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Top 10 Errors: APA Reference List Checklist

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Top 10 Errors: APA Reference List Checklist

Presented on May 12, 2020

View the recording

Last updated June 10, 2020


Visual: Opening slide is titled Housekeeping

  • Recording: Will be available online within 24 hours.
  • Interact: Polls, files, and links are interactive.
  • Q&A
  • Help
    • Ask in the Q&A box.
    • Choose “Help” in the upper right-hand corner of the webinar room.

Audio: [Beth] Wonderful, welcome everyone. It's great to have you here today. My name is Beth Nastachowski; I am one of the facilitators for today’s session. I will go over housekeeping information before I hand the session over to Michael. Before I go over the housekeeping, Jes do you want to introduce yourself?

[Jes] Yes, absolutely. Hi everyone. I'm Jes Philbrook and I'm one of the facilitators for today's session and I will be behind the scenes answering your questions in the Q&A box and I've been with the Writing Center for five years. I actually started the same day as Michael, our presenter today, and I’m calling in from St. Louis Park Minnesota. I'm here to help you let us know what questions you have.

[Beth] Thank you so much. Alright, so a couple quick housekeeping notes here. The first is I have started the recording for the session and I will be posting that in our webinar archive by this afternoon. If you have to leave for any reason or you would like to come back and review the session, you're more welcome to do so. We record all of our sessions and as you might know this is part of the larger APA session schedule that we have from last week and this week so all the recordings are available up until today's sessions in our webinar archive and we’ll continue to post those recordings as we present those live in our archive as well so be sure to check those out if there other sessions you're interested in but haven't been able to attend.

We also encourage you to interact with us today so it was great to see all of your responses in the lobby and the poll and Michael has other chats and practices and he will be using throughout the session for you to interact with him. There are additionally links throughout the slides that you can click and they will open up in a new browser tab and you can download Michael's slides that are available in the files pod at the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.

As Jes said, we are here to answer your questions throughout the webinar to feel free to ask any questions or make any comments you have in the Q&A box. We would love to hear from you and we also encourage you to ask those questions as soon as you have them. Michael has a lot of different topics he's going to be going over to today so we will respond as soon as we can; however, note that sometimes at the very end of the webinar there questions or you might think of a question after you leave the webinar, we encourage you to reach out after the webinar at our email address which is listed here or the live chat hours and we will be sure to mention those at the end of the session as well. Finally, if you have any technical issues, I have tips and tricks I can give you. Otherwise there's a help button at the top right-hand corner of your screen. That's the best place to go for any significant technical issues. With that Michael I will hand it over to you.


Visual: Slide changes to the title of the webinar: Top 10 Errors: APA References List Checklist and includes the presenter’s name and role: Michael Dusek, Writing Instructor, Walden University Writing Center.

Audio: [Michael] Thank you for that excellent introduction, Beth. Everyone. welcome. As Beth said. my name is Michael Dusek, and I'm a writing instructor here at Walden. You can see my picture there that was actually from when I used to teach at UW Stout -- that was my last school picture if you will. But welcome to the session entitled top 10 errors. This is covering APA reference list and we will be working in something of a checklist format; we will give you things that you can use as checks and a checklist as you're looking at a reference list that you're crafting. So before we get going, we are not going to be talking about the minutia of every single nuance of reference lists in this specific session. This is meant as a practical helpful session. If you put your references through a checklist that we are going to be offering here, you will be in very good shape moving forward but again, APA is nuanced and has specific requirements for different types of sources. We are going to not cover everything in detail today but this is going to be a pretty good place to start and some good things to think about as you're revising a reference list.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Transition to APA 7

  • New (7th) edition of APA manual released
  • APA 7 implementation dates: May 4 (semester-based programs) & June 1 (quarter-based and Tempo programs)
  • Some doctoral capstone students may continue using APA 6 for an additional grace period—details TBA

Audio: [Michael] Before we get going, I'm going to mention we did just transition from APA 6 to APA 7. The APA 7 manual has now been released and we are in the process of implementing this change throughout Walden. For those of you on the semester-based schedule, semester-based programs, this transition took place on May 4, so in the first part of this transition. Those of you who are either in the Tempo program or working on a quarter-based schedule, the transition for you is coming up on June 1, so definitely something to be aware of that's on the horizon and is going to affect you. Some doctoral capstone students will be able to continue using APA 6 and there's kind of a grace period that’s going to be going on here for those of you working on proposal documents. There's going to be more details announced about this, to come. So be on the lookout for those announcements as well. Generally speaking, we’re transitioning the whole University, so be aware that APA 7 now is the preferred notation style here at Walden.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Transition to APA 7

Audio: [Michael] Here are some resources that you should bookmark or be aware of for the APA 7 transition. First of all, we have the Writing Center APA 7 transition page. This is going to be a jumping off point. For a lot of different resources that we are offering. We are laying out a timeline on that page for when we are rolling out new resources or how that transition is going to take place in a timeline format. And as I mentioned, there will be a number of resources that are linked there that you can use and bookmark as helpful things to draw upon when you're transitioning to using APA 7.

You can take a look at our APA 6 to APA 7 tables to preview the changes. This is a great idea because it offers a discussion of the differences between APA 6 and APA 7, pointing out specifically what has changed there. That can be a really useful resource too.

We have a webinar calendar, kind of an APA transition webinar, like the one that we are doing here, this webinar is a part of. That took place last week and there's a few more this week so you can take a look at those there.

