Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts
Reference List: Basic Rules
Welcome to the Purdue OWL
This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.
Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.
Note: This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style can be found here .
This resource, revised according to the 7 th edition APA Publication Manual, provides fundamental guidelines for constructing the reference pages of research papers. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , (7 th ed.).
This page gives basic guidelines for formatting the reference list at the end of a standard APA research paper. Most sources follow fairly straightforward rules. However, because sources obtained from academic journals carry special weight in research writing, these sources are subject to special rules . Thus, this page presents basic guidelines for citing academic journals separate from its "ordinary" basic guidelines. This distinction is made clear below.
Note: Because the information on this page pertains to virtually all citations, we've highlighted one important difference between APA 6 and APA 7 with an underlined note written in red.
Formatting a Reference List
Your reference list should appear at the end of your paper. It provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any source you cite in the body of the paper. Each source you cite in the paper must appear in your reference list; likewise, each entry in the reference list must be cited in your text.
Your references should begin on a new page separate from the text of the essay; label this page "References" in bold, centered at the top of the page (do NOT underline or use quotation marks for the title). All text should be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay.
Basic Rules for Most Sources
- All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation.
- All authors' names should be inverted (i.e., last names should be provided first).
- For example, the reference entry for a source written by Jane Marie Smith would begin with "Smith, J. M."
- If a middle name isn't available, just initialize the author's first name: "Smith, J."
- Give the last name and first/middle initials for all authors of a particular work up to and including 20 authors ( this is a new rule, as APA 6 only required the first six authors ). Separate each author’s initials from the next author in the list with a comma. Use an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name. If there are 21 or more authors, use an ellipsis (but no ampersand) after the 19th author, and then add the final author’s name.
- Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.
- For multiple articles by the same author, or authors listed in the same order, list the entries in chronological order, from earliest to most recent.
- Note again that the titles of academic journals are subject to special rules. See section below.
- Italicize titles of longer works (e.g., books, edited collections, names of newspapers, and so on).
- Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as chapters in books or essays in edited collections.
Basic Rules for Articles in Academic Journals
- Present journal titles in full.
- Italicize journal titles.
- For example, you should use PhiloSOPHIA instead of Philosophia, or Past & Present instead of Past and Present.
- This distinction is based on the type of source being cited. Academic journal titles have all major words capitalized, while other sources' titles do not.
- Capitalize the first word of the titles and subtitles of journal articles , as well as the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and any proper nouns .
- Do not italicize or underline the article title.
- Deep blue: The mysteries of the Marianas Trench.
- Oceanographic Study: A Peer-Reviewed Publication
Please note: While the APA manual provides examples of how to cite common types of sources, it does not cover all conceivable sources. If you must cite a source that APA does not address, the APA suggests finding an example that is similar to your source and using that format. For more information, see page 282 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7 th ed.
APA style dictates that authors are named with their last name followed by their initials; publication year goes between parentheses, followed by a period. The
APA style dictates that authors are named last name followed by initials; publication year goes between parentheses, followed by a period. The title of the
Online Scholarly Journal Article: Citing DOIs ... Please note: Because online materials can potentially change URLs, APA recommends providing a Digital Object
Online scholarly journal articles without a DOI require the URL of the journal home page. Remember that one goal of citations is to provide your readers
Reference List · Cite your source automatically in APA · Basic Rules · Author/Authors · Articles in Periodicals · Books · Other Print Sources · Electronic Sources
This resource provides recommendations for selecting a journal to submit your article, important details about the submission proccess, as well as helpful
General APA Guidelines ... Your essay should be typed and double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11"), with 1" margins on all sides. Include a page header
Cite your source automatically in APA. Website, Book, Journal article, Online video / film. Cite.
When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source
Basic Rules for Articles in Academic Journals · Present journal titles in full. · Italicize journal titles. · Maintain any nonstandard punctuation and