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Citing Your Sources: Preparing a Reference List

This guide will help you cite your sources properly and avoid plagiarism in your writing

Formatting a Reference List

APA style requires two elements for citing outside sources: parenthetical (in-text) references, and a references list. Together, these elements allow your reader access to the sources you consulted.

For the system to function, all authors cited in the text must appear in the references list, and all authors listed must have been cited in the text.

Formatting the References List: If you need more detailed information about the APA style's requirements for the references list, consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed., 2010), or your course instructor.

General guidelines: Type the word 'References' at the top of a new page, centered. All entries should be double-spaced, unless your assignment instructs you otherwise.

Appearance of Entries: Although the current Publications Manual advises standard (five spaces, first line) indentation for a references list, this is primarily designed to make typesetting easier; the typeset version will have hanging indents (first line flush left, the following lines five spaces indent). If your final version will be turned in for a grade rather than publication, we recommend that you use hanging indents for enhanced readability. We have formatted our sample references list with hanging indents.

Capitalize only the first work of titles of books and articles and the first word after a colon.

Use a comma to separate: 1) surnames (i.e., last names) from initials; 2) a newspaper title from p. or pp.; 3) a journal title from a volume number; 4) a volume number from page numbers; 5) when given, an issue number from page numbers; 6) (Ed.) from book title; 7) city of publication from state.

Don't panic! The examples below will make this clearer!


Entire book, print version

Brown, H., & Milstead, J. (1968). Patterns in poetry: An introductory anthology. Glenview, IL: Scott,


Shotton, M. A. (1989). Computer addiction? A study of computer dependency. London, England:

     Taylor & Francis.

Electronic version of print book

Shotton, M. A. (1989). Computer addiction? A study of computer dependency [DX Reader version].

     Retrieved from

Schiraldi, G. R. (2001). The post-traumatic stress disorder sourcebook: A guide to healing, recovery,

     and growth [Adobe Digital Editions version]. doi:10.1036/0071393722

Electronic version of republished book

Freud, S. (1953). The method of interpreting dreams: An analysis of a specimen dream.

   In J. Strachey  (Ed. & Trans.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud

   (Vol. 4, pp. 96-121). Retrieved from (Original work published 1900)

Editor as author

Dykes, S. L. (Ed.). (1983).Early developmental stages. Bethesda, MD: Norcroft Books.

Edition other than the first

Helfer, M. E., Kempe, R. S., & Krugman, R. D. (1997). The battered child (5th ed.). Chicago, IL: University

      of Chicago Press.

English translation

Dykes, S. L. (1987). Cognition and development (J. Nuise, Trans.). New York: Academic Press. (Original

      work published 1958).

Corporate author as publisher

National Institute of Mental Health. (1989). Manual of cognitive learning. Washington, DC: Author.

Review of a book

Schatz, B. R. (2000, November 17). Learning by text or context? [Review of the book

     The social life of information,by J. S. Brown & P. Duguid]. Science, 290,

     1304. doi:10.1126/science.290.5495.1304

Reference book

VandenBos, G. R. (Ed.). (2007).APA dictionary of psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological


Non-English reference book, title translated into English

Real Academia Espanola. (2001).Diccionario de la lengua espanola [Dictionary of the Spanish language]

     (22nd ed.). Madrid, Spain: Author.

Entry in an online reference work

Graham, G. (2005). Behaviorism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Fall 2007 ed.).

     Retrieved from

Entry in an online reference work, no author or editor

Heuristic. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster's online dictionary (11th ed.). Retrieved from

Several volumes in a multivolume work

Koch, S. (Ed.). (1959-1963). Psychology: A study of science (Vols. 1-6). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Electronic version of book chapter in a volume in a series

Strong, E. K., Jr., & Uhrbrock, R. S. (1923). Bibliography on job analysis. In L. Outhwaite

   (Series Ed.), Personnel Research Series: Vol. 1. Job analysis and the curriculum (pp. 140-146).


