What is a References list?

A references list is a formatted list of all sources you cited within your paper. Any time you quote, paraphrase, summarize, or include information that you’ve read from an outside source, you must include that source in your references list, correctly formatted in APA style. For help making a References list, view our Annotated References List.

For help citing different types of sources, refer to our downloadable formatting guide:

APA Reference Guide

What information goes in a References list?

Each item in your references list requires general publication information, including but not limited to:

  • Author’s name
  • Year of publication
  • Title
  • Publication or publisher
  • URL of the source

Because so many sources appear online and do not have publication dates or even authors, additional information may be required, including retrieval data and corporate author information. You will see the most common kinds of sources in the sample references list below.

What are the key rules of creating a References list?

There are unique formatting rules to follow for each reference entry, but generally, remember these key rules for the whole references list:

  • Center the word “References” at the top of the new page. The page should have the essay title and page number in the header, as on all the other essay pages.
  • Double space every line—no additional spacing required.
  • Alphabetize entries by authors’ last names.
  • Create a hanging indent for each individual source you add to the list. A hanging indent is where the second and all the following lines of a paragraph are indented more than the first. To make a hanging indent, highlight your citation and use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+T.

References List Examples

Expand the options below for help formatting your references list entries in APA format.

Online Journal Article with DOI
Structure

Author's Last Name, Initials. (Publication Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume #(issue #), pp–pp. doi:xx.xxxxxxxxxx

For Example

Florian, R. V. (2010). Challenges for interactivist–constructivist robotics. New Ideas in New Ideas in Psychology, 28(3), 350–353. doi:10.1016/j.newideapsych.2009.09.009

Online Journal Article Without DOI
Structure

Author's Last Name, Initials. (Publication Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume #(issue #), pp–pp. Retrieved from http://

For Example

Cecen Erogul, A. R. (2013). Psychometric properties of the children’s automatic thoughts scale (CATS) in Turkish children with age and gender differences. Journal of Cognitive & Behavioral Psychotherapies, 13(2), 355-370. Retrieved from http://jebp.psychotherapy.ro/

To cite a journal article found in a database in the Library, include the URL of the journal.
Online Newspaper Article
Structure

Author’s Last Name, Initials. (Publication Year, Month Day). Title of article. Name of Newspaper. Retrieved from http://

For Example

McAllister, J. (2017, July 5). Beaver Stadium prepares for inaugural concert. Centre Daily Times. Retrieved from http://www.centredaily.com/entertainment/this-weekend/article159672269.html

Digital Book with DOI
Structure

Author's Last Name, Initials. (Publication Year). Title of book. doi:xxxxxxx

For Example

Tisha, B. (2012). Discussion-based online teaching to enhance student learning: Theory, practice, and assessment. doi: 378.1/7344678

Digital Book Without DOI
Structure

Author's Last Name, Initials. (Publication Year). Title of book. Retrieved from http://

For Example

Farmer, R. F., & Chapman, A. L. (2016). Behavioral interventions in cognitive behavior therapy: Practical guidance for putting theory into action. Retrieved from https://www.ebscohost.com/

To cite a digital book found in a database in the Library, include the URL of the database.
Digital Book (Anthology, Collected Works)
Structure

Author’s Last Name, Initials. (Publication Year).Title of article or story. In A. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (Edition). Retrieved from URL

For Example

Welty, E. (2014). A worn path. In R. W. Clugston (Ed.), Journey into literature (2nd Ed). Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu

Book (Print)
Structure

Author’s Last Name, Initials. (Publication Year). Title of book. City, State: Publisher.

For Example

Diaz–Rico, L. T. (2008). A course for teaching English learners. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Chapter in Edited Book
Structure

Author’s Last Name, Initials. (Publication Year). Article or chapter title. In Editor First Initial. Second Initial. Editor Last Name (Ed.), Book title (page range of chapter). Place of Publication: Publisher.

For Example

Zhang, L. F., & Sternberg, R. J. (2010). Learning in a cross-cultural perspective. In V. G. Aukrust (Ed.), Learning and cognition in education (pp. 16-22). Oxford, UK: Elsevier.

Web Page with an Author
Structure

Author’s Last Name, Initials. (Publication Year, Month Day). Title of web page. Title of website. Retrieved from http://

For Example

Lad, K. (2016, September 4). An overview of the colorful traditional Mexican clothing. Buzzle. Retrieved from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/traditional-mexican-clothing.html

Web Page with No Author
Structure

Name of Organization. (Year). Title of web page. Retrieved from http://

For Example

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2008). Police and detectives. Retrieved from http://bls.gov/oco/pdf/ocos160.pdf

This is an example of a group or corporate author. If you can’t find an individual author but you can find an organization or group that is responsible for the content of a web page, then treat the entity as the author.
Web Page with No Author or Organization
Structure

Title of webpage. (Publication year). Retrieved from http://

For Example

Freud’s structural theory: The id, the ego, and the superego. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.vakkur.com/psy/freud.html

Blog Post
Structure

Author’s Last Name, Initials. (Year, Month Date). Title of article [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://

For Example

Davis, V. (2016, December 6). Treat people with dignity and respect: Who will be the people to bridge racial and cultural distrust? Retrieved from http://www.coolcatteacher.com/treat-people-with-dignity-respect/

