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Reference list: common reference list examples, article (with doi).

Alvarez, E., & Tippins, S. (2019). Socialization agents that Puerto Rican college students use to make financial decisions. Journal of Social Change , 11 (1), 75–85. https://doi.org/10.5590/JOSC.2019.11.1.07

Laplante, J. P., & Nolin, C. (2014). Consultas and socially responsible investing in Guatemala: A case study examining Maya perspectives on the Indigenous right to free, prior, and informed consent. Society & Natural Resources , 27 , 231–248. https://doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2013.861554

Use the DOI number for the source whenever one is available. DOI stands for "digital object identifier," a number specific to the article that can help others locate the source. In APA 7, format the DOI as a web address. Active hyperlinks for DOIs and URLs should be used for documents meant for screen reading. Present these hyperlinks in blue and underlined text (the default formatting in Microsoft Word), although plain black text is also acceptable. Be consistent in your formatting choice for DOIs and URLs throughout your reference list. Also see our Quick Answer FAQ, "Can I use the DOI format provided by library databases?"

Jerrentrup, A., Mueller, T., Glowalla, U., Herder, M., Henrichs, N., Neubauer, A., & Schaefer, J. R. (2018). Teaching medicine with the help of “Dr. House.” PLoS ONE , 13 (3), Article e0193972. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193972

For journal articles that are assigned article numbers rather than page ranges, include the article number in place of the page range.
For more on citing electronic resources, see  Electronic Sources References .

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Article (Without DOI)

Found in a common academic research database or in print.

Casler , T. (2020). Improving the graduate nursing experience through support on a social media platform. MEDSURG Nursing , 29 (2), 83–87.

If an article does not have a DOI and you retrieved it from a common academic research database through the university library, there is no need to include any additional electronic retrieval information. The reference list entry looks like the entry for a print copy of the article. (This format differs from APA 6 guidelines that recommended including the URL of a journal's homepage when the DOI was not available.) Note that APA 7 has additional guidance on reference list entries for articles found only in specific databases or archives such as Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, UpToDate, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global, and university archives. See APA 7, Section 9.30 for more information.

Found on an Open Access Website

Eaton, T. V., & Akers, M. D. (2007). Whistleblowing and good governance. CPA Journal , 77 (6), 66–71. http://archives.cpajournal.com/2007/607/essentials/p58.htm

Provide the direct web address/URL to a journal article found on the open web, often on an open access journal's website. In APA 7, active hyperlinks for DOIs and URLs should be used for documents meant for screen reading. Present these hyperlinks in blue and underlined text (the default formatting in Microsoft Word), although plain black text is also acceptable. Be consistent in your formatting choice for DOIs and URLs throughout your reference list.

Weinstein, J. A. (2010).  Social change  (3rd ed.). Rowman & Littlefield.

If the book has an edition number, include it in parentheses after the title of the book. If the book does not list any edition information, do not include an edition number. The edition number is not italicized.

American Nurses Association. (2015). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (3rd ed.).

If the author and publisher are the same, only include the author in its regular place and omit the publisher.

Lencioni, P. (2012). The advantage: Why organizational health trumps everything else in business . Jossey-Bass. https://amzn.to/343XPSJ

As a change from APA 6 to APA 7, it is no longer necessary to include the ebook format in the title. However, if you listened to an audiobook and the content differs from the text version (e.g., abridged content) or your discussion highlights elements of the audiobook (e.g., narrator's performance), then note that it is an audiobook in the title element in brackets. For ebooks and online audiobooks, also include the DOI number (if available) or nondatabase URL but leave out the electronic retrieval element if the ebook was found in a common academic research database, as with journal articles. APA 7 allows for the shortening of long DOIs and URLs, as shown in this example. See APA 7, Section 9.36 for more information.

Chapter in an Edited Book

Poe, M. (2017). Reframing race in teaching writing across the curriculum. In F. Condon & V. A. Young (Eds.), Performing antiracist pedagogy in rhetoric, writing, and communication (pp. 87–105). University Press of Colorado.

Include the page numbers of the chapter in parentheses after the book title.

Christensen, L. (2001). For my people: Celebrating community through poetry. In B. Bigelow, B. Harvey, S. Karp, & L. Miller (Eds.), Rethinking our classrooms: Teaching for equity and justice (Vol. 2, pp. 16–17). Rethinking Schools.

Also include the volume number or edition number in the parenthetical information after the book title when relevant.

Freud, S. (1961). The ego and the id. In J. Strachey (Ed.),  The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud  (Vol. 19, pp. 3-66). Hogarth Press. (Original work published 1923)

When a text has been republished as part of an anthology collection, after the author’s name include the date of the version that was read. At the end of the entry, place the date of the original publication inside parenthesis along with the note “original work published.” For in-text citations of republished work, use both dates in the parenthetical citation, original date first with a slash separating the years, as in this example: Freud (1923/1961). For more information on reprinted or republished works, see APA 7, Sections 9.40-9.41.

Classroom Resources

Citing classroom resources.

If you need to cite content found in your online classroom, use the author (if there is one listed), the year of publication (if available), the title of the document, and the main URL of Walden classrooms. For example, you are citing study notes titled "Health Effects of Exposure to Forest Fires," but you do not know the author's name, your reference entry will look like this:

Health effects of exposure to forest fires [Lecture notes]. (2005). Walden University Canvas. https://waldenu.instructure.com

If you do know the author of the document, your reference will look like this:

Smith, A. (2005). Health effects of exposure to forest fires [PowerPoint slides]. Walden University Canvas. https://waldenu.instructure.com  

A few notes on citing course materials:

  • [Lecture notes]
  • [Course handout]
  • [Study notes]
  • It can be difficult to determine authorship of classroom documents. If an author is listed on the document, use that. If the resource is clearly a product of Walden (such as the course-based videos), use Walden University as the author. If you are unsure or if no author is indicated, place the title in the author spot, as above.
  • If you cannot determine a date of publication, you can use n.d. (for "no date") in place of the year.

Note:  The web location for Walden course materials is not directly retrievable without a password, and therefore, following APA guidelines, use the main URL for the class sites: https://class.waldenu.edu.

Citing Tempo Classroom Resources

Clear author: 

Smith, A. (2005). Health effects of exposure to forest fires [PowerPoint slides]. Walden University Brightspace. https://mytempo.waldenu.edu

Unclear author:

Health effects of exposure to forest fires [Lecture notes]. (2005). Walden University Brightspace. https://mytempo.waldenu.edu

Conference Sessions and Presentations

Feinman, Y. (2018, July 27). Alternative to proctoring in introductory statistics community college courses [Poster presentation]. Walden University Research Symposium, Minneapolis, MN, United States. https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/symposium2018/23/

Torgerson, K., Parrill, J., & Haas, A. (2019, April 5-9). Tutoring strategies for online students [Conference session]. The Higher Learning Commission Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, United States. http://onlinewritingcenters.org/scholarship/torgerson-parrill-haas-2019/

Dictionary Entry

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Leadership. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary . Retrieved May 28, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leadership

When constructing a reference for an entry in a dictionary or other reference work that has no byline (i.e., no named individual authors), use the name of the group—the institution, company, or organization—as author (e.g., Merriam Webster, American Psychological Association, etc.). The name of the entry goes in the title position, followed by "In" and the italicized name of the reference work (e.g., Merriam-Webster.com dictionary , APA dictionary of psychology ). In this instance, APA 7 recommends including a retrieval date as well for this online source since the contents of the page change over time. End the reference entry with the specific URL for the defined word.

Discussion Board Post

Osborne, C. S. (2010, June 29). Re: Environmental responsibility [Discussion post]. Walden University Canvas.  https://waldenu.instructure.com  

Dissertations or Theses

Retrieved From a Database

Nalumango, K. (2019). Perceptions about the asylum-seeking process in the United States after 9/11 (Publication No. 13879844) [Doctoral dissertation, Walden University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

Retrieved From an Institutional or Personal Website

Evener. J. (2018). Organizational learning in libraries at for-profit colleges and universities [Doctoral dissertation, Walden University]. ScholarWorks. https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6606&context=dissertations

Unpublished Dissertation or Thesis

Kirwan, J. G. (2005). An experimental study of the effects of small-group, face-to-face facilitated dialogues on the development of self-actualization levels: A movement towards fully functional persons [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center.

For further examples and information, see APA 7, Section 10.6.

Legal Material

For legal references, APA follows the recommendations of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation , so if you have any questions beyond the examples provided in APA, seek out that resource as well.

Court Decisions

Reference format:

Name v. Name, Volume Reporter Page (Court Date). URL

Sample reference entry:

Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954). https://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1955/347us483

Sample citation:

In Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Supreme Court ruled racial segregation in schools unconstitutional.

Note: Italicize the case name when it appears in the text of your paper.

Name of Act, Title Source § Section Number (Year). URL

Sample reference entry for a federal statute:

Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. (2004). https://www.congress.gov/108/plaws/publ446/PLAW-108publ446.pdf

Sample reference entry for a state statute:

Minnesota Nurse Practice Act, Minn. Stat. §§ 148.171 et seq. (2019). https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/148.171

Sample citation: Minnesota nurses must maintain current registration in order to practice (Minnesota Nurse Practice Act, 2010).

Note: The § symbol stands for "section." Use §§ for sections (plural). To find this symbol in Microsoft Word, go to "Insert" and click on Symbol." Look in the Latin 1-Supplement subset. Note: U.S.C. stands for "United States Code." Note: The Latin abbreviation " et seq. " means "and what follows" and is used when the act includes the cited section and ones that follow. Note: List the chapter first followed by the section or range of sections.

Unenacted Bills and Resolutions

(Those that did not pass and become law)

Title [if there is one], bill or resolution number, xxx Cong. (year). URL

Sample reference entry for Senate bill:

Anti-Phishing Act, S. 472, 109th Cong. (2005). https://www.congress.gov/bill/109th-congress/senate-bill/472

Sample reference entry for House of Representatives resolution:

Anti-Phishing Act, H.R. 1099, 109th Cong. (2005). https://www.congress.gov/bill/109th-congress/house-bill/1099

The Anti-Phishing Act (2005) proposed up to 5 years prison time for people running Internet scams.

These are the three legal areas you may be most apt to cite in your scholarly work. For more examples and explanation, see APA 7, Chapter 11.

Magazine Article

Clay, R. (2008, June). Science vs. ideology: Psychologists fight back about the misuse of research. Monitor on Psychology , 39 (6). https://www.apa.org/monitor/2008/06/ideology

Note that for citations, include only the year: Clay (2008). For magazine articles retrieved from a common academic research database, leave out the URL. For magazine articles from an online news website that is not an online version of a print magazine, follow the format for a webpage reference list entry.

Newspaper Article (Retrieved Online)

Baker, A. (2014, May 7). Connecticut students show gains in national tests. New York Times . http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/08/nyregion/national-assessment-of-educational-progress-results-in-Connecticut-and-New-Jersey.html

Include the full date in the format Year, Month Day. Do not include a retrieval date for periodical sources found on websites. Note that for citations, include only the year: Baker (2014). For newspaper articles retrieved from a common academic research database, leave out the URL. For newspaper articles from an online news website that is not an online version of a print newspaper, follow the format for a webpage reference list entry.

Online Video/Webcast

Walden University. (2013).  An overview of learning  [Video]. Walden University Canvas.  https://waldenu.instructure.com  

Use this format for online videos such as Walden videos in classrooms. Most of our classroom videos are produced by Walden University, which will be listed as the author in your reference and citation. Note: Some examples of audiovisual materials in the APA manual show the word “Producer” in parentheses after the producer/author area. In consultation with the editors of the APA manual, we have determined that parenthetical is not necessary for the videos in our courses. The manual itself is unclear on the matter, however, so either approach should be accepted. Note that the speaker in the video does not appear in the reference list entry, but you may want to mention that person in your text. For instance, if you are viewing a video where Tobias Ball is the speaker, you might write the following: Tobias Ball stated that APA guidelines ensure a consistent presentation of information in student papers (Walden University, 2013). For more information on citing the speaker in a video, see our page on Common Citation Errors .

Taylor, R. [taylorphd07]. (2014, February 27). Scales of measurement [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDsMUlexaMY

Walden University Academic Skills Center. (2020, April 15). One-way ANCOVA: Introduction [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/_XnNDQ5CNW8

For videos from streaming sites, use the person or organization who uploaded the video in the author space to ensure retrievability, whether or not that person is the speaker in the video. A username can be provided in square brackets. As a change from APA 6 to APA 7, include the publisher after the title, and do not use "Retrieved from" before the URL. See APA 7, Section 10.12 for more information and examples.

See also reference list entry formats for TED Talks .

Technical and Research Reports

Edwards, C. (2015). Lighting levels for isolated intersections: Leading to safety improvements (Report No. MnDOT 2015-05). Center for Transportation Studies. http://www.cts.umn.edu/Publications/ResearchReports/reportdetail.html?id=2402

Technical and research reports by governmental agencies and other research institutions usually follow a different publication process than scholarly, peer-reviewed journals. However, they present original research and are often useful for research papers. Sometimes, researchers refer to these types of reports as gray literature , and white papers are a type of this literature. See APA 7, Section 10.4 for more information.

Reference list entires for TED Talks follow the usual guidelines for multimedia content found online. There are two common places to find TED talks online, with slightly different reference list entry formats for each.

TED Talk on the TED website

If you find the TED Talk on the TED website, follow the format for an online video on an organizational website:

Owusu-Kesse, K. (2020, June). 5 needs that any COVID-19 response should meet [Video]. TED Conferences. https://www.ted.com/talks/kwame_owusu_kesse_5_needs_that_any_covid_19_response_should_meet

The speaker is the author in the reference list entry if the video is posted on the TED website. For citations, use the speaker's surname.

TED Talk on YouTube

If you find the TED Talk on YouTube or another streaming video website, follow the usual format for streaming video sites:

TED. (2021, February 5). The shadow pandemic of domestic violence during COVID-19 | Kemi DaSilvalbru [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGdID_ICFII

TED is the author in the reference list entry if the video is posted on YouTube since it is the channel on which the video is posted. For citations, use TED as the author.

Walden University Course Catalog

To include the Walden course catalog in your reference list, use this format:

Walden University. (2020). 2019-2020 Walden University catalog . https://catalog.waldenu.edu/index.php

If you cite from a specific portion of the catalog in your paper, indicate the appropriate section and paragraph number in your text:

...which reflects the commitment to social change expressed in Walden University's mission statement (Walden University, 2020, Vision, Mission, and Goals section, para. 2).

And in the reference list:

Walden University. (2020). Vision, mission, and goals. In 2019-2020 Walden University catalog. https://catalog.waldenu.edu/content.php?catoid=172&navoid=59420&hl=vision&returnto=search

Vartan, S. (2018, January 30). Why vacations matter for your health . CNN. https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/why-vacations-matter/index.html

For webpages on the open web, include the author, date, webpage title, organization/site name, and URL. (There is a slight variation for online versions of print newspapers or magazines. For those sources, follow the models in the previous sections of this page.)

American Federation of Teachers. (n.d.). Community schools . http://www.aft.org/issues/schoolreform/commschools/index.cfm

If there is no specified author, then use the organization’s name as the author. In such a case, there is no need to repeat the organization's name after the title.

In APA 7, active hyperlinks for DOIs and URLs should be used for documents meant for screen reading. Present these hyperlinks in blue and underlined text (the default formatting in Microsoft Word), although plain black text is also acceptable. Be consistent in your formatting choice for DOIs and URLs throughout your reference list.

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A publication of the harvard college writing program.

Harvard Guide to Using Sources 

  • The Honor Code
  • Reference List Format

What is a Reference list?

APA style requires you to provide, at the end of your paper, a list of the sources you have cited. The list should be double-spaced, and each line after the first one in each entry should be indented. The title of the list should be "References" and should be centered at the top of the page. You can see a sample References list here .

Each source on your reference list should include the following four elements:

Author: Who is responsible for creating the source?

The author should be listed first in each reference list entry, and the list should be alphabetical by last name. If there is more than one author, you should list each one last name first, and separate them by ampersands.

Date: When was the source published?

For books, you should include the date of publication. For journal articles, you should include the year of the volume listed. For websites and webpages, you should not use the copyright date on the website footer, which may not apply to the content on individual pages. Instead, look for a “last updated” date or a date at the top of a web article. If you are citing a website that may change, you should also include a retrieval date (the date you found and read the source). If you can’t find a publication date, list “n.d.” for no date in parentheses where the date would be listed.

Title: What is the title of the source?

In an APA reference list, titles are listed in sentence case, which means you only capitalize the first word of the title, the first word of the subtitle, and any word that appears after a colon, dash, period, or question mark. You should always capitalize proper nouns.