And be looking out for this updated content on our website. We been working really hard to update our website and update the videos on the website and really all the resources that we offer to be accurate with this APA 7 transition. That would be another place to look; I know a lot of the pages are already updated, so you can use those as resources as well.

Lastly APA 7 specific questions can go to this email address, If you have specific APA 7 questions, feel free to send them there and you will get a response to that specific question also.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Today’s Webinar

Audio: [Michael] Moving then to today's webinar and how that relates to APA 7, there's going to be some discussion of APA 7 rules in today's webinar. We've transitioned this webinar presentation, so that is something you can be aware of as we go through.

In the upper right corner of the slide you see this logo, it says APA 7 in a big white circle. Whenever you see that logo on the slide, what it means is that there has been some sort of change from APA 6 to APA 7 regarding this specific content of that slide. When that comes about, I will offer a quick heads up and say this role has changed from APA 6 to APA 7; we will discuss how that – what that change looks like and how that specific rule has changed.

Again, you can take a look at some of the recordings of the previous webinars that we've done about APA 7. APA 7 at a Glance: Changes and Support For The Switch. It's a companion version for doctoral capstone students. That would be another thing to be aware of there and another resource you can draw upon.

As we really now transition to beginning this presentation, when you see this logo, the APA 7 logo, all that means is that there's been some sort of change and we will discuss what that change looks like and what has actually changed there.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Learning Objectives After this session, you will be able to:

  • Understand the purpose of references and citations in an academic paper
  • Develop skills in revising for the top 10 reference list errors
  • Identify resources to help you revise your own reference lists

Audio: [Michael] Now that we are fully into this presentation, introductory disclaimer aside, some learning objectives for today's webinar session. Really, we will try to understand the purpose of references and citations in an academic paper, how these elements of source usage may be corresponding elements corresponding to one another. And why is it important to use them?

We are going to develop skills in revising for these top 10 reference list errors. These top 10 reference list areas you think of it as writing instructors we work with student writing a lot, so these are some of the common mistakes that we often see on reference list, so we took that experience and use that to inform some of the content of this piece. We will take a look at some of these errors that we often see students making and what they should look like, how to fix those errors so you can take that forward in your own writing.

Lastly, as I mentioned, we will identify resources to help you revise your own reference lists. This brings up a big, bigger may be more of a global point when it comes to APA 7 and APA in general. We in the Writing Center, we are human. I don't have the APA 7 manual memorized. And I don't plan on doing that. But really, the important thing is that you know where to access the information that you need when you find that you need it. So, drawing upon resources that give you that information becomes really, really important. When I get a student who asks me a question about APA or APA 7 in this case, that I don't know the answer to, I go to my manual and I look up what the rule is there and what APA actually says around that idea. This is kind of how I would encourage you guys to approach this. Again, my point in this meandering aside is that you don't need to commit all of this to memory. Knowing where to access the information that tells you how this needs to be formatted or what the APA rule is in a specific situation is really more important than having every specific nuance of APA memorized. That is something I wanted to at least leave you with before we get going too far here. Don't worry too much if you don't know everything right off hand. Being able to access it is just as good as knowing it.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat box: What do you find to be the most challenging part of creating a reference list?

Audio: [Michael] Here we are with the first chat of the webinar. In the chat box below, I would like you to respond to this question: What you find to be the most challenging part of creating a references list? Again, throw your answer in the chat box. I will go on mute for maybe a minute or two and we will discuss some of the responses that I see coming in there.

I'm getting a lot of good participation here in the chat box. It’s moving pretty quickly. Some of you are saying that it's time-consuming. It is -- I can equate that to being tedious; there a lot of little details that you have to be aware of, right, in order to produce a product that is correct. It can be time-consuming; it can be a little tedious for sure.

I see a lot of people saying the word formatting. Formatting can be a challenge, and I think this dovetails with another response that I saw in the chat box. There a lot of different sources and each source has different formatting guidelines. That can definitely be difficult to navigate. Tedious, sure.

I think really what I'm seeing here is this is that is requires a lot of attention to detail. Whether that is time-consuming, whether you described that is being difficulty in formatting, really that's the underlying thing is that you do need to take that almost editorial eye, that eye for detail to your references list.

We are going to talk about some of the things you can check out and some of the things you can be sure that you are doing throughout this presentation. But again, at this point, I would like to remind you that like all of writing, it's a recursive thing. You can take a draft of a references list the same way you can make a draft of ASA in its entirety. I guess my point in saying that is you can always return to your references list to double check what formatting you have included there and to make it better each time. And that double-checking piece is really what this webinar is about. So with that we can move on if you want to go back to the presentation. Awesome, thanks Beth.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Why Create a Reference List?

  • Each source cited in the paper is included in a references list.*
  • A reference list gives credit to the author and directs the reader to the source.

Audio: [Michael] Why create a reference list? Generally, a reference list gives credit to the author, the author that you are drawing from and directs the reader to the source. This is an authority thing. By including all of the references that you're citing in your piece, in a reference list, and giving the reader that publication information, you're kind of being transparent about where you’re drawing information from. Your saying to the reader, this is where I'm getting the information that I'm using here. If you would like to go and verify that I'm keeping that in its original context or if I'm representing that source material accurately, I'm welcoming you to do that by including a references list; I hope that make sense. It's about being transparent and also about giving credit to those you’re drawing from but those are one and the same.

