APA References List

What is a References list?

For an essay, paper, report, or any other kind of writing assignment that requires outside research, a References list must be included. This list includes citations for all the resources you consulted or cited within your paper (as noted in parenthetical in-text citations throughout). Any time you quote, that quotation’s source must be in the References list. Any time you paraphrase, summarize, or include information that you’ve read from an outside source that contributes information to the assignment, you must include that source in your References list. Any in-text parenthetical citation must also appear in the References list.

What information goes in a References list citation?

Reference list citations for Ashford University assignments must be formatted according to the APA 6th edition specifications. Each citation requires general publication information, including but not limited to: author name, title, publication or publisher, and year of publication. Because so many sources appear online and do not have publication dates or even authors, additional information may be required, including retrieval data and corporate author information. You will see the most common kinds of sources in the sample References list below.

What are the key rules of creating a References list?

There are unique formatting rules to follow for each reference citation, but generally, remember these key rules for the whole References page:

  1. Center the word “References” at the top of the new page. No boldface, no italics, no quote marks. Just this word: References. The page should have the essay title and page number in the header, as on all the other essay pages.
  2. Double space every line—no additional spacing required.
  3. Alphabetize entries by authors’ last names. This includes “corporate authors,” like the U.S. Dept. of Education. In that situation, you would alphabetize the entry under “U”.
  4. Create a hanging indent for every line after the first in your citation. You may do this in Microsoft Word by highlighting your citations list, clicking “Paragraph” in the toolbar, and choosing “Hanging” under the Indentation/Special section. This sequence is preferable to hitting the “tab” key because formatting can change as you edit the draft.
  5. Be mindful of punctuation, italics, and capitalization rules. For instance, APA requires very specific capitalization rules for titles, and while printed source citations end in a period, online source citations that include web addresses do not.

What does an APA References List look like?


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