Sources that stand alone, like books or websites, should be listed in italics like this:

Follow the new way: American refugee resettlement policy and Hmong religious change

If you are citing a source that is contained in another source, such as an article in a book or a page on a website, you should include both titles. Sources that are part of other sources should not be listed in italics or in quotation marks like this:

Pandemics have long created labor shortages. Here’s why. Washington Post

Source: Where can the source be found by your readers?

  • Citation Management Tools
  • In-Text Citations
  • Examples of Commonly Cited Sources
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Cite Sources in APA Format
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  • Citing Sources
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  • Manuscript Preparation

How to write your references quickly and easily

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Table of Contents

Every scientific paper builds on previous research – even if it’s in a new field, related studies will have preceded and informed it. In peer-reviewed articles, authors must give credit to this previous research, through citations and references. Not only does this show clearly where the current research came from, but it also helps readers understand the content of the paper better.

There is no optimum number of references for an academic article but depending on the subject you could be dealing with more than 100 different papers, conference reports, video articles, medical guidelines or any number of other resources.

That’s a lot of content to manage. Before submitting your manuscript, this needs to be checked, cross-references in the text and the list, organized and formatted.

The exact content and format of the citations and references in your paper will depend on the journal you aim to publish in, so the first step is to check the journal’s Guide for Authors before you submit.

There are two main points to pay attention to – consistency and accuracy. When you go through your manuscript to edit or proofread it, look closely at the citations within the text. Are they all the same? For example, if the journal prefers the citations to be in the format (name, year), make sure they’re all the same: (Smith, 2016).

Your citations must also be accurate and complete. Do they match your references list? Each citation should be included in the list, so cross-checking is important. It’s also common for journals to prefer that most, if not all, of the articles listed in your references be cited within the text – after all, these should be studies that contributed to the knowledge underpinning your work, not just your bedtime reading. So go through them carefully, noting any missing references or citations and filling the gaps.

Each journal has its own requirements when it comes to the content and format of references, as well as where and how you should include them in your submission, so double-check before you hit send!

In general, a reference will include authors’ names and initials, the title of the article, name of the journal, volume and issue, date, page numbers and DOI. On ScienceDirect, articles are linked to their original source (if also published on ScienceDirect) or to their Scopus record, so including the DOI can help link to the correct article.

A spotless reference list

Luckily, compiling and editing the references in your scientific manuscript can be easy – and it no longer has to be manual. Management tools like Mendeley can keep track of all your references, letting you share them with your collaborators. With the Word plugin, it’s possible to select the right citation style for the journal you’re submitting to and the tool will format your references automatically.

Like with any other part of your manuscript, it’s important to make sure your reference list has been checked and edited. Elsevier Author Services Language Editing can help, with professional manuscript editing that will help make sure your references don’t hold you back from publication.

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  • Referencing

A Quick Guide to Harvard Referencing | Citation Examples

Published on 14 February 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on 15 September 2023.

Referencing is an important part of academic writing. It tells your readers what sources you’ve used and how to find them.

Harvard is the most common referencing style used in UK universities. In Harvard style, the author and year are cited in-text, and full details of the source are given in a reference list .

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Table of contents

Harvard in-text citation, creating a harvard reference list, harvard referencing examples, referencing sources with no author or date, frequently asked questions about harvard referencing.

A Harvard in-text citation appears in brackets beside any quotation or paraphrase of a source. It gives the last name of the author(s) and the year of publication, as well as a page number or range locating the passage referenced, if applicable:

Note that ‘p.’ is used for a single page, ‘pp.’ for multiple pages (e.g. ‘pp. 1–5’).

An in-text citation usually appears immediately after the quotation or paraphrase in question. It may also appear at the end of the relevant sentence, as long as it’s clear what it refers to.

When your sentence already mentions the name of the author, it should not be repeated in the citation:

Sources with multiple authors

When you cite a source with up to three authors, cite all authors’ names. For four or more authors, list only the first name, followed by ‘ et al. ’:

Sources with no page numbers

Some sources, such as websites , often don’t have page numbers. If the source is a short text, you can simply leave out the page number. With longer sources, you can use an alternate locator such as a subheading or paragraph number if you need to specify where to find the quote:

Multiple citations at the same point

When you need multiple citations to appear at the same point in your text – for example, when you refer to several sources with one phrase – you can present them in the same set of brackets, separated by semicolons. List them in order of publication date:

Multiple sources with the same author and date

If you cite multiple sources by the same author which were published in the same year, it’s important to distinguish between them in your citations. To do this, insert an ‘a’ after the year in the first one you reference, a ‘b’ in the second, and so on:

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

A bibliography or reference list appears at the end of your text. It lists all your sources in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, giving complete information so that the reader can look them up if necessary.

The reference entry starts with the author’s last name followed by initial(s). Only the first word of the title is capitalised (as well as any proper nouns).

Harvard reference list example

Sources with multiple authors in the reference list

As with in-text citations, up to three authors should be listed; when there are four or more, list only the first author followed by ‘ et al. ’:

Reference list entries vary according to source type, since different information is relevant for different sources. Formats and examples for the most commonly used source types are given below.

  • Entire book
  • Book chapter
  • Translated book
  • Edition of a book

Journal articles

  • Print journal
  • Online-only journal with DOI
  • Online-only journal with no DOI
  • General web page
  • Online article or blog
  • Social media post

Sometimes you won’t have all the information you need for a reference. This section covers what to do when a source lacks a publication date or named author.

No publication date

When a source doesn’t have a clear publication date – for example, a constantly updated reference source like Wikipedia or an obscure historical document which can’t be accurately dated – you can replace it with the words ‘no date’:

Note that when you do this with an online source, you should still include an access date, as in the example.

When a source lacks a clearly identified author, there’s often an appropriate corporate source – the organisation responsible for the source – whom you can credit as author instead, as in the Google and Wikipedia examples above.

When that’s not the case, you can just replace it with the title of the source in both the in-text citation and the reference list:

Harvard referencing uses an author–date system. Sources are cited by the author’s last name and the publication year in brackets. Each Harvard in-text citation corresponds to an entry in the alphabetised reference list at the end of the paper.

Vancouver referencing uses a numerical system. Sources are cited by a number in parentheses or superscript. Each number corresponds to a full reference at the end of the paper.

A Harvard in-text citation should appear in brackets every time you quote, paraphrase, or refer to information from a source.

The citation can appear immediately after the quotation or paraphrase, or at the end of the sentence. If you’re quoting, place the citation outside of the quotation marks but before any other punctuation like a comma or full stop.

In Harvard referencing, up to three author names are included in an in-text citation or reference list entry. When there are four or more authors, include only the first, followed by ‘ et al. ’

Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference in meaning:

  • A reference list only includes sources cited in the text – every entry corresponds to an in-text citation .
  • A bibliography also includes other sources which were consulted during the research but not cited.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

Caulfield, J. (2023, September 15). A Quick Guide to Harvard Referencing | Citation Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 15 February 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/referencing/harvard-style/

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APA 7th ed. Style Guide

  • Formatting Your Paper
  • In-text Citations

Textual Works

Data sets, software, tests, audiovisual media.

  • Online Media

APA Guide Correlation

Apa guidelines for creating reference list entries can be found in chapters 9 and 10 of the  apa 7th edition publication manual., what is a reference list, what is a reference list.

The reference list is found at the end of a paper and gives the reader the information necessary for finding a reference/source. A reference list includes entries for only those sources or works that were drawn upon to support the ideas and claims in the paper. 

The same basic information is required for print and online sources, so the same template can be used.

What is needed for reference list entries?

A reference list entry should answer the questions Who? When? What? and Where?

  • Author: Who is responsible (wrote, produced, edited, etc.) for the work?
  • Date: When was the work published?
  • Title: What is this work called?
  • Source: Where can I retrieve this work?

Formatting information can be found on the Formatting Your Paper tab of this research guide or the APA 7th edition Publication Manual.

Reference list overview.

Use the tabs to navigate to different types of works (resources/sources used in your paper). The tabs correlate to examples found in chapter 10 of the APA 7th edition Publication Manual. For additional examples or clarification, check chapters 9 and 10 of the APA 7th edition Publication Manual. You can also contact Amber Owrey, [email protected], for questions about APA or schedule a research coach appointment.

Includes periodicals (journal articles, newspapers, blog posts, etc.), books, reference works, chapters in books, reports, gray literature, conference sessions, dissertations, etc. 

Please note blog posts are considered textual works as are online versions of journal articles, newspapers, and magazines.

Includes computer software, apps, equipment, tests, scales, inventories, etc.

Includes audiovisual works (YouTube videos, speech audio recordings, podcasts, etc.)

Online Media 

Includes social media, webpages, and websites

The following is an example of a journal article reference list entry from APA 7th edition Publication Manual found on page 283. This template can be used for other entries as well.

Correlation (color coding) between article and reference list entry

A reference list entry in sequential order: the author followed by a period, date in parenthesis, the title of the journal article in sentence case followed by a period, and lastly the source which includes the journal title italicized in title case followed by a comma the volume number italicized, the issue number in parenthesis followed by a comma, the page numbers followed by a period and lastly the doi. 

The author refers to the person, persons, or entity responsible for creating the work.

The date refers to the publication date of the article think when was this article published.

The title refers to what the article is called.

The source includes information about where someone can find or retrieve the article.

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APA Citation Guide (7th edition) : Reference List and Sample Paper

  • Getting Started
  • How do I Cite?
  • In-Text Citations
  • Reference List and Sample Paper
  • Additional Resources

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Quick Rules for an APA Reference List

Your research paper ends with a list of all the sources cited in your paper. Here are some quick rules for this Reference list:

  • Begin the reference list on a new page after the text.
  • Name it "References," and center the section label in bold at the top of the page.
  • Order the reference list alphabetically by author (last name of the first author followed by the initials of the author's given name(s)).
  • Alphabetize entries by authors who have the same given name and last name with suffixes indicating birth order chronologically, oldest first.
  • Double-space the entire list (both within and between entries).
  • Apply a hanging indent of 0.5 in. to each entry. This means that the first line of the reference is flush left and subsequent lines are indented 0.5 in. from the left margin.

Sample Paper with Reference List

The American Psychological Association (APA) has created  a sample paper  that includes explanations of the elements and formatting in APA 7th ed. 

Headings and Title Pages

APA Running Head   This resource discusses how to format running heads in APA style.

APA Title Page: Format and Templates   This article discusses how to format APA title pages and provides templates for MS Word.

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APA 7: Reference List

  • Paper Sections
  • Quote & Paraphrase
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  • In-Text Citations

Reference List

  • Sample Paper

Format the Reference List

The reference page provides information about the resources used in your paper. Except for a few exceptions (classical works and personal communications, etc.), any source cited in your paper must have an entry in the reference list. 

To format the reference page of the paper:

Center the word References at the top of the page.

Place your references in alphabetical order

Select all of the references and set them to be double spaced and have a hanging indent.

  • APA Style Reference Examples More than 100 reference examples and their corresponding in-text citations. Look for the type of work (e.g., journal article, webpage) to determine the format.
  • Journal Article
  • Social Media
  • Videos & Films
  • Government Resources

Journal Articles

General format.

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Article title. Journal Title, volume number (issue number), pages. https://doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyy

Freeman, R., Doughty, J., Macdonald, M. E., & Muirhead, V. (2020). Inclusion oral health: Advancing a theoretical framework for policy, research and practice. Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology, 48 (1), 1 – 6. https://doi-org.suscorp.idm.oclc.org/10.1111/cdoe.12500

Grady, J. S., Her, M., Moreno, G., Perez, C., & Yelinek, J. (2019). Emotions in storybooks: A comparison of storybooks that represent ethnic and racial groups in the United States. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 8 (3), 207–217. https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000185

Note: If the journal article does not have a DOI and is from an academic research database, end the reference after the page range. Do not include database information in the reference unless the journal article comes from a database that publishes works of limited circulation or original, proprietary content, such as UpToDate.

  • Journal Article References: APA Style

Newspaper Articles

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year, Month Day). Title of article.  Title of Newspaper , pages.

Carey, B. (2019, March 22). Can we get better at forgetting? The New York Times . https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/22/health/memory-forgetting-psychology.html

Rodell, B. (2020, January 15). Looking toward a new era of Australian cuisine. New York Times . https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/15/dining/australian-food-restaurants.html

  • Newspaper Article References: APA Style

Webpage with Author

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year, Month Day). Title of page . Site Name. URL

National Institute of Mental Health. (2018, July). Anxiety disorders . U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml

Woodyatt, A. (2019, September 10). Daytime naps once or twice a week may be linked to a healthy heart, researchers say . CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/10/health/nap-heart-health-wellness-intl-scli/index.html

Website: No Author Listed

Title of page . (Year, Month Day). Site name. URL

Programming language . (2020, February 15). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programming_language

Webpage with an organization group author

Organization Name. (Year, Month Day). Title of page . URL

World Health Organization. (2018, May 24) . The top 10 causes of death . https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death

  • Website References: APA Style
  • Online Media References: APA Style

Magazine Articles

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year, Month Day). Article title. Magazine Title, volume number (issue number), pages. https://doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyy

Lyons, D. (2009, June 15). Don’t ‘iTune’ us: It’s geeks versus writers. Guess who’s winning. Newsweek , 153 (24), 27.

Schaefer, N. K., & Shapiro, B. (2019, September 6). New middle chapter in the story of human evolution. Science , 365 (6457), 981–982. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aay3550

Schulman, M. (2019, September 9). Superfans: A love story. The New Yorker . https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/09/16/superfans-a-love-story

  • Magazine Article References: APA Style

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle . Publisher Name.

  • Use the same format for both print books and ebooks.
  • Use the copyright date shown on the book’s copyright page as the year of publication in the reference, even if the copyright date is different than the release date.
  • Include any edition information in parentheses after the title, without italics.
  • If the book includes a DOI, include the DOI in the reference after the publisher name.

Rabinowitz, F. E. (2019). Deepening group psychotherapy with men: Stories and insights for the journey . American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000132-000

Sapolsky, R. M. (2017). Behave: The biology of humans at our best and worst . Penguin Books.

Edited Book Chapter

Aron, L., Botella, M., & Lubart, T. (2019). Culinary arts: Talent and their development. In R. F. Subotnik, P. Olszewski-Kubilius, & F. C. Worrell (Eds.), The psychology of high performance: Developing human potential into domain-specific talent (pp. 345–359). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000120-016

Torino, G. C., Rivera, D. P., Capodilupo, C. M., Nadal, K. L., & Sue, D. W. (Eds.). (2019). Microaggression theory: Influence and implications . John Wiley & Sons. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119466642

  • Book/Ebook References: APA Style

Creator. (Year). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle [Type of work, e.g, Painting, Photograph, Sculpture, etc.]. Source name (usually the name of the website). URL.

Image with no attribution required

If the license associated with clip art or a stock image states “no attribution required,” then do not provide an APA Style reference, in-text citation, or copyright attribution. For example, an image from Pixabay might have a license that says the image is free to reproduce with no attribution required. To use the image as a figure in an APA Style paper, provide a figure number and title and then the image. If desired, describe the image in a figure note. In a presentation (such as a PowerPoint presentation), the figure number, title, and note are optional.

Beach

Note. The study took place on an island in the Pacific Ocean.

Image requiring attribution

Dog in the snow

Dog in snow

Note . From Lava [Photograph], by Denali National Park and Preserve, 2013, Flickr ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/denalinps/8639280606/ ). CC BY 2.0.

In reference section:

Denali National Park and Preserve. (2013). Lava [Photograph]. Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/denalinps/8639280606/

van Gogh, V. (1889). The starry night [Painting]. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, United States. https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/vincent-van-gogh-the-starry-night-1889/

  • Artwork References: APA Style
  • Stock Image References: APA Style

See the APA Style Guide website for details on how to cite using popular social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, TikTok, and Twitter.

  • Facebook References: APA Style
  • Instagram References: APA Style
  • LinkedIn References: APA Style
  • Online Forum (e.g., Reddit) References: APA Style
  • TikTok References: APA Style
  • Twitter References: APA Style

Director Last name, First initial. (Director).(Year). Film title [Film]. Production company or companies separated by a semicolon.

Fleming, V. (Director). (1939). Gone with the wind [Film]. Selznick International Pictures; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

TED Talk Video

Speaker Last name, First initial. (Year, Month Day). Talk title [Video]. TED Conferences. URL

Cuddy, A. (2012, June). Your body language may shape who you are [Video]. Ted Conferences. https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_may_shape_who_you_are

Executive producer Last name, First initial. (Executive Producer).(Years aired). Series title [TV Series]. Production company or companies separated by a semicolon.

Serling, R. (Executive Producer). (1959–1964). The twilight zone [TV series]. Cayuga Productions; CBS Productions.