The second part of this infographic, on the left-hand side, each source cited in the papers included in your reference list. Absolutely, so for every citation you have in your document, every time you're referring to an author in the text of your document, you need to include a reference entry that gives the reader that full publication information for that source. It tells them exactly where they can find that. As a corresponding rule, every reference entry that you include in a reference list needs to have this information or this piece cited at least one time throughout your document. So, you can think of these as corresponding elements. For every citation, there should be a reference, and for every reference, there should be at least one citation. I hope that make sense.

There's an asterisk next to the bit about citation -- there are some rare occasions where you would not include a reference entry for citation; that is when you are citing a personal communication or a personal conversation with someone. That would then not be a reference entry for that but that's a really rare situation. Generally, these are corresponding elements, so every citation needs a reference and every reference needs to have at least one citation in that piece.

You can't have one without the of the other, as a general rule here.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Citing Sources in Your Paper

  1. Stay Organized
    • Create an entry for each source you read
    • Include the entry in your draft
  2. Cite in Text       
    • Use quotation marks when quoting
    • Paraphrase effectively
    • Add a citation immediately
  3. Seek Out Help                
    • Check the Writing Center website
    • Ask the Writing Center, faculty, or classmates

Audio: [Michael] To cite sources in your paper, there are some practical tips that we would point to to make sure that you can stay on track and you're not forgetting sources or you’re not omitting something that you may have cited in your document from your reference list.

Create an entry for each source you read. This is a research thing. You’re cataloging the sources that you have been gathering. You can include the entry in your draft, so as you're drafting your piece, you can take this reference entry that you have already crafted for this piece and throw that into your references list. That's one great way to do it, stay organized, that's research tool.

Cite in text. People use quotation marks when quoting to show this -- showing the reader this is the exact language the author is using in their piece. Paraphrase like quotation needs to have a citation included with it. So effective paraphrasing becomes an important element here. Representing the readers or representing the source’s ideas fairly and in their original context would be what we think about when we think about effective paraphrasing. Again, there other resources that you can draw upon for what effective paraphrasing looks like so we are not going to cover a ton of that in this particular webinar.

Another good practical tip would be at the bottom, the middle column, add a citation immediately. That's a super good idea. Often times I will be reading a student document and there will be information that sounds like it's coming from an outside source. For example, a student might be using statistics which to me as a writing instructor is kind of – a light goes on saying you probably drew those -- the statistical information from somewhere. So, to make sure you are not accidentally omitting a citation, it is important or a good idea to include your citation immediately when you're working with that source.

Lastly, it is a good idea to seek out help. There a lot of resources here at Walden, the Writing Center specifically would be the one that I am most familiar with. But that are here to help you and that you pay for with your tuition. They are available to you if you choose to use them. Check with the Writing Center website and look for resources that make sense to you, that are accessible to you, that you can draw upon when you're looking for clarification. Ask the Writing Center, faculty, or classmates; if you're wondering about something, you can always reach out to the Writing Center and reach out to your faculty. You can also reach out to a colleague. I think that one is a little bit overlooked sometimes because your colleagues are going through some of the same struggles that you are. So, you really can use them as a resource as well.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Create Your Own References

  • Don’t copy and paste from the Library, databases, course materials, reference entry generators, or the article itself!
  • Guarantee accuracy by creating them yourself and checking them against examples in the manual and the Writing Center’s Common Reference List
  • Be cautious when using citation management software, like Zotero.
  • Library’s citation management software information

Audio: [Michael] Another bigger practical tip, because it gets its own slide, this is something that I really encourage you to do which is create your own references. This would mean to avoid copying and pasting from the library, databases, course materials, reference entry generators, this type of thing. A lot of times when you're using an academic database there will be the option when you are retrieving the article to take that citation, right? It’ll say something like, cite this on the right-hand bar or another place on the page. When you click on that it will spit out a citation for that piece. But there are issues with this. How do you know that that database is using the most current version of APA? How do you know that they are using APA style at all? You don't. So, this is why it becomes important for you to really create these citations yourself. And to do that, you can draw upon a number of resources through the Writing Center but it's about fitting the right information in. When you look at a journal article, you will be able to pick out the different information that is needed for a reference entry. So then, at that point, it is pretty easy for you to create a citation or rather a reference for yourself rather than relying on a citation generator or something like this. It's also more accurate. That's my point.

A great way -- a great resource to use when you're creating these reference list is the page mentioned in the bullet point, second bullet point: Common Reference List, Common Reference Examples-- we as writing instructors use this a lot at Walden and it has a format for a number of different kinds of sources that you might be using. There is mention of articles with DOI and without DOI and books you might be using in your research. Even down to maybe more obscure sources like course materials or webpages. So, this would be a good resource for you to drop in on to double check the formatting of individual sources.

And as I mentioned above, be cautious when using citation management software like is Zotero. There are others out there as well. But again, this can be thought of as something like translation software would be on the Internet. Say I wanted to translate something into French, for example, I would put an English phrase into the search bar of this translation generator. It was spit out a French phrase or French sentence that may have the right words that I would need to say that sentence in French, but it might not be in the right case. It may not be in the right tense, it might be out of order of how that would be said in the French language. So, for me, it's on me to double check that, to format that correctly. It works the same with the citation generators and reference entries. It is find use them if that is something that you find beneficial; I would just recommend that you take your human eye to those reference entries before you actually turn that piece in for a grade. They can be useful as a starting place, but really these are just computer algorithms. You need to use your human eye to verify that the information that they're providing you is formatted correctly, in the right order, and looks the way that it should in APA style.

