When it comes to creating your APA reference page, it belongs on a separate page after the body of your paper. The formatting of your APA 7 reference page includes 1-inch margins, double spacing, alphabetically ordered references, and a hanging indent. Use this step-by-step guide to walk you through the process to ensure everything is correct on your APA reference page.

What is APA reference page?

An APA reference page is where you'll find all of the in-text citation references in your research. It provides who, when, what and where information for each resource you use.

Like the paper itself, the bibliography includes the same elements found in the body of the paper, such as optional running headers, titles, double spacing, page numbers, and 1-inch margins. However, it also has some special formatting requirements, such as sorting alphabetically and having a hanging indent.

Difference Between APA Bibliography and a Reference Page

The distinction between a bibliography and a reference page is one of degree. A bibliography usually includes all the materials and sources used to write the paper. On the other hand, a reference page only contains entries for works specifically cited in the text of the paper.

What about the annotated bibliography?

There are some cases in which a professor or journal may request an annotated bibliography. An annotated bibliography is a reference page that includes your comments and insights on each source.

An annotated bibliography may be a document in itself or may be part of a larger document. Creating an annotated bibliography can be an assignment, or you may need to include one as part of your research paper, journal submission, or another project.

If you need to add an APA annotated bibliography, it goes on its page inside the Appendix after the References page.

What are the main rules for making an APA reference list?

There are unique formatting rules to follow for each reference entry, but in general, remember these key rules for the entire reference list:

  • The word "References" should be centred in bold font at the top of a new page.
  • Double spacing is used throughout this page.
  • Alphabetize entries by authors' last names.
  • Create a hanging indent for each respective source you add to the list. A hanging indent is where a paragraph's second and all following lines are indented more than the first. To create a hanging indent, highlight your quote and use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+T.

General APA Formatting Requirements

When writing your APA paper, it's all about the format. The following are the basic APA formatting rules applicable to an academic research paper.

  • Double spacing and typed (not handwritten) work are required.
  • All work must be submitted on 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
  • A page heading should run on each essay page, with the page numbers flowing to the right. Additionally, professional papers include an abbreviated version of the essay's title in less than 50 characters. This is called running head.
  • One-inch margin is required on each page.
  • The font should be very clear and readable. Times New Roman in 12-point is suggested.
  • The essay should have three sections: title page, body and references. Business papers also include an abstract, according to APA 7.
  • Include a centred (horizontally and vertically) heading on the title page. The name of the author should appear beneath the title. Below, the author's name should be the organization to which the author is affiliated.
  • The abstract should be on the second page of the professional essay. It should be titled "Abstract" and contain 150 to 200 words. The abstract includes key information from the research, such as the topic, question, methodology, analysis, participants, and overall analysis.
  • Citations in the body of the work should include the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number of the citation.
  • An indication phrase followed by the author, year, and page number is sufficient for short citations: Smith states, "Further scholarship is demanded on this important and timely topic" (2009, 50).
  • Block quotes should be used for quotations that are longer than 40 words. Block quotes contain a lead-in phrase and are indented and single-spaced. They also end with a quote.
  • When paraphrasing, include the author's name, date, and page number, just as you would with a citation: According to Smith (2009), current data suggests that more research is needed (pg. 50).

Common Errors in APA Reference Lists

Authors names

Use last name and initials.

Capitalization in the title of an article or chapter.

Only capitalize the title's first word, the first word after a colon or period, and any proper nouns.

Volume and issue number

A single-digit number is rarely included. Instead, it is used only when the journal is paginated separately by issue.

Web Page

Ensure it's a webpage, not a journal article or report you found online. View the date the content was created. Do not use the website's copyright date.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier)

A unique alphanumeric string is specified to identify the content and provide a permanent link to its online location. Not all journals have a DOI, so please consult the APA guide section on how to treat those citations.

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