YouTube Video

Name of the account. (Upload date Year, Month Day). Video title [Video]. YouTube. URL

Harvard University. (2019, August 28). Soft robotic gripper for jellyfish [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guRoWTYfxMs

  • Film and Television References: APA Style
  • TED Talk References: APA Style
  • YouTube References: APA Style

Report by a Government Agency

Agency responsible for the report. (Year, Month Day). Report title . Parent agencies. URL

National Cancer Institute. (2019). Taking time: Support for people with cancer (NIH Publication No. 18-2059). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/takingtime.pdf

  • Parenthetical citation: (National Cancer Institute, 2019)
  • Narrative citation: National Cancer Institute (2019)
  • Report by a Government Agency References: APA Style
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Research Method

Home » References in Research – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

References in Research – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

References in Research

References in Research

Definition:

References in research are a list of sources that a researcher has consulted or cited while conducting their study. They are an essential component of any academic work, including research papers, theses, dissertations, and other scholarly publications.

Types of References

There are several types of references used in research, and the type of reference depends on the source of information being cited. The most common types of references include:

References to books typically include the author’s name, title of the book, publisher, publication date, and place of publication.

Example: Smith, J. (2018). The Art of Writing. Penguin Books.

Journal Articles

References to journal articles usually include the author’s name, title of the article, name of the journal, volume and issue number, page numbers, and publication date.

Example: Johnson, T. (2021). The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health. Journal of Psychology, 32(4), 87-94.

Web sources

References to web sources should include the author or organization responsible for the content, the title of the page, the URL, and the date accessed.

Example: World Health Organization. (2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/emergencies/disease/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Conference Proceedings

References to conference proceedings should include the author’s name, title of the paper, name of the conference, location of the conference, date of the conference, and page numbers.

Example: Chen, S., & Li, J. (2019). The Future of AI in Education. Proceedings of the International Conference on Educational Technology, Beijing, China, July 15-17, pp. 67-78.

References to reports typically include the author or organization responsible for the report, title of the report, publication date, and publisher.

Example: United Nations. (2020). The Sustainable Development Goals Report. United Nations.

Formats of References

Some common Formates of References with their examples are as follows:

APA (American Psychological Association) Style

The APA (American Psychological Association) Style has specific guidelines for formatting references used in academic papers, articles, and books. Here are the different reference formats in APA style with examples:

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of book. Publisher.

Example : Smith, J. K. (2005). The psychology of social interaction. Wiley-Blackwell.

Journal Article

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), page numbers.

Example : Brown, L. M., Keating, J. G., & Jones, S. M. (2012). The role of social support in coping with stress among African American adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 22(1), 218-233.

Author, A. A. (Year of publication or last update). Title of page. Website name. URL.

Example : Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, December 11). COVID-19: How to protect yourself and others. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

Magazine article

Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day of publication). Title of article. Title of Magazine, volume number(issue number), page numbers.

Example : Smith, M. (2019, March 11). The power of positive thinking. Psychology Today, 52(3), 60-65.

Newspaper article:

Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day of publication). Title of article. Title of Newspaper, page numbers.

Example: Johnson, B. (2021, February 15). New study shows benefits of exercise on mental health. The New York Times, A8.

Edited book

Editor, E. E. (Ed.). (Year of publication). Title of book. Publisher.

Example : Thompson, J. P. (Ed.). (2014). Social work in the 21st century. Sage Publications.

Chapter in an edited book:

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In E. E. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (pp. page numbers). Publisher.

Example : Johnson, K. S. (2018). The future of social work: Challenges and opportunities. In J. P. Thompson (Ed.), Social work in the 21st century (pp. 105-118). Sage Publications.

MLA (Modern Language Association) Style

The MLA (Modern Language Association) Style is a widely used style for writing academic papers and essays in the humanities. Here are the different reference formats in MLA style:

Author’s Last name, First name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication year.

Example : Smith, John. The Psychology of Social Interaction. Wiley-Blackwell, 2005.

Journal article

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, volume number, issue number, Publication year, page numbers.

Example : Brown, Laura M., et al. “The Role of Social Support in Coping with Stress among African American Adolescents.” Journal of Research on Adolescence, vol. 22, no. 1, 2012, pp. 218-233.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Webpage.” Website Name, Publication date, URL.

Example : Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “COVID-19: How to Protect Yourself and Others.” CDC, 11 Dec. 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Magazine, Publication date, page numbers.

Example : Smith, Mary. “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Psychology Today, Mar. 2019, pp. 60-65.

Newspaper article

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper, Publication date, page numbers.

Example : Johnson, Bob. “New Study Shows Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health.” The New York Times, 15 Feb. 2021, p. A8.

Editor’s Last name, First name, editor. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication year.

Example : Thompson, John P., editor. Social Work in the 21st Century. Sage Publications, 2014.

Chapter in an edited book

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Chapter.” Title of Book, edited by Editor’s First Name Last name, Publisher, Publication year, page numbers.

Example : Johnson, Karen S. “The Future of Social Work: Challenges and Opportunities.” Social Work in the 21st Century, edited by John P. Thompson, Sage Publications, 2014, pp. 105-118.

Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style is a widely used style for writing academic papers, dissertations, and books in the humanities and social sciences. Here are the different reference formats in Chicago style:

Example : Smith, John K. The Psychology of Social Interaction. Wiley-Blackwell, 2005.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal volume number, no. issue number (Publication year): page numbers.

Example : Brown, Laura M., John G. Keating, and Sarah M. Jones. “The Role of Social Support in Coping with Stress among African American Adolescents.” Journal of Research on Adolescence 22, no. 1 (2012): 218-233.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Webpage.” Website Name. Publication date. URL.

Example : Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “COVID-19: How to Protect Yourself and Others.” CDC. December 11, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Magazine, Publication date.

Example : Smith, Mary. “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Psychology Today, March 2019.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper, Publication date.

Example : Johnson, Bob. “New Study Shows Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health.” The New York Times, February 15, 2021.

Example : Thompson, John P., ed. Social Work in the 21st Century. Sage Publications, 2014.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Chapter.” In Title of Book, edited by Editor’s First Name Last Name, page numbers. Publisher, Publication year.

Example : Johnson, Karen S. “The Future of Social Work: Challenges and Opportunities.” In Social Work in the 21st Century, edited by John P. Thompson, 105-118. Sage Publications, 2014.

Harvard Style

The Harvard Style, also known as the Author-Date System, is a widely used style for writing academic papers and essays in the social sciences. Here are the different reference formats in Harvard Style:

Author’s Last name, First name. Year of publication. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher.

Example : Smith, John. 2005. The Psychology of Social Interaction. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Author’s Last name, First name. Year of publication. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal volume number (issue number): page numbers.

Example: Brown, Laura M., John G. Keating, and Sarah M. Jones. 2012. “The Role of Social Support in Coping with Stress among African American Adolescents.” Journal of Research on Adolescence 22 (1): 218-233.

Author’s Last name, First name. Year of publication. “Title of Webpage.” Website Name. URL. Accessed date.

Example : Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. “COVID-19: How to Protect Yourself and Others.” CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html. Accessed April 1, 2023.

Author’s Last name, First name. Year of publication. “Title of Article.” Title of Magazine, month and date of publication.

Example : Smith, Mary. 2019. “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Psychology Today, March 2019.

Author’s Last name, First name. Year of publication. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper, month and date of publication.

Example : Johnson, Bob. 2021. “New Study Shows Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health.” The New York Times, February 15, 2021.

Editor’s Last name, First name, ed. Year of publication. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher.

Example : Thompson, John P., ed. 2014. Social Work in the 21st Century. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Author’s Last name, First name. Year of publication. “Title of Chapter.” In Title of Book, edited by Editor’s First Name Last Name, page numbers. Place of publication: Publisher.

Example : Johnson, Karen S. 2014. “The Future of Social Work: Challenges and Opportunities.” In Social Work in the 21st Century, edited by John P. Thompson, 105-118. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Vancouver Style

The Vancouver Style, also known as the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, is a widely used style for writing academic papers in the biomedical sciences. Here are the different reference formats in Vancouver Style:

Author’s Last name, First name. Title of Book. Edition number. Place of publication: Publisher; Year of publication.

Example : Smith, John K. The Psychology of Social Interaction. 2nd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell; 2005.

Author’s Last name, First name. Title of Article. Abbreviated Journal Title. Year of publication; volume number(issue number):page numbers.

Example : Brown LM, Keating JG, Jones SM. The Role of Social Support in Coping with Stress among African American Adolescents. J Res Adolesc. 2012;22(1):218-233.

Author’s Last name, First name. Title of Webpage. Website Name [Internet]. Publication date. [cited date]. Available from: URL.

Example : Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19: How to Protect Yourself and Others [Internet]. 2020 Dec 11. [cited 2023 Apr 1]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html.

Author’s Last name, First name. Title of Article. Title of Magazine. Year of publication; month and day of publication:page numbers.

Example : Smith M. The Power of Positive Thinking. Psychology Today. 2019 Mar 1:32-35.

Author’s Last name, First name. Title of Article. Title of Newspaper. Year of publication; month and day of publication:page numbers.

Example : Johnson B. New Study Shows Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health. The New York Times. 2021 Feb 15:A4.

Editor’s Last name, First name, editor. Title of Book. Edition number. Place of publication: Publisher; Year of publication.

Example: Thompson JP, editor. Social Work in the 21st Century. 1st ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications; 2014.

Author’s Last name, First name. Title of Chapter. In: Editor’s Last name, First name, editor. Title of Book. Edition number. Place of publication: Publisher; Year of publication. page numbers.

Example : Johnson KS. The Future of Social Work: Challenges and Opportunities. In: Thompson JP, editor. Social Work in the 21st Century. 1st ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications; 2014. p. 105-118.

Turabian Style

Turabian style is a variation of the Chicago style used in academic writing, particularly in the fields of history and humanities. Here are the different reference formats in Turabian style:

Author’s Last name, First name. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication.

Example : Smith, John K. The Psychology of Social Interaction. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2005.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal volume number, no. issue number (Year of publication): page numbers.

Example : Brown, LM, Keating, JG, Jones, SM. “The Role of Social Support in Coping with Stress among African American Adolescents.” J Res Adolesc 22, no. 1 (2012): 218-233.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Webpage.” Name of Website. Publication date. Accessed date. URL.

Example : Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “COVID-19: How to Protect Yourself and Others.” CDC. December 11, 2020. Accessed April 1, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Magazine, Month Day, Year of publication, page numbers.

Example : Smith, M. “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Psychology Today, March 1, 2019, 32-35.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper, Month Day, Year of publication.

Example : Johnson, B. “New Study Shows Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health.” The New York Times, February 15, 2021.

Editor’s Last name, First name, ed. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication.

Example : Thompson, JP, ed. Social Work in the 21st Century. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2014.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Chapter.” In Title of Book, edited by Editor’s Last name, First name, page numbers. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication.

Example : Johnson, KS. “The Future of Social Work: Challenges and Opportunities.” In Social Work in the 21st Century, edited by Thompson, JP, 105-118. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2014.

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Style

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) style is commonly used in engineering, computer science, and other technical fields. Here are the different reference formats in IEEE style:

Author’s Last name, First name. Book Title. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of publication.

Example : Oppenheim, A. V., & Schafer, R. W. Discrete-Time Signal Processing. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2010.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Abbreviated Journal Title, vol. number, no. issue number, pp. page numbers, Month year of publication.

Example: Shannon, C. E. “A Mathematical Theory of Communication.” Bell System Technical Journal, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 379-423, July 1948.

Conference paper

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Paper.” In Title of Conference Proceedings, Place of Conference, Date of Conference, pp. page numbers, Year of publication.

Example: Gupta, S., & Kumar, P. “An Improved System of Linear Discriminant Analysis for Face Recognition.” In Proceedings of the 2011 International Conference on Computer Science and Network Technology, Harbin, China, Dec. 2011, pp. 144-147.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Webpage.” Name of Website. Date of publication or last update. Accessed date. URL.

Example : National Aeronautics and Space Administration. “Apollo 11.” NASA. July 20, 1969. Accessed April 1, 2023. https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/apollo11.html.

Technical report

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Report.” Name of Institution or Organization, Report number, Year of publication.

Example : Smith, J. R. “Development of a New Solar Panel Technology.” National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL/TP-6A20-51645, 2011.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Patent.” Patent number, Issue date.

Example : Suzuki, H. “Method of Producing Carbon Nanotubes.” US Patent 7,151,019, December 19, 2006.

Standard Title. Standard number, Publication date.

Example : IEEE Standard for Floating-Point Arithmetic. IEEE Std 754-2008, August 29, 2008

ACS (American Chemical Society) Style

ACS (American Chemical Society) style is commonly used in chemistry and related fields. Here are the different reference formats in ACS style:

Author’s Last name, First name; Author’s Last name, First name. Title of Article. Abbreviated Journal Title Year, Volume, Page Numbers.

Example : Wang, Y.; Zhao, X.; Cui, Y.; Ma, Y. Facile Preparation of Fe3O4/graphene Composites Using a Hydrothermal Method for High-Performance Lithium Ion Batteries. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2012, 4, 2715-2721.

Author’s Last name, First name. Book Title; Publisher: Place of Publication, Year of Publication.

Example : Carey, F. A. Organic Chemistry; McGraw-Hill: New York, 2008.

Author’s Last name, First name. Chapter Title. In Book Title; Editor’s Last name, First name, Ed.; Publisher: Place of Publication, Year of Publication; Volume number, Chapter number, Page Numbers.

Example : Grossman, R. B. Analytical Chemistry of Aerosols. In Aerosol Measurement: Principles, Techniques, and Applications; Baron, P. A.; Willeke, K., Eds.; Wiley-Interscience: New York, 2001; Chapter 10, pp 395-424.

Author’s Last name, First name. Title of Webpage. Website Name, URL (accessed date).

Example : National Institute of Standards and Technology. Atomic Spectra Database. https://www.nist.gov/pml/atomic-spectra-database (accessed April 1, 2023).

Author’s Last name, First name. Patent Number. Patent Date.

Example : Liu, Y.; Huang, H.; Chen, H.; Zhang, W. US Patent 9,999,999, December 31, 2022.

Author’s Last name, First name; Author’s Last name, First name. Title of Article. In Title of Conference Proceedings, Publisher: Place of Publication, Year of Publication; Volume Number, Page Numbers.

Example : Jia, H.; Xu, S.; Wu, Y.; Wu, Z.; Tang, Y.; Huang, X. Fast Adsorption of Organic Pollutants by Graphene Oxide. In Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology, American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2017; Volume 1, pp 223-228.

AMA (American Medical Association) Style

AMA (American Medical Association) style is commonly used in medical and scientific fields. Here are the different reference formats in AMA style:

Author’s Last name, First name. Article Title. Journal Abbreviation. Year; Volume(Issue):Page Numbers.

Example : Jones, R. A.; Smith, B. C. The Role of Vitamin D in Maintaining Bone Health. JAMA. 2019;321(17):1765-1773.

Author’s Last name, First name. Book Title. Edition number. Place of Publication: Publisher; Year.

Example : Guyton, A. C.; Hall, J. E. Textbook of Medical Physiology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2015.

Author’s Last name, First name. Chapter Title. In: Editor’s Last name, First name, ed. Book Title. Edition number. Place of Publication: Publisher; Year: Page Numbers.

Example: Rajakumar, K. Vitamin D and Bone Health. In: Holick, M. F., ed. Vitamin D: Physiology, Molecular Biology, and Clinical Applications. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Springer; 2010:211-222.

Author’s Last name, First name. Webpage Title. Website Name. URL. Published date. Updated date. Accessed date.

Example : National Cancer Institute. Breast Cancer Prevention (PDQ®)–Patient Version. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/patient/breast-prevention-pdq. Published October 11, 2022. Accessed April 1, 2023.

Author’s Last name, First name. Conference presentation title. In: Conference Title; Conference Date; Place of Conference.

Example : Smith, J. R. Vitamin D and Bone Health: A Meta-Analysis. In: Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research; September 20-23, 2022; San Diego, CA.

Thesis or dissertation

Author’s Last name, First name. Title of Thesis or Dissertation. Degree level [Doctoral dissertation or Master’s thesis]. University Name; Year.

Example : Wilson, S. A. The Effects of Vitamin D Supplementation on Bone Health in Postmenopausal Women [Doctoral dissertation]. University of California, Los Angeles; 2018.

ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) Style

The ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) style is commonly used in civil engineering fields. Here are the different reference formats in ASCE style:

Author’s Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Journal Title, volume number, issue number (year): page numbers. DOI or URL (if available).

Example : Smith, J. R. “Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Sustainable Drainage Systems in Urban Areas.” Journal of Environmental Engineering, vol. 146, no. 3 (2020): 04020010. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)EE.1943-7870.0001668.

Example : McCuen, R. H. Hydrologic Analysis and Design. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education; 2013.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Chapter Title.” In: Editor’s Last name, First name, ed. Book Title. Edition number. Place of Publication: Publisher; Year: page numbers.

