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APA 7th Style:  The Reference list

UON Library guide for the APA 7th referencing style

What is a reference list?

APA 7th has introduced significant changes to the way in which many resources are referenced. See the tabs above for further information.

  • Generally, APA style requires only a reference list, not a bibliography, unless required specifically by your lecturer.
  • The reference list goes at the end of your assignment on a new page, and includes all the details necessary to identify sources for your in-text citations. 
  • In general, APA uses double line spacing throughout the text including block quotations and the reference list. However, depending on the writing requirement of your assignment, different line spacing and other formatting specifications may be appropriate. If you are unsure, check with your lecturer. 

An example is shown below. 


Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. (n.d.). Understanding climate change.

Germov, J., & Poole, M. (2020). Public sociology: An introduction to Australian society (4th ed.). Routledge. 

Goosse, H., Barriat, P. Y., Lefebvre, W., Loutre, M. F., & Zunz, V. (2010). Introduction to climate dynamics and climate modeling. Université Catholique de Louvain.

Lewandowsky, S., & Whitmarsh, L. (2018). Climate communication for biologists: When a picture can tell a thousand words. PLoS biology, 16(10), e2006004.

Perales, F., Johnstone, M., Xiang, N., & Tomaszewski, W. (2023). Explaining achievement gaps between students from regional and metropolitan areas: Accounting for socio-demographic and school climate factors. Australian Journal of Education, 67(1), 76-93. 

Zilberman, D., Lipper, L., McCarthy, N., & Gordon, B. (2018). Innovation in response to climate change. In L. Lipper, N. McCarthy, D. Zilberman, S. Asfaw, & G. Branca (Eds.), Climate smart agriculture: Building resilience to climate change (pp. 44-74). Springer.

Arrangement of entries in the APA reference list

  • References cited in text must appear in the reference 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 reference list.
  • The reference list must be arranged in one alphabetical sequence by the name of the author/s, or by the title if there is no author. An initial article (A, An, or The) is ignored in alphabetising.
  • The second and subsequent lines of each reference are indented by 1.27 cm (0.5 inches) - this is known as a hanging indent.

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

  • In general, APA uses double line spacing throughout the text including block quotations and the reference list. However, depending on the writing requirement of your assignment, different line spacing and other formatting specifications may be appropriate. If you are unsure, check with your lecturer. 




  • Author names appear first in the reference, surname first followed by a comma, then initials (do not include the full first names of authors).
  • Include all author names when a source has up to 20 authors.
  • When authors number 21 or more, list the first 19 authors, insert three ellipses points (. . .), then add the last author.
  • When there are 2 or more entries by the same author(s), list them in chronological order with the earliest first. See the Year / Date tab 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':

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' tab of this page.
  • If an author is not listed, move the title up to take the place of the author.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Suffixes such as Sr., Jr., III, are added after the initial, e.g. a publication written by John H. William III and Danial Smith would be:

Williams, J. H., III, & Smith, D.

  • Note that academic title suffixes such as PhD, etc., and prefixes such as Prof., Dr., etc., should be excluded from the reference.
  • 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.

Years / Dates

  • 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]. Health Eating NSW.

  • 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:

Smith, D. (2014a). Care facilities for the elderly [Brochure]. NSW Health.

Smith, D. (2014b). Dealing with patient aggression [Pamphlet]. NSW Health.

Smith, D. (2014c). Hand hygiene [Pamphlet]. NSW Health.

  • 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
  • When dealing with 'no date' references, follow the guidance of “nothing precedes something” from the Publication Manual. Therefore, 'no date' references should always precede references with 'some date'.

'No date' is abbreviated as 'n.d.' in both the reference list and for in-text citations.

Below is an example that show the correct way to alphabetise these types of references in the reference list:

Taylor, H., Carter, N., & Beckett, S. (n.d.). ...

Taylor, H., Carter, N., & Beckett, S. (2010). ...

University of Newcastle. (n.d.). ...

University of Newcastle. (2012). ...

  • When dealing with 'in-press' references, treat them as being the most recent, and order appropriately.

Below is an example that show the correct way to alphabetise these types of references in the reference list:

Smith, T., & Jones, D. (2018). ...

Smith, T., & Jones, D. (2020). ...

Smith, T., & Jones, D. (in press). ...

Titles and their Capitalisations

  • Capitalise the first word of the Title and Sub-title for all resources, e.g. Public sociology: An introduction to Australian society (book title).
  • Capitalise proper nouns, initials, and acronyms in a title.

  • Journal, Newspaper and Website Titles are the only exceptions - each major word is capitalised, e.g. Journal of International Nursing (journal title); ABC News (website). Do not capitalise articles (i.e. a, and, the) unless they are the first word of the title.

Note that there is a different between a web page (the part) and a website (the whole).

  • Words following numerals should not be capitalised. For the following example, the correct capitalisation would be "30 modern Australian short stories", not "30 Modern Australian short stories".
  • 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 alphabetised as if the starting word were 'ten' and not the numeral '10'.
  • Titles of chapters and articles appear after the year of publication (unless there is no author listed).
  • Source information, such as book titles, and journal titles (and journal volume numbers), needs to appear in italics.
  • Include journal titles in full, not abbreviated format.


  • Publisher names - do not include terms such as "Pty", "Ltd", "Inc" or "Co".
  • If two or more publishers are listed, include all and separate by semicolons (;), e.g. American Heart Foundation; Wiley.
  • Where the publisher and the author are the same, leave out the publisher part of the reference to avoid repetition.
  • 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, for example:

Smith, D. (2019). Hand washing techniques. [NSW Health].

DOIs and URLs

  • Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are special strings of alphanumeric characters that form a persistent link to individual publications.

If a DOI is listed on either a print or an electronic source it must be included in the reference list entry.

  • DOIs must be formatted for APA 7 as a link [e.g.].

The link version may also be formatted in some databases as - this should be updated to the newer version of

  • Where a source includes both a DOI and a URL, only include the DOI.
  • 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.
  • APA requires the removal of the University proxy ( from all links so that any link used is the standard one for general access, for example:

would need to be 'cleaned-up' to look like:

  • Do not include a full-stop after the DOI or URL at the end of the reference
  • Include the full link to the source being cited - do not trim links back to the homepage (as was common in APA 6).
  • Sources located through the Library or databases do not need an access link in APA 7, but should still include a DOI if there is one.


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 guide from APA.

Proper nouns

Be careful to capitalise all proper nouns and names as appropriate.  Examples of proper nouns include YouTube, Generation Z, Australia, Newcastle and Ash Barty.