APA style guide

Below are some brief examples of the most commonly asked citation questions, for more in depth information on how to use APA as a style guide we recommend you use the APA official website or check out one of the library's printed copies of the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association

Keep in mind:

  • APA does NOT require you to include the date of access/retrieval date or database information for electronic sources.
  • You can use the URL of the journal homepage if there is no DOI assigned and the reference was retrieved online.
  • Example: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1467-8535;jsessionid=956132F3DE76EEB120577E99EE74CE9C.f04t01
  • A DOI (digital object identifier) is an assigned number that helps link content to its location on the Internet. It is therefore important, if one is provided, to use it when creating a citation. All DOI numbers begin with a 10 and are separated by a slash.

Referencing different item types 

Print book


Print article

Online article





Reference list

APA implements reference lists, NOT bibliographies. Some rules for APA reference lists:

  • The reference list begins on a new page with a centred heading called "References".
  • Reference entries should be double-spaced.
  • Reference list entries should be indented (12 mm or five to seven spaces) on the second and subsequent lines of the reference list for every entry - a hanging indent is the preferred style (i.e. entries should begin flush left, and the second and subsequent lines should be indented).
  • The reference list should be arranged in alphabetical order by the surname of the first author as the letters appear (e.g. M, Mac, MacD, Mc).
  • If more than one work by an author is cited, the works are ordered by publication date.
  • If the list contains more than one item published by the same author(s) in the same year, add lower case letters immediately after the year to distinguish them (e.g. 1983a). These are ordered alphabetically by title disregarding any initial articles (a, an or the).
  • If no author is named, the title is used instead (filed under the first significant word of the title). Numerals are spelled out.

  Reference list examples



Chapter or article in edited book

Unpublished article

Legislation (includes Acts and Bills)

Citing legal material

For more details on how to cite legal material please see the APA Guide and the Bluebook. Please be aware that both of these handbooks are US-centric and as such might need to be adapted in order to work for non-US legislation. The Bluebook includes some non-U.S. jurisdictions, but the list is somewhat limited. 

 In text citation of legal material should almost always be formed by the title of the law/code/act and the year of its enactment, if the title is long you may shorten it.  (APA 7 2020, p.357). The title should be in italics (APA 7 p.358).

(Law n ° 2009-48, 2009)

Reference list entries of legal matter usually include:

  •  the name of the case, e.g. Brown v. Board of Torts
  • Citation referring to a volume or page where published cases can be found, i.e. reporters . reporters typically contain decisions of courts in different jurisdictions.
  • Precise jurisdiction e,g. Supreme Court, given in parentheses
  • Date of decision in same parentheses as jurisdiction
  • Optional URL 


Law n ° 2009-48 of July 8, 2009 promulgating the Code of maritime ports. Official Gazette of the Republic of Tunisia 14 July 2009 (The President of the Republic, July 8 2009). http://www.legislation.tn/sites/default/files/fraction-journal-officiel/2009/2009G/056/Tg2009481.pdf

IMO Documents

IMO Docs consist of circulars, reports and other item types. In general they should be cited using the International Maritime Organization as author, section/document title, publication year and retrieval date. 


International Maritime Organization. (2017). Maritime Safety. Retrieved: October 30, 2017. http://www.imo.org/en/OurWork/Safety/Pages/Default.aspx

United Nations

Cite to U.N. Docs. Official records principal organs of the United Nations should be abbreviated as follows: 

General Assembly GAOR

Security Council SCOR

Economic and Social Council ESCOR

Trusteeship Council TCOR

Resolutions of the UN (UN editorial manual online)

Resolutions and decisions cited in footnotes and text notes. When a resolution or decision or an item therein is mentioned in the text without the resolution or decision number, the number may be provided in a footnote or text note. The date of adoption is omitted from the reference. When a resolution or decision is cited in another resolution issued by the same body, the issuing body is not specified in the footnote.


          The General Assembly, Reaffirming the purposes and principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,1


1. Resolution 217 A (III).

Resolutions and decisions of subsidiary bodies and United Nations conferences

The first time that a resolution or decision adopted by a subsidiary body of the General Assembly or Economic and Social Council or by a United Nations conference is mentioned in the text, a reference may be given to the supplement or conference report in which the resolution or decision is printed. The same applies to items contained in or annexed to such resolutions and decisions, such as a declaration or plan of action.


Resolution adopted by a subsidiary body, cited in a document or publication:

The Council took note of Commission on Human Rights resolution 2004/46 (see E/2004/23).

Annex to a resolution adopted by a conference, cited in a resolution:

          The General Assembly,

          Recalling the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development,1


1. Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August–4 September 2002 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.03.II.A.1 and corrigendum), chap. I, resolution 2, annex.

More on citing UN documents

For more on how to cite UN resources see:

Dag Hammarskjöld Library guides

United Nations Editorial Manual Online

Treaty Sources

Treaty sources can be both official, i.e. published by governmental organs and intergovernmental agencies, or unofficial and published by a third party such as Hein. Dates should be years of the treaties contained in the source, not the year in which the source was published. Note that sources are abbreviated (Bluebook p.494-495). 

Official Sources

United States Treaties and Other international Agreements 

1950-date volume U.S.T.xxx

United Nations Treaty Series 

1946-date volume U.N.T.S.xxx

League of Nations treaty Series

1920-1945 volume L.N.T.S.xxx

Unofficial Sources

U.S. Treaties on LEXIS

1776-date LEXIS xxx

International Legal Materials 

1962-date volume I.L.M.xxx

Hein’s United States Treaties and Other International Agreements

1984-date Hein’s No.KAV xxx

  Reference list examples

IMO circular

IMO and UN conventions

Legal codes

Government report

Legislation (includes Acts and Bills)