APA References List


What Is an APA Reference List?

When writing a research paper, the writer must document, or cite, every borrowed word, idea or fact.When writing in the sciences and social sciences, the writer does this by creating a Reference List, using the APA (American Psychological Association) format.This is similar to, but not exactly like, the Modern Language Association (MLA) format that writers in English and the humanities often use.Before proceeding, make sure you know which format your instructor requires.The Reference List contains all the works, both print and nonprint, that the writer cited within the text.It appears at the end of the research paper, with each entry double-spaced and in alphabetical order.


Three Common Entries:

  1. Book

The four main pieces of information needed for this entry are Authorís Name.Year of publication.Title of book.Publication Information.


Nicole, A. A. M., & Pexman, P. M. (1999).Presenting your findings: A practical guide for creating tables.Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

  1. Articles in periodicals (newspapers, magazines, or scholarly journals)

The five main pieces of information for this entry are Authorís Name.Date of publication.Title of the article. Title of periodical. Publication Information.


Fine, M. A., & Kurdek, L. A. (1993).Reflections on determining authorship credit and authorship order on faculty-student collaborations.American Psychologist, 48, 1141-1147.

3.    Online Source or World Wide Web Site

The main pieces of information for this type of entry will be the Authorís Name. Year of publication. Title of article. URL.††


††††††††††† Example:

††††††††††† Kinzie, S. (2009). Recession has silver lining for class of 09. Retrieved from


  1. Online Periodicals and Databases


Example With DOI (digital object identifier number):


Aubry, T., Sylvestre, J., & Ecker, J. (2010). Community psychology training in

Canada in the new millennium. Canadian Psychology 51(2), 89-95. doi: 10.1037/a0018134.


Example Without DOI:


Bar-On, R. (2010). Emotional intelligence: an integral part of positive psychology.

South African Journal of Psychology, 40(1), 54-62. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Notes about online sources:


  1. If the authorís name is not known, simply skip that entry in the citation. Cite the article title first, then the year, followed by other information as previously outlined.
  2. If you make only a general reference to a site, there is no need to include that site in the References page.Simply put the siteís URL in parentheses in your text.Example: The Toys R Us website has a detailed history of the company (www.toysrus.com).
  3. When searching the DMC library database, the DOI should be listed last in the database entry if one is available for the article you are referencing. If no DOI number is present, cite the database only, as listed above.
  4. For more about how to cite other electronic sources, see this website (which is updated as new technologies come about): http://www.apastyle.org/elecref.html


If the date of the information is not shown, use (n.d.) for no date.