More information on this can be found at this link at the bottom of the slide: library citation management software information. Just some more cautionary -- caution about using these, but again, if it's something that works for you, I don't want to completely dissuade you. There are many ways to write a good essay and to craft effective reference lists. But I would again recommend you use your human eye to vet or double check those before you turn that in.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Reference List Checklist: Top 10 Reference List Mistakes

Audio: [Michael] Without further ado, then, let's take a look at these top 10 reference list mistakes.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: 1: Insert a Page Break

Audio: [Michael] The first mistake that we see often has to do with the page break. A reference list needs to be on a page of its own, a new and separate page at the top of the page. The best way to do this would be to insert a page break. This is a function in Microsoft Word under the insert tab, and what that will do is no matter how much you add to or take away from the body of your essay, it will keep that reference list on its own page. It will start the reference list at the top of its own page. This is an automatic formatting tool that can be really helpful. Sometimes students will just use the enter, the return key, to go down to that next page to start the references list. But this is ineffective because as you revise, you're going to be adding to or taking away from the body of your piece. And when you do that then, it's going to be moving your references list as well.

What ends up happening then is that we will see a document with the references list that starts in the middle of the page or that starts at the very bottom of the last page of text. It looks kind of goofy. And actually, is incorrect based on APA style. So, using this page break is really the best way to get that reference list to start on a page of its own. Use a page break to create this separation. And as I mentioned it helps avoid these formatting changes with revision.

A couple of resources there for you, Academic Skills Center Microsoft Word resources. They are awesome when it comes to navigating Microsoft Word. I would recommend them. Creating page breaks tutorial would be our second resource offered on this slide, so take a look at that if this is something that you personally struggle with, but again that's our first thing to be aware of on our reference list checklist. Make sure you include a page break and the reference list starts on a page of its own at the top of a page of its own.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: 2: Format the Title Correctly

  • Image: APA 7 transition logo
  • Level 0 heading or title
  • Centered, bold, and usually plural
  • Example reference list displayed on the slide with References centered and bolded and a yellow arrow pointing at the title References:


Donavant, B. W. (2009). The new, modern practice of adult education online instruction in a continuing professional education setting. Adult Education Quarterly, 59(3), 227-245.

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance education: A systems view of online learning (3rd ed.) Wadsworth.

Audio: [Michael] Number two: Format the title correctly. And by title in this case what I'm referring to is the heading on top of a references list. Here you can see this is a level 0 heading or title heading. And in APA 7 this is actually going to be in bold, previously in APA 6 this was not in bold, was in plain type, but this is a change with APA 7. We can see our APA logo, but this is a change so now instead of having it the old way where was in plain type now it needs to be centered on the page and in bold but usually is going to be plural, references rather than just reference. And again, you use the plural if you have multiple sources there. It will be multiple references listed below. Again, formatting the heading of your reference list needs to be centered in the middle of the page and say references in bold.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: 3. Use a Hanging Indent

  • .5 indentation on second and subsequent lines
  • Shortcut: CONTROL/ COMMAND + T
  • Hanging indent tutorial
  • Example reference list displayed on the slide with a hanging indent and a yellow line and arrow present to point out the hanging indent:


Donavant, B. W. (2009). The new, modern practice of adult education online instruction in a continuing professional education setting. Adult Education Quarterly, 59(3), 227-245.

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance education: A systems view of online learning (3rd ed.) Wadsworth.

Audio: [Michael] Number three. Sometimes we see students that do not include a hanging indent. Include a hanging indent. What this is that it’s going to be the opposite of the indent you include at the beginning of a paragraph. In APA style, you need to indent the first line of every paragraph .5 inches. .5. In a references list, the first line is going to be flush with the left margin of the page and each subsequent line is going to be indented half-inch or .5 there.

Here's an example on this slide that you can see. We have our author’s last name which is the first line and starts the first line of the reference entry here: Donavant, B. W.. And you can see the authors last name is going to be, it's flush with the left margin of the page and each additional line, the line starting adult and line starting professional and so on, these are indented half-inch, so this is what I hanging indent looks like. Couple ways to apply this. You can highlight your references list and go into the paragraph tab in Microsoft Word and apply hanging indent that way; also, you can highlight your reference entries and use command and hit T which applies a hanging indent to your references list as well. There couple ways to do this. But the important thing is that you include a hanging indent.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: 4. Capitalize Titles Correctly

  • The first word, the first word after a colon, and any proper nouns
  • Applies to titles of sources (not publication information)
  • Example reference entry displayed on the slide with words that should be capitalized or not bolded and italicized: Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance education: A systems view of online learning (3rd ed.).Wadsworth.

Audio: [Michael] Number four: You need to capitalize titles correctly. Titles of specific works in APA style on a reference list are going to be in sentence case. What this means is that the first word of the title is going to be capitalized, the first word after a colon will be capitalized, and any proper nouns or names that are used in that title need to be also be capitalized.

