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Humanities Libertexts

9.5: Creating a References Page (Part 1)

  • Page ID
  • Skills to Develop

    • Navigate and find examples of references in the JIBC APA Reference Guide
    • Compose an APA-formatted references page

    The brief citations included in the body of your paper correspond to the more detailed citations provided at the end of the paper in the references section. In-text citations provide basic information—the author’s name, the publication date, and the page number if necessary—while the references section provides more extensive information, which allows your reader to follow up on the sources you cited and do additional reading about the topic if desired.

    In-text citations are necessary within your writing to show where you have borrowed ideas or quoted directly from another author. These are kept short because you do not want to disrupt the flow of your writing and distract the reader. While the in-text citation is very important, it is not enough to enable yourreaders to locate that source if they would like to use it for their own research.

    The references section of your essay may consist of a single page for a brief research paper or may extend for many pages in professional journal articles. This section provides detailed information about how to create the references section of your paper. You will review basic formatting guidelines and learn how to format bibliographical entries for various types of sources. As you create this section of your paper, follow the guidelines provided here.

    Formatting the References Page

    To set up your references section, use the insert page break feature of your word processing program to begin a new page. Note that the header and margins will be the same as in the body of your paper, and pagination will continue from the body of your paper. (In other words, if you set up the body of your paper correctly, the correct header and page number should appear automatically in your references section.) The references page should be double spaced and list entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If an entry continues for more than one line, the second line and each subsequent line are indented five spaces, or one tab space; this is called a “hanging indent.”

    What to Include in the References Section

    Generally, the information to include in your references section is:

    The name(s) of the author(s) or institution that wrote the source

    The year of publication and, where applicable, the exact date of publication

    The full title of the source

    For books, the city of publication

    For articles or essays, the name of the periodical or book in which the article or essay appears

    For magazine and journal articles, the volume number, issue number, and pages where the article appears

    For sources on the web, the URL where the source is located

    Before you start compiling your own references and translating referencing information from possibly other styles into APA style, you need to be able to identify each piece of information in the reference. This can sometimes be challenging because the different styles format the information differently and may put it in different places within the reference. However, the types of information each of the referencing styles requires is generally the same.

    Navigating Your Reference Guide

    The JIBC APA Reference Guide is organized into types of sources—print, online, mixed media—and by number of authors (or if there is no author). Once you find the referencing format you need in the guide, you can study the example and follow the structure to set up your own citations. (The style guide also provides examples for how to do the in-text citation for quotes and paraphrasing from that type of source.)

    You may be asking yourself why you cannot just use the reference that is often provided on the first page of the source (like a journal article), but you need to remember that not all authors use APA style referencing, or even if they do, they may not use the exact formatting you need to follow.

    Putting together a references page becomes a lot easier once you recognize the types of information you continually see in references. For example, anytime you see something italicized for APA or underlined (in MLA), you know it is the title of the major piece of writing, such as a book with chapters or an academic journal with multiple articles. Take a look at the examples below.

    Sample Book Entry

    Akinds, R.C. (2002). Dr Atkins' diet revolution. New York: NY: M. Evans and Company.

    Sample Journal Article Entry

    Bass, D.N. (2010). Fraud in the lunchroom? Education Next, 10(1), 67-71.


    If you are sourcing a chapter from a book, do not italicize the title of the chapter; instead, use double quotes. You also need to include the pages of the chapter within the book. (You do italicize the title of the book, similar to the journal article example above.)

    The following box provides general guidelines for formatting the reference page. For the remainder of this chapter, you will learn about how to format reference entries for different source types, including multi-author and electronic sources.

    Formatting the References Section: APA General Guidelines

    Include the heading References, centred at the top of the page. The heading should not be boldfaced, italicized, or underlined.

    Use double-spaced type throughout the references section, as in the body of your paper.

    Use hanging indentation for each entry. The first line should be flush with the left margin, while any lines that follow should be indented five spaces. (Hanging indentation is the opposite of normal indenting rules for paragraphs.)

    List entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. For a work with multiple authors, use the last name of the first author listed.

    List authors’ names using this format: Smith, J. C.

    For a work with no individual author(s), use the name of the organization that published the work or, if this is unavailable, the title of the work in place of the author’s name.

    For works with multiple authors, follow these guidelines:

    • For works with up to and including seven authors, list the last name and initials for each author.
    • For works with more than seven authors, list the first six names, followed by ellipses, and then the name of the last author listed.
    • Use an ampersand before the name of the last author listed.

    Use title case for journal titles. Capitalize all important words in the title.

    Use sentence case for all other titles—books, articles, web pages, and other source titles. Capitalize the first word of the title. Do not capitalize any other words in the title except for the following:

    • Proper nouns
    • First word of a subtitle
    • First word after a colon or dash

    Use italics for book and journal titles. Do not use italics, underlining, or quotation marks for titles of shorter works, such as articles.


