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APA 7 Resource Center: Reference List


Formatting the Reference List

APA Formatting of Reference Lists

  • All entries should be double-spaced and have a hanging indent. 
  • Entries should be alphabetized by last name of the first author, followed by the initials of the author's first name.
    • If there is no author or corporate author, alphabetize by the first significant word of the title.
  • Works with corporate, agency, association, or institution authors should be alphabetized by the first significant word in the name. Make sure to write out the full official name and do not use abbreviations.
  • Make sure all reference data is accurate and complete.
  • Reference lists only include recoverable resources. Do not include personal communications in your reference list, but do include in-text citations for these these resources.
  • URLs and DOIs should be live hyperlinks when submitting your assignment electronically. 

Understanding the Reference Page

Your Reference Page will likely contain several different types of sources. Here is a sample reference page for a student paper about nursing students and anxiety. For each citation there is information about how each one was formatted: 


Anderson, D. (2018). The effect of animal-assisted therapy on nursing student anxiety [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of Kansas.

This citation is for an unpublished dissertation. Notice that after the name of the dissertation [Unpublished doctoral dissertation] shares exactly what the reference is for, instead of listing a journal or book title. Also note that the citation contains a link to the dissertation in the University of Kansas archives. 

Cornine, A. (2020). Reducing nursing student anxiety in the clinical setting: An integrative review. Nursing Education Perspectives. Advance online publication. 

This citation is for an advance online article. Notice that after the name of the journal, "Advance online publication" is noted instead of the volume, issue, and page number. 

Gutkind, L. (Ed.). (2013). I wasn’t strong like this when I started out: True stories of becoming a nurse. In Fact Books.

This citation is for a book. You do not need to distinguish between an ebook, a print book, or an electronic book found in an academic database. The citation does not contain a link, since there is no DOI available for the book. 

Medical_md_7171. (2020, April 17). Table of normal values [Infographic]. Instagram.

This citation is for an infographic that was shared on Instagram. Note that this is not a peer-reviewed source. Also note that after the title, it states [Infographic] to distinguish what exactly was cited. After that it states the platform: Instagram, and is followed by the direct link.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2012). Depression and college students: Answers to college students’ frequently asked questions about depression. (NIH Publication No. 12-4266). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health.

This is a citation for a government document. Notice it includes the official government publication number after the title, and includes all of the government agencies noted in the report. The information to cite this material can be found on the last page of the publication. The publication PDF can be found from the link at the end of the citation.

Nugent, P., & Vitale, B. (2018). Test success: Test taking techniques for beginning nursing students (8th ed.). F. A. Davis Company.

This is another standard book citation. Note there is no link at the end of the citation: If you do not have a DOI you do not need to include a link. 

Parkes, C. [Level Up RN]. (2019, January 31). Tips from Cathy for nursing students and nurses. [Video]. YouTube.

This is a citation for a YouTube video. Note the citation begins with the real name of the creator followed by their YouTube account ID or account name. If the real name is not available, use the YouTube account ID. Also note after the title, the type of work is added as [Video] and is then followed by the platform, which is YouTube. 

Stewart, P., Greene, D., & Coke, S. (2018). Effects of a peer evaluation technique on nursing students’ anxiety levels. Nurse Educator, 43(4), 219-222.

This is a standard journal article from a library database, complete with its DOI (formatted as a link). 

Trends in nursing education. (2017, August 30). Community College Daily.

This is a citation for an article on a website. however it could also be classified as a blog post or newsletter. Note there is no author listed, so the title is listed first. Also note, there is no "retrieved from" date, as this content is not expected to change over time. 


One of the most important things to remember for APA style formatting is consistency! The APA has not released guidelines on every single type of resource because the possibilities are endless. Just remember to follow the general formats when creating a citation, include as much information as necessary, and be consistent! If you have questions about how to cite a particular resource, feel free to contact the library. Our contact information can be found on the "Get More Help" page of this guide.

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