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APA Style

Learn how to cite in APA today!

Reference List vs. Bibliography

  • A reference list contains entries for works that have been cited in the paper.  On the other hand, a bibliography may contain background materials and suggestions for further reading (in addition to works cited in the paper).
  • All references cited in the text must be included in the reference list and vice versa.
  • Note that the APA style requires a reference list but not a bibliography.

Arrangement of Entries

Arrange entries in reference list according to the following rules (in order of precedence): 

  • single-author entries before multiple-author entries
  • alphabetical sequence by principal author surname
  • alphabetical sequence by surname of second (and subsequent) author(s)
  • chronological sequence
  • alphabetical sequence by title of the work


  • If a work has no author, place the title of the work in the author position and alphabetize the entry by the first significant word of the title.
  • If a work is signed “Anonymous”, alphabetize the entry as if Anonymous were a real name.
  • Alphabetize the prefixes M’, Mc and Mac as they appear.  E.g. MacArthur precedes McAllister; MacNeil precedes M’Carthy.
  • Up to seven authors: List all authors’ names (surnames followed by initials) and alphabetize the entry by the first surname, e.g.

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., Author, C. C., Author, D. D., Author, E. E., Author, F. F., & Author, G. G.

  • More than seven authors: List first six authors’ names, follow with three ellipses (. . .) and add the last author’s name, e.g.

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., Author, C. C., Author, D. D., Author, E. E., Author, F. F., . . . Author, H. H.

URLs, DOIs, Retrieval Dates

  • Do not put a full stop at the end of the following: URL, doi, ERIC document number, abbreviations of U.S. state names.
  • When the document is assigned a DOI (e.g. doi:10.1596/978-0-8213-7375-0), give it a prefix ( to convert it into a working hyperlink (e.g.
  • When the document is not assigned a DOI, give the exact URL of the document if:
    • it leads to the specific document
    • the specific document cannot be easily located from the home page
    • the document is not yet indexed on the website
  •  Give the URL of the homepage (e.g. of journal, book, publisher or online archive) if:
    • the URL of the document is not permanent
    • the URL of the document is very long
    • you do not have a URL that leads to the document itself
    • the document is not easily accessible through its primary publishing channels
    • the document is accessible only by subscription
  • Include retrieval date if the document (e.g. pre-print or in-press journal article, wiki) is:
    • not the final published or archival version
    • subject to revision
    • undated
  • Use “Available from…” in place of “Retrieved from…” in the retrieval statement if:
    • the document is accessible only by subscription (e.g. from commercial databases)
    • the URL leads to a website rather than to the document itself

Publisher Locations

For publisher locations outside the U.S., spell out the city and country names.  For U.S. locations, spell out the city name and use U.S. Postal Service two-letter abbreviations for the state. E.g.:

  • Singapore: World Scientific
  • London, England: Faber and Faber
  • London, United Kingdom: Neal's Yard Publishing
  • New York, NY: Wiley
  • Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
  • Washington, DC: Author