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APA 7th Referencing Style Guide

Elements of a reference

A reference is the bibliographic information of a work cited. In APA, a reference includes four core elements.

Four elements

Who When What Where



Group author/s.


Title of a book.

Title of a chapter of an edited book.

Title of a journal article.

Publisher of this book.

Title of the edited book.

Journal Name, volume(issue), pp–pp.


The following video may help you identify the information needed for referencing different types of sources:

Italics, space, en dash

Use of Italics

  • Italicise the title of a stand alone work, e.g. books, reports, webpages, websites, etc.
  • Italicise the titles of periodicals, e.g. journals, magazines, newspapers
  • When a chapter of an edited book is cited, include the editor and book title in reference. Italicise the title of the book.

Spacing after punctuation marks

Insert one space after full stops in a reference list.

Use an en dash for page ranges

Use an en dash, not a hyphen, for page ranges, e.g. 21–27.  An en dash (–) is wider than a hyphen (-).  Do not insert a space before or after the en dash.

To add an en dash in Microsoft Word if you are using a full PC keyboard, hold the Control key and type the minus sign on the numeric keypad.  Ctrl and - 


  • If your keyboard will not produce an en dash, it is acceptable to use a hyphen instead.  See the APA Manual p.157 for more details on the use of hyphens and dashes in APA style.


In a reference the author refers to the person(s) or group responsible for the work.

Variation Format
One author Author, A. A.
Two authors Author, A. A., & Author, B. B.
3 to 20 authors Include all 20 authors' name, use "&" before the final author's name.
21 or more authors 21 or more authors: the first 19 authors, ...the final author's name.
Group author Name of Group.
More than one group author Name of Group & Name of Group.
Editor Editor, E. E. (Ed.).
Editors Editor, E. E., & Editor, F. F. (Eds.).
  • Use one space between initials
  • If given names are hyphenated, retain the hyphen, with no space between the first initial and the hyphen. e.g., Su, D.-P. for Dong-Po Su
  • See the APA Manual p. 286, s9.8 for more details

No author

Auckland University of Technology Library. (n.d.). Oral presentations

  • When the author is not clear you can use a group as the author
  • If the author and the publisher are the same you can omit the publisher
  • If the author cannot be identified, move the title of the work to the author position
  • If a work is signed "Anonymous", use "Anonymous" as the author

One author

Jackson, S. L. (2015). Research methods: A modular approach (3rd ed.). Cengage.

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

Works with the same author and same date

Lopesi, L. (2018a). Beyond essentialism: Contemporary Moana art from Aotearoa New Zealand. Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry, 46, 106–115. 

Lopesi, L. (2018b). False divides. Bridget Williams Books.

  • Use 'a' and 'b' after the year

Two authors

Lew, A. A., & Cheer, J. M. (Eds.). (2018). Tourism resilience and adaptation to environmental change: Definitions and frameworks. Routledge.

Li, S., & Seale, C. (2007). Learning to do qualitative data analysis: An observational study of doctoral work. Qualitative Health Research, 17(10), 1442-1452. 

  • Use "&" before the final author

Three to twenty authors

Szczȩsna, 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.

  • List all author up to and including the 20th author in the order they appear. Use an ampersand ("&") before the final author. 

Twenty-one or more authors 

Ioannidis, N. M., Rothstein, J.H., Pejaver, V., Middha, S., McDonnell, S.K., Baheti, S., Musolf, A., Li, Q., Holzinger, E., Karyadi, D., Cannon-Albright, L.A., Teerlink, C.C., Stanford, J. L., Isaacs, W. B., Xu, J., Cooney, K. A., Lange, E.M., Schleutker, J., Carpten, J. D., ... Weiva, S. (2016). Revel: An ensemble method for predicting the pathogenicity of rare missense variants. American Journal of Human Genetics, 99(4), 877–85. eunet.2015.09.011 

  • List the first 19 authors in the order they appear, insert an ellipsis "...", and then the final author

Group author (organisation)

The CORE Team. (2017). The economy: Economics for a changing world. Oxford University Press. 

Pseudonyms (if the author has only one name)

Lady Gaga. (2011). Born this way [album]. Interscope Records.

Plato. (2016). The republic of Plato. (A. Bloom & A. Kirsch, Trans.; 3rd ed.). Basic Books. (Original work published 375 BC)

Select the type of resource in the menu to find more reference examples.


In a reference the date refers to the date of publication.


Variation Format
Books use the copyright year shown on the book's copyright page (Year).

If a "last updated" date for a work on a website, use that

Do not use the copyright date in the website footer as it may not indicate when the content was published

(Year, Month Day). 

Some works include the month, day and/or season

(for example, articles from magazines or newspapers)

(Year, Month Day).

eg. (2020, January 21).

or (2020, Spring/Summer).

Articles in press or not yet published (in press).
Work where publication date is unknown (n.d.).
Date retrieved from a source that is likely to change Retrieved Month Date, Year, from https://xxxx
Multiple works published in same year with identical author(s)

Add a lower-case letter after the year (or "-letter" if not a year, eg. "n.d.-a"). The Year-letter combination is used both in-text and in the reference list entry, even if the reference list entry has a more specific date. Letter order is determined by Reference list order, not in-text citation order.



  • For more information see the APA Manual pp. 289–291

Journal article - date of the volume

Dilkes-Frayne, E., Savic, M., Carter, A., Kakanovic, R & Lubman, D. I. (2019). Going online: The affordances of online counseling for families affected by alcohol and other drug issues. Qualitative Health Research, 29(14), 2010–2022.

Newspaper - include full date

Moodie, K. (2019, November 21). Almost half of sunscreens tested don't live up to label claims in Consumer NZ report. New Zealand Herald.

