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APA: General Guidelines

Points to remember when creating your APA References page:

  • Your list of references provides complete addresses for identifying and retrieving all the sources you have used in your research paper. Crafting these entries according to APA guidelines can be tedious and time-consuming, but investing your time and energy demonstrates your skill, integrity, and thoroughness as a researcher.
  • Center the word References at the top of the page, and then double space to start your first entry.
  • Entries are alphabetized by the author's last name or the first significant word in a titled text with no author. References by the same author are arranged by year of publication, starting with the earliest. References by the same author with the same publication year are arranged alphabetically by the first significant word in the title, excluding A or The.
  • Each entry is flush with the left margin for the first line.
  • Each subsequent line is indented .5 inch. Use the MS Format function to create hanging indentations by choosing Paragraph --> Indentation --> Special --> Hanging.
  • All entries must be double-spaced with no extra space between entries.
  • First names are not important. Use surnames only to cite within your paper and surnames plus first initial to cite within your reference list.
  • Capitalization guidelines are important. Titles of books, Web sites, and titles of articles from journals, newspapers, and magazines are capitalized like sentences, with only the first word of the title—and subtitle, if present—capitalized. If proper nouns have been included, they are always capitalized. Titles of journals, newspapers, and magazines are capitalized traditionally.
  • Italicization guidelines are important. Titles of books, journals, newspapers, and magazines are italicized. Titles of chapters and articles are neither italicized nor enclosed within quotation marks.
  • Only the name of the publisher, NOT Inc. or Company, is included in the reference list.
  • Substitute Author for publisher's name when a book is published by its author.
  • If you are citing a secondary source, in other words, an author(s) who is cited in another text, see Work discussed in a secondary source (common in APA journal articles).

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