Example : Maidment, D. R. “Floodplain Management in the United States.” In: Shroder, J. F., ed. Treatise on Geomorphology. San Diego, CA: Academic Press; 2013: 447-460.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Paper Title.” In: Conference Title; Conference Date; Location. Place of Publication: Publisher; Year: page numbers.

Example: Smith, J. R. “Sustainable Drainage Systems for Urban Areas.” In: Proceedings of the ASCE International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure; November 6-9, 2019; Los Angeles, CA. Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers; 2019: 156-163.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Report Title.” Report number. Place of Publication: Publisher; Year.

Example : U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “Hurricane Sandy Coastal Risk Reduction Program, New York and New Jersey.” Report No. P-15-001. Washington, DC: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; 2015.

CSE (Council of Science Editors) Style

The CSE (Council of Science Editors) style is commonly used in the scientific and medical fields. Here are the different reference formats in CSE style:

Author’s Last name, First Initial. Middle Initial. “Article Title.” Journal Title. Year;Volume(Issue):Page numbers.

Example : Smith, J.R. “Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Sustainable Drainage Systems in Urban Areas.” Journal of Environmental Engineering. 2020;146(3):04020010.

Author’s Last name, First Initial. Middle Initial. Book Title. Edition number. Place of Publication: Publisher; Year.

Author’s Last name, First Initial. Middle Initial. “Chapter Title.” In: Editor’s Last name, First Initial. Middle Initial., ed. Book Title. Edition number. Place of Publication: Publisher; Year:Page numbers.

Author’s Last name, First Initial. Middle Initial. “Paper Title.” In: Conference Title; Conference Date; Location. Place of Publication: Publisher; Year.

Example : Smith, J.R. “Sustainable Drainage Systems for Urban Areas.” In: Proceedings of the ASCE International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure; November 6-9, 2019; Los Angeles, CA. Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers; 2019.

Author’s Last name, First Initial. Middle Initial. “Report Title.” Report number. Place of Publication: Publisher; Year.

Bluebook Style

The Bluebook style is commonly used in the legal field for citing legal documents and sources. Here are the different reference formats in Bluebook style:

Case citation

Case name, volume source page (Court year).

Example : Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

Statute citation

Name of Act, volume source § section number (year).

Example : Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7401 (1963).

Regulation citation

Name of regulation, volume source § section number (year).

Example: Clean Air Act, 40 C.F.R. § 52.01 (2019).

Book citation

Author’s Last name, First Initial. Middle Initial. Book Title. Edition number (if applicable). Place of Publication: Publisher; Year.

Example: Smith, J.R. Legal Writing and Analysis. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Aspen Publishers; 2015.

Journal article citation

Author’s Last name, First Initial. Middle Initial. “Article Title.” Journal Title. Volume number (year): first page-last page.

Example: Garcia, C. “The Right to Counsel: An International Comparison.” International Journal of Legal Information. 43 (2015): 63-94.

Website citation

Author’s Last name, First Initial. Middle Initial. “Page Title.” Website Title. URL (accessed month day, year).

Example : United Nations. “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/ (accessed January 3, 2023).

Oxford Style

The Oxford style, also known as the Oxford referencing system or the documentary-note citation system, is commonly used in the humanities, including literature, history, and philosophy. Here are the different reference formats in Oxford style:

Author’s Last name, First name. Book Title. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication.

Example : Smith, John. The Art of Writing. New York: Penguin, 2020.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Journal Title volume, no. issue (year): page range.

Example: Garcia, Carlos. “The Role of Ethics in Philosophy.” Philosophy Today 67, no. 3 (2019): 53-68.

Chapter in an edited book citation

Author’s Last name, First name. “Chapter Title.” In Book Title, edited by Editor’s Name, page range. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication.

Example : Lee, Mary. “Feminism in the 21st Century.” In The Oxford Handbook of Feminism, edited by Jane Smith, 51-69. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Author’s Last name, First name. “Page Title.” Website Title. URL (accessed day month year).

Example : Jones, David. “The Importance of Learning Languages.” Oxford Language Center. https://www.oxfordlanguagecenter.com/importance-of-learning-languages/ (accessed 3 January 2023).

Dissertation or thesis citation

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Dissertation/Thesis.” PhD diss., University Name, Year of Publication.

Example : Brown, Susan. “The Art of Storytelling in American Literature.” PhD diss., University of Oxford, 2020.

Newspaper article citation

Author’s Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Newspaper Title, Month Day, Year.

Example : Robinson, Andrew. “New Developments in Climate Change Research.” The Guardian, September 15, 2022.

AAA (American Anthropological Association) Style

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) style is commonly used in anthropology research papers and journals. Here are the different reference formats in AAA style:

Author’s Last name, First name. Year of Publication. Book Title. Place of Publication: Publisher.

Example : Smith, John. 2019. The Anthropology of Food. New York: Routledge.

Author’s Last name, First name. Year of Publication. “Article Title.” Journal Title volume, no. issue: page range.

Example : Garcia, Carlos. 2021. “The Role of Ethics in Anthropology.” American Anthropologist 123, no. 2: 237-251.

Author’s Last name, First name. Year of Publication. “Chapter Title.” In Book Title, edited by Editor’s Name, page range. Place of Publication: Publisher.

Example: Lee, Mary. 2018. “Feminism in Anthropology.” In The Oxford Handbook of Feminism, edited by Jane Smith, 51-69. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Author’s Last name, First name. Year of Publication. “Page Title.” Website Title. URL (accessed day month year).

Example : Jones, David. 2020. “The Importance of Learning Languages.” Oxford Language Center. https://www.oxfordlanguagecenter.com/importance-of-learning-languages/ (accessed January 3, 2023).

Author’s Last name, First name. Year of Publication. “Title of Dissertation/Thesis.” PhD diss., University Name.

Example : Brown, Susan. 2022. “The Art of Storytelling in Anthropology.” PhD diss., University of California, Berkeley.

Author’s Last name, First name. Year of Publication. “Article Title.” Newspaper Title, Month Day.

Example : Robinson, Andrew. 2021. “New Developments in Anthropology Research.” The Guardian, September 15.

AIP (American Institute of Physics) Style

The American Institute of Physics (AIP) style is commonly used in physics research papers and journals. Here are the different reference formats in AIP style:

Example : Johnson, S. D. 2021. “Quantum Computing and Information.” Journal of Applied Physics 129, no. 4: 043102.

Example : Feynman, Richard. 2018. The Feynman Lectures on Physics. New York: Basic Books.

Example : Jones, David. 2020. “The Future of Quantum Computing.” In The Handbook of Physics, edited by John Smith, 125-136. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Conference proceedings citation

Author’s Last name, First name. Year of Publication. “Title of Paper.” Proceedings of Conference Name, date and location: page range. Place of Publication: Publisher.

Example : Chen, Wei. 2019. “The Applications of Nanotechnology in Solar Cells.” Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Nanotechnology, July 15-17, Tokyo, Japan: 224-229. New York: AIP Publishing.

Example : American Institute of Physics. 2022. “About AIP Publishing.” AIP Publishing. https://publishing.aip.org/about-aip-publishing/ (accessed January 3, 2023).

Patent citation

Author’s Last name, First name. Year of Publication. Patent Number.

Example : Smith, John. 2018. US Patent 9,873,644.

References Writing Guide

Here are some general guidelines for writing references:

  • Follow the citation style guidelines: Different disciplines and journals may require different citation styles (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago). It is important to follow the specific guidelines for the citation style required.
  • Include all necessary information : Each citation should include enough information for readers to locate the source. For example, a journal article citation should include the author(s), title of the article, journal title, volume number, issue number, page numbers, and publication year.
  • Use proper formatting: Citation styles typically have specific formatting requirements for different types of sources. Make sure to follow the proper formatting for each citation.
  • Order citations alphabetically: If listing multiple sources, they should be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name.
  • Be consistent: Use the same citation style throughout the entire paper or project.
  • Check for accuracy: Double-check all citations to ensure accuracy, including correct spelling of author names and publication information.
  • Use reputable sources: When selecting sources to cite, choose reputable and authoritative sources. Avoid sources that are biased or unreliable.
  • Include all sources: Make sure to include all sources used in the research, including those that were not directly quoted but still informed the work.
  • Use online tools : There are online tools available (e.g., citation generators) that can help with formatting and organizing references.

Purpose of References in Research

References in research serve several purposes:

  • To give credit to the original authors or sources of information used in the research. It is important to acknowledge the work of others and avoid plagiarism.
  • To provide evidence for the claims made in the research. References can support the arguments, hypotheses, or conclusions presented in the research by citing relevant studies, data, or theories.
  • To allow readers to find and verify the sources used in the research. References provide the necessary information for readers to locate and access the sources cited in the research, which allows them to evaluate the quality and reliability of the information presented.
  • To situate the research within the broader context of the field. References can show how the research builds on or contributes to the existing body of knowledge, and can help readers to identify gaps in the literature that the research seeks to address.

Importance of References in Research

References play an important role in research for several reasons:

  • Credibility : By citing authoritative sources, references lend credibility to the research and its claims. They provide evidence that the research is based on a sound foundation of knowledge and has been carefully researched.
  • Avoidance of Plagiarism : References help researchers avoid plagiarism by giving credit to the original authors or sources of information. This is important for ethical reasons and also to avoid legal repercussions.
  • Reproducibility : References allow others to reproduce the research by providing detailed information on the sources used. This is important for verification of the research and for others to build on the work.
  • Context : References provide context for the research by situating it within the broader body of knowledge in the field. They help researchers to understand where their work fits in and how it builds on or contributes to existing knowledge.
  • Evaluation : References provide a means for others to evaluate the research by allowing them to assess the quality and reliability of the sources used.

Advantages of References in Research

There are several advantages of including references in research:

  • Acknowledgment of Sources: Including references gives credit to the authors or sources of information used in the research. This is important to acknowledge the original work and avoid plagiarism.
  • Evidence and Support : References can provide evidence to support the arguments, hypotheses, or conclusions presented in the research. This can add credibility and strength to the research.
  • Reproducibility : References provide the necessary information for others to reproduce the research. This is important for the verification of the research and for others to build on the work.
  • Context : References can help to situate the research within the broader body of knowledge in the field. This helps researchers to understand where their work fits in and how it builds on or contributes to existing knowledge.
  • Evaluation : Including references allows others to evaluate the research by providing a means to assess the quality and reliability of the sources used.
  • Ongoing Conversation: References allow researchers to engage in ongoing conversations and debates within their fields. They can show how the research builds on or contributes to the existing body of knowledge.

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How do I write a reference list or bibliography?

Check your style Make sure you know what style you need to use to make sure you have the right information

Look for missing information You need your references to be complete, so check that there are no gaps

Use referencing software This will make the whole process easier and quicker

Referencing is a two-part process. In addition to the citations within the text, you also need a list with a full reference for each source you have used. This list should contain all the information needed to find each piece of research. Correct citing and referencing should guide your reader to the sources of your information and evidence .

What's the difference between a reference list and a bibliography?

Reference list.

A reference list is a list of everything that you have cited in your work.

The list will be drawn from everything that you have either paraphrased or quoted in your assignment.

Bibliography

This is a list of everything that you have cited in your work and any other sources that you might have consulted during your research but have chosen not to cite in the assignment.

Whether you are asked to provide a reference list or a bibliography, both should provide accurate and full references. You need to give enough information that people can easily find your reference. It will vary depending on the type of material you need to reference, but you will always need to include the author, date of publication and title.

For books, you’ll need to include information on the publisher. For journals you’ll need to include facts on the journal itself - journal title and volume, issue and page numbers. For other types of reference you’ll need different pieces of information.

The more academic work you read, the more you will get used to recognising different types of reference.

The easiest thing to do is use some reference management software. For undergraduates, we suggest RefWorks . RefWorks is available online and free for you to use. It will manage the references for you but you’ll still need to make sure that the information that you put in is accurate.

The information you need to include in your reference will vary according to the style you’re using – make sure you know which style your department uses.

In the Library we support two styles, Harvard and Vancouver.

Referencing styles

Harvard referencing style

Harvard style

Vancouver referencing style

Vancouver style

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Quick guide to Harvard referencing (Cite Them Right)

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There are different versions of the Harvard referencing style. This guide is a quick introduction to the commonly-used Cite Them Right version. You will find further guidance available through the OU Library on the Cite Them Right Database .

For help and support with referencing and the full Cite Them Right guide, have a look at the Library’s page on referencing and plagiarism . If you need guidance referencing OU module material you can check out which sections of Cite Them Right are recommended when referencing physical and online module material .

This guide does not apply to OU Law undergraduate students . If you are studying a module beginning with W1xx, W2xx or W3xx, you should refer to the Quick guide to Cite Them Right referencing for Law modules .

Table of contents

In-text citations and full references.

  • Secondary referencing
  • Page numbers
  • Citing multiple sources published in the same year by the same author

Full reference examples

Referencing consists of two elements:

  • in-text citations, which are inserted in the body of your text and are included in the word count. An in-text citation gives the author(s) and publication date of a source you are referring to. If the publication date is not given, the phrase 'no date' is used instead of a date. If using direct quotations or you refer to a specific section in the source you also need the page number/s if available, or paragraph number for web pages.
  • full references, which are given in alphabetical order in reference list at the end of your work and are not included in the word count. Full references give full bibliographical information for all the sources you have referred to in the body of your text.

To see a reference list and intext citations check out this example assignment on Cite Them Right .

Difference between reference list and bibliography

a reference list only includes sources you have referred to in the body of your text

a bibliography includes sources you have referred to in the body of your text AND sources that were part of your background reading that you did not use in your assignment

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Examples of in-text citations

You need to include an in-text citation wherever you quote or paraphrase from a source. An in-text citation consists of the last name of the author(s), the year of publication, and a page number if relevant. There are a number of ways of incorporating in-text citations into your work - some examples are provided below. Alternatively you can see examples of setting out in-text citations in Cite Them Right .

Note: When referencing a chapter of an edited book, your in-text citation should give the author(s) of the chapter.

Online module materials

(Includes written online module activities, audio-visual material such as online tutorials, recordings or videos).

When referencing material from module websites, the date of publication is the year you started studying the module.

Surname, Initial. (Year of publication/presentation) 'Title of item'. Module code: Module title . Available at: URL of VLE (Accessed: date).

OR, if there is no named author:

The Open University (Year of publication/presentation) 'Title of item'. Module code: Module title . Available at: URL of VLE (Accessed: date).

Rietdorf, K. and Bootman, M. (2022) 'Topic 3: Rare diseases'. S290: Investigating human health and disease . Available at: https://learn2.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=1967195 (Accessed: 24 January 2023).

The Open University (2022) ‘3.1 The purposes of childhood and youth research’. EK313: Issues in research with children and young people . Available at: https://learn2.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=1949633&section=1.3 (Accessed: 24 January 2023).

You can also use this template to reference videos and audio that are hosted on your module website:

The Open University (2022) ‘Video 2.7 An example of a Frith-Happé animation’. SK298: Brain, mind and mental health . Available at: https://learn2.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=2013014&section=4.9.6 (Accessed: 22 November 2022).

The Open University (2022) ‘Audio 2 Interview with Richard Sorabji (Part 2)’. A113: Revolutions . Available at: https://learn2.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=1960941&section=5.6 (Accessed: 22 November 2022).

Note: if a complete journal article has been uploaded to a module website, or if you have seen an article referred to on the website and then accessed the original version, reference the original journal article, and do not mention the module materials. If only an extract from an article is included in your module materials that you want to reference, you should use secondary referencing, with the module materials as the 'cited in' source, as described above.

Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) 'Title of message', Title of discussion board , in Module code: Module title . Available at: URL of VLE (Accessed: date).

Fitzpatrick, M. (2022) ‘A215 - presentation of TMAs', Tutor group discussion & Workbook activities , in A215: Creative writing . Available at: https://learn2.open.ac.uk/mod/forumng/discuss.php?d=4209566 (Accessed: 24 January 2022).

Note: When an ebook looks like a printed book, with publication details and pagination, reference as a printed book.

Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) Title . Edition if later than first. Place of publication: publisher. Series and volume number if relevant.

For ebooks that do not contain print publication details

Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) Title of book . Available at: DOI or URL (Accessed: date).

Example with one author:

Bell, J. (2014) Doing your research project . Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Adams, D. (1979) The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy . Available at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/kindle-ebooks (Accessed: 23 June 2021).

Example with two or three authors:

Goddard, J. and Barrett, S. (2015) The health needs of young people leaving care . Norwich: University of East Anglia, School of Social Work and Psychosocial Studies.

Example with four or more authors:

Young, H.D. et al. (2015) Sears and Zemansky's university physics . San Francisco, CA: Addison-Wesley.

Note: You can choose one or other method to reference four or more authors (unless your School requires you to name all authors in your reference list) and your approach should be consistent.

Note: Books that have an editor, or editors, where each chapter is written by a different author or authors.

