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How To Write References For A Research Paper In APA Style


Plagiarism is abominable in the world of writing references for a research paper. Each writing style has its own way of citing sources. American Psychological Association otherwise regarded as APA, is the accepted style used in citing sources in social sciences. There are basic rules used in writing endnotes/footnotes, in-text citations, as well as the reference page. Below is a list of basic rules applied in citing sources as per the APA style for any research paper;


  • A new page with a title at the top centre labelled “References” marks the beginning of your list.

  • A list of cited sources list appears at the end of the paper in the new page. All sources cited within the paper should be included and also all entries in the source list should in your text.

  • Double space all text

  • Left indent all lines below the first entry line at one and a half inch. This is also referred to as hanging indentation.

  • Always invert author’s name. Write the surname first. The surname of the first author and other authors’ names should be written in initials.

  • The surname of the first author of individual work forms the alphabetical sequence in the entry.

  • Chronological order is used if several articles of the same author(s) are listed in a similar order. Start from the earliest article to the most recent.

  • Indicate the title of a journal in full.

  • Do not change capitalization and punctuation as it is in the journal title.

  • Major words in the journal titles should be in capital.

  • Only the first letter of the Title’s first word, proper nouns, and first word after a dashor colon in the title and proper nouns should be capitalised. The second word’s first letter in a word that is a hyphenated compound should not be capitalized.

  • Titles of journals and books should be in italics.

  • Edited collections’ journal articletitles should not be in italics underlined nor put in quotes.

Finally, take note that the reference list should not include personal communication. Instead, casually cite the author’s name, the phrase “personal communication” and the date of the talk in the main text only. When citing audiovisual media and motion picture or video tape that is not widely distributed, indicate the country of origin, full address and zip code. This information is usually available from the distributor.