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APA Reference Page

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Written by
Dr. Simon Robbins
  • Icon Calendar 16 May 2024
  • Icon Page 1315 words
  • Icon Clock 7 min read

Besides all the important aspects of formatting, referencing the used sources appeared to be one of the most important things to do. Even students in high school understand that borrowed ideas have to be cited properly with the list of the used sources at the end of the paper. However, it is never obvious on how the formatting has to be done without learning specific rules that must be followed. As a result, the APA reference page has unique guidelines on how to organize each source so that it adheres to all the norms of the American Psychological Association (APA).

General Aspects of APA Format

The American Psychological Association (APA) styling technique or the APA format is one of the paper formats that students and other scholars use in academic essays, studies, or other types of papers. Because the APA format reference page is a compulsory component, knowledge regarding the development of correct in-text citations is not adequate to complete the APA style paper. In this case, people regulate a reference list that follows APA style citation by rules concerning general structure, presentation of the authors’ names, alphabetization, italicization, and capitalization.

How to Organize the Reference Page in APA

Knowledge of how to organize the APA format reference page is important for people who work with academic papers. After finishing the writings, some scholars may face issues of how to organize the used sources in the text. In this case, if someone chooses the APA format, then this person must follow specific rules in organizing the reference page. In particular, people must know the main principles of the structure, cover authors’ names, and follow the rules of alphabetization, italicization, and capitalization.

The Structure of the Reference Page

.Some basic structure rules create uniformity in the APA format reference page. Firstly, the APA reference page begins on a separate page after the text of the essay body. People consider the reference list as an independent section of an essay, being on the new page. Secondly, the reference list must be titled, “References.” In this case, people must center the title on the page with no additional styling to its text. Thirdly, people follow the double-spaced interval for the entries in the APA citation format with no extra spaces between them. Also, spacing in the reference list should be identical. Finally, all entries are aligned to the left margin. However, the second and subsequent lines of each entry are indented by half an inch from the margin. The hanging indentation used for the entries is a non-alterable rule of the APA reference format.

APA Reference Page

Formatting Authors’ Names in APA

The presentation of the authors’ names in the APA format reference page follows a specific style. For example, the names of the authors are usually inverted. In turn, writers present all other names except the last name by initials followed by a period. Also, they put the last name first. People separate the names by a comma. Besides the last name, an initial followed by a period replaces other names. If there are multiple initials, there is a single space between them. Then, the seventh author is the last one. If there are eight or more authors, scholars must list the names of the first six authors. Moreover, they place ellipses followed by the name of the last author. Hence, people follow the exclusion of some authors’ names to ensure consistency in referencing sources with multiple authors.

Alphabetization for the APA Format Reference Page

Scholars follow the alphabetic order in organizing the APA format reference page. Basically, they follow alphabetization for all entries by using the last name of the first author. In cases where the author is an organization, they should use the first word in the organization’s name during this process. If there is an author or a group of authors with multiple publications, writers must organize the citation entries in chronological order. In this case, it starts with the earliest publication date in the APA paper. All entries in the citation list are arranged systematically. Therefore, this arrangement technique facilitates the easy location of a source’s complete details regardless of the position of the in-text citation in the essay.

Italicization in APA Format

The use of italics in the APA format reference page varies depending on the nature of the work. For instance, the titles of long works are italicized, like journal and book titles. In turn, the italicization of longer works allows for the audience to quickly distinguish between short and long works. Also, the titles of short works do not undergo special formatting. In this case, people do not place it in quotation marks, underlined, or italicized in the APA format reference page.

Capitalization on the APA Reference Page

People follow capitalization by specific styling rules in the APA format reference page. For example, people write the titles of all works in sentence case. It means that writers must capitalize only the first letter of the first word. Besides, they must use capital letters sparingly within the titles of sources. However, there are exceptions. Basically, students or other scholars can capitalize the word immediately after a colon or dash and proper nouns. It is worth noting that journal titles are not subjected to this restriction and written in the exact punctuation and capitalization that they are originally published.

Key Rules for the APA Reference Page

  • The APA reference page (list of sources) should be at the end of your work.
  • Place this page separately from the text to increase readability. Therefore, the APA format reference page should start from a blank list.
  • Such a page should have a specific heading that identifies what you are writing on that page. Consequently, the APA reference page has a heading “References.”
  • Even in the cases where there is only one source on the APA reference page, you must still use “Reference” heading. Hence, that is simply a rule of APA formatting.
  • Also, center the word “References.”
  • The word “References” should appear on the top of the page.
  • While we are dealing with formatting, you must never try to highlight the “References” word additionally. So, no italicization, weird fonts, and so on. Simple, plain text in Times New Roman, 12pt.
  • For all further lines, the writer should use the hanging indentation. However, the indentation should be 0,5 inch.
  • Use double space for the APA reference page.
Reference page


  • The list of all sources used has to be organized alphabetically.
  • As a fact, the last names of all authors go first, making them inverted.
  • Consequently, 7 authors per source are the limit in the APA reference page. Therefore, if there are more than 7 authors present in work, you put ellipses after the 6th and mention the last author after that.
  • Title of the books, as well as journal/periodicals’ names, should be italicized.
  • Also, you should never italicize or put in quotation marks the title of the articles or parts of the lengthy works, such as chapters.
  • Additionally, as for the titles of works, use sentence case. For more information on sentence and title case, make sure to check the APA citation rules article on my blog.
  • However, for the names of periodicals/journals, use title case.
  • Do not forget about the phrase “Retrieved from” at the end of the citation for online sources. Hence, the phrase has to be followed by a link of where the source was taken from. Additionally, there should be no hyperlinks on the APA reference page. Therefore, make sure you delete it if this appears because the text should not be different from the plain text.

Conclusion on the APA Format Reference Page

Summing up, styling an APA format reference page requires a deep understanding of the rules. Besides, citing in APA format is not comprehensive because the discussed rules of the APA writing style only highlight the primary formatting requirements of the reference list.

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