So let's take a look at the example here. The title of this book is Distance education: A systems view of online learning. As we can see, the first word in this title is capitalized. Distance is capitalized. Education, however, is not. The word A is capitalized because it comes immediately after the colon and begins the subtitle and the rest of the subtitle is not capitalized. This is again what is referred to as sentence level or excuse me, sentence capitalization in APA style. So, to punctuate this a little bit, you want to capitalize the first word of the title and the first word after a colon if the title uses a subtitle and then any proper nouns within the title. And this applies only to the title of sources, not to the publication information that follows. So, there are different capitalization rules when it comes to adding the publication information, and we are going to take a look at that later on in this webinar. Suffice to say for now, titles in a reference list need to use sentence capitalization.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: 5. Italicize Titles Correctly

  • Works published with other works: No italics
  • Works published as their own entity: Italics
  • Example reference list displayed on the slide with arrows pointing at different lines that require italics such as the journal name, volume number, and book title:


Donavant, B. W. (2009). The new, modern practice of adult education online instruction in a continuing professional education setting. Adult Education Quarterly, 59(3), 227-245.

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance education: A systems view of online learning (3rd ed.) Wadsworth.

Audio: [Michael] Number five. Almost halfway through our top 10 checklist. Use italicized titles correctly and this is a nuance here but works that are published with other works do not -- their title is not italicized, so here we have our Donavant journal article reference entry as our example. You can see the title of this specific journal article is not italicized. This journal article was published with other journal articles in the journal Adult Education Quarterly. So, because this title was published with other works, the title of this specific article was published with titles of other works, it is not italicized. The title of the journal that you're using was not published with other works; this is something that these articles are published within, so that journal article or excuse me the journal title is italicized. So again, if it's a smaller part of a larger thing, in the case of a journal article title, you would not italicized it. If it is a standalone thing or something that is not published with other things like a journal, for example, it is italicized. Maybe to drive this example home more, a book, like a journal, is a standalone thing. It is published by itself; this book is not part of other broader thing where multiple books are published. It's its own thing. So, in this case again, because it's its own thing, the title of that book is italicized: Distance education: A systems view of online learning.

So, there were the first five things to be aware of, the first five checklist items to take a look at as you're working with the reference list up at this point.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions?

Audio: [Michael] I will pause and ask you Beth, are there any questions that maybe could benefit the whole group with an explanation?

[Beth] Yeah, Michael, I think just one. I wondered if you could talk a little bit about the templates we have on our website and how those can be used to help us with these things like double spacing and page breaks and that sort of thing.

[Michael] Absolutely. The Walden Writing Center offers templates that you can insert your work into that will have these formatting things already taken care of. This is not just for reference lists, but this is for entire documents. If I was crafting a course paper, for example, I could take my writing and use one of the Walden writing templates, putting my writing into the template, and that writing would be formatted correctly in APA style. So, it takes a little bit of the headache out of generally formatting a document all yourself. It can be a great resource. Those can be found through the Walden Writing Center homepage. Other questions?

[Beth] I think other questions have been pretty specific so that's all I have for now, but I’ll just say to everyone, keep sending the questions in. We are appreciating everything that is being sent in.

[Michael] Awesome. Looks like it is warm work in the Q&A box and if you have questions pop them in there and they are happy to answer those too.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: 6. Find the DOI or URL

  • Image: APA 7 transition logo
  • DOI: digital object identifier
    • Preferable
    • First option
  • Most direct and permanent way to identify an article
  • Must be presented as a URL
  • Example reference entry displayed on the slide with an arrow pointing at the DOI:


Donavant, B. W. (2009). The new, modern practice of adult education online instruction in a continuing professional education setting. Adult Education Quarterly, 59(3), 227-245.

Audio: [Michael] Number six: Find the DOI or URL. This is another APA 7 change. There were different rules in APA 6 using DOI or digital object identifiers than there are now in APA 7. Really what this changes, it's a couple parts. But when presenting the DOI, this is one of the main changes that we see from APA 6 to APA 7. In APA 6 there was a bit of ambiguity as to how you were to present a DOI number. I believe there were three acceptable ways to present a DOI number. In APA 7, this is standardized. A DOI number needs to be presented the same way every time. And this looks like our example on the slide needs to be presented as a URL. And the URL should be hyperlinked, a hyperlink in APA 7.

To back up a little here -- the DOI is a digital object identifier which is like a Social Security number or identifiable number that is tied directly to an individual source. So, it's a number that is specific to that source. The most direct and pertinent way to identify an article, this is something that if you can find a DOI, needs to be included with any journal article that you're using and referencing in your references list. And as I mentioned, now this is standardized in APA 7 and needs to be presented as it is on this slide using a URL.

As I mentioned, DOI will be your preferable way to refer to this source. It will be your first option. To find those DOIs or if you're uncertain if a piece or article that you're using has a DOI, this website is really where you can look to find that out: -- when you go to it will prompt you to ask -- give information about the source you are using for example the title, the Journal it was published in, the names of the authors, the year of publication, these kinds of things and it will tell you if there's a DOI number or there is not. As I mentioned a second ago, if there is a DOI number, you need to include that in your journal article reference entry. That's an important element.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: 6. Find the DOI or URL

  • Image: APA 7 transition logo
  • If a DOI is unavailable, you no longer use a URL if the article was retrieved from a known database.
  • Example reference entry displayed on the slide with an arrow pointing to the page number to show that there is no DOI displayed:


Anderson, M. (2018). Getting consistent with consequences. Educational Leadership, 76(1), 26–33.