Book chapter, print version

Haybron, D. M. (2008). Philosophy and the science of subjective well-being. In M. Eid & R. J.

     Larsen (Eds.), The science of subjective well-being (pp. 17-43). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Rusbult, C. E., Olsen, N., Davis, J. L., & Hannon, P. A. (2001). Commitment and relationship maintenance

     mechanisms. In J. H. Harvey & A. E. Wenzel (Eds.), Close romantic relationships: Maintenance and

     enhancement (pp. 87-113). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Book chapter, English translation, reprinted from another source

Piaget, J. (1988). Extracts from Piaget's theory (G. Gellerier & J. Langer, Trans.). In K. Richardson & S.

     Sheldon (Eds.), Cognitive development to adolescence: A reader (pp. 3-18). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

     (Reprinted from Manual of child psychology, pp. 703-732, by P. H. Mussen, Ed., 1970, New York, NY: Wiley)

Electronic version of book chapter in a volume in a series

Strong, E. K., Jr., & Uhrbrock, R. S. (1923). Bibliography on job analysis. In L. Outhwaite (Series Ed.),

   Personnel Research Series: Vol. 1. Job analysis and the curriculum (pp. 140-146). doi: 10.1037/10762-000

* APA emphasizes using the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) when referencing articles. Unlike URLs which may change over time, the DOI is unique to an individual work. Not all publishers participate in the DOI initiative; as a result, an article may or may not have a DOI assigned. Usually only journals (primarily scholarly/research), and some online books—are assigned a DOI. Magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and most online documents/reports do not have a DOI.

Online/Electronic journal article with DOI available

 Herbst-Damm, K. L., & Kulik, J. A. (2005). Volunteer support, marital status, and the survival times of

     terminally ill patients. Health Psychology, 24, 225-229. doi:10.1037/0278-6133.24.2.225

Journal article in an internet-only journal, with no DOI available

Sillick, T. J., & Schutte, N. S. (2006). Emotional intelligence and self-esteem mediate between perceived

     early parental love and adult happiness. E-Journal of Applied Psychology, 2(2), 38-48. Retrieved from

Journal article without DOI, title translated into English, print version

Guimard, P., & Florin, A. (2007). Les evaluations des enseignants en grande section de maternelle

   sont-elles predictives des difficultes de lecture au cours preparatoire? [Are teacher ratings in kindergarten

   predictive of reading difficulties in first grade?]. Approche Neuropsychologique des Apprentissages chez

   i'Enfant, 19, 5-17.

Special issue or section in a journal

Haney, C., & Wiener, R. L. (Eds.). (2004). Capital punishment in the United States [Special issue].

     Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 10 (4).

Greenfield, P., & Yan, Z. (Eds.). (2006). Children, adolescents, and the Internet [Special section].

     Developmental Psychology, 42, 391-458.

Monograph as part of journal issue

Ganster, D. C., Schaubroeck, J., Sime, W. E., & Mayes, B. T. (1991). The nomological validity of

     the Type A personality among employed adults [Monograph]. Journal of Applied Psychology, 76,

     143-168. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.76.1.143

Editorial without signature

Editorial: "What is a disaster" and why does this question matter? [Editorial]. (2006).

     Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 14, 1-2.

Online-only supplemental material in a periodical

Marshall-Pescini, S., & Whiten, A. (2008). Social learning of nut-cracking behavior in East Africa

     sanctuary-living chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) [Supplemental material]. Journal of

     Comparative Psychology, 122,186-194. doi:10.1037/0735-7036.122.2.186

Magazine article

 Chamberlin, J. Novotney, A., Packard, E., & Price, M. (2008, May). Enhancing worker well-being:

     Occupational health psychologists convene to share their research on work, stress, and health. Monitor

      on Psychology,39(5), 26-29.

Online magazine article

Clay, R. (2008, June). Science vs. ideology: Psychologists fight back about the misuse of research.

     Monitor on Psychology, 39 (6). Retrieved from

Newspaper article (print) 

 Schwartz, J. (1993, September 30). Obesity affects economic, social status.

