5.3 Citing Sources in a Reference List

As detailed in the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2020), if you cite information from someone else’s work in the text of your paper, you also need to include a more detailed reference entry for that work in a reference list at the end of your paper.

Formatting Your Reference List

The reference list should start on its own page at the end of your paper (but prior to any tables, figures, or appendices) with a centred title in bold at the top that reads “References.”

The list of references should be double-spaced (along with the rest of your paper) and arranged in alphabetical order by authors’ last names.

How to Create a Hanging Indent

All but the first line of each reference list entry should be indented (called a “hanging indent”).

To format hanging indents in Microsoft Word, highlight your reference entries and then select the following keys:
– On a PC select: CTRL + T
– On a Mac select: Command + T

Author Information

Works with a single author

List the author’s last name, followed by the first and middle initials of other given names that appear on the work:

Lunny, A. M. (2017). Debating hate crime: Language, legislatures, and the law in Canada. UBC Press.

2 to 20 authors

List the authors in the order in which they appear on the work. For each person, include the author’s last name, followed by the first and middle initials of other names given, separated by a comma, and an “&” symbol before the last author:

Livingstone, D. W., Pollock, K., & Raykov, M. (2014). Family binds and glass ceilings: Women managers’ promotion limits in a ‘knowledge economy.’ Critical Sociology, 42(1), 145-166. https://doi.org/10.1177/0896920514532663

21 or more authors

List the first nineteen authors, followed by an ellipsis, then the last author:

Schrijver, L. H., Olsson, H., Phillips, K. A., Terry, M. B., Goldgar, D. E., Kast, K., Engel, C., Mooij, T. M., Adlard, J., Barrowdale, D., Davidson, R., Eeles, R., Ellis, S., Evans, D. G., Frost, D., Izatt, L., Porteous, M. E., Side, L. E., Walker, L., . . . Rookus, M. A. (2018). Oral contraceptive use and breast cancer risk: Retrospective and prospective analyses from a BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carrier cohort study.  JNCI Cancer Spectrum, 2(2), Article pky023. https://doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pky023

Multiple works by the same author

In cases where you refer to multiple works by the same author, list the references by date, beginning with the earliest work. If works were published in the same year, add a letter to the year starting with “a” (this same letter should also appear in your in-text citation when referencing that work):

Goffman, E. (1969a). Strategic interaction. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Goffman, E. (1969b). Where the action is: Three essays. Allen Lane.

Goffman, E. (1981). Forms of talk. University of Pennsylvania Press.

In-text: “. . .” (Goffman, 1969b, p. 45)

Date of Publication

When citing articles and books, you only need to include the year of publication in brackets following author information.

For information from websites, newspapers, social media or magazines include (year, month, day), if provided in the source:

Hughes, G. (2017, December 20). Montreal suspends pit bull ban, plans consultations. The Globe and Mail. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/montreal-suspends-pit-bull-ban-plans-consulations/article37393139/

If no date is given, include the following in place of a date: (n.d.):

Canadian Association of Research Libraries. (n.d.). Repositories in Canada. http://www.carl-abrc.ca/advancing-research/institutional-repositories/repos-in-canada

Titles of Works

Only capitalize the first word of titles, the first word of any sub-titles that follow a colon, and any proper nouns appearing in the title:

Sunga, S. (2017). Dealing with oppression: Indigenous relations with the state in Canada.
Ethics & Social Welfare, 11(2), 135-148. https://doi.org/10.1080/17496535.2017.1293118

Format Descriptions

Describe the format in square brackets following the title only if the source you are citing is something out of the ordinary, e.g., [Data set] [Infographic] [Status update] [Tweet] [Video]:

​Polley, S. (Writer & Director). (2012). Stories we tell [Film]. Toronto, ON: Mongrel Media.

Publication or Retrieval Information

Digital Object Identifiers

Digital object identifiers (DOI) serve as tracking numbers that make it easier to locate online works.

Include a DOI at the end of a reference, if available. DOIs are commonly noted on the first page of journal articles, and in the front matter of eBooks.

Ensure that the DOI is presented as a link, preceded by http://doi.org/ or https://doi.org/. The link can be plain text or presented as an active link (typically in blue font, underlined):

Sunga, S. (2017). Dealing with oppression: Indigenous relations with the state in Canada. Ethics & Social Welfare11(2), 135-148. https://doi.org/10.1080/17496535.2017.1293118 

Works Without a DOI From a Database or in Print

For articles without a DOI from a library database, or in print, do not include any additional information following the page numbers:

Frenzel, E. D., Bowen, K. N., Spraitz, J. D., Bowers, J. H., & Phaneuf, S. (2014). Understanding collateral consequences of registry laws: An examination of the perceptions of sex offender registrants. Justice Policy Journal11(2), 1-22.

For eBooks from a library database without a DOI, or for books in print, only include the publisher following the title:

Lunny, A. M. (2017). Debating hate crime: Language, legislatures, and the law in Canada. UBC Press.

Freely Available Online Content Without a DOI

If a source is freely available online without a DOI, such as a news article or government report, include a link to the source. The link can be plain text or presented as an active link (typically in blue font, underlined):

Department of Justice Canada. (2017, August 8). The youth criminal justice act summary and background. https://web.archive.org/web/20190406015246/https://justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/yj-jj/tools-outils/back-hist.html

Pro tip: If you are worried about website information changing or becoming inactive over time, try creating a permanent link to that content using the Internet Archive’s Save Page Now tool and include that link in your citation.


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Navigating an Undergraduate Degree in the Social Sciences by Diane Symbaluk, Robyn Hall, and Geneve Champoux is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.