Surname of chapter author, Initial. (Year of publication) 'Title of chapter or section', in Initial. Surname of book editor (ed.) Title of book . Place of publication: publisher, Page reference.

Franklin, A.W. (2012) 'Management of the problem', in S.M. Smith (ed.) The maltreatment of children . Lancaster: MTP, pp. 83–95.

Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) 'Title of article', Title of Journal , volume number (issue number), page reference.

If accessed online:

Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) 'Title of article', Title of Journal , volume number (issue number), page reference. Available at: DOI or URL (if required) (Accessed: date).

Shirazi, T. (2010) 'Successful teaching placements in secondary schools: achieving QTS practical handbooks', European Journal of Teacher Education , 33(3), pp. 323–326.

Shirazi, T. (2010) 'Successful teaching placements in secondary schools: achieving QTS practical handbooks', European Journal of Teacher Education , 33(3), pp. 323–326. Available at: https://libezproxy.open.ac.uk/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/log... (Accessed: 27 January 2023).

Barke, M. and Mowl, G. (2016) 'Málaga – a failed resort of the early twentieth century?', Journal of Tourism History , 2(3), pp. 187–212. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/1755182X.2010.523145

Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) 'Title of article', Title of Newspaper , Day and month, Page reference.

Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) 'Title of article', Title of Newspaper , Day and month, Page reference if available. Available at: URL (Accessed: date).

Mansell, W. and Bloom, A. (2012) ‘£10,000 carrot to tempt physics experts’, The Guardian , 20 June, p. 5.

Roberts, D. and Ackerman, S. (2013) 'US draft resolution allows Obama 90 days for military action against Syria', The Guardian , 4 September. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/04/syria-strikes-draft-resolut... (Accessed: 9 September 2015).

Surname, Initial. (Year that the site was published/last updated) Title of web page . Available at: URL (Accessed: date).

Organisation (Year that the page was last updated) Title of web page . Available at: URL (Accessed: date).

Robinson, J. (2007) Social variation across the UK . Available at: https://www.bl.uk/british-accents-and-dialects/articles/social-variation... (Accessed: 21 November 2021).

The British Psychological Society (2018) Code of Ethics and Conduct . Available at: https://www.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/bps-code-ethics-and-conduct (Accessed: 22 March 2019).

Note: Cite Them Right Online offers guidance for referencing webpages that do not include authors' names and dates. However, be extra vigilant about the suitability of such webpages.

Surname, Initial. (Year) Title of photograph . Available at: URL (Accessed: date).

Kitton, J. (2013) Golden sunset . Available at: https://www.jameskittophotography.co.uk/photo_8692150.html (Accessed: 21 November 2021).

stanitsa_dance (2021) Cossack dance ensemble . Available at: https://www.instagram.com/p/COI_slphWJ_/ (Accessed: 13 June 2023).

Note: If no title can be found then replace it with a short description.

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Research leap

How to write a reference list in scientific papers

New authors should always be able to explain the fitness of their study with regards to existing theories and findings. They should be build upon their work and referencing approximately 20 other articles published in peer-reviewed journals, providing full bibliographic information for each source. This way, your arguments are ipso facto becoming more appealing and persuasive. How to write a reference list

how to make a reference list for research paper

Required steps before submitting your article

You should take into account when submitting your article to peer-reviewed journals , that your paper will be carefully revised by thoroughly versed experts knowing the subject matter in detail. As their professional interest correlates with the review of your submission, your job actually consists of persuading an experienced professional of the originality of findings and implications of your paper, making it deserving of wider attention. If you want your article to be considered seriously, you should use only quality resources.

In order to find top-notch e-collections, check out our article on reliable academic sources and discover respectable e-libraries and databases, such as those provided by Emerald Insight, JSTOR, Ebsco, and Hein Online. In turn, using credible scholarly sources will not only help you get your paper published but will further make your article more reliable in the eyes of the readers and increase your chances to boost citations. Opinions may differ from one person to another, and they may or may not be founded on established facts. But this is a risk you should not be willing to take. How to write a reference list

how to make a reference list for research paper

How to quickly find authors for references

Supporting your thesis with an army of well-established authorities is crucial. Since the destiny of your article’s success depends on the most part on your statements being picked up, cited, utilized, and modified by others. In order to further their research aims, here you need to be not just a scientist, but also a rhetorical strategist. Since you can not pull your assumptions ex nihilo , they most certainly can not be generalizations of everyday opinion, but a result of established premises drawn from extensive literature review to be tested qualitatively or quantitatively. As the author, you have the assignment to gather as many as possible allies and resources, just according to actant-network theory. Your inscriptions, your data, and even the tone of your text should have a well-defined purpose. Nothing should be left to chance. How to write a reference list

This can be distributed in a few easy-to-follow steps.

  • Find established scientists in your domain and get their attention
  • Try to make contact and establish further communication on the issue at hand
  • Put your work to test trials of strength. Since we all prefer heroes, imagine if the dissenter asking, “Yeah, but can your research prove that? “ is putting more and more challenges forward.

Rather than skipping or trying to avoid it altogether, you should use it to your advantage. It may point out some weaknesses in your argumentation that could otherwise come to hunt you later. It is much easier, and not to mention cheaper and beneficial to your reputation, to fix any omission or gap in discussion before your paper hits the mainstream publications.

Stages to find all the relevant references

First of all, you need to make sure to find all the relevant references that fully or partially support your claim. You also need to engage in a little role-play game of internal dialog, meaning, you must be both an author and a reader. We can’t highlight enough how crucial it is for you to anticipate the objections of your readers and dissenters, carefully revise their standpoint, and then provide a convincing counter-argument.  Try to find authors that already faced their objections and transform this dispute to your advantage. You need to find the best and most common online research tools  to help you learn to browse key literature fast and quickly collect find up-to-date statistics for your paper. How to write a reference list

how to make a reference list for research paper

Steps to boose the reference list

For example, when you need to boost your reference list relatively quickly, some tricks may come in hand .  Although you probably already know your core literature by heart, science and practice are progressing with each new academic article and scholarly paper opening up new horizons and proposing new conceptual frameworks and models. Find common themes or variables corresponding to your paper, and then browse the author’s literature review and list of reference.

In almost all cases, you can find recent studies in the relevant domain in there. Better yet, if you already have a target journal for submitting your paper at mind, take your time and carefully browse through their archive to find the most compelling articles eligible for linking to your work. Bear in mind science is exponentially progressive. That is why, do not make a mistake of listing outdated literature without some fresh insights. Most often than not, your paper will ultimately serve the same purpose. Usually, a person doing research and citing your paper looks through the reference list of your article. Because it is important for this person the materials you used to  evaluate your article.

Using reference management tools

Make a list of most frequent authors referred to in related articles, and then take advantage of Google Scholar, Sage publications, Research leap or Research gate to gain access to the original papers.  See how their main findings correspond to your main assumptions, and when possible, highlight the connection to your convenience. How to write a reference list

How to write a reference list

There are several tools available to help you extend your reference list. This allows you import the information from the papers such as names of authors, publications years and volume numbers. In short, all you need for creating a reference list of the sources you used. To find the extended list of available online reference sites, you may find our post on choosing the appropriate referencing style quite useful.

Mendeley is a free reference manager. It is also an academic, a social network that can help you organize your research. This reference manager helps you collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research. It helps you to:

  • Automatically generate bibliographies
  • Collaborate easily with other researchers online
  • Easily import papers from other research software
  • Find relevant articles based on what you’re reading

Zotero is the only research tool that automatically senses content. It is a good tool to allowe you to add it to your personal library with a single click. Whether you’re searching for a preprint on arXiv.org, a journal article from JSTOR, a news story from the New York Times, or a book from your university library catalog, Zotero has you covered with support for thousands of sites. Like Mendeley, Zotero has an extension for internet browsers which automatically imports PDFs and bibliographic information into the stand-alone program. Furthermore, it also has a Microsoft Word citation tool which allows users to add references to their documents seamlessly.

EndNote gives you the tools you need for searching, organizing, and sharing your research. It allows you to easily create bibliographies while writing your next paper with features like Cite While You Write. Maximize your time with features like finding full text for your references and automatically updating records. EndNote’s syncing capabilities let you access all of your references, attachments, and groups from anywhere.

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Citing Sources: Sample Reference List Citations

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When formatting a citation in APA style, pay particular attention to italics, punctuation, indentation, and capitalization.

Many more samples of citations presented in the APA style can be found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . Please consult this book or a librarian for help with unusual resources.

All of the following samples are taken from:

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

(In the above sample, the name of the organization is the author. Note that only proper names are capitalized in the title, and the edition number follows the title.)

Book: (This sample from Purdue OWL )

Calfee, R. C., & Valencia, R. R. (1991).  APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication . Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Book with an Editor:

Robinson, D. N. (Ed.). (1992). Social discourse and moral judgment . San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Note: italicize the title of the book and do not capitalize any words in titles except the first word, proper names, and after a colon. Use the author's or editor's initials only for first and middle names.

Chapter from an Edited Volume or Anthology :

Haybron, D. M. (2008). Philosophy and the science of subjective well-being. In M. Eid & R. J. Larsen (Eds.),  The science of subjective well-being  (pp. 17-43). New York, NY: Guilford Press. 

Scholarly Article:

Fuentes, A. (2016). Contemporary evolutionary theory in biological anthropology: Insight into human evolution,  genomics  and challenges to  racialized  pseudo-science.   Revista   Cuicuilco , 23 (65), 293-304. 

Note: Do not set off the title of the article with quotes, italics, underlines, or capital letters (except for the first word, proper names or after a colon). Italicize the title of the journal and capitalize all words in the title of the journal. This sample includes the volume number (23) which is italicized to set it off from the other numbers. The issue number (65) appears in parentheses and is not italicized. You will also notice that there is no space left between the volume number and the first parenthesis for the issue number.

Scholarly Article (with multiple authors):

Calvo, M. G., & Lang, P. J. (2004). Gaze patterns when looking at emotional pictures: Motivationally biased attention. Motivation and Emotion, 28 , 221-243. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:MOEM.0000040153.26156.ed

Note: This sample includes the volume number (28), which is italicized to set it off from the page numbers. There is no issue number in this example because the journal is paginated by volume. Provide the DOI when available for electronic documents. If a DOI is not available for a scholarly article retrieved online, you should supply the URL of the journal's homepage (NOT the URL from the database). Note authors' names, indentations, spare use of capital letters, page numbers, and use of periods and commas.

Popular Article (with two authors):

Kandel, E. R., & Squire, L. R. (2000, November 10). Neuroscience: Breaking down scientific barriers to the study of brain and mind. Science, 290, 1113-1120.

Note: Do not set off the title of the article with quotes, italics, underlines, or capital letters (except for the first word, proper names, or after a colon). Italicize the title of the magazine and capitalize all keywords in the title. Italicize the volume number to set it off from the page numbers.

Newspaper Article:

Scwartz, J. (1993, September 30). Obesity affects economic, social status. The Washington Post , pp. A1, A4.

Note: Do not set off the title of the article with quotes, italics, underlines, or capital letters (except for the first word, proper names or after a colon). Italicize the title of the newspaper and capitalize all keywords in the title of the newspaper.

Webpage Examples:  (These samples from  Purdue OWL )

Author, A. A. & Author B. B. (Date of publication ,  or  n. d. if no date ). Title of page [Format description when necessary]. Retrieved from https://www.someaddress.com/full/url/

Eco, U. (2015). How to write a thesis [PDF file]. (Farina C. M. & Farina F., Trans.) Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/...How_to_write_a_thesis/.../Umberto+Eco-How+to+Write+... (Original work published 1977).

If the page's author is not listed, start with the title. If the date of publication is not listed, use the abbreviation (n.d.):

Spotlight Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/about_the_owl/owl_information/spotlight_resources.html

Only include a date of access when page content is likely to change over time (ex: if you're citing a wiki):

Purdue University Writing Lab [Facebook page]. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2019, from https://www.facebook.com/PurdueUniversityWritingLab/

Nonperiodical Web Document or Report (Examples: government data such as U.S. Census): (This sample from Purdue OWL )

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication, or n.d. if no date).  Title of document . Retrieved from https://Web address

Angeli, E., Wagner, J., Lawrick, E., Moore, K., Anderson, M., Soderland, L., & Brizee, A. (2010, May 5).  General format.  Retrieved from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

Note: Italicize the title of the website but do not capitalize any words except the first, proper names, and the first word following a colon.

For citing company or industry reports from the library's MarketLine database, also see:

https://guides.library.ualberta.ca/apa-citation-style/business

Publication manual of the American Psychological Association 7.07

If map is within a book, cite as In Title of book after [Type of map].

Cite primary contributors in the Author's space followed by their contributing role in parentheses.

Other forms for [Type of map] include:

  • [Demographic map]
  • [Topographical map]

Use (n.d.) for No date.

Title of map. (Year). [Type of Map]. Publisher Location: Publisher.

Citation Examples:

Plattsburgh, Clinton County: Dannemora, Peru, Keeseville, Champlain, Rouses Point, New York State, 3rd ed.

(1999). [Road map]. Clifton Park, NY: Jimapco.

Topographical Map:

Berlin, N.Y. - Mass. - VT. (1988). [Topographical map]. reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey.

Online Map:

Follow the map citation guidelines as above, but also include a stable URL where the map is found.

Title of map. (Year). [Type of map]. Retrieved from http://xxx.xx

Manhattan sightseeing map. (2010). [City map]. Retrieved from http://www.ny.com/maps/shopmap.html

MTA Metro-North railroad. (2010). [Railroad map]. Retrieved from http://www.mta.info/mnr/html/mnrmap.htm

MTA New York City subway. (2010). [Subway map]. Retrieved from http://www.mta.info/nyct/maps/submap.htm

Charts and Graphs

Since the APA manual does not give direct information for citing every type of source, including charts or graphs, they instruct you to follow the example that is most like the source you are trying to cite. Be sure to provide enough information so your readers can locate the source on their own. When possible provide author or creator, year of publication, title, and publishing and/or retrieval data. When citing a chart, graph or map it may be best to follow the citation style for the format in which the information is presented.

All captions for charts should follow the guidelines below for captions for figures.

Captions for Figures (Charts, Graphs, and Maps): Publication manual of the American Psychological Association 5.20-5.25

All captions should be labeled as Figure followed by a number. The caption should begin with a descriptive phrase and include a citation to the original source and copyright information at the end.

how to make a reference list for research paper

Figure 1. Relations between trust beliefs and school adjustment at T1 and loneliness changes during development in early childhood. All paths attained significance at p> .05. Adapted from “The Relation Between Trust Beliefs and Loneliness During Early Childhood, Middle Childhood, and Adulthood,” by K. J. Rotenberg, N. Addis, L. R. Betts, A. Corrigan, C. Fox, Z. Hobson, & … and M. J. Boulton, 2010, Personality and social psychology bulletin , 36, p. 1090. Copyright 2010 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

Documentaries or Feature Films:

David, L., Bender, L., Burns S.Z. (Producers), & Guggenheim, P.D. (Director). (2006). An inconvenient truth [Motion picture]. United States: Paramount Pictures.

Note : If a film is not available in wide distribution, add the following to the citation after the country of origin: (Available from Distributor name, full address and zip code).

Online Resources

More examples and samples of papers written using the APA style can be found at the following websites:

  • APA Style.Org The APA Citation Style's official website, as excerpted from the 6th edition.
  • Excelsior College OWL APA style guide from Excelsior College's Online Writing Lab.
  • Slate Citation Machine Excellent tool for citing sources in MLA and APA style. Simple fill in the form for the type of source you are citing, i.e. a book, journal article, website, etc., and this tool will show you the way to cite the reference. Be careful of your capitalization.
  • Cornell University Library Guide to APA Citation Style

Additional Information for Citing Special Sources

  • Ohio Wesleyan University - Citing Maps
  • Map Citation Guide from the University of North Carolina
  • Citation Fox (citation generator)
  • Knight Cite from Calvin College (citation generator)
  • Last Updated: Feb 15, 2024 12:48 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.dickinson.edu/citing

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Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.

13.3 Creating a References Section

Learning objective.

  • Apply American Psychological Association (APA) style and formatting guidelines for a references section.

This section provides detailed information about how to create the references section of your paper. You will review basic formatting guidelines and learn how to format bibliographical entries for various types of sources. This section of Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , like the previous section, is meant to be used as a reference tool while you write.

Formatting the References Section: The Basics

At this stage in the writing process, you may already have begun setting up your references section. This section may consist of a single page for a brief research paper or may extend for many pages in professional journal articles. As you create this section of your paper, follow the guidelines provided here.

Formatting the References Section

To set up your references section, use the insert page break feature of your word-processing program to begin a new page. Note that the header and margins will be the same as in the body of your paper, and pagination continues from the body of your paper. (In other words, if you set up the body of your paper correctly, the correct header and page number should appear automatically in your references section.) See additional guidelines below.