    There are many word processing programs and websites available that allow you to just plug in your referencing information and it will format it to the style required. If you decide to use such a program, you must still check all your references against your referencing guide because the way those programs and sites piece the information together may not be the exact way you are expected to do so at your school. Always double check!

    Writing at Work

    Citing other people’s work appropriately is just as important in the workplace as it is in school. If you need to consult outside sources to research a document you are creating, follow the general guidelines already discussed, as well as any industry-specific citation guidelines. For more extensive use of others’ work—for instance, requesting permission to link to another company’s website on your own corporate website—always follow your employer’s established procedures.

    Formatting Reference Page Entries

    As is the case for in-text citations, formatting reference entries becomes more complicated when you are citing a source with multiple authors, various types of online media, or sources for which you must provide additional information beyond the basics listed in the general guidelines. The following sections show how to format reference entries by type of source.

    Print Sources: Books

    For book-length sources and shorter works that appear in a book, follow the guidelines that best describe your source.

    A Book by Two or More Authors

    List the authors’ names in the order they appear on the book’s title page. Use an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name.

    Campbell, D. T., & Stanley, J. C. (1963). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

    An Edited Book with No Author

    List the editor or editors’ names in place of the author’s name, followed by Ed. orEds. in parentheses.

    Myers, C., & Reamer, D. (Eds.). (2009). 2009 nutrition index. San Francisco, CA: HealthSource, Inc.

    An Edited Book with an Author

    List the author’s name first, followed by the title and the editor or editors. Note that when the editor is listed after the title, you list the initials before the last name.

    Dickinson, E (1959). Selected poems and letters of Emily Dickinson. R.N. Linscott (Ed). Garden City, NY: Doubleday.


    The previous example shows the format used for an edited book with one author—for instance, a collection of a famous person’s letters that has been edited. This is different from an anthology, which is a collection of articles or essays by different authors. For citing works in anthologies, see the guidelines later in this section.

    A Translated Book

    Include the translator’s name after the title, and at the end of the citation, list the date the original work was published. Note that for the translator’s name, you list the initials before the last name.

    Freud, S. (1965). New introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (J. Strachey, Trans.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton. (Original work published 1933).

    A Book Published in Multiple Editions

    If you are using any edition other than the first, include the edition number in parentheses after the title.

    Berk, L. (2001). Development through the lifespan (2nd ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

    A Chapter in an Edited Book

    List the name of the author(s) who wrote the chapter, followed by the chapter title. Then list the names of the book editor(s) and the title of the book, followed by the page numbers for the chapter and the usual information about the book’s publisher.

    Hughes, J.R. and Pierattini, R.A. (1992). An Introduction to pharmacotherapy for mental disorders, In J. Grabowski and G. VandenBos (Eds.), Pscyhopharmacology (pp.97-125). Washington, DC: American Psyhcological Association.

    A Work That Appears in an Anthology

    Follow the same process you would use to cite a book chapter, substituting the article or essay title for the chapter title.

    Beck, A.T. & Young, J. (1986). College blues. In D. Goleman and D. Heller (Eds.), The pleasures of pyschology (pp. 309-323). New York, NY: New American Library.

    An Article in a Reference Book

    List the author’s name if available; if no author is listed, provide the title of the entry where the author’s name would normally be listed. If the book lists the name of the editor(s), include it in your citation. Indicate the volume number (if applicable) and page numbers in parentheses after the article title.

    The census. (2006). In J.W. Wright (Ed.), The New York Times 2006 alamanac (pp.268-275). New York, NY: Penguin.

    Two or More Books by the Same Author

    List the entries in order of their publication year, beginning with the work published first.

    Swedan, N. (2001). Women’s sports medicine and rehabilitation. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers.

    Swedan, N. (2003). The active woman’s health and fitness handbook. New York, NY: Perigee.

    If two books have multiple authors, and the first author is the same but the others are different, alphabetize by the second author’s last name (or the third or fourth, if necessary).

    Carroll, D., & Aaronson, F. (2008). Managing type II diabetes. Chicago, IL: Southwick Press.

    Carroll, D., & Zuckerman, N. (2008). Gestational diabetes. Chicago, IL: Southwick Press.

    Books by Different Authors with the Same Last Name

    Alphabetize entries by the authors’ first initial.

    Smith, I.K. (2008). The 4-day diet. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press. Smith S. (2008). The complete guide to Navy Seal fitness: Updated for today's warrior elite (3rd ed.) Long Island City, NY: Hatherleigh Press.

    A Book Authored by an Organization

    Treat the organization name as you would an author’s name. For the purposes of alphabetizing, ignore words like the in the organization’s name (e.g., a book published by the American Heart Association would be listed with other entries whose authors’ names begin with A.)

    American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders DSM-IV (4th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

    A Book Authored by a Government Agency

    Treat these as you would a book published by a non-governmental organization, but be aware that these works may have an identification number listed. If so, include the number in parentheses after the publication year.

