APA reference list formatting

The reference list includes only the sources you have used in any submission. APA Style requires reference lists, not bibliographies.

The following formatting rules apply:

  • The reference list begins a new page with the centred heading - References
  • Double-space all reference entries.
  • Reference list entries should be indented half an inch or 12 mm (five to seven spaces) on the second and subsequent lines of the reference list for every entry - a hanging indent is the preferred style (i.e. entries should begin flush left, and the second and subsequent lines should be indented).
  • Arrange entries in alphabetical order by the surname of the first author as the letters appear (e.g. M, Mac, MacD, Mc).
  • If more than one work by an author is cited, list these by earliest publication date first.
  • If the list contains more than one item published by the same author(s) in the same year, add lower case letters immediately after the year to distinguish them (e.g. 1983a). These are ordered alphabetically by title disregarding any initial articles (a, an or the).
  • If there is no author, the title moves to the author position (filed under the first significant word of the title). If the title in this instance begins with numerals, spell them out.
  • U.S. states and territories are abbreviated in the publication information.  Use the official two-letter postal service abbreviations (e.g. New York, NY; Berkeley, CA).  For locations outside the U.S., spell out the city and country names (Brisbane, Australia; London, England).
  • If the publisher is a university where the name includes the state, don't repeat the state in the location section (e.g. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan).

APA Referencing Guide PDF