APA: How to Make an APA Reference List

APA Formating Guide

An APA reference citation requires four elements: author, date, title, and source. Each is separated by a period. Notice that titles are sentence case (only the first letter and proper nouns are capitalized). When a work is part of a greater whole (i.e., a journal article in a magazine or a chapter in a book, the container is in italics; otherwise, the title is in italics (indicating it is a stand-alone document).

Items are alphabetized by author, so the author must match the in-text citation. As of APA 7, all citations with three or more authors use et al. consistently (previously, three authors were all named in the first citation). Other APA 7 changes include dropping the city of the publisher. Note: et is Latin for "and," so it needs no period; al. is short for the Latin word "alii," which means "others," so it needs a period, as it is an abbreviation.

URLs are complicated. Section 9.34 in the guide has more details. Follow these steps: If the article has a DOI (digital object identifier), then include the DOI in the form: https://doi.org/10.XXXXXX without any other URL. Other documents found online can include a URL as long as the URL does not require any login (such as your university library account). APA (9.35) says to present DOIs and URLs as hyperlinks without the words "downloaded from" or "accessed from". URLs do not need access dates except when the information is subject to change, such as Wikipedia.

Click here to download our free APA Citation Guide or a sample APA paper with styles and comments in the reference list (MS Word format). For more details on writing in APA style, Purdue University Open Writing Lab (OWL) has a great resource (also for MLA and Chicago). Visit the OWL.

Only the book title is italics; include the pages of the chapter
APA Citation Guide
Type In-text Reference List Notes
Journal (1 author) (10.1)(Smith, 2022) Smith, A. (2022). Psychotherapy in American prisons. Psychology Review, 23(1), 17–34. Name of journal and volume number are in italics; issue number in brackets, followed by page range.
Journal (2 authors) (10.1) (Smith and Smith, 2022) Smith A. & Smith B. Prison counselling. Psychology Review, 23(4), 47–74. No comma between two items with “and.”
Journal (3-21 authors) (10.1) (Smith et al., 2021) Smith, A., Smith, B., & Smith, C. (2022). Life in prison. Prison Reform, 22(1), 34-56. Journal names are proper nouns, capitalize as published.
Journal 21+ authors (10.1) (Smith et al., 2020) List 20 names, then … then the last name. Followed by title, etc.
Authored Book (10.2) (Jones, 2022) Jones, A. (2022). The origins of melancholy. Oxford University Press.Location of publisher is no longer required (APA 7).
Chapter in Edited Book (10.3) (Jones, 2021) Jones, A. (2021). Depression. In A. Smith & B. Jones (Eds.), Handbook of sadness (2nd ed., pp. 333–535). Oxford University Press.
Government Report with Author (10.4) (Lu, 2022) Lu, Y. (2022). Zebra mussels. BC Ministry of Environment.
Organization as Author (10.4) (BC Ministry of Environment, 2022)BC Ministry of Environment. (2022). Freshwater boating.
Newspaper Article with author. (10.1) (Singh, 2022) Singh, A. (2022, October 21). Covid-19 outbreak in care home deadly. Vancouver Sun, A 12. Most newspaper articles have an author. Treat them like journal articles but use the full publication date.
Newspaper Article without Author (10.4) (“Government to impose mask mandate,” 2022) Government to impose mask mandate. (2022, April 1). Vancouver Sun, A 1. It’s rare for a newspaper article not to have an author. Look carefully. Use quotation marks for in-text citation only.
Unpublished Thesis (10.6) (Czerkowski, 2022)Czerkowski, A. (2022). Scrolling time away: Social media in youth [Unpublished master’s thesis]. Simon Fraser University.
Published Thesis (10.6) (Czerkowski, 2022) Czerkowski, A. (2022). Scrolling time away: Social media in youth [Master’s thesis, Simon Fraser University]. Proquest.
Online dictionary entry (10.2) (Merriam-Webster, n.d.) Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Democracy. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved October 24, 2022, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/democracy Because the online source is continually updated and doesn’t provide a date, use n.d. The in-text citation does not name the term. If you have two different definitions from the same dictionary, cite them with n.d.a and n.d.b and create two entries in the reference list, one with each term.
Wikipedia (10.4) (“Honda,” 2022). Honda. (2022, October 24). In Wikipedia. https://etc. Readers can retrieve the citation by date. Otherwise, use n.d. if the wiki source doesn’t have a history.
Lecture notes, interviews, field notes, other. (Smith, A., personal communication, October 24, 2022) Does not appear in reference list because there is nowhere for a reader to go to access the original.

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