    U.S. Census Bureau. (2002). The decennial censuses from 1790 to 2000(Publication No. POL/02-MA). Washington, DC: US Government Printing Offices.

    Print Sources: Periodicals

    An Article in a Scholarly Journal

    Include the following information:

    Author or authors’ names

    Publication year

    Article title (in sentence case, without quotation marks or italics)

    Journal title (in title case and in italics)

    Volume number (in italics)

    Issue number (in parentheses)

    Page number(s) where the article appears

    DeMarco, R. F. (2010). Palliative care and African American women living with HIV. Journal of Nursing Education, 49(5), 1–4.

    An Article in a Journal Paginated by Volume

    In journals, page numbers are continuous across all the issues in a particular volume. For instance, the winter issue may begin with page 1, and in the spring issue that follows, the page numbers pick up where the previous issue left off. (If you have ever wondered why a print journal did not begin on page 1, or wondered why the page numbers of a journal extend into four digits, this is why.) Omit the issue number from your reference entry.

    Wagner, J. (2009). Rethinking school lunches: A review of recent literature. American School Nurses’ Journal, 47, 1123–1127.

    An Abstract of a Scholarly Article

    At times you may need to cite an abstract—the summary that appears at the beginning of a published article. If you are citing the abstract only, and it was published separately from the article, provide the following information:

    Publication information for the article

    Information about where the abstract was published (for instance, another journal or a collection of abstracts)

    Romano, S. (2005). Parental involvement in raising standardized test scores. [Abstract]. Elementary Education Abstracts, 19, 36.

    Simposon, M.J. (2008). Assessing educational progress: Beyond standardized testing. Journal of the Association for School Administrative Professionals, 35 (4), 32-40. Abstract obtained from Assessment in Education, 2009, 73(6), Abstract No. 537892.

    A Journal Article with Two to Seven Authors

    List all the authors’ names in the order they appear in the article. Use an ampersand before the last name listed.

    Barker, E. T., & Bornstein, M. H. (2010). Global self-esteem, appearance satisfaction, and self-reported dieting in early adolescence. Journal of Early Adolescence, 30(2), 205–224.

    Tremblay, M. S., Shields, M., Laviolette, M., Craig, C. L., Janssen, I., & Gorber, S. C. (2010). Fitness of Canadian children and youth: Results from the 2007–2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Health Reports, 21(1), 7–20.

    A Journal Article with More Than Eight Authors

    List the first six authors’ names, followed by a comma, an ellipsis, and the name of the last author listed. The article in the following example has 16 listed authors; the reference entry lists the first six authors and the 16th, omitting the seventh through the 15th.

    Straznicky, N.E., Lambert, E.A., Nestel, P.J., McGrane, M.T., Dawood, T., Schlaich, M.P.,...Lambert, G.W. (2010). Sympathetic neural adaptation to hypocaloric diet with or without exercise training in obese metabolic syndrome subjects. Diabetes, 59 (1), 71-79.

    Writing at Work

    The idea of an eight-page article with 16 authors may seem strange to you—especially if you are in the midst of writing a 10-page research paper on your own. More often than not, articles in scholarly journals list multiple authors. Sometimes, the authors actually did collaborate on writing and editing the published article. In other instances, some of the authors listed may have contributed to the research in some way while being only minimally involved in the process of writing the article. Whenever you collaborate with colleagues to produce a written product, follow your profession’s conventions for giving everyone proper credit for their contribution.

    A Magazine Article

    After the publication year, list the issue date. Otherwise, magazine articles as you would journal articles. List the volume and issue number if both are available.

    Marano, H.E. (2010, March/April). Keen cuisine: Dairy queen. Psychology Today, 43(2), 58.

    A Newspaper Article

    Treat newspaper articles as you would magazine and journal articles, with one important difference: precede the page number(s) with the abbreviation p. (for a single-page article) or pp. (for a multipage-page article). For articles that have non-continuous pagination, list all the pages included in the article. For example, an article that begins on page A1 and continues on pages A4 would have the page reference A1, A4. An article that begins on page A1 and continues on pages A4 and A5 would have the page reference A1, A4–A5.

    Corwin, C. (2009, January 24). School board votes to remove soda machines from county schools. Rockwood Gazette, pp. A1-A2.

    A Letter to the Editor

    After the title, indicate in brackets that the work is a letter to the editor.

    Jones, J. (2009, January 31). Food police in our schools [Letter to the editor]. Rockwood Gazette, p. A8.

    A Review

    After the title, indicate in brackets that the work is a review and state the name of the work being reviewed. (Note that even if the title of the review is the same as the title of the book being reviewed, as in the following example, you should treat it as an article title. Do not italicize it.)

    Penhollow, T.M, and Jackson, M.A. (2009). Drug abuse: Concepts, prevention, and cessation [Review of the book Drug abuse: Concepts, prevention, and cessation]. American Journal of Health Behavior, 33 (5), 620-622.

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