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APA reference page


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A reference page lists the sources cited throughout the essay’s in-text citations. It gives complete bibliographic information of the sources so that they can be easily located and used by the reader. Entries are alphabetically arranged in the reference list.

Formatting a reference page

The reference list begins after the main text, but before figures, tables, or appendices if included in the paper. It always starts on a new page.

Write “References” as the heading and in bold. It is aligned center at the top of the page. If only one source is used, write “Reference.”

The reference list is double-spaced throughout.

The entries are flushed left. However, if an entry runs more than a line, give a hanging indent of 0.5 inches for subsequent lines of the entry.

Formatting the reference entries

Each reference entry is classified into four fundamental units: (i) author names, (ii) year of publication, (iii) title, and (iv) the reference source.

Author name

The author names are an important componenet of a reference entry, as the entries in the reference list are sorted alphabetically by the surname of the authors. Only initials are used for the first and middle names of the authors. Suffixes are allowed in the author name. They are added after the initials of the first and middle names. Here are a few examples for your understanding:

Templates (T) and examples (E):

T: Author Surname, F. M.

E: Fitzerald, L. G.

T: Author Surname, F.

E: Herald, L.-D.

T: Author Surname, F. M., Suffix.

E: Fox, A. R., Sr.

Separate each element in the author name with a comma.

Year of publication

Year of publication appears after the author names. It is always enclosed in parentheses. Sometimes, only the year is used (e.g., journal article), and sometimes the month and year, or even the day, month, and year are used (e.g., website, or YouTube video). When you use the day, month, and year format, ensure that you follow the order (Year, Month Day). Use “n.d.” in parentheses if the oublication date is not available. A few examples are given below for your reference:

Templates (T) and examples (E):

T: (Publication year)

E: (2017)

T: (Month Year)

E: (August 2005)

T: (Year, Month Day)

E: (2018, February 12)

T: (n.d.)

E: (n.d.)

T: (Publication year followed by a lowercase alphabet as a suffix)

E: (1996a)

T: (in press)

E: (in press)


Formatting of a title and the capitalization rule change depending on the publication type. For instance, journal articles and a book chapters are written in plain format and in sentence case. The journal title is italicized and given in title case. The book title takes sentence case but is italicized. For more information, see the article on APA citation examples. The below examples show how to format titles.

Templates (T) and examples (E):

T: Article title: Subtitle. Journal Title

E: Children on the front lines: Responsibility to protect in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Global Responsibility to Protect

T: Chapter title: Subtitle. Book title

E: The case for quantitative literacy: A review. Mathematics and democracy: The case for quantitative literacy

T: Title of the website

E: The art of psychology

T: Youtube title

E: How to win

Reference source

This constitutes the page, volume number, publisher, edition number, and website. The component to be added depends on the type of reference you cite. For more details, see the article on APA citation examples.

Formatting the reference list

Arrange entries with one author by the year of publication. List no-date entries first, followed by publications in chronological order, and, finally, include “in press” references.

Lazar, N. A. (n.d.)

Lazar, N. A. (1987)

Lazar, N. A. (1989a)

Lazar, N. A. (1989b)

Lazar, N. A. (in press)

In case of multiple entries having the same surname for the first author, add the one-author entries first irrespective of the dates of publication.

Valero, R. R., Jr. (2006)

Valero, R. R., Jr., & Green, G. R. (2005)

Entries having multiple authors are arranged by the publication date. List no-date entries first, followed by publications in chronological order, and, finally, include “in press” references.

Bishop, R. R., & Forgasz, R. L. (2013a)

Bishop, R. R., & Forgasz, R. L. (2013b)

Bishop, R. R., & Forgasz, R. L. (2014)

If you have multiple entries with the same first author but different subsequent authors, arrange them alphabetically by the surname of the second author. If the second author’s surnames are also the same, then arrange them by the surnames of the third author and so on.

Ortín, A. E., Dunh, R., & Zing, S. E. (2020)

Ortín, R. E., & Rind, G. L. (2017)

Pointe, D. P., Chang, X.-X., & Parg, S. F. (2018)

Pointe, D. P., Chang, X.-X., & Wilkins, F. P. (2018)

Sort references by first authors with the same surname but different initials alphabetically according to the first initial(s) of the first author, irrespective of the number of authors.

Blair, D. M., & Nelson, H. K. (2015)

Blair, T. (2013)

Example references with templates

Below are the templates and examples of a few common references. The letters “F” and “M” stand for the first and the middle initials, respectively.


The website name is always added in italics. Note how the date, month, and year are included in the below template and example.


Author or Organization Name. (Year, Month Day of Publication). Title of the Website. URL


Hurley, K. (2020, September 25). PSYCOM.net. https://www.psycom.net/depression.central.teens.html

Book in print

The book title is given in sentence case. Italicize the title.


Author Surname1, F. M., Author Surname2, F. M., & Author Surname3, F. M. (Publication Year). Title of the chapter in sentence case. In F. Editor1, & F. M. Editor2 (Eds.), Title of the book (pp. #–#). Publisher.


Van der Zwet, A., Bucken-Knapp, G., & Cox, R. (2015). European integration and mainstreaming stateless, nationalist and regionalist parties. In U. Korkut & K. Mahendran (Eds.), Discursive governance in politics, policy and the public sphere. Palgrave.

Journal article

The article title is given in plain format and in sentence case. However, capitalize the first word after a colon. If you include the page details, then DOI is not necessary. However, DOI can be included. When you add DOI, include “https://” before it.


Author Surname1, F. M. (Publication Year). Article title: Subtitle. Journal Title, Volume(issue), page range. URL or DOI


Seligman, S. (2018). Canada’s Israel policy under Justin Trudeau: Rejecting or reinforcing the legacy of Stephen Harper? American Review of Canadian Studies, 48(1), 80–95. https://doi:10.1080/02722011.2018.1434552

YouTube video

The video title is written in italics and in sentence case. The first word after the colon is capitalized. The word “Video” is included in square brackets after the video. You need to  write “YouTube” for YouTube vidoes. Then, the URL is given. Do not add an end period after the URL.


Uploader’s name. (Year, Month Day Published). Video title. [Video]. YouTube. URL


Aperture. (2019, November 3). The real meaning of life. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHyVg2sXy5w

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