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APA Citation Style Guide (6th Ed.): References

This guide contains examples of common citation formats in APA (American Psychological Association) Style

General Reference List Guidelines

Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in the APA 6th Edition manual.

What Appears in the Reference List?

References cited in text must appear in the Reference list and vice versa. The only exceptions to this rule are personal communications and classical works (e.g. The Bible); they are cited in text only and are not included in the Reference list (p.174).


Your entire paper, including the Reference list, should be double-spaced. (p. 180)

Tip: Use your word processor's Help function to learn how to double-space your paper:
Word 2013 - Adjust Indents and Spacing

Hanging Indent

Each entry should be formatted with a hanging indent (p. 37).

Tip: Use your word processor's Help function to learn how to create a hanging indent:
Word 2013 - Adjust Indents and Spacing
Google Docs - Page Setup - Add a Hanging (Left) Indent


Arrange References entries in one alphabetical sequence by the surname of the first author, or by title or first word if there is no author (pp.181-183). Ignore the words A, An, and The when alphabetizing by title.


In titles and subtitles of articles, chapters, and books, capitalize only the first letter of the first word and any proper nouns (p.185).


Italicize book titles, journal titles, and volume numbers. Do not italicize issue numbers.

Author's Name(s)

Use only the initial(s) of the author’s given name(s), not the full name (p.184), even when the full name is given.

If the Reference list includes 2 or more entries by the same author(s), list them in chronological order with the earliest first (p. 182).

What if there is no author?

If the author’s name is unavailable, use the first few words of the title of the source, including the appropriate capitalization and italics formatting (pp.176-177).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

If a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is listed on either a print or an electronic source it is included in the reference (pp.188-192).  A DOI is a unique alphanumeric string that is used to identify a certain source (typically journal articles).  It is often found on the first page of an article.


For more information on DOIs and locating a DOI on a source, check out pages 188-192 of the APA Manual and/or this helpful DOI flow chart from the official APA site.


When the References entry includes a URL that must be divided between two lines, break it at a logical division point, preferably before a slash or dash (p.192).


For a helpful list of some of the abbreviations used in References (such as Vols. for Volumes) check out page 180 of the APA Manual.