Educational Research
APA Format for References

The purpose of the References section is to provide your reader with information about how to retrieve each source that you used in preparing your paper. If somebody is reading your paper and is interested in one of the citations they see in the body of your paper, they should be able to find the exact source based on the information provided in your References section. The following rules should guide your construction of the References list.

To help you keep track of your references, it is advisable that you record the referencing information for every single work that you read while you are preparing your manuscript. That way, you never have to waste time searching for the reference information for a work that you cited in your paper. Whenever I take notes on articles, I always list the complete reference at the top of the notes for future use.

APA guidelines on writing references are very specific and strict in terms of order of information, capitalization, and punctuation. When writing a reference, you must be very detail-oriented. With the following examples, pay careful attention to every detail, including which words are capitalized; which words are italicized; and where the commas, full-stops, colons, and brackets are located.

Parts of a Reference

The first part of a reference lists the authors. When there are multiple authors who wrote a paper, the authors are listed in the order of which they contributed to the paper. In other words, the first author did the most work, the second author did the second most work, and so on. Therefore, always list the authors in the order in which they are listed in the manuscript.

Authors should be listed with their surname first, followed by a comma, then the initials of any additional names followed by full stops. Use commas to separate authors. Use the ampersand sign (&) immediately before the last author. Conclude the authors with a full stop.

If the author happens to be a group (i.e., International Reading Association), spell out the full name of the group and finish wih a full stop.

For example, a work authored by Edward Onuka, Frank Gerald Obialo, and Henry Onyekachijet would be listed as: Onuka, E., Obialo, F. G., & Onyekachijet, H. Note the initials, commas between names, and the ampersand sign.

Publication Date
After the authors, the publication year is listed in brackets followed by a full stop.

Most publications will only require the year. However, include the month for conferences and the month and date for newspapers. If no date is available, write n.d. in brackets.

For example, a journal article will be listed as (2010). An academic conference will be listed as (2010, February). A newspaper will be listed as (2010, February 16).

Title of Article or Chapter
For journal articles or book chapter, the next part is the title of the article or book chapter. Only capitalize the first word of the title, first word of the subtitle, and proper nouns. Finish with a full stop.

For example, list the title of this journal article as Problem solving strategies: Synthesis of research. Note the only capitalized words are the first word of the title, Problems, and the first word of the subtitle, Synthesis.

The rest of the reference now becomes a little more tricky and depends on the type of material you are referencing.

Journal Article
After listing the title of the journal article, give the complete journal title in upper and lower case letters. Add a comma after the journal title, followed by the volume number of the journal and another comma. Italicize both the journal title and the volume number. Conclude by listing the inclusive page numbers of the article. For example, a complete journal article citation will look like this:

Taylor, B. M., Frye, B. J., & Maruyama, G. M. (1990). Time spent reading and reading growth. American Educational Research Journal, 27, 351-362.

After the year, the title of the journal article is listed: Time spent reading and reading growth. The journal title, American Educational Research Journal, is followed by the volume number, 27. Both the journal title and volume is italicized. The page numbers, 351-362, finish with a full stop. Notice that the word "vol." is not necessary. Anybody with a good knowledge of APA format will understand that the volume number is 27. The issue number does not have to be listed. If you choose to include the issue number, enclose it in brackets immediately after the volume number, like this:

Taylor, B. M., Frye, B. J., & Maruyama, G. M. (1990). Time spent reading and reading growth. American Educational Research Journal, 27(3), 351-362.

After the publication date, the title of a book is italicized with only the first word of the title and subtitle captialized. A full stop follows the title. Then the publication location is listed, followed by a colon, and then the publication company.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

The book title, Mind in society, is italicized. The book was published in Cambridge, MA. A colon separates the publication location and the publisher: Harvard University Press.

Book Chapter
After the title of the chapter, the editors of the book are listed. Start with "In" and then list the editors. The editor names are written opposite of the chapter authors. The editor names are listed with their intials first. After the editor names, write "(Ed.)," for one editor or "(Eds.)," for multiple editors. For example, In A. B. Asuru & D. Wakaso (Eds.), After the editor names, then write the title of the book italicized. Do not put any punctuation after the book title. Immediately after the book title, list the inclusive chapter page numbers in brackets like this: (pp. 321-358). The full stop comes after the page numbers. Finish the citation with the publishing location, colon, and publisher exactly like a book.

Mazzoni, S. A., & Gambrell, L. B. (2003). Principles of best practice: Finding the common ground. In L. M. Morrow, L. B. Gambrelll, & M. Pressley (Eds.), Best practices in literacy instruction (pp. 9-21). New York: The Guilford Press.

The editors were listed after the book chapter title with their initials first and surnames last. The book title, Best practices in literacy instruction, is italicized. The page numbers are listed after the book title, and then the full stop. Finally, the book publishing location, colon, and the publisher are listed.

Internet Website
Websites begin exactly as the other sources. Find the author of the website. This may be an individual or it may be an organization (e.g., National Council of Teachers of Mathematics). Then find the year that the website was copyrighted, which is likely listed at the bottom of the website. The title of the website will likely be centered close to the top of the page. The article title is italicized. Then write "Retrieved" followed by the date which the website was retrieved, then comma, then the word "from" and then the website url. The website url is the address that is typed into the browser. Copy this url exactly because it is like a telephone number: if any part of the url is wrong, then another person will get a wrong number. When citing websites, do not finish with a full stop. This might confuse a reader who is trying to access the same website.

Darko-Ampem, K. (2004). Reading habits of standard 5-7 pupils in Gaborone, Botswana: A pilot survey. Retrieved January 5, 2010, from

The title of the paper is italicized. The article was retrieved on January 5, 2010 from the url.

The next few pages will give examples of where to find the information for each reference. If you want to cite a specific type of article, click on the type of paper below. If you want to learn to cite all types of articles, click "NEXT."

Journal Articles


Book Chapters

Conference Paper

Dissertations and other student projects

Newspaper Articles



Return to APA Format Homepage

Return to KorbEdPsych Homepage