Wikis
Structure

Term. (Year). In Title of Wiki. Retrieved [Date], from http://

For Example

User experience. (2016). In Wikipedia. Retrieved [December 14, 2016] from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_experience&oldid=836732966

Many wikis have what is called a permanent link. This is the link to the specific version of the page you are using. When citing sources that change often, it is recommended that you use the permanent link on your references list. For example, when citing a Wikipedia page, click on “Permanent Link” within the left navigation menu to populate the permanent URL. This is the URL you’ll use for your references list.
Classroom Communications-Instructor Guidance
Structure

AuthorLastName, Initial. (Year). Title of guidance [Instructor guidance]. Retrieved from http://login.ashford.edu

Use the URL provided in the example above. Because courses are not accessible without a password, include this main URL for the classroom homepage instead.
Classroom Communications-Discussion Board Post
Structure

AuthorLastName, Initial. (Year, date). Name of discussion thread [Online discussion board]. Retrieved from http://login.ashford.edu

Use the URL provided in the example above. Because courses are not accessible without a password, include this main URL for the classroom homepage instead.
Video
Structure

Producer’s Last Name, Initials. (Producer), & Director’s Last Name, Initials (Director). (Year). Title of motion picture [Video Recording]. City, State: Producer.

For Example

Auer, J. & Looze, C. (Producers), & Looze, C. (Director). (1993). A partner to genius: Olgivanna Lloyd Wright [Video recording]. Milwaukee, WI: WMVS WMVT.

YouTube Video
Structure

YouTubeName [Screen name]. (Year, Month day). Title of video [Video file]. Retrieved from http://

For Example

EnglishTeacherEmma [Screen name]. (2013, January 30). 5 tips to improve your writing [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgkRoYPLhts

Television Series or Episode
Structure

Producer’s Last Name, Initials. (Producer), & Director’s Last Name, Initials (Director). (Year). Title of motion picture [Video Recording]. City, State: Producer.

For Example

Egan, D. (Writer), & Alexander, J. (Director). (2005). Failure to communicate [Television series episode]. In D. Shore (Executive producer), House. New York, NY: Fox Broadcasting.

Music Recording
Structure

Writer’s Last Name, Initials. (Copyright year). Title of song [Recorded by A.A. Singer]. On Title of album [Medium of recording]. City, State: Label.

For Example

Lee, B. E. & Blackwell, D. (1989). Friends in low places [Recorded by G. Brooks]. On No fences [album]. Nashville, TN: Capitol Nashville.

Podcast
Structure

Producer’s Last Name, Initials. (Producer). (Year, Month Date). Title of podcast [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://

For Example

Van Nuys, D. (Producer). (2007, December 19). Shrink rap radio [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.shrinkrapradio.com/

Image with an Author
Structure

Photographer’s Last Name, First Initial. (Year). Title of image [photograph]. Retrieved from

For Example

Sijgers, H. (2014). Sidewalk [photograph]. Retrieved from https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5024/5691941274_0819b1e5a3.jpg

Note about copyright laws: As long as there is no intention of publication, a student can use images in a course paper without obtaining written permission. There are copyright laws for using questionnaires, surveys, or other materials from a published source that is not public domain, so be sure to refer to the rules if you have questions about whether or not you can reprint any materials.
Image with no Author
Structure

Title of work [Type of work]. (Year image was created). Retrieved from http://

For Example

Flu epidemic [Online image]. (1919).Retrieved from http://www.history.net/photo/flu-epidemic-art/collections

Image with no Author, Title, or Date
Structure

[Subject and type of work]. Retrieved from http://

For Example

[Untitled illustration of a sleeping dog]. Retrieved from http://www.sleepinganimals/pix.com

Online Dictionary
Structure

Term. (Year). In Title of dictionary. Retrieved from http://

For Example

Collaboration. (n.d.). In Dictionary.com. Retrieved from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/collaboration?s=t

Conference Paper Presentation
Structure

Author’s Last Name, Initials. (Publication Year, Month). Title of presentation. Paper presented at Title of Conference, City, State.

For Example

Fraenza, C. & Nagle, L. (2015, March). The use of plickers to increase student achievement and engagement: An informal implementation. Paper presented at the Teaching of Psychology Conference, Farmingdale, NY.

Dissertation from a Database
Structure

Author’s Last Name, Initials. (Year). Title of dissertation (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from database name. (Accession or order number).

For Example

Hoy, C. A. (2010). The adult learner in the online writing course. Retrieved from Proquest Digital Dissertations. (UMI 3405756).

Mobile App
Structure

App Owner, Initials. (Year). Title of App or Software (Version number) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from http://

For Example

Gowalla. (2011). Groupon (16.15) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from http://itunes.apple.com

Citing Multiple (7+) Authors
Structure

Author, A.A., Author, B.B., Author, C.C., Author, D.D., Author, E.E., Author, F.F., …Author, X.X., (Publication Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume #(issue #), pp–pp. doi:xx.xxxxxxxxxx

For Example

Rosenthal, E. L., Brownstein, J. N., Rush, C. H., Hirsch, G. R., Willaert, A. M., Scott, J. R., … Fox, D. J. (2010). Community health workers: Part of the solution. Health Affairs, 29(7), 1338-1342. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2010.0081

When citing multiple authors (six or more), list the first seven authors. Then, insert an ellipses (…) followed by the last author’s name.