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APA Referencing Style Guide

Reference List

reference list lists only the sources you refer to in your writing.

The purpose of the reference list is to allow your sources to be be found by your reader.  It also gives credit to authors you have consulted for their ideas.  All references cited in the text must appear in the reference list, except for personal communications (such as conversations or emails) which cannot be retrieved.  

bibliography is different from a reference list as it lists all the sources used during your research and background reading, not just the ones you refer to in your writing.

Reference formatting guide

Title Include the title 'References' (one word, beginning with a capital letter, centred, and not in italics
Indent Hanging indent your references (space bar in 5 - 7 spaces for the second and subsequent lines of each reference)
Space between references In general double-space between references
Ampersand Use for 2 - 6 authors, use "&" before the final author
One author, two publications Order by year of publication, the earlier one first.  Same year of publication for both - add 'a' and 'b' after the year, inside the brackets. Include this in the in text citation. example: Baheti, J. R. (2001a).
URLs Remove the underlines from URLs so that any underscores ( _ ) can be seen
Same first author, different second author Order alphabetically by second or subsequent authors
Upper case letters (capital letters)

Journal title - use headline style; i.e. capitalise all the words, except articles and prepositions

Book title or article title (in a journal, magazine or newspaper) - use sentence style; i.e. capitalise the first word of the title, and subtitle (after the colon), and any proper names

Place of publication

USA publishers give the city in full and the abbreviation for the state. 
New York, NY
Springfield, MA

Publishers outside the USA: Give the city in full and the country in full
London, England
Auckland, New Zealand

Use of square brackets

If format, medium or description information is important for a resource to be retrieved or identified, use square brackets after the title to include this detail:

Scorsese, M. (Producer), & Lonergan, K. (Writer/Director). (2000). You can count on me [Motion picture]. United States: Paramount Pictures.

Reference examples

One author (a book chapter)

Easton, B. (2008). Does poverty affect health? In K. Dew & A. Matheson (Eds.), Understanding health inequalities in Aotearoa New Zealand (pp. 97-106). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

One author, multiple works published in the same year

Rush, E., McLennan, S., Obolonkin, V., Cooper, R., & Hamlin, M. (2015a). Beyond the randomised controlled trial and BMI--evaluation of effectiveness of through-school nutrition and physical activity programmes. Public Health Nutrition, 18(9), 1578-1581. doi:10.1017/S1368980014003322

Rush, E. C., Obolonkin, V., Battin, M., Wouldes, T., & Rowan, J. (2015b). Body composition in offspring of New Zealand women: Ethnic and gender differences at age 1–3 years in 2005–2009. Annals Of Human Biology, 42(5), 492-497.

Two authors (a journal article with doi)

Li, S., & Seale, C. (2007). Learning to do qualitative data analysis: An observational study of doctoral work. Qualitative Health Research, 17, 1442-1452. doi:10.1177/1049732307306924  

Three authors 

Barnard, R., de Luca, R., & Li, J. (2015). First-year undergraduate students’ perceptions of lecturer and peer feedback: A New Zealand action research project. Studies In Higher Education, 40(5), 933-944. doi:10.1080/03075079.2014.881343

  • Use "&" before the final author.

Four to seven authors

Szcz Ę Sna, A., Nowak, A., Grabiec, P., Paszkuta, M., Tajstra, M., & Wojciechowska, M. (2017). Survey of wearable multi-modal vital parameters measurement systems. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, 526. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-47154-9_37

  • List all authors in the reference entry

More than seven authors 

Kasabov, N., Scott, N. M., Tu, E., Marks, S., Sengupta, N., Capecci, E., . . . Yang, J. (2016). Evolving spatio-temporal data machines based on the NeuCube neuromorphic framework: Design methodology and selected applications. Neural Networks, 78, 1-14. doi:10.1016/j.neunet.2015.09.011 

  • First 6 authors ... last author. and follow by date and other information. 


Click the type of resources on the left column to find more reference examples.

Go to the In-text citation page to learn how to do in-text citations.

Reference List example



Alred, G. J., Brusaw, C. T., & Oliu, W. E. (2009). The business writer’s handbook. New York, NY: St Martin's Press.

Best, A. (2004). International history of the twentieth century. Retrieved from

Easton, B. (2008). Does poverty affect health? In K. Dew & A. Matheson (Eds.), Understanding health inequalities in Aotearoa New Zealand (pp. 97-106). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Flesch, R. (n.d.). How to write plain English. Retrieved April 12, 2009, from /writing/flesch.shtml

​Global warming. (2009, June 1). Retrieved June 4, 2009, from

Li, S., & Seale, C. (2007). Learning to do qualitative data analysis: An observational study of doctoral work. Qualitative Health Research, 17, 1442-1452. doi:10.1177/1049732307306924  

Radio New Zealand. (2008). Annual report 2007-2008. Retrieved from /pdf_file/0010/179676/Radio_NZ_Annual_Report_2008.pdf  

Read, E. (2007, November 1). Myth-busting gen Y. New Zealand Management. Retrieved from

Secondary citations

A secondary citation is where you are citing information or quotes the author of your reference has taken from source that you have not read.

In-text citation:

Seidenberg and McClelland’s study, conducted in 1990 (as cited in Coltheart, Curtis, Atkins, & Haller, 1993), shows that ...
... as some studies show (Seidenberg & McClelland, as cited in Coltheart, Curtis, Atkins, & Haller, 1993).
  • Name the author of the original work in your text, cite the secondary source in in-text citation: (as cited in ..., 1993)

Reference list entry: 

Coltheart, M., Curtis, B. Atkins, P., & Haller, M. (1993). Models of reading aloud: Dual-route and parallel-distributed-processing approaches. Psychological Review, 100, 589-608.

  • Give the secondary source in the reference list.



DOI = digital object identifier

  • A DOI commonly identifies a journal article but it can also be found on other publication types including books.
  • All DOIs start with 10. and includes numbers and letters. Example: doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.08.001
  • The DOI provides a permanent internet address for the item making it easy to locate.
  • You may search by DOI numbers in Library Search or to locate articles.

Doi in your reference list entry:

  • Always use the DOI if available (for print or online articles and books). 
  • No full stop at the end of a DOI. 


A new citing format for DOI was introduced by APA in March 2017. The new format includes https and the prefix


Oppenheimer, D., Zaromb, F., Pomerantz, J. R., Williams, J. C., & Park, Y. S. (2017). Improvement of writing skills during college: A multi-year cross-sectional and longitudinal study of undergraduate writing performance. Assessing Writing, 32, 12-27.

Notes: the following old DOI styles are still acceptable:



If there is no DOI for a online journal article or an e-book, include a URL in your reference.

Use the URL of a journal home page for journal articles without DOI

  • Use the URL of the journal homepage, NOT the full URL of the article, in your reference.

Finding a journal homepage URL:

  • You could do a Google search for the journal title (within double quotation marks), e.g. "new zealand management magazine" to find the journal's homepage

  • Or, go to the Library database Ulrichsweb, search by the journal title or the journal's ISSN to find the journal record. On the journal record page, find the journal URL for your reference.

Journals without a home page and no DOI:

This can happen to some discontinued journals, or journals archived in an archival database only. 

  • Use the database home page URL in your reference. See the example in the following section.  


Use a URL of a library database:

Resources retrieved from a library database, without a DOI:

If you use electronic resources without DOI, such as an ebook or a data set or a journal without a website, from a library database, You are required to include the URL of the database homepage in your reference.

  • Do not use the full URL of the source that you retrieved from a database.



An ebook "Small town sustainability: economic, social,and environmental innovation".

The URL on the ebook page is: