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APA Quick Citation Guide

How to construct a reference list

  • Begin the reference list on a new page after the text. Place the section label "References" in bold at the top of the page, centered. Double-space the entire reference list (both within and between entries).  Apply a hanging indent of 0.5 in. to each reference list entry, meaning that the first line of the reference list is flush left and subsequent lines are indented 0.5 in. from the left margin. Use the paragraph formatting function of your word processing program to apply the hanging indent.


    Order the reference list alphabetically by author (See section 9.44-9.48 in the Manual.). Alphabetize letter by letter.
    • Arrange entries in alphabetical order by surname of the first author followed by the initials of the author's given name(s).  In APA style for alphabeting names, "nothing precedes something": Loft, V.H. precedes Loftus, E.F., even though "u" precedes "V" in the alphabet.
    • When alphabetizing names, disregard any spaces of punctuation marks (e.g., apostrophes, hyphens) in two-surnames.  Also, disregard anything in parentheses (e.g., roles like "Eds") or square brackets (e.g., usernames).
    • Alphabetize entries of authors who have the same given name and surname with suffixes indicating birth order chronologically, oldest first. 


  • Order of multiple works by the same first author. Generally, when ordering multiple works by the same first author in the reference list, include the author's name in every entry. 
    • One-author entries should be arranged by year of publication, the earliest first. Reference with no date precede references with dates, and in-press references are listed last.
    • One-author entries should precede multiple-author entries beginning with the same first author, even if the multiple-author work was published earlier. 
    • Multiple-author entries in which all authors appear in the same order should be arranged by year of publication (the same as one-author entries).
    • Multiple-author entries with the same first author and different subsequent authors should be arranged alphabetically by the surname of the second author or, if the second author is the same, the surname of the third author and so forth.


  • Order of works with the same author and the same date. Because ambiguity can arise when multiple works cited in a paper have the same author and date (i.e., the same author(s) in the same order and the same year of publication), the same in-text citation would the  correspond to multiple reference list entries. To differentiate references with the same author and year, put a lower-case letter in both the in-text citation and the reference list entry. 
    • The letter format for references with years in "2020a," "2020b."
    • The letter format for references with no date is "n.d.-a," "n.d.-b."
    • The letter format for in-press references is "in-press-a," "in-press-b."


  • Order of works by first authors with the same surname.  Arrange works by first authors with the same surname and different initials alphabetically by first initial(s).
    • Taylor, J.M., & Neimeyer, G. J. (2015).
    • Taylor, T. (2014).


  • Order of works with no author or an anonymous author. Before treating a work as though it has no author, consider whether a group or organization is the author.  If so, use the name of the group or organization.  If the work is signed "Anonymous," begin the entry with the word, "Anonymous," and alphabetize the entry as if Anonymous were a true name. If there is no author and the work is not signed "Anonymous," the reference should begin with the work's title; alphabetize the entry by the first significant word of the title (i.e., ignore the words, "A," "An," and "The" at the beginning of the title. 
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