Audio: [Michael] If there is not a DOI number, this is also, you treat this source differently. This is another change that we see from APA 6 to APA 7. In APA 6, if there wasn't a DOI number for a journal article, you would then use a URL in place of a DOI number and that URL would be the URL of the journal’s homepage and this standardizes this in APA 7 and makes it easier. If there is no DOI you no longer use the URL from -- let's say you're using the databases in the Walden library, you don't need to include a URL for that. So that looks like this; it would be the same as if you accessed this journal article in print. It would look the same as that.

So, as a quick review here; I know this is the kind of source you will be working with a lot. So if you can, you can find a DOI and it should look like this example and the DOI needs to be included. If there is no DOI available in APA 7, as long as you retrieve that source from a known database, you will then omit a retrieve from URL in APA 7.

That streamlines this concept pretty well and is easier to use I think than this kind of -- if not this do that type situation in APA 6. I just think this is a little more straightforward.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: 7. Include Publication Info for Print Sources

  • Image: APA 7 transition logo
  • APA 7: Include just the publisher
  • Example reference entry displayed on the slide with an arrow pointing at the publisher name, with no city/state included: Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance education: A systems view of online learning (3rd ed.). Wadsworth.

Audio: [Michael] Number seven. Include publication info for print sources. Yes, we need to include publication information. We need to tell the reader who published this source. But this is a change again from APA 6 to APA 7. Take a look at the example in the slide. We have what it would look like in APA 7. We have the authors’ last names, the year publication, the title of the piece and if there -- if it's part of multiple additions you would include the addition there and it ends with the name of the publisher in this case Wadsworth. In APA 6 you are also required to include the publication city and state or country code in a book reference entry like this. But that is now gone in APA 7. That can be omitted and maybe streamlining or making this a little more straightforward. In APA 7, you do not need to include the city and state or country code in your publication information. You would only include the name of the publisher in the case of our example, Wadsworth is the name of our publisher here.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: 8. Use Correct Punctuation

  • Periods, commas, and spacing rules
  • Use models and examples and follow those
  • Practice makes perfect
  • Example reference list displayed with arrows pointing at commas and periods with these underlined for emphasis:


Donavant, B. W. (2009). The new, modern practice of adult education online instruction in a continuing professional education setting. Adult Education Quarterly, 59(3), 227-245.

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance education: A systems view of online learning (3rd ed.). Wadsworth.

Audio: [Michael] Number eight: Use correct punctuation. I think really what this slide is meant to get across to you is that you need to be cognizant of what punctuation is required. [I had to clear my throat there.] Different sources are going to have different publication requirements. And being cognizant of what punctuation mark needs to go where is something that you need to be aware of and something that is important in APA style especially when it comes to a references list. Be cognizant of different periods, commas, and spacing roles. Use models and examples and follow those. I mentioned on a previous slide about the Common Reference List Examples page that we have in the Walden Writing Center. This is a great place to find these examples to check against the reference entries that you're crafting. Again, find the correct formatting for source, and be cognizant of where the punctuation marks go. Be meticulous in what punctuation mark you are including where. And like everything with writing, practice makes perfect here. So, this is something that will become more natural and feel easier to you as time goes on and as you do it more. So be cognizant and use correct punctuation depending on the kind of source that you are referencing.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: 9. Include Hyperlinks

  • Image: APA 7 transition logo
  • Hyperlinks should be included in journal article reference entries.
  • Example reference list displayed on the slide with arrows pointing at the DOI which is blue and underlined, showing that it is an active hyperlink:


Donavant, B. W. (2009). The new, modern practice of adult education online instruction in a continuing professional education setting. Adult Education Quarterly, 59(3), 227-245.

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance education: A systems view of online learning (3rd ed.) Wadsworth.

Audio: [Michael] Include hyperlinks. Number nine, we want to include hyperlinks, especially with journal articles. This is again a change from APA 6 to APA 7. In APA 6, you needed to remove hyperlinks. Here, we include them. Again, this is kind of change that makes sense to me at least again, that we are moving into a more digital age. If we are not there already. But we are dealing with sources that are often accessed electronically more and more in our research; so, it would make sense to include hyperlink to a DOI or hyperlink to a page.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: 10. Double Space

  • Double space just like the rest of your paper
  • Shortcut: Command/CTRL + 2
  • See our APA blog post for great tips.
  • Example reference list displayed on the slide, and it is double spaced:


Donavant, B. W. (2009). The new, modern practice of adult education online instruction in a continuing professional education setting. Adult Education Quarterly, 59(3), 227-245.

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance education: A systems view of online learning (3rd ed.) Wadsworth.

