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APA 6th Referencing Style Guide

This guide introduces the APA referencing style with examples of citation styles for different types of resources.


Reference format for websites:

Author, A. (date). Title of document [Format description]. Retrieved from http://xxx

  • The format description in brackets is used only when the format is something out of the ordinary, such as a blog post or lecture notes, otherwise it is not necessary.

In-text citations guide  

Websites - types of

Documents on websites:

  • PDF or PPT
  • HTML webpage
  • Blog
  • YouTube video
  • Other forms of social media, etc.
  1. First, decide what kind of document is on the website.
  2. Then look below for guidance on how to reference it.

Citing an entire website: 

In-text citation:

Kidspsyche is a wonderful interactive website for children (
  • Give the address of the site in your writing only, i.e. as an in text citation.

Webpages - html

Date of retrieval

  • Generally, if a webpage could change do include the date you retrieved it
  • html websites are likely to change or be updated → do usually include a date of retrieval
  • PDF documents are not likely to change  → don't include a date of retrieval.

Webpage – author, no date

Reference list entry:

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

In-text citation:

...long sentences, with many clauses, are deemed by Flesch (n.d.) to be confusing for readers...

Webpage –  corporate author

Reference list entry:

Department of Internal Affairs. (n.d.). History of daylight saving. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from

In-text citation:

...dairy farmers have traditionally been against daylight saving (Department of Internal Affairs, n.d.) due to milking in the early morning...

Webpage – no author

Reference list entry:

Rugby World Cup 2011 pools announced. (2008). Retrieved May 1, 2009, from

In-text citation: the pools have been announced today (Rugby World Cup 2011 pools announced, 2008). The only surprise being the...

Press release

Reference list entry:

King Fish Media. (2010). The perfect marriage of content and technology: Is social media the new CRM? [Press release]. Retrieved from

In-text citation:

...with the ubiquity of social media apps and their high user stats, business' need look no further for a CRM system (King Fish Media, 2010).

PDFs and PowerPoints - documents from websites

  • PDF documents are not likely to change → don't include a date of retrieval

In-text citations guide  

PDF on a web site

Reference list entry:

Ministry of Health. (2010). Customary tattooing guidelines for operators. Retrieved from /moh.nsf/pagesmh/10068/$File/customary-tattooing-guidelines-for-operators-apr2010v2.pdf

Annual report on a web site

Reference list entry:

Radio New Zealand. (2008). Annual report 2007-2008. Retrieved from

PowerPoint slides available online

Reference list entry:

Sontheimer, R. (2009). Changes in APA formatting: APA 6th edition [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from

Documents on Blackboard

  • AUT Library recommends that you refer to a variety of academic resources when researching your assignments and not rely solely upon course notes 

Lectures or course notes in Blackboard

Reference list entry:

Furbish, D. (2009). Developmental career theory [Course notes]. Work in Careers 297300. Retrieved from Auckland University of Technology AUTonline

PowerPoints in Blackboard

Reference list entry:

Harrison, J. (2009). Attributions, attitudes and cultural sensitivity [PowerPoint slides]. Interpersonal Skills for Health Professionals 555103. Retrieved from Auckland University of Technology AUTonline website:

In-text citiation:

.... the significance of developing career maturity as people grow in experience and life skills (D. Furbish, personal communication, May 14, 2009).

Your own notes from a lecture or class

  • Treat these as personal communications in text.
  • Your notes can't be retrieved by someone else so don't include them as an entry in your reference list.




Reference list entry:

Global warming. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved December 6, 2009, from

  • AUT Library recommends that students use a wide range of academic sources and not rely upon Wikipedia for their research

Wiki site - no date

Reference list entry:

Psychometric assessment. (n.d.). In The psychology wiki. Retrieved January 28, 2009, from

 • APA Style blog: How to cite from a wiki

Notes on the Reference List

A reference list only lists the sources you have referred 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 whose work and ideas you have considered.  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.  

A 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 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.  

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


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

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.  


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.