Citing sources has always been confusing to me. I am not sure if I was making it harder than it is or what, but I always cringed when it was time to put all of my sources in APA format. Being in an English Composition class at Full Sail University, I have had to face that fear and dig deep into the part of writing that I disliked most. Here are some tips and resources that I found helpful and wanted to share with you regarding writing and citing a paper in APA format.
Basic Rules of an APA Reference Page
Before delving into specific types, here are some basic rules to take note of when writing an APA reference page.
- The reference page should appear at the end of the paper. It should be separated from the last page of text.
- Each source cited in the paper should appear twice—it should be cited in the actual text and then listed on the reference page.
- The page should be labeled “References,” centered at the top of the page and without any formatting (do not bold, italicize, underline or use quotation marks). As in the rest of the body text, an APA reference page should be double-spaced.
- All lines after the first line of each entry should be indented half an inch from the left margin. This is called the hanging indentation.
- Alphabetize, according to last name, the entries on the reference list. If an author has multiple articles, list down in chronological order from oldest to newest.
- Author’s name should follow the format: last name and then initials of the first and middle name (if provided). If there are two authors, use the ampersand instead of using “and.” If there are up to seven authors, list down the last name followed by initials. If there are more than seven authors, write down the first six and then use ellipses after the sixth author’s name. After the ellipses, write down the last author’s name.
- Maintain the punctuation used in journals. Capitalize all major words.
- Italicize titles of longer works. These include books and journals.
- For shorter works such as essays and journal articles, do not bold, italicize, underline or put quotation marks.
- When attributing books, chapters, articles or Web pages, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title or subtitle. You may also capitalize the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and, of course, proper nouns. In a hyphenated compound word, do not capitalize the first letter of the second word.
- When citing location, use the postal abbreviation format without period. For example: NY for New York or MD for Maryland.
- When referencing a Web page with no author, cite the title of the article followed by the year it was written in parentheses. Also indicate the date it was retrieved and the URL. For example: Retrieved October 21, 2013, from http://www.website.com/
Alphabetization in APA Style
by Chelsea Lee
Alphabetization—did you know there was anything more than A, B, C?
(Surprise! There is, or this post would be really short.)
Although we all learned our alphabet a long time ago, when you’re writing a research paper your references can and do come from authors around the world. Those author names might have all sorts of interesting characters in them, from accent marks, hyphens, and apostrophes to spaces, punctuation, and nontraditional capitalization. With all those characters in the mix, putting your reference list into alphabetical order for APA Style can seem difficult, but it’s not. In APA Style, alphabetization is easy as long as you remember these simple rules:
- Alphabetize letter by letter.
- Ignore spaces, capitalization, hyphens, apostrophes, periods, and accent marks.
- When alphabetizing titles or group names as authors, go by the first significant word (disregard a, an, the, etc.)