaper’s online site, you would follow a different citation model. If you accessed a newspaper from an online subscription service like Lexis-Nexis, you would follow yet another model.
Confused by any abbreviations or big words? See our APA Terminology guide.