Section 3. Citing Sources in APA Style

What is a Reference List?
The reference list is located at the end of your paper. It is an alphabetical list of works you consulted and cited within your paper. Your reference list citations should contain all the neccesary information to enable someone else to find the sources you have used, including:

Formatting a Reference List
The sources in the reference list are listed alphabetically by the author's last name. Citations are double-spaced and a hanging indentation is used. To view and print formatting directions for setting up the Reference List, choose Microsoft Word 2003 or Microsoft Word 2007.

Example of a Reference List

Some general rules for citations:
  • Include the DOI (digital object identifyer) if available for online sources. If no doi is available, include the URL for the website (if applicable).
  • It is no longer necessary to include the database title or access date if the article is retrieved from a subscription source.
  • Titles of books and journals appear in italics.
  • Article titles and titles of book chapters, essays, and short stories do NOT appear in "quotes."
  • If an author isn't given, begin with the corporate author (the sponsoring organization) or the title.
  • Give the initials of the author's first and middle name rather than spelling out the full name.
  • If there are multiple authors, the single-author entries with the same surname precede the multiple-author entries
  • If you have multiple works written by the same author, arrange your citations by the years of publications with the earliest date appearing first. If the works have the same year of publication alphabetize by title.
  • Include the publisher's city and abbreviated state, except if the publisher is a university and the name of the state is included in the name of the university.
For more rules and examples of citations, visit USM Libraries' APA Style Guide or view a copy of APA 6th ed. at the Research Assistance desk.


The element that is usually listed first in a reference list entry is:

Title of the book or article

Author's last name (if an author is given)