Formatting Reference Entries

Reference entries should include the following information:

  • The name of the author(s)
  • The year of publication and, where applicable, the exact date of publication
  • The full title of the source
  • For books, the city of publication
  • For articles or essays, the name of the periodical or book in which the article or essay appears
  • For magazine and journal articles, the volume number, issue number, and pages where the article appears
  • For sources on the web, the URL where the source is located

See the following examples for how to format a book or journal article with a single author.

Sample Book Entry

Sample Book Entry

Sample Journal Article Entry

Sample Journal Article Entry

The following box provides general guidelines for formatting the reference page. For the remainder of this chapter, you will learn about how to format bibliographical entries for different source types, including multiauthor and electronic sources.

Formatting the References Section: APA General Guidelines

1. Include the heading References , centered at the top of the page. The heading should not be boldfaced, italicized, or underlined. 2. Use double-spaced type throughout the references section, as in the body of your paper. 3. Use hanging indentation for each entry. The first line should be flush with the left margin, while any lines that follow should be indented five spaces. Note that hanging indentation is the opposite of normal indenting rules for paragraphs. 4. List entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. For a work with multiple authors, use the last name of the first author listed. 5. List authors’ names using this format: Smith, J. C. 6. For a work with no individual author(s), use the name of the organization that published the work or, if this is unavailable, the title of the work in place of the author’s name.

7. For works with multiple authors, follow these guidelines:

  • For works with up to seven authors, list the last name and initials for each author.
  • For works with more than seven authors, list the first six names, followed by ellipses, and then the name of the last author listed.
  • Use an ampersand before the name of the last author listed.

8. Use title case for journal titles. Capitalize all important words in the title.

9. Use sentence case for all other titles—books, articles, web pages, and other source titles. Capitalize the first word of the title. Do not capitalize any other words in the title except for the following:

  • Proper nouns
  • First word of a subtitle
  • First word after a colon or dash

Set up the first page of your references section and begin adding entries, following the APA formatting guidelines provided in this section.

  • If there are any simple entries that you can format completely using the general guidelines, do so at this time.
  • For entries you are unsure of how to format, type in as much information as you can, and highlight the entries so you can return to them later.

Formatting Reference Entries for Different Source Types

As is the case for in-text citations, formatting reference entries becomes more complicated when you are citing a source with multiple authors, citing various types of online media, or citing sources for which you must provide additional information beyond the basics listed in the general guidelines. The following guidelines show how to format reference entries for these different situations.

Print Sources: Books

For book-length sources and shorter works that appear in a book, follow the guidelines that best describes your source.

A Book by Two or More Authors

List the authors’ names in the order they appear on the book’s title page. Use an ampersand before the last author’s name.

Campbell, D. T., & Stanley, J. C. (1963). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

An Edited Book with No Author

List the editor or editors’ names in place of the author’s name, followed by Ed. or Eds. in parentheses.

Myers, C., & Reamer, D. (Eds.). (2009). 2009 nutrition index. San Francisco, CA: HealthSource, Inc.

An Edited Book with an Author

List the author’s name first, followed by the title and the editor or editors. Note that when the editor is listed after the title, you list the initials before the last name.

Dickinson, E. (1959). Selected poems & letters of Emily Dickinson. R. N. Linscott (Ed.). Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

The previous example shows the format used for an edited book with one author—for instance, a collection of a famous person’s letters that has been edited. This type of source is different from an anthology, which is a collection of articles or essays by different authors. For citing works in anthologies, see the guidelines later in this section.

A Translated Book

Include the translator’s name after the title, and at the end of the citation, list the date the original work was published. Note that for the translator’s name, you list the initials before the last name.

Freud, S. (1965). New introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (J. Strachey, Trans.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton. (Original work published 1933).

A Book Published in Multiple Editions

If you are using any edition other than the first edition, include the edition number in parentheses after the title.

Berk, L. (2001). Development through the lifespan (2nd ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

A Chapter in an Edited Book

List the name of the author(s) who wrote the chapter, followed by the chapter title. Then list the names of the book editor(s) and the title of the book, followed by the page numbers for the chapter and the usual information about the book’s publisher.

When creating a references section include the abbreviation

A Work That Appears in an Anthology

Follow the same process you would use to cite a book chapter, substituting the article or essay title for the chapter title.

When creating a references section include the abbreviation

An Article in a Reference Book

List the author’s name if available; if no author is listed, provide the title of the entry where the author’s name would normally be listed. If the book lists the name of the editor(s), include it in your citation. Indicate the volume number (if applicable) and page numbers in parentheses after the article title.

Capitalize proper nouns that appear in a book title while creating a references section

Two or More Books by the Same Author

List the entries in order of their publication year, beginning with the work published first.

Swedan, N. (2001). Women’s sports medicine and rehabilitation. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers.

Swedan, N. (2003). The active woman’s health and fitness handbook. New York, NY: Perigee.

If two books have multiple authors, and the first author is the same but the others are different, alphabetize by the second author’s last name (or the third or fourth, if necessary).

Carroll, D., & Aaronson, F. (2008). Managing type II diabetes. Chicago, IL: Southwick Press.

Carroll, D., & Zuckerman, N. (2008). Gestational diabetes. Chicago, IL: Southwick Press.

Books by Different Authors with the Same Last Name

Alphabetize entries by the authors’ first initial.

When creating a freferences section, capitalize the first word of a subtitle

A Book Authored by an Organization

Treat the organization name as you would an author’s name. For the purposes of alphabetizing, ignore words like The in the organization’s name. (That is, a book published by the American Heart Association would be listed with other entries whose authors’ names begin with A .)

American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders DSM-IV (4th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

A Book-Length Report

Format technical and research reports as you would format other book-length sources. If the organization that issued the report assigned it a number, include the number in parentheses after the title. (See also the guidelines provided for citing works produced by government agencies.)

Jameson, R., & Dewey, J. (2009). Preliminary findings from an evaluation of the president’s physical fitness program in Pleasantville school district. Pleasantville, WA: Pleasantville Board of Education.

A Book Authored by a Government Agency

Treat these as you would a book published by a nongovernment organization, but be aware that these works may have an identification number listed. If so, include it in parentheses after the publication year.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2002). The decennial censuses from 1790 to 2000 (Publication No. POL/02-MA). Washington, DC: US Government Printing Offices.

Revisit the references section you began to compile in Note 13.73 “Exercise 1” . Use the guidelines provided to format any entries for book-length print sources that you were unable to finish earlier.

Review how Jorge formatted these book-length print sources:

Atkins, R. C. (2002). Dr. Atkins’ diet revolution . New York, NY: M. Evans and Company.

Agatson, A. (2003). The South Beach diet. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin.

Print Sources: Periodicals

An article in a scholarly journal.

Include the following information:

  • Author or authors’ names
  • Publication year
  • Article title (in sentence case, without quotation marks or italics)
  • Journal title (in title case and in italics)
  • Volume number (in italics)
  • Issue number (in parentheses)
  • Page number(s) where the article appears

DeMarco, R. F. (2010). Palliative care and African American women living with HIV. Journal of Nursing Education, 49 (5), 1–4.

An Article in a Journal Paginated by Volume

In these types of journals, page numbers for one volume continue across all the issues in that volume. For instance, the winter issue may begin with page 1, and in the spring issue that follows, the page numbers pick up where the previous issue left off. (If you have ever wondered why a print journal did not begin on page 1, or wondered why the page numbers of a journal extend into four digits, this is why.) Omit the issue number from your reference entry.

Wagner, J. (2009). Rethinking school lunches: A review of recent literature. American School Nurses’ Journal , 47, 1123–1127.

An Abstract of a Scholarly Article

At times you may need to cite an abstract—the summary that appears at the beginning—of a published article. If you are citing the abstract only, and it was published separately from the article, provide the following information:

  • Publication information for the article
  • Information about where the abstract was published (for instance, another journal or a collection of abstracts)

When creating a references section, use this format for abstracts published in a collection of abstracts

A Journal Article with Two to Seven Authors

List all the authors’ names in the order they appear in the article. Use an ampersand before the last name listed.

Barker, E. T., & Bornstein, M. H. (2010). Global self-esteem, appearance satisfaction, and self-reported dieting in early adolescence. Journal of Early Adolescence, 30 (2), 205–224.

Tremblay, M. S., Shields, M., Laviolette, M., Craig, C. L., Janssen, I., & Gorber, S. C. (2010). Fitness of Canadian children and youth: Results from the 2007–2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Health Reports, 21 (1), 7–20.

A Journal Article with More Than Seven Authors

List the first six authors’ names, followed by a comma, an ellipsis, and the name of the last author listed. The article in the following example has sixteen listed authors; the reference entry lists the first six authors and the sixteenth, omitting the seventh through the fifteenth.

When creating a references section, because some names are omitted, use a comma and an ellipsis, rather than an ampersand, before the final name listed

Writing at Work

The idea of an eight-page article with sixteen authors may seem strange to you—especially if you are in the midst of writing a ten-page research paper on your own. More often than not, articles in scholarly journals list multiple authors. Sometimes, the authors actually did collaborate on writing and editing the published article. In other instances, some of the authors listed may have contributed to the research in some way while being only minimally involved in the process of writing the article. Whenever you collaborate with colleagues to produce a written product, follow your profession’s conventions for giving everyone proper credit for their contribution.

A Magazine Article

After the publication year, list the issue date. Otherwise, treat these as you would journal articles. List the volume and issue number if both are available.

When creating a references section, oist the month after the year. For weekly magazines, list the full date, e.g.

A Newspaper Article

Treat these as you would magazine and journal articles, with one important difference: precede the page number(s) with the abbreviation p. (for a single-page article) or pp. (for a multipage article). For articles whose pagination is not continuous, list all the pages included in the article. For example, an article that begins on page A1 and continues on pages A4 would have the page reference A1, A4. An article that begins on page A1 and continues on pages A4 and A5 would have the page reference A1, A4–A5.

When creating a references section, include the section in your page reference.

A Letter to the Editor

After the title, indicate in brackets that the work is a letter to the editor.

Jones, J. (2009, January 31). Food police in our schools [Letter to the editor]. Rockwood Gazette, p. A8.

After the title, indicate in brackets that the work is a review and state the name of the work being reviewed. (Note that even if the title of the review is the same as the title of the book being reviewed, as in the following example, you should treat it as an article title. Do not italicize it.)

When creating a references section, italicize the title of the reviewed book only where it appears in brackets

Revisit the references section you began to compile in Note 13.73 “Exercise 1” . Use the guidelines provided above to format any entries for periodicals and other shorter print sources that you were unable to finish earlier.

Electronic Sources

Citing articles from online periodicals: urls and digital object identifiers (dois).

Whenever you cite online sources, it is important to provide the most up-to-date information available to help readers locate the source. In some cases, this means providing an article’s URL , or web address. (The letters URL stand for uniform resource locator.) Always provide the most complete URL possible. Provide a link to the specific article used, rather than a link to the publication’s homepage.

As you know, web addresses are not always stable. If a website is updated or reorganized, the article you accessed in April may move to a different location in May. The URL you provided may become a dead link. For this reason, many online periodicals, especially scholarly publications, now rely on DOIs rather than URLs to keep track of articles.

A DOI is a Digital Object Identifier—an identification code provided for some online documents, typically articles in scholarly journals. Like a URL, its purpose is to help readers locate an article. However, a DOI is more stable than a URL, so it makes sense to include it in your reference entry when possible. Follow these guidelines:

  • If you are citing an online article with a DOI, list the DOI at the end of the reference entry.
  • If the article appears in print as well as online, you do not need to provide the URL. However, include the words Electronic version after the title in brackets.
  • In other respects, treat the article as you would a print article. Include the volume number and issue number if available. (Note, however, that these may not be available for some online periodicals).

An Article from an Online Periodical with a DOI

List the DOI if one is provided. There is no need to include the URL if you have listed the DOI.

Bell, J. R. (2006). Low-carb beats low-fat diet for early losses but not long term. OBGYN News, 41 (12), 32. doi:10.1016/S0029-7437(06)71905-X

An Article from an Online Periodical with No DOI

List the URL. Include the volume and issue number for the periodical if this information is available. (For some online periodicals, it may not be.)

When creating a references section, use the words

Note that if the article appears in a print version of the publication, you do not need to list the URL, but do indicate that you accessed the electronic version.

Robbins, K. (2010, March/April). Nature’s bounty: A heady feast [Electronic version]. Psychology Today, 43 (2), 58.

Provide the URL of the article.

McNeil, D. G. (2010, May 3). Maternal health: A new study challenges benefits of vitamin A for women and babies. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/health/04glob.html?ref=health

An Article Accessed through a Database

Cite these articles as you would normally cite a print article. Provide database information only if the article is difficult to locate.

APA style does not require writers to provide the item number or accession number for articles retrieved from databases. You may choose to do so if the article is difficult to locate or the database is an obscure one. Check with your professor to see if this is something he or she would like you to include.

An Abstract of an Article

Format these as you would an article citation, but add the word Abstract in brackets after the title.

Bradley, U., Spence, M., Courtney, C. H., McKinley, M. C., Ennis, C. N., McCance, D. R.…Hunter, S. J. (2009). Low-fat versus low-carbohydrate weight reduction diets: Effects on weight loss, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular risk: A randomized control trial [Abstract]. Diabetes , 58 (12), 2741–2748. http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2009/08/23/db00098.abstract

A Nonperiodical Web Document

The ways you cite different nonperiodical web documents may vary slightly from source to source, depending on the information that is available. In your citation, include as much of the following information as you can:

  • Name of the author(s), whether an individual or organization
  • Date of publication (Use n.d. if no date is available.)
  • Title of the document
  • Address where you retrieved the document

If the document consists of more than one web page within the site, link to the homepage or the entry page for the document.

American Heart Association. (2010). Heart attack, stroke, and cardiac arrest warning signs. Retrieved from http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3053

An Entry from an Online Encyclopedia or Dictionary

Because these sources often do not include authors’ names, you may list the title of the entry at the beginning of the citation. Provide the URL for the specific entry.

Addiction. (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary . Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/addiction

If you cite raw data compiled by an organization, such as statistical data, provide the URL where you retrieved the information. Provide the name of the organization that sponsors the site.

US Food and Drug Administration. (2009). Nationwide evaluation of X-ray trends: NEXT surveys performed [Data file]. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/RadiationSafety/NationwideEvaluationofX- RayTrendsNEXT/ucm116508.htm

Graphic Data

When citing graphic data—such as maps, pie charts, bar graphs, and so on—include the name of the organization that compiled the information, along with the publication date. Briefly describe the contents in brackets. Provide the URL where you retrieved the information. (If the graphic is associated with a specific project or document, list it after your bracketed description of the contents.)

US Food and Drug Administration. (2009). [Pie charts showing the percentage breakdown of the FDA’s budget for fiscal year 2005]. 2005 FDA budget summary . Retrieved from mhttp://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/ReportsManualsForms/Reports/BudgetReports/2005FDABudgetSummary/ucm117231.htm

An Online Interview (Audio File or Transcript)

List the interviewer, interviewee, and date. After the title, include bracketed text describing the interview as an “Interview transcript” or “Interview audio file,” depending on the format of the interview you accessed. List the name of the website and the URL where you retrieved the information. Use the following format.

Davies, D. (Interviewer), & Pollan, M. (Interviewee). (2008). Michael Pollan offers president food for thought [Interview transcript]. Retrieved from National Public Radio website: http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=100755362

An Electronic Book

Electronic books may include books available as text files online or audiobooks. If an electronic book is easily available in print, cite it as you would a print source. If it is unavailable in print (or extremely difficult to find), use the format in the example. (Use the words Available from in your citation if the book must be purchased or is not available directly.)

Chisholm, L. (n.d.). Celtic tales. Retrieved from http://www.childrenslibrary.org/icdl/BookReader?bookid= chicelt_00150014&twoPage=false&route=text&size=0&fullscreen=false&pnum1=1&lang= English&ilang=English

A Chapter from an Online Book or a Chapter or Section of a Web Document

These are treated similarly to their print counterparts with the addition of retrieval information. Include the chapter or section number in parentheses after the book title.

Hart, A. M. (1895). Restoratives—Coffee, cocoa, chocolate. In Diet in sickness and in health (VI). Retrieved from http://www.archive.org/details/dietinsicknessin00hartrich

A Dissertation or Thesis from a Database

Provide the author, date of publication, title, and retrieval information. If the work is numbered within the database, include the number in parentheses at the end of the citation.

When creating a references section, italicize the titles of theses and dissertations.

Computer Software

For commonly used office software and programming languages, it is not necessary to provide a citation. Cite software only when you are using a specialized program, such as the nutrition tracking software in the following example. If you download software from a website, provide the version and the year if available.

