Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Referencing and Plagiarism: The Reference List

Referencing in the APA style.

Requirements for a Reference List

The requirements for a Reference List are as follows:

  • Double space all reference entries.
  • Give each entry a hanging indent, meaning that the first line of each reference is set flush left and subsequent lines are indented (5 to 7 spaces or 1.25cm).
  • Arrange entries in alphabetical order by the surname of the first author followed by initials of the author's given name.
  • The date used is the copyright/publication date.
  • Emphasise main titles in italics (not secondary titles - see the box "To Italicise or Not to Italicise" below).
  • Do not include personal communications such as private letters, telephone conversations, memoranda and informal electronic communications in the Reference List as they do not provide recoverable data. Cite these references only in text. 

An example of the layout of a book entry in the Reference List is as follows:

Brown, C.P., Green, H.W. & Snow, F.R. (2003). Economic

     sustainability in the developing countries. Wiley.


See  Quick Examples - End-text References  for more information about the layout of different types of Reference List entries.

Some Tips to Remember for Reference Lists

  • If there is no publication date, use the copyright date of the work

  • When a work is not dated it is noted as n.d. (no date).

  • Maintain the order of authors’ surnames as they are expressed in the source material. 

Try our new course!

Alphabetizing Authors' Surnames in a Reference List

Here are some simple rules for listing authors in a Reference List:

  • Arrange entries in alphabetical order by the surname of the first author followed by initials of the author's given name.
  • Alphabetize letter by letter.

                 Example:    Singh, K         precedes Singh Siddhu, N

                                    Lopez, M.E    precedes Lopez de Molina, G

                                    Girard, J.B     precedes Girard-Perregaus, A.S

  •  Alphabetize the prefixes M', Mc and Mac literally, not as if they were all spelled Mac. Disregard the apostrophe.

                 Example:   MacArthur      precedes McAllister

                                   MacNeil          precedes M'Carthy

To Italicise or Not to Italicise?

Using italics in APA can be a little confusing.  

Generally, you should always italicise the title of the work you are referencing. 

The key thing to remember is that where there are two titles in the reference (e.g. a journal title and an article title, or a book title and a book chapter title, you must italicise the title of the main component (i.e. the journal title or book title) and not the sub component (i.e. the journal article title or the book chapter title).

For example:

Saunders, A. (2009). Lessons learned: Planning for post-disaster recovery and 
        reconstruction, The Australasian Journal of Trauma Studies, 2(4), 245-263.

Grant, K. (2011). A framework for thinking about technology pedagogy. In M. Beverly
       (Ed.), Technology for children: New trends in research. (pp. 87-103). London: