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APA Guide (Based on the 6th Edition): References

Video Instruction

Basic Format

Format your reference list page using these steps.
(Click "References" tab in the center)

APA References generally are in the following format:

  1. Authors/Creators
  2. Date
  3. Title(s)
  4. Location within the Publication (vol., pg., etc.)
  5. Publication Info /
    of the Publication

See an example Reference page
on p. 49 of the manual.

Avoid Common Mistakes!

Titles are Tricky

  • Italicize book & journal titles, not article or chapter titles.
  • Use title case for journal titles.
  • Capitalize only the first word, proper nouns, and the word after a colon for other article, book, or chapter titles.


All content on this guide comes from the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

  • Content that is to be typed in your paper is highlighted on the guide to differentiate it from other text. Do not highlight text in your paper.
  • All instructions are provided through the use of Microsoft Word 2010. Please note, steps may vary depending on the word processor you are using.

What is the Right Reference?

Have a document or item you want to a cite but don't know what it is?

Things to Know: References

See steps below if you are missing info:


First, check to see if the information is really missing by searching the title of the article, book, etc. at

What Is Missing?




n/a Author. (date). Title. Retrieved from URL

See note below.

Title takes its place. Title. (date). Retrieved from URL.


Use n.d. for no date. Author. (n.d.). Title. Retrieved from URL.

(know approximate)

Use ca. followed by year in parentheses.

Author. [ca. date]. Title. Retrieved from URL


Use a description instead. Author. (date). [Description of document]. Retrieved from URL
Issue If no issue, leave it out. Author. (date). Title. Journal, vol., pgs. Retrieved from URL

Author & Date

Combine author & date methods above. Title. (n.d.). Retrieved from URL

Author & Title

Combine author & title methods above.

[Description of document]. (date). Retrieved from URL

Date & Title

Combine date & title methods above. Author. (n.d.). [Description of document]. Retrieved from URL
Author, Date & Title Combine author, date & title methods above. [Description of document]. (n.d.). Retrieved from URL

MORE ON AUTHOR: The author may be an institutional author; this is very common for webpages. In the case of an institutional author, cite the full institutional name in the author name place (examples below). Otherwise, use the table above.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Adolescent health.Retrieved from

World Health Organization. (2015). Physical activity. Retrieved from

Alphabetizing References

  • Alphabetize letter by letter beginning with the first authors' last names.
  • Alphabetize prefixes such as Mc and Mac literally.
  • Alphabetize surnames that contain articles and prepositions (de, la, du, von, etc.) according to the rules of the language of origin.
  • Alphabetize items with numerals as if the numerals were spelled out.
  • Alphabetize group authors such as associations or agencies by the first significant word of the name, and use the full official name, not an acronym.
  • If the author is designated as Anonymous, then the entry is alphabetized as if Anonymous were a true name.
  • If there is no author, the entry is alphabetized by the first significant word in the title.


American Psychological Association. (2009). Crediting sources. In Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (pp. 169-192). Washington, D.C.: Author.