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University of Newcastle Library Guides

APA 6th Style:  The Reference list

UON Library guide for APA 6th

Reference List

The APA reference list


The Reference list at the end of your assignment includes all the details necessary to identify sources for your in-text citations.

The 6th Edition of APA introduced a significant change to the way in which online resources are referenced. Many books, journal articles, conference papers and other publications are now available online, and are identified by a "digital object identifier", or DOI. If a publication is assigned a DOI, this is required to be included to the reference list entry.

If a DOI cannot be found, then the URL of the online publication site is included. However, it is preferable to include a DOI rather than a URL in a citation. Check the What are DOIs? page for more information.

Additionally, you must also be aware when creating reference list entries:

Arrangement of Reference List Entries
  • References cited in text must appear in the References List and vice versa. The only exceptions to this rule are personal communications and classical works; they are cited in-text only and are not included in the References List. (p.174).
  • Reference List must be arranged in one alphabetical sequence by the surname of the first author or by the title if there is no author (pp.181-183). Ignore the words "A","An", and "The" when alphabetising by title.
  • The second and subsequent lines of each reference are indented by 1.27 cm (0.5 inches) - this is known as a hanging indent (p. 180).

Not sure how to do a hanging indent? Guide for Word (Win), or Guide for Word (Mac).

  • Author names appear first in the reference, surname first followed by a comma, then initials (do not include the full first names of authors). (p.184)
  • Include all author names when a book has up to 7 authors.
  • When authors number 8 or more, list the first 6 authors, insert three ellipses points (. . .), then add the last author. (p.184)
  • If the book is edited, place the editor names in the author position. After the last editor include the abbreviation (Ed.) or (Eds.), then a full-stop.
  • When there are 2 or more entries by the same author(s), list them in chronological order with the earliest first. (p.182)  See Year/Date below for entries with no date listed.
  • One-author entries precede multiple-author entries beginning with the same surname, even if the multiple-author work was published earlier. Follow the rule 'nothing precedes something' (pp. 181-182):
    Alleyne, R. L. (2015). ...
    Alleyne, R. L., & Evans, A. J. (2001). ...
  • For information about multiple publications by one author in the same year see 'Year/Date' section of this table.
  • If an author is not listed, use the first few words of the title. (pp.176-177)
  • Alphabetise surnames letter by letter. For surnames with the prefixes M', Mc, and Mac alphabetise these literally in your reference list (i.e. these names are not grouped together before others starting with M). Disregard any apostrophes when alphabetising and do not treat these names as if they were all spelled Mac. For example, if you had three references by (1) Madson, (2) MacArthur, and (3) McGregor, you would alphabetise them in your reference list with MacArthur first, then Madson, and McGregor last. (pp. 181-182).
  • For hyphenated first names be sure to include both initials in the reference (with the hyphen in between), e.g. Ann-Marie Smith would be Smith, A.-M.
  • For double-barrelled surnames be sure to include both surnames in the reference even when not connected by a hyphen, e.g. Helena Bonham Carter would be Bonham Carter, H.
  • For information on name suffixes such as Sr., Jr., III, etc, see the entry on the official APA Style Blog. Note that academic title suffixes such as PhD, etc, should be excluded from the reference.
Year / Date
  • When no date is available “n.d.” replaces the date, within the parenthesis as an abbreviation for “no date.” The following reference example shows how this would read:

Spalding, L. (n.d.). Eating wisely [Pamphlet]. Newcastle, N.S.W.: Health Eating NSW.

  • Where you have citations by the same author, entries are listed chronologically by year, with (n.d.) entries listed last (i.e. after the others).
  • When you are citing multiple publications by the same author/s from the same year, first alphabetise by title and then add a, b, c, etc, after the year to differentiate the references for the in-text citations. For example:

NSW Health. (2014a). Care facilities for the elderly [Brochure]. Sydney, N.S.W.: Author.

NSW Health. (2014b). Dealing with patient aggression [Pamphlet]. Sydney, N.S.W.: Author.

NSW Health. (2014c). Hand hygiene [Pamphlet]. Sydney, N.S.W.: Author.

  • Where no year is available and you have multiple publications by the same author/s, follow the steps above, but add a dash between the n.d. and the a, b, c, etc.:  n.d.-a, n.d.-b, n.d.-c, and so on
  • Capitalise the first word of the title and sub-title(and any proper nouns). (p.185)
  • Words following numerals should not be capitalised. e.g. the correct capitalisation would be "30 modern Australian short stories", not "30 Modern Australian short stories".
  • More information on title capitalisation can be found on the official APA Style Blog.
  • Titles that end with a question mark or an exclamation point do not need a full-stop added. The question mark or exclamation point replaces the usual full-stop at the end of the title in these cases.
  • Titles starting with numerals should be alphabetised as if the the numbers were words, e.g. '10 ways to improve student performance' would be alphabetized as if the starting word were 'ten' and not the numeral '10'.
  • Titles of chapters and journal articles appear after the year of publication (unless there is no author listed).
  • Book titles, journal titles and and volume numbers (and any proper nouns) appear in italics. (p.185).
  • Include journal titles in full, not abbreviated format.
Place of publication
  • Place of publication - include the first place of publication, if more than one is listed. For U.S. publications include the official state abbreviation after the city. This is also acceptable for Australian states and territories. For all other countries, spell out the name in full (e.g. New York, NY; Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.; Abingdon, England). (page 187)
  • If you cannot find a place of publication noted, you are able to look up the information and add the place in square brackets (e.g. [Woolloomooloo, N.S.W.]: Cancer Council NSW).
  • Publisher names - do not include terms such as "Inc" or "Co". (page 187)
  • If you cannot find the publisher information listed on the resource, but are able to reliably confirm it elsewhere, you can add the information in square brackets (e.g. [North Sydney, N.S.W.: NSW Health]).
  • If a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is listed on either a print or an electronic source it is included in the reference. (pp.188-192)
  • DOIs may be formatted in APA as either text [e.g. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2004.03.029]  or as a link [e.g.]. While either is acceptable it is a requirement to be consistent, i.e. pick one format and stick with it for the whole bibliography. The link version may also be formatted in some databases as - this is also acceptable.

  • When the reference includes a URL that must be divided between two lines, break it before a slash or dash or at another logical division point. (p.192)
  • APA requires the removal of the University proxy ( from all links so that any link used is the standard one for general access.
  • Do not include a full-stop after the URL at the end of the reference.
  • Confused about which style of brackets to use? Both rounded and square brackets are used in APA, but their usage is strictly controlled. For information on which style of brackets is suitable for your needs, see this online guide.

Proper Nouns
  • Be careful to capitalise all proper nouns and names as appropriate. Examples include Facebook, Generation Y, PowerPoint, YouTube, iTunes, and so on.

(Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 2010)

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