How to Format an APA Bibliography

The American Psychological Association (APA) style guide dictates the writing style, format and resource citation methods in academic and professional writing used primarily in the social sciences. APA style creates consistency across the disciplines and provides future researchers with reliable information which can be easily cross-checked.

Reference List

What is referred to as a bibliography in some style guides is known as a reference list in APA style. It contains an alphabetized list of all the resources used within a research paper. According to the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, the reference list appears at the end of the document, but before any appendices and is titled with the word "References" centered at the top of the page.


As is true with the rest of APA style papers, the reference list must be double spaced, using a simple 12 font type, such as Times New Roman. Resources are listed with the last name, first initial of the author or authors of the articles. Up to seven authors are included for each listing on the reference page. For articles with more than seven authors, ellipses follow the sixth name and end with the last author’s name. The year of publication is then set in parenthesis, followed by the full article title, with major words capitalized. Next comes the journal title set in italics, followed by the volume, then the issue in parenthesis, and finally, the page numbers. The first line of each resource entry is left justified and subsequent lines are indented one-half inch.