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Unpublished article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)