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APA Referencing, How-to-Guide

The reference list.

Include a list of full references at the end of your essay under the title ‘References'. These references should be arranged alphabetically, normally by author. When you have completed your referencing you should find that the in-text citations match the reference list at the end of your work.


Formatting the reference.

The reference list should only contain the details of sources you’ve cited in your work.

  • Don’t include personal communications in your reference list.
  • Include all authors of the work, even if there are three or more. Only use et al. in the in-text citation
  • If the author is a person, include their surname(s) and first initial(s).
  • Do NOT list resources by type--such as books then websites, etc. 
  • List references in alphabetical order by the authors’ surnames/names of corporate authors or by the first letter of the reference.
  • Works by the same author should be listed by year of publication, the earliest first.
  • Works by the same author, published in the same year are arranged in alphabetical order by title. Place lowercase letters – a, b, c etc – immediately after the year, within the brackets:


Smith, A. (2019a). A guide to avoiding plagiarism. LSBU.

Smith, A. (2019b). A guide to referencing. LSBU.


General style guidelines. 

All lines of a reference after the first must be indented by 1.27cm, which is called a ‘hanging indent’.

To create this indent in Microsoft Word, place the cursor in front of the line you wish to indent, right click and select the ‘Paragraph’ menu. Under ‘Indentation’, select ‘hanging’ from the drop down menu under ‘Special’. Where it says by, change to 1.27cm. Click ‘okay’ to close this window and apply the hanging indentation.


Place a colon (:) after the short title, before the subtitle, as in the above example for A-Z handbook: Psychology, unless there is already punctuation separating them, such as a question mark (?).

Begin titles and sub-titles with a capital letter. The rest of the title should be in lower case, unless it contains a proper noun (the name of a place, person or thing). 

If you cannot find a date at all, insert (n.d) in the reference.

Example: National Down Syndrome Society. (n.d.). Associated medical conditions. 

Titles of whole works are in italics e.g. titles of books and journals. Titles that are part of a larger work are not in italics e.g. titles of chapters and journal articles.