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APA 7th Edition: References List

Using APA 7th edition citation style

Creating the "Reference" List

You identify the sources you borrow from--and therefore cite--in the "Reference" list at the end of your paper. Each entry in this list is made up of core elements given in a specific order; there are optional elements that may be added if they assist your reader.


Even though the list appears at the end of your paper, you need to draft it before you start writing, so you can include the proper information in the in-text [parenthetical] citations.


When creating your "Reference" page:

  1. Think   about the source you are documenting,
  2. Select   the information about the source that is appropriate to the project you are creating,
  3. Organize   the information logically and without complication.

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th edition) has a good section (pp. 1281-312) on finding the facts about publications, and an extensive discussion of each of the core/optional elements.

For good examples of Reference pages, see the sample papers (written by APA staff members) in the APA Style Center.


The individual entries in the list:

  • use the "hanging indentation" format, so the second and subsequent lines are indented half an inch from the left margin
    • If indentation is difficult or impossible--in certain digital contexts, for example--leave extra space between the entries
  • are arranged in alphabetical order, by the term that comes first
    • this is usually the author's last name
      • the order is letter-by-letter, ignoring punctuation, spaces, and diacritics/special characters - e.g. Descartes, René; De Sica, Vittorio; MacDonald, George; McCullers, Carson
      • suffixes that are an essential part of the name appear after the given name, preceded by a comma - e.g. Rockefeller, John D., IV; Rust, Arthur George, Jr.
      • omit titles, affiliations, and degrees that precede or follow names - e.g. PhD, M.D., Sister, Saint, Sir, RBA
      • when two or more last names are identical, continue the alphabetization following the comma - e.g. Morris, Robert; Morris, William
      • multiple sources by the same author are alphabetized by their titles, ignoring any terms describing the author's role (e.g. translator)
    • an author may be a corporate entity - e.g. an institution, association, government agency
      • when a work's author and publisher are different, include both names and start the entry with the author organization
      • when a work's author and publisher are the same, start the entry with the author, and omit the organization as the publisher
      • when an entry starts with a government agency:
        • begin with the name of the government, followed by a comma and the name of the agency
        • between the names include any organizational units of which the agency is part (see, for example, the first citation for Corporate author in the table)
        • all names are arranged from the largest entity to the smallest
    • if there is no author, use the title of the source, not "Anonymous"
      • the order is letter-by-letter, ignoring punctuation and diacritics/special characters
      • also ignore initial A, An, or The, or their equivalents in other languages
      • if the title begins with a numeral, treat it as if the numeral were spelled out - for example,1984 would be alphabetized as if it was "Nineteen Eighty-four"
  • use information from the source itself; if a source does not include information for a required element, give as much of the missing information as you can and enclose it in square brackets
    • if a date is approximated, include ca. (which stands for 'circa') - e.g. [ca. 2008]
    • if you are uncertain about the accuracy of the information, add a question mark - e.g. [2008?]
    • if the city of publication is not given in the name for a locally published newspaper, add the city (not italicized) after the name - e.g. The Star-Ledger [Newark]
      • the city is not needed for a nationally published newspaper - e.g. The Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • use a semi-colin to separate multiple pieces of information for a single element in the entry, - e.g. National Gallery of Art; Yale UP

Special Situations

Multiple works by one author

Borroff, M. (Ed.).  (1963). Wallace Stevens: A Collection of Critical Essays. Prentice-Hall.

Borroff, M. (Trans.). (1977). Pearl: A new verse translation. W. W. Norton.

Borroff, M.  Language and the poet: Verbal artistry in Frost, Stevens, and Moore. U of Chicago P, 1979.

Borroff, M. (1992, January) Sound symbolism as drama in the poetry of Robert Frost." PMLA, 107(1), 131-44.

Single author is also first of multiple authors

Tannen, D. (2006). You're wearing that? Understanding mothers and daughters in conversation. Ballentine Books

Tannen, D. Talking voices: Repetition, dialogue, and imagery in conversational discourse (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press..

Tannen, D., & Freedle, R. O. (Eds.). (1988) Linguistics in context: Connecting observation and understanding. Ablex Publishing.

Tannen, D., & Saville-Troike, M. (Eds.). (1985). Perspectives on silence. Ablex Publishing.

Multiple works by coauthors

Gilbert, S. M., & Gubar, S. (1985, Spring). Sexual linguistics: Gender, language, sexuality. " New Literary History, 16(3), 515-43.

Gilbert, S. M., & Gubar, S. (Eds.). (1986). The female imagination and the modernist aesthetic. Gordon and Breach Science Publishers.

Scholes, R., & Kellogg, R. (1966). The nature of narrative. Oxford University Press.

Scholes, R., & Rabkin, E. S. (1977). Science fiction: History - science - vision. Oxford University Press.

Corporate author

Great Britain. Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. (2000). Our countryside: the future. A fair deal for rural England. The Stationery Office.

New York (State). Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century. (1990). The Adirondack Park in the twenty-first century. State of New York.

New York (State). Committee on State Prisons. (1974). Investigation of the New York state prisons. Arno Press. (Original work published 1883)

United Nations. (1991). Consequences of rapid population growth in developing countries. Taylor and Francis.

United States. President, & Council of Economic Advisers (U.S.). (2016). Economic report of the president Transmitted to the congress February 2016;  together with the annual report of the council of economic advisers. Government Printing Office.

United States. Congress.House.Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. (2006). Al-qaeda: The many faces of an islamist extremist threat : Report of the U.S. house permanent select committee on intelligence, approved June 2006, together with additional and minority views, submitted September 2006. ( No. 109-615). Government Printing Office.

United States. Congress.Senate.Committee on the Judiciary.Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. (2012). Access to the court: Televising the supreme court : Hearing before the subcommittee on administrative oversight and the courts of the committee on the judiciary, united states senate, one hundred twelfth congress, first session, December 6, 2011. ( No. 112-584). Government Printing Office.

White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. (2008). Innovations in compassion: The faith-based and community initiative: A final report to the armies of compassion .President of the United States.

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