APA Reference Page: Formatting Tips

APA Reference Page: Formatting Tips

APA stands for the American Psychological Association, which is a professional organization of psychologists in the United States. The APA was founded in 1892 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

The core purposes of the APA are to promote the advancement and communication of psychological knowledge and to encourage the application of psychology to the improvement of human welfare. The APA also sets standards for the education and training of psychologists and the conduct of psychological research. One of the most well-known contributions of the APA is the development of the APA Publication Manual, which provides guidelines for writing and formatting research papers in the field of psychology, as well as other related disciplines. The APA style is widely used in the social sciences and is widely recognized by journals, universities, and other institutions.

The American Psychological Association (APA) reference page should be formatted as follows:

  1. Title: “References” (centered at the top of the page)
  2. Alphabetize the list of references by the author’s last name. If there is no author, then use the first word of the title (excluding “A”, “An”, or “The”).
  3. Use double-spaced text throughout the page, including between references.
  4. Use a hanging indentation (first line flush left, subsequent lines indented) for each reference.
  5. Provide complete bibliographic information for each source in the following order:
    • Author’s last name, initial(s).
    • Year of publication in parentheses.
    • Title of work (italicized for books, in quotation marks for articles).
    • Place of publication: Publisher.

     6. Capitalize only the first word of the title and any proper nouns.

     7. For online sources, add the DOI (digital object identifier) if available, or the URL or permalink.

APA References Example

Smith, J. (2021). The impact of technology on society. New York: Random House.

Johnson, K. (2019). “The rise of social media.” Journal of Communications, 65(2), 123-145. doi: 10.1037/comm0000123

Citing sources in APA format

Book: Author, A. A. (Year). Book title: Capital letter also for subtitle. Publisher.


Smith, J. (1999). The history of technology. Oxford University Press.

Chapter in an edited book: Author of Chapter, A. A. (Year). Chapter title. In A. Editor & B. Editor (Eds.), Book title (pages of chapter). Publisher.


Brown, C. (2002). The future of artificial intelligence. In P. Johnson & J. Smith (Eds.), The handbook of technology (pp. 34-45). Cambridge University Press.

To cite newspapers and other articles in APA format, follow these guidelines:

  1. In-text citation:
    • Include the author’s last name and the year of publication in parentheses at the end of the quote or paraphrase.
    • If the author’s name is mentioned in the sentence, only the year of publication should be included in parentheses.
  1. Reference list citation:
    • Author’s last name, initial(s). (Year, Month Day). Title of article. Name of Newspaper.
    • For online articles, include the URL or DOI.

Note: If the author is not listed, use the name of the newspaper as the author.

Cite a digital version of a print article in APA format

To cite an online version of a print article in APA format, you should follow this format:

Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day of Publication). Article title. Magazine Title, volume number(issue number), page range. URL

Cite an article in an academic or scientific journal in APA format

To cite an article in an academic or scientific journal in APA format, you should follow this format:

Author, A. A. (Year). Article title. Journal Title, volume number(issue number), page range. https://doi.org/DOI or URL

Note: If the article does not have a DOI, use the URL of the journal homepage or the article’s permanent URL.

Things to consider when citing sources

When it comes to citing sources in academic writing, accuracy, consistency, and relevance are crucial factors to consider. Let’s elaborate on each of these:

  1. Accuracy: It’s important to make sure that the information you include in your citation is accurate and up-to-date. This includes the author’s name, publication date, title, and any other relevant information such as the volume number, page range, and URL. Double-check your sources and make sure you have the correct information before including it in your citation.
  2. Consistency: Consistency is key when it comes to citation style. Make sure you are using the same citation style throughout your paper and following the correct format for that style. This includes using the same punctuation, capitalization, and formatting for each citation.
  3. Relevance: Only include citations that are directly related to the points you are making in your paper. Including irrelevant citations can detract from the quality of your work and make it harder for your reader to follow your argument.
  4. Clarity: Your citations should be clear and easy to follow. Use clear and concise language and make sure that the information you include is relevant and useful to your reader. Make sure your citations are in a readable font and that they are differentiated from the rest of your text.
  5. Purpose: Understanding the purpose of the citation style you are using is important because it helps you to understand why it is important to properly cite your sources. The proper citation gives credit to the original source and helps your reader to find and verify the information you have used.
  6. Plagiarism: Proper citation is essential to avoid plagiarism. Make sure to properly cite all sources you use in your paper, including direct quotes and paraphrased material. This helps to avoid any misunderstandings about the originality of your work.
  7. Correctness: Finally, it’s important to double-check your citations to make sure they are complete and correct. Verify that the information you’ve included matches the original source and that the source itself is credible. Make sure the URL you’ve included is correct and still active, and that the publication date is accurate. These details are important to ensure that your reader can easily find and verify the information you have used in your paper.