Audio: [Michael] Then lastly, as with the rest of the essay, and the rest of the piece, you need to use double spacing. There shouldn't be any more space between two reference entries than there is between lines within reference entries. There is no extra spacing included, and it needs to be double spaced, just like the rest of your papers. An easy way to do this would be to highlight your references list and hit command or control and 2 and you can also open up the paragraph drop-down menu and apply double spacing there. Whatever is easiest for you, the point is that this reference list needs to be double spaced just like the rest of your piece in APA style needs to be double spaced.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Reference List Checklist

  1. Insert a page break
  2. Format the title correctly
  3. Use a hanging indent
  4. Capitalize titles correctly
  5. Italicize titles correctly
  6. Find the DOI
  7. Include publication information
  8. Use correct punctuation
  9. Include hyperlinks
  10.  Double space

Audio: [Michael] So as promised, here is our checklist and these can be 10 things you verify that you are doing or including as you're looking at your references list. One, insert a page break. Make sure the reference list starts on top of a page of its own. Two, format the titles correctly. The title heading: make sure you're having that in bold and on the center of the page. Include a hanging indent. Four, capitalize titles correctly. Think about, if this needs to -- if this is part of a smart thing like a journal article. Where it's one of many journal articles that's published by specific journal. In that case you would not italicize it. Or if this is a standalone thing. Like a journal title or a book and it can be italicized. Be cognizant of what kind of source you're working with and what elements of the source should be italicized and what elements should not. Six, find the DOI number and include that in the standardized URL. Include publication information. Absolutely. Use correct punctuation or be cognizant of what punctuation you're using in what place and whether or not that it adheres to the APA formatting guidelines. Include hyperlinks, and lastly, double space your entire references list. These are just 10 things that really, if you do all of them and verify that these are all working or present, in your references list, I think you're off to a really good start in terms of revision and crafting an effective references list.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions?

Audio: [Michael] I will pause again and ask you guys, my colleagues who are working the chat box, are there any questions you would like to raise for me to answer?

[Beth] Michael, this is a more general question, so any tips you have. One student was mentioning that they were feeling just a little overwhelmed about having to go back through their reference list to make edits to it for the changes that we are talking about for APA 7 and reviewing here. Do you have any suggestions for how to get motivated to make those edits or strategies for helping to make those edits effective? I know this is a more general question, but I thought I would see if you would have any thoughts to share.

[Michael] Let me think here for second. This might sound a little bit obvious, but putting rewards in your way, or offering rewards as you revise references list is something that helps me. I like the outdoors and read magazines so I will be like, if I get through these 10 sources, I'm going to read a magazine article and I'll return to this. I put rewards in my -- or incentives in my way -- for doing that, but the other thing I would recommend is looking at different sources that are the same. So, if you have 10 entries that are all journal articles, I would go through and revise all of those at once. So then, I'm getting really comfortable with that formatting and able to check my formatting against the previous ones that I've done to make sure I'm doing that correctly. And once you're done with all of those, then move on to maybe all the books in your reference list or maybe the webpages in your reference list, because these formatting requirements are going to be the same for different kinds of sources. All journal articles with the DOI are going to look the same. I would try to group those together if I could. Just so I'm working with one formatting at once and maybe go back and do the same thing with other formatting that I'm using. Beth, Jes, do have anything to add there? Any practical tips for getting motivated to do that?

[Beth] I love that Michael and I was typing something very similar in respond to the student, but I don't have anything to add. Jes, I don't mean to call you out, but I don't know if you have any specific things to add there?

[Jes] Yes, I can add. I always think of reference lists as a puzzle, so it's interesting Michael that you reward yourself with magazines, because I'm the kind of nerdy person who often thinks of reviewing reference lists and correcting them as a reward in itself, because I like puzzles. So, I don't know, if you are the kind of person who likes crosswords who likes doing those comparisons where you're looking at what's wrong in this picture and what's different from this picture the next, reviewing reference lists can be similar. I think that is what it was for me, finding the fun, finding a way to make a similar to something else I enjoy my life.

[Michael] I like that a lot too. The last thing that comes to mind for me is more of a global notion. If you're revising a reference list, it means that you have created it. And likely you've already done a lot of other work in your essay, like the research aspect and thinking about how you want to organize that information and where to include the citations. I think for this specific student, if you're revising that references list, it's kind of like you're almost there. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is bringing polish to your piece that to a large extent is already formed, so you've already done a lot of work to this so I think recognizing maybe where adding that polish to your references list happens in the timeline of writing a piece could be really useful also. To maybe say that simpler, you're almost done if you're doing the reference list. If you're revising the reference list, so be aware of that, that most of the work has been done and you have to do this one little tedious piece and then you can abandon that piece of writing, as, writing mentors of mine would put it. Any other questions?

[Beth] A lot of specific ones so I think we are good to move on Michael.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Practice!

  • Sample Reference List: What errors do you see in this reference page? Please post them in the chat box.

Audio: [Michael] Great. Thank you guys for the awesome questions.


Visual: Presenter shares screen with a references list included that has several errors:


Brenner, BK (2010), Instituting Employee Volunteer Programs as Part of Employee Benefit Plans Yields Tangible Business Benefits. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 64(1), 32-35. Retrieved from

Level 3 Communications (2011). Company Information. Retrieved from

De Meuse, KP, Hostager, TJ, and O'Neill, KS (2007). A longitudinal evaluation of senior managers' perceptions and attitudes of a workplace diversity-training program. Human Resource Planning, 30(2), 38-46. doi: xx89xc09.008ds.x08

Rodenberg, Joseph H. Competitive Intelligence and Senior Management. New York: Random House, 2007. Print.

Audio: [Michael] Let’s take a few minutes then and look at this practice document. What this is, as you can see, this is a sample references list. What I would like you to do is take a couple of minutes and go ahead and put in the chat box some of the errors that you see. Mention, maybe, this needs to be italicized or this is in the wrong place. Go ahead and take a few minutes and take a look at those and tell me what you're noticing in terms of the errors in this list.

