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APA Style Guide: References

This guide is designed to help students learn about APA style and cite sources for their research.

Quick Tips

References appear at the end of the research paper. Centre and bold the heading  "References" at the top of the page below the page number. Entries are double spaced and formatted with a hanging indent (i.e., the first line is flush with the left margin and subsequent lines are indented one half inch).

In general, references are arranged alphabetically by the authors' last names. If no individual author is listed and a corporate author or title is used as the first element in a reference, it is arranged alphabetically with all other references by the first significant word in the name or title (exclude A, An or The). If titles begin with a number, alphabetize the references as though the numbers were spelled out (e.g., 2010 is alphabetized as "Two thousand and ten").

If there are two or more works by the same author, they are listed in date order with the earliest date listed first.

If there are two or more works by the same author with the same date, they are sub-arranged alphabetically by title. A lowercase letter (a, b, c, etc.) is added to the end of the date for citation purposes, e.g. (Carpenito-Moyet, 2010b).


The Little Details:

Capitalize only the 1st letter of the 1st word of a title and subtitle for books, chapters, articles & webpages.

Capitalize all major words in journal titles.

Italicize titles of books and journals.

Italicize volume numbers for journal articles (not not issue numbers)


Reference list versus Bibliography - what's the difference?

A reference list contains works that specifically support the ideas, claims, and concepts in a paper; in contrast, a bibliography provides works for background or further reading and may include descriptive notes (e.g., an annotated bibliography).



Alzheimer's Association. (2008, March). Behavioral and psychiatric symptoms of Alzheimer's disease [Brochure]. (2008, March 4). Diabetes overview [Video file]. http://

Benner, P., Tanner, C., & Chesla, C. (2009). Expertise in nursing practice: Caring, clinical judgment, and ethics (2nd ed.). Springer.

Botkin, D. B., Saxe, H., Araújo, M. B., Betts, R., Bradshaw, R. H. W., Cedhagen, T., Chesson, P., Dawson, T. P., Etterson, J. R., Faith, D. P., Ferrier, S., Guisan, A., Skjoldborg Hansen, A., Hilbert, D. W., Loehle, C., Margules, C., New, M., Sobel, M. J., & Stockwell, D. R. B. (2007). Forecasting the effects of global warming on biodiversity. Bioscience, 57, 227-236. doi:10.1641/B570306

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. (2011, November 30). Departing employees.

Canadian Ophthalmological Association. (2007). Diabetes and the eye [Brochure].

Carpenito-Moyet, L. J. (2010a). Invited paper: Teaching nursing diagnosis to increase utilization after graduation. International Journal of Nursing Terminologies and Classifications, 21, 124-133. doi:10.1111/j.1744-618X.2010.01158.x

Carpenito-Moyet, L. J. (2010b). Nursing diagnosis: Application to clinical practice (13th ed.). Lippincott.

Critchley, T. (2008). The rainforests on our doorstep. Ecologist, 38(1), 38-42.

Galván, A. (2012). Risky behavior in adolescence: The role of the developing brain. In V. F. Reyna, S. B. Chapman, M. R. Dougherty, & J. Confrey (Eds.), The adolescent brain: Learning, reasoning, and decision making (pp. 267-269). American Psychological Association.

Gaye, M. (2008). Mercy mercy me (The ecology) [Song], On Very Best of Marvin Gaye. Universal Music Group. (Original work published 1971)

Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). Acupressure. In Medical dictionary of health terms. Retrieved July 20, 2022, from

Hughston Foundation, Inc. (2007). Insulin pump [Digital image].

Kanakis, S. J., Watts, C., & Leichter, S. B. (2002). The business of insulin pumps in diabetes care: Clinical and economic considerations. Clinical Diabetes, 20, 214-216. doi:10.2337/diaclin.20.4.214

Leclerc, C. M., & Kensinger, E. A. (2008). Effects of age on detection of emotional information. Psychology and Aging, 23, 209-215. doi:10.1037/0882-7974.23.1.209

Maple trees endangered, watchdog says. (2012, January 11). The Toronto Star, p. A7.

Ontario Ministry of the Environment. (2007). Conserving water in Ontario [Brochure]. 

Parmesan, C. (2008). Global climate change. In AccessScience,

Quinn, L. (2004). Diabetes: Management. In M. D. Mezey et al. (Eds.), The encyclopedia of elder care (pp. 213-215). Prometheus.

Rosenthal, M. J. (2007). Diabetes. In J. E. Birren (Ed.), Encyclopedia of gerontology (2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 409-417). Elsevier.

Sinclair, R., Hart, M. A., & Bruyère, G. (Eds.). (2009). Wicihitowin: Aboriginal social work in Canada. Fernwood.

Thibodeau, L. (Producer), & Grupp, E. (Director). (2010). Lippincott's video guide to psychiatric mental health nursing assessment [DVD]. Wolters/ippincott.

Townsend, A. R., Vitousek, P. M., & Houlton, B. Z. (2012). The climate benefits of better nitrogen and phosphorus management. Issues in Science & Technology, 28(2), 85-91.

U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (Producer). (2009, March 16). A need to know [Video podcast].

Vogel, J. M., & Lazar, B. (2006, July/August). Global cooling: Science and myth. Weatherwise, 63(4), 24-31.

Wicks, R. J. (2006). Overcoming secondary stress in medical and nursing practice: A guide to professional resilience and personal well-being. [Adobe Digital Editions version].

Women in tech: Cambrian, Sofvie aim to inspire Sudbury students. (2023, May 2).

Subject Guide

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Handouts and guides

Scaffolded reference elements worksheet

How to create a complete APA reference list by identifying each of the elements - author, title, etc.
LOTS of examples!



References provide the information necessary for readers to identify and retrieve each work cited in the text.


Common reference examples

Check here for more examples of common types of APA Style references.


Another way of identifying the elements

Creating an APA Style reference list.


What to do when information is missing!

Sometimes the information needed to create a reference list entry is missing or unknown. When this is the case, there are various strategies to adapt the reference.


How to create a hanging indent in MS Word

A Hanging indent, also known as a second line indent, sets off the first line of a paragraph by positioning it at the margin, and then indenting each subsequent line of the paragraph. (Word for Microsoft 365, 2023)

Hanging indent (using Word)
-Highlight the reference(s)
-Hanging indent

American Psychological Association. (2023). Style grammar and guidelines.