Internet Brands, Inc. (2009). FitDay PC (Version 2) [Software]. Available from http://www.fitday.com/Pc/PcHome.html?gcid=14

A Post on a Blog or Video Blog

Citation guidelines for these sources are similar to those used for discussion forum postings. Briefly describe the type of source in brackets after the title.

When creating a references section, do not italicize the titles of blog or video blog postings

Because the content may not be carefully reviewed for accuracy, discussion forums and blogs should not be relied upon as a major source of information. However, it may be appropriate to cite these sources for some types of research. You may also participate in discussion forums or comment on blogs that address topics of personal or professional interest. Always keep in mind that when you post, you are making your thoughts public—and in many cases, available through search engines. Make sure any posts that can easily be associated with your name are appropriately professional, because a potential employer could view them.

A Television or Radio Broadcast

Include the name of the producer or executive producer; the date, title, and type of broadcast; and the associated company and location.

West, Ty. (Executive producer). (2009, September 24). PBS special report: Health care reform [Television broadcast]. New York, NY, and Washington, DC: Public Broadcasting Service.

A Television or Radio Series or Episode

Include the producer and the type of series if you are citing an entire television or radio series.

Couture, D., Nabors, S., Pinkard, S., Robertson, N., & Smith, J. (Producers). (1979). The Diane Rehm show [Radio series]. Washington, DC: National Public Radio.

To cite a specific episode of a radio or television series, list the name of the writer or writers (if available), the date the episode aired, its title, and the type of series, along with general information about the series.

Bernanke, J., & Wade, C. (2010, January 10). Hummingbirds: Magic in the air [Television series episode]. In F. Kaufman (Executive producer), Nature. New York, NY: WNET.

A Motion Picture

Name the director or producer (or both), year of release, title, country of origin, and studio.

Spurlock, M. (Director/producer), Morley, J. (Executive producer), & Winters. H. M. (Executive producer). (2004). Super size me. United States: Kathbur Pictures in association with Studio on Hudson.

A Recording

Name the primary contributors and list their role. Include the recording medium in brackets after the title. Then list the location and the label.

Smith, L. W. (Speaker). (1999). Meditation and relaxation [CD]. New York, NY: Earth, Wind, & Sky Productions.

Székely, I. (Pianist), Budapest Symphony Orchestra (Performers), & Németh, G. (Conductor). (1988). Chopin piano concertos no. 1 and 2 [CD]. Hong Kong: Naxos.

Provide as much information as possible about the writer, director, and producer; the date the podcast aired; its title; any organization or series with which it is associated; and where you retrieved the podcast.

Kelsey, A. R. (Writer), Garcia, J. (Director), & Kim, S. C. (Producer). (2010, May 7). Lies food labels tell us. Savvy consumer podcasts [Audio podcast] . Retrieved from http://www.savvyconsumer.org/podcasts/050710

Revisit the references section you began to compile in Note 13.73 “Exercise 1” .

  • Use the APA guidelines provided in this section to format any entries for electronic sources that you were unable to finish earlier.
  • If your sources include a form of media not covered in the APA guidelines here, consult with a writing tutor or review a print or online reference book. You may wish to visit the website of the American Psychological Association at http://www.apa.org or the Purdue University Online Writing lab at http://owl.english.purdue.edu , which regularly updates its online style guidelines.
  • Give your paper a final edit to check the references section.

Key Takeaways

In APA papers, entries in the references section include as much of the following information as possible:

  • Print sources. Author(s), date of publication, title, publisher, page numbers (for shorter works), editors (if applicable), and periodical title (if applicable).
  • Online sources (text-based). Author(s), date of publication, title, publisher or sponsoring organization, and DOI or URL (if applicable).
  • Electronic sources (non-text-based). Provide details about the creator(s) of the work, title, associated company or series, and date the work was produced or broadcast. The specific details provided will vary depending on the medium and the information that is available.
  • Electronic sources (text-based). If an electronic source is also widely available in print form, it is sometimes unnecessary to provide details about how to access the electronic version. Check the guidelines for the specific source type.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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APA Style 7th Edition

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  • Books & eBooks
  • Book Reviews
  • Class Notes, Class Lectures and Presentations
  • Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
  • Government Documents
  • Images, Charts, Graphs, Maps & Tables
  • Journal Articles
  • Magazine Articles
  • Newspaper Articles
  • Personal Communication (Interviews & Emails)
  • Social Media
  • Videos & DVDs
  • What is a DOI?
  • When Creating Digital Assignments
  • When Information is Missing
  • Works Cited in Another Source
  • In-Text Citation Components
  • Paraphrasing
  • Paper Formatting
  • Citation Basics
  • Reference List and Sample Papers
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Academic Writer
  • Plagiarism & Citations

Sample Paper & Reference List

  • APA Sample Paper Template This sample paper includes a title page, sample assignment page and references list in APA format. It can be used as a template to set up your assignment.
  • APA 7th Edition Student Sample Paper This example from Idaho State University presents guidelines for student papers following the American Psychological Association (APA) Publication Manual 7th edition.
  • Student APA 7th Edition Sample Paper Example of student APA 7th edition paper with notations from Antioch University Writing Center.
  • APA Headings If your instructor requires you to use APA style headings and sub-headings, this document will show you how they work. This sample demonstrates and describes how to use different levels of headings in APA format.
  • APA Sample Paper Template - with Appendix If you are adding an appendix to your paper there are a few rules to follow that comply with APA guidelines: The Appendix appears after the References list If you have more than one appendix you would name the first appendix Appendix A, the second Appendix B, etc. The appendices should appear in the order that the information is mentioned in your essay Each appendix begins on a new page

APA End of Paper Checklist

  • End of Paper Checklist Finished your assignment? Use this checklist to be sure you haven't missed any information needed for APA style.

Quick Rules for an APA Reference List

Your research paper ends with a list of all the sources cited in the text of the paper. Here are nine quick rules for this Reference list.

  • Start a new page for your Reference list. Centre the title, References, at the top of the page.
  • Double-space the list.
  • Start the first line of each reference at the left margin; indent each subsequent line five spaces (a hanging indent).
  • Put your list in alphabetical order. Alphabetize the list by the first word in the reference. In most cases, the first word will be the author’s last name. Where the author is unknown, alphabetize by the first word in the title, ignoring the words a, an, the.
  • For each author, give the last name followed by a comma and the first (and middle, if listed) initials followed by periods.
  • Italicize the titles of these works: books, audiovisual material, internet documents and newspapers, and the title and volume number of journals and magazines.
  • Do not italicize titles of most parts of works, such as: articles from newspapers, magazines, or journals / essays, poems, short stories or chapter titles from a book / chapters or sections of an Internet document.
  • In titles of non-periodicals (books, videotapes, websites, reports, poems, essays, chapters, etc), capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle, and all proper nouns (names of people, places, organizations, nationalities).
  • If a web source (not from the library) is not a stable archived version, or you are unsure whether it is stable, include a statement of the accessed date before the link.
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Generate accurate APA citations for free

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APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples

Published on November 6, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on January 17, 2024.

The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual provides guidelines for clear communication , citing sources , and formatting documents. This article focuses on paper formatting.

Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr

Throughout your paper, you need to apply the following APA format guidelines:

  • Set page margins to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Double-space all text, including headings.
  • Indent the first line of every paragraph 0.5 inches.
  • Use an accessible font (e.g., Times New Roman 12pt., Arial 11pt., or Georgia 11pt.).
  • Include a page number on every page.

APA format (7th edition)

Let an expert format your paper

Our APA formatting experts can help you to format your paper according to APA guidelines. They can help you with:

  • Margins, line spacing, and indentation
  • Font and headings
  • Running head and page numbering

how to make a reference list for research paper

Table of contents

How to set up apa format (with template), apa alphabetization guidelines, apa format template [free download], page header, headings and subheadings, reference page, tables and figures, frequently asked questions about apa format.

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The AI-powered APA Citation Checker points out every error, tells you exactly what’s wrong, and explains how to fix it. Say goodbye to losing marks on your assignment!

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how to make a reference list for research paper

References are ordered alphabetically by the first author’s last name. If the author is unknown, order the reference entry by the first meaningful word of the title (ignoring articles: “the”, “a”, or “an”).

Why set up APA format from scratch if you can download Scribbr’s template for free?

Student papers and professional papers have slightly different guidelines regarding the title page, abstract, and running head. Our template is available in Word and Google Docs format for both versions.

  • Student paper: Word | Google Docs
  • Professional paper: Word | Google Docs

In an APA Style paper, every page has a page header. For student papers, the page header usually consists of just a page number in the page’s top-right corner. For professional papers intended for publication, it also includes a running head .

A running head is simply the paper’s title in all capital letters. It is left-aligned and can be up to 50 characters in length. Longer titles are abbreviated .

APA running head (7th edition)

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

APA headings have five possible levels. Heading level 1 is used for main sections such as “ Methods ” or “ Results ”. Heading levels 2 to 5 are used for subheadings. Each heading level is formatted differently.

Want to know how many heading levels you should use, when to use which heading level, and how to set up heading styles in Word or Google Docs? Then check out our in-depth article on APA headings .

APA headings (7th edition)

The title page is the first page of an APA Style paper. There are different guidelines for student and professional papers.

Both versions include the paper title and author’s name and affiliation. The student version includes the course number and name, instructor name, and due date of the assignment. The professional version includes an author note and running head .

For more information on writing a striking title, crediting multiple authors (with different affiliations), and writing the author note, check out our in-depth article on the APA title page .

APA title page - student version (7th edition)

The abstract is a 150–250 word summary of your paper. An abstract is usually required in professional papers, but it’s rare to include one in student papers (except for longer texts like theses and dissertations).

The abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page . At the top of the page, write the section label “Abstract” (bold and centered). The contents of the abstract appear directly under the label. Unlike regular paragraphs, the first line is not indented. Abstracts are usually written as a single paragraph without headings or blank lines.

Directly below the abstract, you may list three to five relevant keywords . On a new line, write the label “Keywords:” (italicized and indented), followed by the keywords in lowercase letters, separated by commas.

APA abstract (7th edition)

APA Style does not provide guidelines for formatting the table of contents . It’s also not a required paper element in either professional or student papers. If your instructor wants you to include a table of contents, it’s best to follow the general guidelines.

Place the table of contents on a separate page between the abstract and introduction. Write the section label “Contents” at the top (bold and centered), press “Enter” once, and list the important headings with corresponding page numbers.

The APA reference page is placed after the main body of your paper but before any appendices . Here you list all sources that you’ve cited in your paper (through APA in-text citations ). APA provides guidelines for formatting the references as well as the page itself.

Creating APA Style references

Play around with the Scribbr Citation Example Generator below to learn about the APA reference format of the most common source types or generate APA citations for free with Scribbr’s APA Citation Generator .

Formatting the reference page

Write the section label “References” at the top of a new page (bold and centered). Place the reference entries directly under the label in alphabetical order.

Finally, apply a hanging indent , meaning the first line of each reference is left-aligned, and all subsequent lines are indented 0.5 inches.

APA reference page (7th edition)

Tables and figures are presented in a similar format. They’re preceded by a number and title and followed by explanatory notes (if necessary).

Use bold styling for the word “Table” or “Figure” and the number, and place the title on a separate line directly below it (in italics and title case). Try to keep tables clean; don’t use any vertical lines, use as few horizontal lines as possible, and keep row and column labels concise.

Keep the design of figures as simple as possible. Include labels and a legend if needed, and only use color when necessary (not to make it look more appealing).

Check out our in-depth article about table and figure notes to learn when to use notes and how to format them.

APA table (7th edition)

The easiest way to set up APA format in Word is to download Scribbr’s free APA format template for student papers or professional papers.

Alternatively, you can watch Scribbr’s 5-minute step-by-step tutorial or check out our APA format guide with examples.

APA Style papers should be written in a font that is legible and widely accessible. For example:

  • Times New Roman (12pt.)
  • Arial (11pt.)
  • Calibri (11pt.)
  • Georgia (11pt.)

The same font and font size is used throughout the document, including the running head , page numbers, headings , and the reference page . Text in footnotes and figure images may be smaller and use single line spacing.

You need an APA in-text citation and reference entry . Each source type has its own format; for example, a webpage citation is different from a book citation .

Use Scribbr’s free APA Citation Generator to generate flawless citations in seconds or take a look at our APA citation examples .

Yes, page numbers are included on all pages, including the title page , table of contents , and reference page . Page numbers should be right-aligned in the page header.

To insert page numbers in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, click ‘Insert’ and then ‘Page number’.

APA format is widely used by professionals, researchers, and students in the social and behavioral sciences, including fields like education, psychology, and business.

Be sure to check the guidelines of your university or the journal you want to be published in to double-check which style you should be using.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Streefkerk, R. (2024, January 17). APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 18, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/format/

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How to Write a Reference List (or Bibliography) For an Essay

An essay without a reference list is like a house without foundations – weak and unsupported!

After all, the reference list is ‘proof’ that the books and journals you referred to in your essay do exist. In turn, this makes your essay seem more credible.

But a reference list will only enhance your essay if it is accurate . That said, let’s explore how to write a clear and accurate reference list for an essay.

How to label your list of references

Firstly, make sure you know what to call the list of references at the end of your essay. The most common name for this list is a ‘reference list’. But some referencing styles call it a ‘bibliography’ or even a ‘works cited’ list. Also, it’s possible to have a ‘reference list’ and a ‘bibliography’ in the same essay.

What’s the difference between a reference list and a bibliography?

Generally speaking, a ‘reference list’ includes a list of all the sources that were cited in the essay – nothing more and nothing less. A bibliography, on the other hand, includes works that were consulted but not specifically cited in the essay. This is the traditional meaning of the term bibliography, at least.

But, in OSCOLA style, the ‘bibliography’ functions more like a ‘reference list’.

Confused? Don’t worry! This table will show you how to label the list of references according to your chosen referencing style.

Referencing styleHow to label the refs at the end of the essayDescriptionAPA

General rules to follow

Once you know how to label your list of references, you can start putting the list together. Here are some general rules that apply to all referencing styles:

  • Start your list of references on a new page – it looks a lot neater!
  • Get the placement right – references usually come at the end of the essay but before the appendix (if applicable).
  • Alphabetical order – the references should be arranged in alphabetical order (by surname).
  • Remove hyperlinks – that way, your reference list will look neat and tidy when it’s viewed on-screen.
  • Don’t change Americanisms – References should be written in their original form. So, if you’re citing the ‘Journal of Behavior Studies’ , don’t be tempted to change this to the ‘Journal of Behaviour Studies’ .
  • Word count – Remember that the reference list does not contribute to the total word count, so remember to deduct these words when you calculate the final word count.

When looking for sources, you might have noticed that some publications offer ‘suggested citations’. It can be helpful to copy and paste these suggested citations, but you will probably need to make some changes to ensure the citation is compliant with your referencing style. That said, let’s take a look at each referencing style in a bit more depth.

How to write a reference list in APA style

Key points to remember:

  • As a minimum, the reference should contain the author’s name , the date of the publication, the title , and the source (I.e. where it came from).
  • Additional information is also required for journals, such as the page number(s), the volume number and the issue number (see example).
  • The doi should be provided at the end of the reference (if applicable).
  • All lines except the first line should be indented – this is called a hanging indent. (Word: Paragraph>Special>Hanging).
  • Remember to put a full stop at the end of each reference.

For further guidance, check out APA Seventh Edition ! This resource is great as it provides plenty of examples.

How to write a bibliography in OSCOLA

At the end of your essay, you should report a ‘Table of Cases’ a ‘Table of Legislation’, and finally, a ‘Bibliography’. In OSCOLA, the bibliography should include all secondary sources that were cited in the essay.

The secondary sources are listed in a very similar way to the footnotes except that the author’s name is inverted (surname, first initial).

If there are any unattributed works, these should begin with ——.

You’ll notice that OSCOLA is a pretty minimalist referencing style. This means it’s quite easy to get the hang of. You can find full and detailed guidance in this OSCOLA referencing handbook .

How to write a reference list in Harvard style

There is no official manual for Harvard style like there is for APA and Chicago. Rather, universities adopt their own versions of Harvard style. So, if your faculty uses Harvard style, get a hold of your university’s referencing guide to check the requirements.

  • Generally speaking, though, a Harvard-style reference list is similar to an APA-style reference list, in that you must provide the author’s name, date of publication, title, and source. Similarly, book titles and journal titles should be italicised.
  • Unlike APA, there is no need to add a hanging indent.
  • Finally, when citing books, you should provide both the publisher’s name and location (Publisher Location: Publisher Name).

This Harvard referencing guide from The University of East Anglia is comprehensive yet easy to understand – definitely one of the best guides out there!

ASA reference list guidance

  • ASA is fairly similar to APA but notice the differences in punctuation (see examples).
  • The reference list must be double-spaced.
  • You should include the author’s first name and surname (unless the first name was not included in the original publication).
  • Also, the first author’s name should be inverted (surname, first name) but any subsequent names should not be inverted (first name, surname).

