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Reference List: Overview

Basics of Reference List Entries

An entry in the reference list contains information on a specific publication, allowing readers to find the publication. APA style entries follow this basic format:

Author. (Publication date). Document name. Publishing information.

  • The reference list appears on its own page, with the title References at the top.
  • As with the rest of the paper, reference entries should be double spaced.
  • All references have a hanging indent, which means the first line is flush left, and all subsequent lines are indented ½ inch on the left. Learn how to create a hanging indent under "APA Formatting" at the Academic Skills Center.
  • References appear in alphabetical order by surname of the author. If there is more than one source with the same author, then those references appear in chronological order, earliest source first.

For specific examples of numerous reference formats with notes and tips, see the Common Reference List Examples page.

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Knowledge Check: Reference List Overview