APA – the reference list

An alphabetical list of references is placed at the end of your assignment. This list gives the full publication details of each source you cited in your assignment so that your reader can consult the same sources that you have used.

This video outlines the application of an APA Reference list using the 6th edition of the manual.

This page explains:

Reference list or bibliography?

A Reference list is a list of all the sources that you have used as in-text references in your assignment. A Bibliography is a wider list of readings that includes both in-text references and other sources which may have informed your thinking on the topic, but may not have been placed as an in-text reference in your assignment. Make sure you know whether a reference list or bibliography is required for the unit you are studying.

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Analysis of reference list examples

When you write your reference list, you need to analyse the patterns of each reference type. Some basic details that you need to look for are authors/no authors, dates/no dates, titles, editions and publishers, pages, DOIs or /URLs, depending on the type of reference you need.

Book (print)

Turner, K., Ireland, L., Krenus, B., & Pointon, L. (2008). Essential academic skills. Melbourne, Australia: Oxford.
Author/s. > (Year). >Title (in italics). > Place of publication (city, country): Publisher.

Journal article (print)

Mori, Y. (2002). Optimal diving behaviour for foraging in relation to body size. Journal of Evolutionary Biology15, 270–276.
Author/s. > (Year). > Title of the article. > Title of Journal, > volume (in italics), > pages.

Journal article (online with a DOI)

Leninger, S.M. (2002). The role of nutrition in wound healing. Critical Care Nursing Quarterly24(1), 13–21. doi:10.1037/0278-6133.24.6.884
Author/s. > (Year). > Title of the article. > Title of Journal, > volume(issue number), > pages. > doi:

Website/web page with author information

 Ennis, R.H. (2013). The nature of critical thinking: Outlines of general critical thinking dispositions and abilities. Retrieved from Criticalthinking.net. website: http://www.criticalthinking.net/longdefinition.html
Author/s. > (Year). > Title of article/section> Retrieved from Name of Website: > URL

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Capitalisation styles in reference entries

Minimal (Sentence style) is used for the titles of all reference list information sources except for the titles of journal articles. Capitalise only the first word, the first word after a question mark (?), a colon (:) or em dash (—), and proper nouns that normally require capitalisation (e.g. names of people, cultural groups, places etc.).

 Wong, D.S. (2007). New horizons in critical thinking: Engaging the modern Australian student. London, UK: Hodges & Stones.

(Headline style) is used only for italicised titles of journals. The first letter of every major word in the journal title should be capitalised—conjunctions, articles and short prepositions are not considered major words. The first word after a colon is always capitalised.

 Suzuki, T., & Dillon, P. (2001). Working patterns in Australia: A new approach, Australian Journal of Applied Economics, 23(5), 34-40.

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Formatting the reference list

  • The reference list goes on a new page at the end of your assignment;
  • Head your page with the title: References (upper and lower case letters) and centred. (Do not use all capitals, bold, underline or italics);
  • Use the same spacing as your essay for the reference list (1.5 or double spaced);
  • Start each reference on a new line without a space between each reference item; and
  • Use hanging indent format for all items in the reference list.

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Example reference list

Put the heading ‘References’ at the top of a separate page and move to the centre. Double-space the entire reference list.


Journal Reference
Harrison, N.P. (1999). Bloom revisited: The flourishing of thinking. Journal of Enquiry into Higher Education, 232, 19-32.
Book Reference
Hicks, D.V. (1991). Norms and nobility: A treatise on education. Savage, Maryland: Rowland & Littlefield.
Electronic Journal Reference
Karinsky, S., Black, T., Gobi, P., & Fellows, J. (2005). A new vision for universities. Journal of University Studies, 6, 89-97. doi:10.1188/105256204400900409
Online Dictionary Reference
Macmillan Publishers Australia. (2007). The Macquarie dictionary online (4th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.macquarieonline.com.au/dictionary.html
Web Site Reference
UNESCO. (2001). World conference on education follow-up strategy. World Conference on Education. Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/education/wche/index.html
Put all items in the reference list in strict alphabetical order, but do not include The, An, A as the first letter in a title.
When I create a reference list, I type the heading References on a new page/centred/same size text/no italics and not bolded.
True or False: All items in the reference list are in strict alphabetical order?
True or False: All lines after the first line of each entry in my reference list should be indented from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation?
True or False: The full title of a Journal should be presented and all punctuation and capitalisation that is used by the Journal in its title should be maintained?


Emerging electronic media

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