Skip to main content

APA Citation Style 6th Edition: References Guidelines

This guide will help you cite sources in APA Citation Style 6th Edition.

References Guidelines

Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in the APA 6th Edition manual.

  • The References list should be double-spaced. Each entry should be formatted with a hanging indent (p.180).

  • References cited in text must appear in the References list and vice versa. The only exceptions to this rule are personal communications and classical works; they are cited in text only and are not included in the References list (p.174).

  • Use only the initial(s) of the author’s given name, not the full name (p.184).

  • If the References list includes 2 or more entries by the same author(s), list them in chronological order with the earliest first (p. 182).

  •  If the author’s name is unavailable, use the first few words of the title of the article, book or Web source, including the appropriate capitalization and italics formatting (pp.176-177). E.g. (Scientists Say, 2000).

  • Arrange References entries in one alphabetical sequence by the surname of the first author or by title or first word if there is no author (pp.181-183). Ignore the words A, An, and The when alphabetizing by title.

  • In titles and subtitles of articles, chapters, and books, capitalize only the first letter of the first word and any proper nouns, except in parenthetical (in text) citations (p.185).

  • Italicize book titles, journal titles, and volume numbers. Do NOT italicize issue numbers.

  • If a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is listed on either a print or an electronic source it is included in the reference (pp.188-192).  A DOI is a unique alphanumeric string that is used to identify a certain source (typically journal articles).  It is often found on the first page of an article.  Example: doi:10.1080/14622200410001676305

  • When the References entry includes a URL that must be divided between two lines, break it before a slash or dash or at another logical division point (p.192). 

  • For a helpful list of some of the abbreviations used in References (such as Vols. for Volumes) check out page 180 of the APA Manual.

Printable APA Handouts