     The Washington Post, pp. A1, A4.

Online newspaper article

Brody, J. E. (2007, December 11). Mental reserves keep brain agile. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Newsletter article, no author

Schwartz, J. (1993, September 30). Obesity affects economic, social status. The Washington Post, pp.

   A1, A4.

Peer commentary on an article

Wolf, K. S. (2005). The future for Deaf individuals in not that bleak [Peer commentary on the paper

   "Decrease of Deaf potential in a mainstreamed environment" by K. S. Wolf].

   Retrieved from


Scorsese, M. (Producer), & Longergan, K. (Writer/Director). (2000). You can count on me [Motion picture].

     United States: Paramount Pictures.

Review of a video

Axelman, A., & Shapiro, J. L. (2007). Does the solution warrant the problem? [Review of the DVD

   Brief therapy with adolescents, produced by the America Psychological Association, 2007] PsycCRITIQUES,

    52(51). doi:10.1037/a0009036

Single episode from a television series

Egan, D. (Writer), & Alexander, J. (Director). (2005). Failure to communicate [Television series episode].

     In D. Shore (Executive producer), House. New York, NY: Fox Broadcasting.

Multivolume work

 Wiener, O. (Ed.).(1973). Dictionary of the history ideas (Vols. 1-4). New York, NY: Scribner's.

Abstract as original source

Woolf, N. J., Young, S. L., Fanselow, M. S., & Butcher, L. L. (1991). MAP-2 expression in cholinoceptive

   pyramidal cells of rodent cortex and hippocampus is altered by Pavlovian conditioning [Abstract].

   Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 17, 480.

Abstracts as secondary source

Here, L. R., & O'Neill, K. (2000). Effectiveness and efficiency in small academic peer groups. Small

   Group Research 31, 24-53. Abstract retrieved from Sociological Abstracts database. (Accession No. 200010185)

An entry in an encyclopedia

 Bergmann, P. G. (1993). Relativity. The new encyclopedia of britannica (Vol. 26, pp. 501-508).

      Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica.

Corporate author, government report

Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood

     Institute. (2003). Managing asthma: A guide for schools(NIH Publication No. 02-2650). Retrieved from

Conference paper abstract retrieved online

Liu, S. (2005, May). Defending against business crises with the help of intelligent agent based early

   warning solutions.Paper presented at the Seventh International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems,

   Miami, FL. Abstract retrieved from  

Music recording

Lang, k.d. (2008). Shadow and the frame. On Watershed [CD]. New York, NY: Nonesuch Records.


[Photographs of Robert M. Yerkes]. (ca. 1917-1954). Robert Mearns Yerkes Papers (Box 137, Folder 2292),

     Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, New Haven, CT

Authors With the Same Surname

Light, M. A., & Light, I. H. (2008). The geographic expansion of Mexican immigration in the United States and its 

        implications for local law enforcement. Law Enforcement Executive Forum Journal, 8, 73-82.

Message posted to a newsgroup, online forum, or discussion group

Rampersad, T. (2005, June 8). Re: Traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions

     [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from


Message posted to an electronic mailing list

Smith, S. (2006, January 5). Re: Disputed estimates of IQ [Electronic mailing list message].

     Retrieved from

Blog Post

MiddleKid. (2007, January 22). Re: The unfortunate prerequisites and consequences of partitioning

     your mind [Web log message]. Retrieved from


Video blog post

Norton, R. (2006, November 4). How to train a cat to operate a light switch [Video file]

     Retrieved from

Work Discussed in Secondary Source

Use secondary sources sparingly, for instance, when the orginal work in out of print, unavailable through usual

sources, or not available in English. Give the secondary source in the reference list; in text, name the original

work and give citation for the secondary source. For example, if Allport's work is cited in Nicholson and you did

not read Allport's work, list the Nicholson reference in the reference list. In the text, use the following citation:

Allport's diary (as cited in Nicholson, 2003).

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