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APA Style, 7th Edition

A guide to using APA Style for writing research papers.

A Reference List, also called References, is the list of all resources cited in your paper.  

It is very important to ensure that any item listed in a parenthetical or in-text citation corresponds to an item in your reference list.  Make certain that author, title, and publication information are listed exactly the same in both citation types.

2.12 Formatting a Reference List


  • Center and bold the word References at the top of the first page. 
  • Do not repeat this heading on additional pages.

Spacing and Indentation

  • A reference list should be double-spaced. 
  • There should not be an additional blank line or any other space between entries.
  • Reference list entries utilize hanging indentation as shown in the example below. The first line of each reference entry is not indented and begins at the far left margin. Each subsequent line is indented one tab or 5 spaces like a paragraph.
  • APA recommends using the tab key to ensure consistent alignment.

9.43-49 Reference List Format and Order

Arranging a Reference List

  • Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the author or editor. 
  • When utilizing more than one work by the same individual, arrange the items by year of publication with the earliest first as indicated in 9.46.
  • When using items by one author and items by multiple authors beginning with the same surname, list items by one author first.
  • When using items with the same first author and differing second authors, alphabetize the items by the second author.
  • References by the same author with the same publication date should be listed in chronological order by the specific date and then place a lower case letter immediately after the year in both the reference list and the in-text citation. See section 9.47 for further information.
  • When an author is not named, check for a group or organization as the author. Only list an author as Anonymous if the item specifically states Anonymous.
  • Items without a named author are alphabetized by the first word of the title omitting initial articles (a, an, the).