Article in press

Ruiza, L. A., Serranoa, L., Españab, P. P., Martinez-Indartc, L., Gómeza, A., Urangab, A., Castroa, S., Artarazb, A., & Zalacaina, R. (in press). Factors influencing long-term survival after hospitalization with pneumococcal pneumonia. Journal of Infection.


Select the type of resource in the menu to find more reference examples.



Variation Format

Book, report, thesis, film, webpage, website

  • Italicise the title of a stand alone work

Title: Subtitle.

Title (edition, volume number, report number).

A chapter from an edited book

  • Do not italicise the title of a work that is part of a greater whole

Title: Subtitle.

An article

  • Do not italicise the title of a work that is part of a greater whole

Title: Subtitle.

No title

  • Use a description for a work without a title
[A description of the work].
  • Use sentence case capitalisation for Titles (capitalise the first word of a title, or sub-title, and proper nouns)
  • Additional information for a title, such as edition, volume number or report number, should not be italicised. Enclose this information in parentheses right after the title, with no intervening period
  • Finish the title element with a period. If parenthetical information is included, the period should be placed after the parentheses
  • For more information see the APA Manual pp. 291–293


Koda, H., & Bolton, A. (2007). Poiret. Metropolitan Museum of Art; Yale University Press. 

Chiswell, S. & Grant, B. (2019). New Zealand coastal sea surface temperature (Report no. CR388). National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research.

Sparks, D. (2019, November 21). Women's wellness: Lifestyle strategies ease some bladder control problems. Mayo Clinic.

Miller, T. (2019). Enhancing readiness: An exploration of the New Zealand Qualified Firefighter Programme [Master's thesis, Auckland University of Technology]. Tuwhera.

Dayton, K. J. (2019). Tangled arms: Modernizing and unifying the arm-of-the-state doctrine. The University of Chicago Law Review, 86(6), 1497–1737.


Select the type of resource in the menu to find more reference examples.



Source Format

Periodical (e.g. journal, magazine, newspaper, blog)

Periodical, Volume(issue), page or a range of pages. DOI or URL

Edited book chapters or a reference work (e.g. a dictionary) In Editor, A. A. (Ed.), Title: Subtitle (pp. xx–xx). Publisher.
Publishers Name of the Publisher.
Conferences Conference Name, Location. DOI or URL
Social media Social media site name. URL
Webpages or websites Website name. URL or Retrieved Month Day, Year, from URL

Databases and archived sources:

Only include the following databases or online archives in references:

  • Databases publish original publications, e.g. Cochrane database, UpToDate
  • ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global 
  • ERIC database and primary sources in JSTOR
  • Preprint archive, e.g. PsyArXiv
  • Works in institutional or government repositories


Name of Database. DOI or URL

Name of Archive. DOI or URL




Retrieved Month Day, Year, from https://xxxx

  • Periodical: Italicise the name of the periodical and the volume number (but not the issue number if present). Periodical names use Title Case capitalisation (capitalise the first word of a Title or Subtitle, and also capitalise all major words).
  • Edited book chapters or a dictionary: Italicise the title of the book or the dictionary, using Sentence Style capitalisation (capitalise only the first word of a title or sub-title, and nay proper nouns). Use (Eds.) for more than one editor
  • If a work is published by an imprint or division, use the imprint or division as the publisher. Do not include Inc. or Ltd for the publisher. 
  • When the author and publisher / website are the same, omit the publisher /the name of the website
  • Do not include database information for works from most research databases or platforms, e.g. EBSCO databases, Ovid, Scopus, etc.
  • Retrieval date is only required for online resources that are changed frequently  

Ewert, E. W., Mitten, D. S., & Overholt, J. R. (2014). Natural environments and human health. CAB International. 

McCrickard, M., Raymond, A., Raymond, F., & Song, H. (2018). The APLIA math assessment scores and introductory economics courses: An analysis. Journal of Business and Educational Leadership, 8(1), 4–18.

Morey, M. C. (2019). Physical activity and exercise in older adults. UpToDate. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from


Select the type of resource in the menu to find more reference examples.

DOIs and URLs

See the APA Style blog for full details

General tips

Use Hyperlinks:

  • Present both DOIs and URLs as hyperlinks
  • Links should be live if the work will be published or read online.  You can use the default setting in your word processing programme (usually this is blue font, underlined). 
  • Do not include "Retrieved from" or "Accessed from" before a DOI or URL

Use DOI: Always use the DOI if available (for print/online articles and books).

DOI or URL: If both DOI and URL are available, use only the DOI.

No DOI: If there is no DOI, use the URL.

No full stop: Do not add a full stop after the DOI or URL because it may interfere with link functionality.

No DOI or URL: If the work is from a research database but does not have a DOI, do not include the database URL or name. Treat it as a print work.


DOI = digital object identifier

  • A DOI commonly identifies a journal article but it can also be found on other publication types, including books
  • The DOI provides a permanent internet address for the item
  • It is possible to search for DOIs in Library Search or on the Internet
  • Use before the DOI number in your reference
  • Articles from a library database may include the text "" within the DOI link. This should be removed in your reference. For example:

Find more examples of references with DOIs on the Articles page.


A journal article or ebook reference should include a URL if:

  • An article has no DOI, but has a URL that a general reader could access (not a database URL)
  • An ebook or audiobook has no DOI, but has a URL that a general reader could access (not a database URL)

Provide a URL that links directly to the cited work where possible.

Retrieval date: only include this if you are referencing online content that is designed to change over time and the page is not archived. If a version of the online content is archived, a retrieval date is not needed.

Use short DOI and URL

Long or complex DOIs or URLs can be shortened for your references. 

Always check all short URLs in your reference list to ensue they link to their correct locations!