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Health Research Guide: APA Source Documentation

Reference Lists

Reference List Rules

In APA style, you will document the list of sources you used for your project or paper in a Reference List. Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Double space your reference list.
  • All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation.
  • All authors' names should be inverted (i.e., last names should be provided first).
  • Authors' first and middle names should be written as initials.
  • Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.
  • Capitalize only the first word of titles of books and articles. 
  • Italicize titles of longer works (e.g., books, edited collections, names of newspapers, and so on).

Reference List Example

APA Citation Format & Example for Various Source Types



Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of book. Publisher. URL


Murphy, C. (2020). The violence inside us: A brief history of an ongoing American tragedy. Random House             

      Publishing Group.

Webpages & Online Content:


Lastname, F. M. (Year, Month Date). Title of page. Site name. URL


Group/Organization name. (Year, Month Date). Title of page. Site name. URL


Minnesota Department of Public Safety. (2022). Distracted driving. Office of Traffic     

Safety. driving/Pages/default.aspx#:~:text=Distracted%20Driving%20is


Online Database Sources:


Lastname, F. M. or Organization (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Vol.(Issue), page numbers. DOI


Lewis, L. L. (2020, June 3). Here to help; How to protect children from drowning. New York Times, A3(L).

In-Text Citation Guidelines

In-Text Citation Guidelines

 An APA in-text citation is included in research projects in three instances:

  1. When using a direct quote
  2. Paraphrasing information
  3. Referring to a piece of information from another source. 

When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation.

This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, like, for example, (Jones, 1998).  Here are a few other examples:

  • More than 300 million people worldwide are affected by depression (World Health Organization, 2018).
  • Gass and Varonis (1984) found that the most important element in comprehending non-native speech is familiarity with the topic.
  • Gass and Varonis (1984) found that “the listener’s familiarity with the topic of discourse greatly facilitates the interpretation of the entire message” (p. 85).