I am seeing a lot of really good responses come in, and if you're still typing, please include your response in this chat, because I think there is enough revision to go around in this particular references list. Some are saying, delete this retrieved from that you can see the first reference entry. That is correct, absolutely. Also, we mentioned being cognizant or meticulous about your use of punctuation. I'm seeing a lot of you noticing there should be some punctuation between the B and K in the first reference entry here to separate the authors first initials. Title capitalization is another when I'm saying multiple times in the chat box. Should be a period after the date of publication. Good one. DOI must be a URL, absolutely. I had another person mention that there doesn't need to be a city or state/country code included in a book reference entry. Good, good.

The name of a journal must be italicized, awesome, getting at another concept talked about in the webinar, that you need to be cognizant of what needs to be italicized. Titles of journals, being a standalone thing, need to be italicized and journals that are not part of a standalone thing do not need to be italicized. You don't need the word print. Yes, absolutely. I think that's an MLA holdover. I haven’t used MLA in a little bit, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it used to look like in MLA, when I was doing that. Volume number italicized. Good job, good catch.

I would agree with this comment that came in, there's so many and you guys are really nailing this. That is really great. I'm going to take this opportunity to move over to what the list should look like to our answer key, but again, you're really on top of this.


Visual: Presenter shares screen with a references list included. This is supposed to be the corrected reference list but is slightly out of date and a newly updated version has been uploaded here: Corrected Sample References List.

Audio: [Michael] Here's what we are working with. This is what this should look like. Oh, I don’t think actually that this was updated.

[Beth] Michael, I apologize. It looks like this is the old version still so we don't have that. But what I can do is send that around everyone afterwards so they have the updated version. Apologies everyone.

[Michael] Okay, a little mistake there but honestly you really were hitting on the major things that I would point out in the things that needed to be revised in that list: adding a hanging indent and treating DOI's differently, being cognizant of what the punctuation or italics you are using, title case or what sentence case looks like and sentence case capitalization, and how that would be brought to that list. I think you are doing really good work there.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Reference List Resources

Audio: [Michael] Some resources then to send you with, and I would really recommend if references are something that are headaches for you, or intimidating for you or anxiety producing, however you want to put it, that notion that they are difficult for you or they cause you difficulty, maybe better said. I would recommend bookmarking some of these links here because they can just be really quick resources that can save you a lot of time and a lot of energy and prevent you from banging your head against the wall when you can't find a specific formatting and your essay is due in 30 minutes. That practical side of this.

So first, the Walden templates at the top. We mentioned this already and Beth brought them up also. These are a great place to start because they already have a lot of these smaller formatting aspects included. Then you can plug in your own writing. Those can be really useful. And just in general because it can take a little time to sit down and get your formatting right in Microsoft Word and when you have these larger ideas that you're working with and thinking about how I want to organize my thoughts, sometimes being able to skip over some of those little formatting things can be really helpful. So, take a look at the template if that is something that interests you.

Common Reference List Examples page. I recommend everybody bookmark this one. What this does as I mentioned before, it has formatting requirements for really common reference list entries that are often seen in scholarly writing. Journal articles, books, webpages and even down to as I mentioned, lecture notes and course materials and things like this. I would recommend bookmarking that page as a reference for you.

We have the APA Style blog which is the third resource and this is a smaller more informal formatting of discussions of different APA style elements, different features of APA style. Things like journal article reference entries, things like hanging indents. Elements of APA style that are discussed in blog form. If that is something that interests you, go ahead and click there.

APA webinar series, as this is, part of the APA webinar series there other webinars that are part of this series that you can draw upon. As Beth mentioned at the beginning of this webinar, these are recorded and you can access them at a later date at your own leisure and really multiple times if that is something that is helpful to you, if you benefit from this kind of lecture formatting. Take advantage of that if that is something that resonates with you.

Lastly, APA references and citation modules. These are set up more of a quiz type atmosphere for APA things, APA elements. If you're the kind of person that benefits from being quizzed on something that you just learned, the APA modules are more for you. As it says in the side here, they offer self-paced lessons on reference entries for journal articles, books, webpages and more. This is a self-paced thing and there's a check element or quiz element there, of which can be useful if that fits your learning style.

Lastly a couple more webinars APA Citations Part One and APA Citations Part Two. These are great when it comes to incorporating outside sources into your writing. As scholarly writers, this is something that you're going need to be doing, you need to be drawing on the works of others, so these couple of webinars can be really useful in learning how to do that and becoming agile users of source material. I recommend those as well.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions: Ask Now or Later

Audio: [Michael] With that I will turn it over to Beth.

[Beth] Thank you so much Michael. Any last thoughts for you today before we close out the session?

[Michael] I guess my last thought would be don't be too hung up on APA. Writing is more than just formatting a reference entry. And you can learn with time, so if you're not satisfied with where you are at, keep working and keep practicing and you will get better. Believe in yourself. The end.

[Beth] Agreed. I love that, Michael. Everyone I hope this is useful for you and making APA a little bit more approachable and answering your questions. As Michael said, use the various resources we have; please reach out to us if you have questions we have our email address listed here as well as live chat hours that are posted on the homepage. And, I always like to note and encourage students who are in their coursework or the doctoral students through their prospectus to make a paper review appointment. You would be welcome to do that. We will be happy to give you feedback on any area of your writing including but not focused solely on APA. We will close out for the day. Thank you again and we hope to see you at another webinars soon. Happy writing everyone.