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Citation Styles

Help with different citation styles including how to format citations.

Format of Reference List Entries

A reference list citation consists of four elements:

  • Author: Who is responsible for the work?
  • Date: When was the work published, uploaded, or last updated?
  • Title: What is the name of this work?
    • This can be a book title, an article title or chapter title, or the webpage title. 
  • Source: Where can one find this work, physically or digitally?
    • This can include the publisher; the name of journal, magazine or newspaper; volume and/or issue numbers; page numbers; and the DOI or URL.

The format of a reference entry can be as follows: 

Author Last Name, Author First Initial. (Date). Title. Source. 

Guidelines for Reference List

The following discusses general aspects and general formatting of a reference list, updated to reflect the APA 7th edition.

Title: On a new page after your paper, enter the word "References." Do not bold, italicize, underline or put quotation marks.

Order: Citations are listed alphabetically by author's last name. Sources without authors are inserted alphabetically by title within the list. Sources that share authors are organized by publication date; works with no date (n.d.) appear before dated works. Sources that share authors and publication dates are organized alphabetically by the year-letter combination. Example: (2006a) is before (2006d)

Indention: The first line of each citation is flush with the left margin; subsequent lines of the citation are indented and double-spaced to form hanging indents.

Spacing: Citations should be double-spaced in the reference list. Insert 1 space after commas, colons, semicolons, periods that separate parts of the citation, and periods of the initials in a name.

Date: The date appears in parentheses after the author (or the title, if there is no author). Use only the year when citing books and journal articles. Use the exact date when citing magazines, newspapers, newsletters and conference/symposium papers or proceedings. If possible, include the date that a website was created or updated. Example: (2009, May 10).

Capitalization: Capitalize only the first word of the title and subtitle of books, reference works, articles and websites. However, capitalize all proper names/words, and capitalize all words of a journal, magazine or newspaper title. Do not capitalize articles (a, an, the), prepositions or conjunctions unless it is the first word of the title or subtitle.
Example: The Arizona Republic.

Italics & Underlining: Titles of books, magazine and newspaper publications, and journals are italicized. Journal volume numbers are also italicized, but issue numbers are not. Example: Journal of Special Education, 29(2), 79-98. Underlining is not used in citations in the reference list, including DOIs and URLs.

Pagination: Use p. or pp. to signify page numbers when citing articles in encyclopedias and chapters in edited books. They are also used to designate pages for magazines and newspapers that do not have volume numbers (see the example in "Italics" above). No matter the source type, dashes are used for sequential pages, while commas are used for non-sequential pages. 

Other Punctuation: Ampersand [&] is used instead of 'and' when there are multiple authors. Examples: Author, A. A. & Author, B. B. OR Author, A. A., Author, B. B., Author, C. C. & Author, D. D.

Editions: Cite the edition of a book only if it is not the 1st edition. Edition is shown between title and location of publisher. Example: Title (3rd ed.). Source.

Publication Information: The location of publisher is no longer necessary for APA citations.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): A unique DOI is assigned to journal articles and always begins with a 10. DOIs provides persistent links to articles, eliminating issues with website URLs changing. However, not all articles have a DOI; additionally, DOIs are visible in some databases but "hidden" in others. If available, a DOI should be listed at the end of the citation.

URL: The URL is used whenever a DOI is not used or found. If there isn't a DOI but the specific URL to the page makes it inaccessible, use the home page URL of the journal or book publisher. For articles, try to include the URL specifically leading to the article.

Retrieved date: Retrieved dates are no longer needed in citations, unless the information may change over time or is unarchived (ex. wikis). Use the format "Retrieved [date] from [URL]"

Databases: It's no longer required to include a "retrieved from" statement with the name of database from which an online source was retrieved. Only add the database name when citing materials with limited circulation.

Websites: When making a "passing reference to a website in the text, the URL is sufficient; no reference list entry is needed. However, when you are citing a particular document or piece of information from a website, include both a reference list entry and an in-text citation. The key to creating the reference list entry is to determine the type of content on the web page."  

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