Note how a colon is used to introduce the page numbers. This is one of the key differences between APA and ASA style. For more information, check out the ASA quick style guide .

MLA ‘works cited’ guidance

As mentioned, the works cited list is equivalent to a reference list, so it must list all the publications that were cited in the essay.

  • The references should be formatted with a hanging indent (like APA).
  • Uniquely, the date comes towards the end of the reference.
  • First and last names are required (inverted)
  • The publisher’s name is required but the location is not.

Want to know more? This MLA resource is highly recommended!

How to write a reference list in Chicago style (in-text references)

  • Like APA and MLA, the references should be indented (hanging)
  • The author’s first name and surname should be provided
  • For books, the publisher’s location and name are required.
  • Notice that commas are rarely used (except to separate the volume and issue number of a journal).
  • A doi should be provided after an electronic resource. If there is no doi, a URL is acceptable.

The Chicago Manual of Style is updated regularly so always use the latest guidance. Finally, if you are using the Chicago footnote style of referencing, check out the bibliography guidance here .

Is the reference list really that important?

In a word, yes!

Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve just finished reading an essay…

Overall, it made some interesting points, but there were no references to back up the claims that were made. Would you think this was a good essay? Would you trust what the author had written? Or would you think it was lacking?

Once you see things from the reader’s perspective, the importance of the reference list suddenly becomes clear.

In essence, this special list boosts the credibility of your essay. So, don’t make it an after-thought.

Need help with your referencing list or bibliography? Our essay writing service can help!

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What Is Cite This For Me’s Reference Generator?

Cite This For Me’s open-access generator is an automated citation machine that turns any of your sources into references in just a click. Using a reference generator helps students to integrate referencing into their research and writing routine; turning a time-consuming ordeal into a simple task.

A referencing generator accesses information from across the web, drawing the relevant information into a fully-formatted bibliography that clearly presents all of the sources that have contributed to your work.

If you don’t know how to reference a website correctly, or have a fast-approaching deadline, Cite This For Me’s accurate and intuitive reference generator will lend you the confidence to realise your full academic potential. In order to get a grade that reflects all your hard work, your references must be accurate and complete. Using a citation machine not only saves you time but also ensures that you don’t lose valuable marks on your assignment.

Not sure how to format your citations, what citations are, or just want to find out more about Cite This For Me’s reference generator? This guide outlines everything you need to know to equip yourself with the know-how and confidence to research and cite a wide range of diverse sources in your work.

Why Do I Need To Reference?

Simply put, when another source contributes to your work, you have to give the original owner the appropriate credit. After all, you wouldn’t steal someone else’s possessions so why would you steal their ideas?

Regardless of whether you are referencing a website, an article or a podcast, any factual material or ideas you take from another source must be acknowledged in a citation unless it is common knowledge (e.g. Winston Churchill was English). Failing to credit all of your sources, even when you’ve paraphrased or completely reworded the information, is plagiarism. Plagiarising will result in disciplinary action, which can range from losing precious marks on your assignment to expulsion from your university.

What’s more, attributing your research infuses credibility and authority into your work, both by supporting your own ideas and by demonstrating the breadth of your research. For many students, crediting sources can be a confusing and tedious process, but it’s a surefire way to improve the quality of your work so it’s essential to get it right. Luckily for you, using Cite This For Me’s reference generator makes creating accurate references easier than ever, leaving more time for you to excel in your studies.

In summary, the citing process serves three main functions:

  • To validate the statements and conclusions in your work by providing directions to other sound sources that support and verify them.
  • To help your readers locate, read and check your sources, as well as establishing their contribution to your work.
  • To give credit to the original author and hence avoid committing intellectual property theft (known as ‘plagiarism’ in academia).

How Do I Cite My Sources With The Cite This For Me Referencing Generator?

Cite This For Me’s reference generator is the most accurate citation machine available, so whether you’re not sure how to format in-text references or are looking for a foolproof solution to automate a fully-formatted bibliography, this referencing generator will solve all of your citing needs.

Crediting your source material doesn’t just prevent you from losing valuable marks for plagiarism, it also provides all of the information to help your reader find for themselves the book, article, or other item you are citing. The accessible interface of the reference generator makes it easy for you to identify the source you have used – simply enter its unique identifier into the citation machine search bar. If this information is not available you can search for the title or author instead, and then select from the search results that appear below the reference generator.

Don’t know how to reference a website? The good news is that by using tools such as Cite This For Me’s reference generator, which help you work smarter, you don’t need to limit your research to sources that are traditional to cite. In fact, there are no limits to what you can cite, whether you are referencing a website, a YouTube video or a tweet.

To use the reference generator, simply:

  • Select your style from Harvard, APA, OSCOLA and many more*
  • Choose the type of source you would like to cite (e.g. website, book, journal, video)
  • Enter the URL , DOI , ISBN , title, or other unique source information to find your source
  • Click the ‘Cite’ button on the reference generator
  • Copy your new citation straight from the referencing generator into your bibliography
  • Repeat for each source that has contributed to your work.

*If you require another style for your paper, essay or other academic work, you can select from over 1,000 styles by creating a free Cite This For Me account.

Once you have created your Cite This For Me account you will be able to use the reference generator to create multiple references and save them into a project. Use Cite This For Me’s highly-rated iOS or Android apps to generate references in a flash with your smartphone camera, export your complete bibliography in one go, and much more.

What Will The Reference Generator Create For Me?

Cite This For Me’s reference generator will create your citation in two parts: an in-text citation and a full citation to be copied straight into your work.

The reference generator will auto-generate the correct formatting for your bibliography depending on your chosen style. For instance, if you select a parenthetical style the reference generator will generate an in-text citation in parentheses, along with a full citation to slot into your bibliography. Likewise, if the reference generator is set to a footnote style then it will create a fully-formatted citation for your reference list and bibliography, as well as a corresponding footnote to insert at the bottom of the page containing the relevant source.

Parenthetical style examples:

In-text example: A nation has been defined as an imagined community (Anderson, 2006).* Alternative format: Anderson (2006) defined a nation as an imagined community.

*The reference generator will create your references in the first style, but this should be edited if the author’s name already appears in the text.

Bibliography / Works Cited list example: Anderson, B. (2006). Imagined Communities. London: Verso.

What Are Citation Styles?

A citation style is a set of rules that you, as an academic writer, must follow to ensure the quality and relevance of your work. There are thousands of styles that are used in different academic institutions around the world, but in the UK the most common are Harvard, APA and Oscola.

The style you need to use will depend on the preference of your lecturer, discipline or academic institution – so if you’re unsure which style you should be using, consult your department and follow their guidelines exactly, as this is what you’ll be evaluated on when it comes to marking. You can also find your university’s style by logging into your Cite This For Me account and setting your institution in ‘My Profile’.

Citing isn’t just there to guard against plagiarism – presenting your research in a clear and consistent way eases the reader’s comprehension. Each style has a different set of rules for formatting both the page and your references. Be sure to adhere to formatting rules such as font type, font size and line spacing to ensure that your work is easily legible. Furthermore, if your work is published as part of an anthology or collected works, each entry will need to be presented in the same style to maintain uniformity throughout. It is important to make sure that you don’t jump from one style to another, so follow the rules carefully to ensure your reference list and bibliography are both accurate and complete.

If you need a hand with your citations then why not try Cite This For Me’s reference generator? It’s the quickest and easiest way to cite any source, in any style. The reference generator above will create your citations in the Harvard referencing style as standard, but it can generate fully-formatted references in over 1,000 styles – including university variations of each style. So, whether your lecturer has asked you to adopt APA referencing , or your subject requires you to use OSCOLA referencing , we’re sure to have the style you need. To access all of them, simply go to Cite This For Me’s website to create your free Cite This For Me account and search for your specific style such as MLA or Vancouver .

How Do I Format A Reference List Or Bibliography?

Drawing on a wide range of sources greatly enhances the quality of your work, and reading above and beyond your recommended reading list – and then using these sources to support your own thesis – is an excellent way to impress your reader. A clearly presented reference list or bibliography demonstrates the lengths you have gone to in researching your chosen topic.

Typically, a reference list starts on a new page at the end of the main body of text and includes a complete list of the sources you have actually cited in your paper. This list should contain all the information needed for the reader to locate the original source of the information, quote or statistic that directly contributed to your work. On the other hand, a bibliography is a comprehensive list of all the material you may have consulted throughout your research and writing process. Both provide the necessary information for readers to retrieve and check the sources cited in your work.

Each style’s guidelines will define the terminology of ‘reference list’ and ‘bibliography’, as well as providing formatting guidelines for font, line spacing and page indentations. In addition, it will instruct you on how to order each list – this will usually be either alphabetical or chronological (meaning the order that these sources appear in your work). Before submitting your work, be sure to check that you have formatted your whole paper according to your style’s formatting guidelines.

Sounds complicated? Citing has never been so easy; Cite This For Me’s reference generator will automatically generate fully-formatted citations for your reference list or bibliography in your chosen style. Sign in to your Cite This For Me account to save and export your bibliography.

How Do References Actually Work?

Although the reference generator will create your bibliography for you in record time, it is still useful to understand how this system works behind the scenes. As well as saving you time with its referencing generator, Cite This For Me provides the learning resources to help you fully understand the citing process and the benefits of adopting great citing standards.

The referencing process:

  • Find a book, journal, website or other source that will contribute to your work
  • Save the quote, image, data or other information that you will use in your work
  • Save the source information that enables you to find it again (i.e. URL, ISBN, DOI etc.)
  • Format the source information into a citation
  • Copy and paste the citation into the body of the text
  • Repeat for each source that contributes to your work.
  • Export or copy and paste the fully-formatted citation into your bibliography.

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Manage all your references in one place

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Where Should I Put My Professional References?

Are you confused on how to share professional references during the job application process? Look no further!

What is a list of references?

First off, a list of references is different from letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation are documents created by the reference and used to send to employers, grad schools, etc. A list of references is a one-page document comprised of 3-5 professionals that can attest to your professionalism, work ethic, style of work, personality, etc. It will include their name, title/position, company name, phone number, email, and the description of the reference in relation to you. There is no need to put "References available upon request" on your resume as this takes up space on your document and is implied if you wish to continue on as a candidate.

Who should I ask to be a reference?

These references can be current or former managers, supervisors, professors, colleagues, direct reports (if you lead/led a team), clients (job dependent), professional mentors, or athletic coaches. You should avoid using family as they are seen as too partial towards you. It is important to note that you should only be adding references that will provide a positive reference for you. Prior to adding the references to your document, make sure to call the potential candidates and ask them if would be a positive reference if called. With them officially a part of your job process, give them a heads-up on the potential companies that may be calling, share information on the position that you applied for, and remind them of skills or accomplishments that you would like them to highlight. ECS has a sample reference request in Correspondence Samples within the Handshake Resource Library.

When/why is a list of references necessary?

Employers request this to have others attest to your qualifications on your resume while also gauging your ability to do a job well. Your professional references may be requested at any point in the application process. This document request may come at the beginning when you submit your application; they may ask for it explicitly or it can be added into the supplemental document section. It's also possible that they ask for this later during the interview portion of the process.

“Network continually – 85% of all jobs are filled through contacts & personal references.” – Brian Tracy

Related News

Two women sit in an office waiting room holding their resumes.

EU AI Act: first regulation on artificial intelligence

The use of artificial intelligence in the EU will be regulated by the AI Act, the world’s first comprehensive AI law. Find out how it will protect you.

A man faces a computer generated figure with programming language in the background

As part of its digital strategy , the EU wants to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure better conditions for the development and use of this innovative technology. AI can create many benefits , such as better healthcare; safer and cleaner transport; more efficient manufacturing; and cheaper and more sustainable energy.

In April 2021, the European Commission proposed the first EU regulatory framework for AI. It says that AI systems that can be used in different applications are analysed and classified according to the risk they pose to users. The different risk levels will mean more or less regulation. Once approved, these will be the world’s first rules on AI.

Learn more about what artificial intelligence is and how it is used

What Parliament wants in AI legislation

Parliament’s priority is to make sure that AI systems used in the EU are safe, transparent, traceable, non-discriminatory and environmentally friendly. AI systems should be overseen by people, rather than by automation, to prevent harmful outcomes.

Parliament also wants to establish a technology-neutral, uniform definition for AI that could be applied to future AI systems.

Learn more about Parliament’s work on AI and its vision for AI’s future

AI Act: different rules for different risk levels

The new rules establish obligations for providers and users depending on the level of risk from artificial intelligence. While many AI systems pose minimal risk, they need to be assessed.

Unacceptable risk

Unacceptable risk AI systems are systems considered a threat to people and will be banned. They include:

  • Cognitive behavioural manipulation of people or specific vulnerable groups: for example voice-activated toys that encourage dangerous behaviour in children
  • Social scoring: classifying people based on behaviour, socio-economic status or personal characteristics
  • Biometric identification and categorisation of people
  • Real-time and remote biometric identification systems, such as facial recognition

Some exceptions may be allowed for law enforcement purposes. “Real-time” remote biometric identification systems will be allowed in a limited number of serious cases, while “post” remote biometric identification systems, where identification occurs after a significant delay, will be allowed to prosecute serious crimes and only after court approval.

AI systems that negatively affect safety or fundamental rights will be considered high risk and will be divided into two categories:

1) AI systems that are used in products falling under the EU’s product safety legislation . This includes toys, aviation, cars, medical devices and lifts.

2) AI systems falling into specific areas that will have to be registered in an EU database:

  • Management and operation of critical infrastructure
  • Education and vocational training
  • Employment, worker management and access to self-employment
  • Access to and enjoyment of essential private services and public services and benefits
  • Law enforcement
  • Migration, asylum and border control management
  • Assistance in legal interpretation and application of the law.

All high-risk AI systems will be assessed before being put on the market and also throughout their lifecycle.

General purpose and generative AI

Generative AI, like ChatGPT, would have to comply with transparency requirements:

  • Disclosing that the content was generated by AI
  • Designing the model to prevent it from generating illegal content
  • Publishing summaries of copyrighted data used for training

High-impact general-purpose AI models that might pose systemic risk, such as the more advanced AI model GPT-4, would have to undergo thorough evaluations and any serious incidents would have to be reported to the European Commission.

Limited risk

Limited risk AI systems should comply with minimal transparency requirements that would allow users to make informed decisions. After interacting with the applications, the user can then decide whether they want to continue using it. Users should be made aware when they are interacting with AI. This includes AI systems that generate or manipulate image, audio or video content, for example deepfakes.

On December 9 2023, Parliament reached a provisional agreement with the Council on the AI act . The agreed text will now have to be formally adopted by both Parliament and Council to become EU law. Before all MEPs have their say on the agreement, Parliament’s internal market and civil liberties committees will vote on it.

More on the EU’s digital measures

  • Cryptocurrency dangers and the benefits of EU legislation
  • Fighting cybercrime: new EU cybersecurity laws explained
  • Boosting data sharing in the EU: what are the benefits?
  • EU Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act
  • Five ways the European Parliament wants to protect online gamers
  • Artificial Intelligence Act

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This section features overview and background articles for the general public. Press releases and materials for news media are available in the news section .

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    Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work. For multiple articles by the same author, or authors listed in the same order, list the entries in chronological order, from earliest to most recent.

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    For example, you are citing study notes titled "Health Effects of Exposure to Forest Fires," but you do not know the author's name, your reference entry will look like this: Health effects of exposure to forest fires [Lecture notes]. (2005). Walden University Canvas. https://waldenu.instructure.com.

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    Use the section label "References" (not "Works Cited" or "Bibliography"). Start the reference list on a new page after the text of your paper. Center the label at the top of the page and write it in bold. It is acceptable to use "Reference" as the label when you cited only one source in your paper. Format references in seventh ...

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    Table of contents Harvard in-text citation Creating a Harvard reference list Harvard referencing examples Referencing sources with no author or date Frequently asked questions about Harvard referencing Harvard in-text citation A Harvard in-text citation appears in brackets beside any quotation or paraphrase of a source.

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    On the APA reference page, you list all the sources that you've cited in your paper. The list starts on a new page right after the body text. Follow these instructions to set up your APA reference page: Place the section label "References" in bold at the top of the page (centered). Order the references alphabetically. Double-space all text.

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    References to journal articles usually include the author's name, title of the article, name of the journal, volume and issue number, page numbers, and publication date. Example: Johnson, T. (2021). The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health. Journal of Psychology, 32 (4), 87-94. Web sources

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  22. How to Write a Reference List (or Bibliography) For an Essay

    The reference list must be double-spaced. You should include the author's first name and surname (unless the first name was not included in the original publication). Also, the first author's name should be inverted (surname, first name) but any subsequent names should not be inverted (first name, surname). Examples.

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  25. EU AI Act: first regulation on artificial intelligence

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