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APA 7th Edition - University of Lincoln

Reference list overview

Your reference list contains the full details of the information sources (e.g. books, journals articles, websites, etc.) that you have cited. References cited in-text must appear in the reference list and vice versa. Do not include any sources in the reference list that you have not cited in the text.

Other disciplines use a Bibliography to list work that has been read but not cited in the paper. In APA, a Bibliography is not used at all. The reference list is used and only includes sources that have been cited in the paper.

Where can you find full details of the source?

You can find the information you need for different sources in a variety of locations. Books have a title page and pages with publisher, published dates and edition details. You can find all the details you need for electronic journal articles on electronic databases or on the internet.

Basic principles of reference list entries

A reference list generally has four elements: the author, date, title, and source. Each element answer a question:

  • Author. Who is responsible for this work? This can be an author, editor, group, or an organisation.
  • Date. When was this work published? This will provide the date element of the reference.
  • Title: What is this work called? This will be the title of the book, the article, the report, the webpage, etc.
  • Source: Where can this work be retrieved from? For books, this will be the publisher. For journal articles, this will be the journal title information. For webpages, this will be the website, etc.

Answering these four questions will help you create a reference list for any type of work, even if you do not see a specific example in this guide.

For more information about this, see the APA's guidance at:

Reference list layout

  • The reference list is placed at the end of the academic work and starts on a new page.
  • It is headed by the centred title References (in bold).
  • The references are double-spaced.
  • Order references alphabetically by the first letter of the first author's surname or group author.

See the APA's Creating an APA Style Reference List Guide for further information on creating a reference list.

Hanging indent

In APA referencing, a hanging indent is applied to the whole reference list. This is where the first line of a reference falls on the left hand margin and then any subsequent lines for that reference are indented 5-7 spaces.
This can be formatted in Word using the Layout menu and the Paragraph option. Then, in the Indentation section, use the Special drop-down menu to select Hanging. See the example reference list to see what this looks like.


  • Because the reference list needs to be in alphabetical order, invert all authors' names so the references always begin with the author surname then their initial(s), e.g. Rodriguez, H.
  • List the authors in the order they are given in the source (do not rearrange these alphabetically yourself). Ignore the words "A", "An", and "The" when alphabetising by title
  • Use an ampersand (&) and not the word 'and' to join together the names of two authors.
  • Use a space between initials when authors have more than one initial, e.g. Jarrad, G. K. L.
  • If the reference list includes two or more entries by the same author(s), list them in chronological order with the earliest first.
  • If the author or editor name is unavailable, substitute title for author; then provide date and source. E.g. Addiction links. (2000). http://www.....
  • Provide surnames and initials for up to and including 20 authors. When there are 21 or more authors, include the first 19 authors' names, insert an ellipsis (three full stops), and then add the final author's name. See the Journal article with 21 or more authors example.
  • For editors use the abbreviation (Ed.) or (Eds.) in round brackets after their initial(s) - e.g. Rossi, E. P. (Ed.)
  • For group/corporate authors, spell out the full name in the reference list followed by a full stop. Don't use the acronym/abbreviation.

Titles and capitalisation

In titles and subtitles of articles, chapters, and books, capitalise only the first letter of the title and subtitle and proper nouns. Use a colon followed by a space to separate titles and subtitles. E.g. Referencing and plagiarism: A complete guide.

Do capitalise all major words in journal titles - e.g. Journal of Applied Research on Children.

Italicise book titles, journal titles, and volume numbers. Do not italicise issue numbers.


Include the edition number for all editions apart from the first when referencing books. This comes after the book title in brackets but is not italicised. E.g.:

Pinel, J., & Barnes, S. (2017). Biopsychology (10th ed.). Pearson.

Place of publication/Publisher

In APA 7th, you only need to provide the name of the publisher, you don't need to provide the place of publication. Write the publisher's name as it appears on the work followed by a full-stop. When the author is the same as the publisher, omit the publisher from the reference list entry to avoid repetition.

If a work has multiple publishers, separate these with a semi-colon - for example:
Mental Health Law and Policy Institute; Pacific Psychology Assessment Corporation; The British Colombia Institute Against Family Violence.

Page numbers

Use the abbreviation p. (for page) and pp. (for pages) before page numbers for book chapters, e.g. (pp. 132-134).

Do not use page abbreviations before page numbers for journal articles, e.g. 176-179.

No date

If there is no publication date, write (n.d.) in parenthesis with a full stop after each letter and no space in between - e.g.
Johnson, E. (n.d.).