Learn and Generate Bibliographies, Citations, and Works Cited

Arranging Your APA Reference List


Arranging your APA Reference list in the proper format is an important part of completing your research paper. As you prepare and write your paper, you should be compiling a preliminary reference list or bibliography that contains all the information you need for your citations. Make sure all your citations are accurate and lead your reader directly to the same source you used for your paper.

Student Arranging an APA Reference List

Reference Elements

Each source should contain this information, follow the proper citation formatting style.

  • Author name
  • Publication Date
  • Title
  • Publication Information.

Basic Formatting of an APA Paper

Format your APA paper using the following instructions:

  • Double space (Even your citations in your reference paper)
  • 1” Margins – top, bottom, left, right
  • Times New Roman – 12 point font
  • Do not justify lines, use flush-left style
  • Indent paragraphs (First line five spaces)

Order of Pages

The pages of your APA paper should be numbered starting with the title page. Each page contains a running head, which is a shortened version of the title.

Title Page Includes
Running head
Author byline
Institutional affiliation
Author note
*author note is a brief author bio or acknowledgements


Abstract (page 2)
Summary and/evaluation of another’s work.


Text (page 3…..)
Literature Review
References (new page)


Reference List

While formatting your reference list, follow the same format guidelines as the research paper.

Reference List Includes
Center References in middle of page
Do not bold, underline or capitalize
Include the running head
Continue page numbering

Order of References

Alphabetize letter by letter

Reference list entries are arranged in the letter by letter alphabetizing method using the author’s last name first, then first name initials. Often you will find the names of the same researchers and writers, as they specialize in certain fields. For example, Paul Jaeger, is a well-known expert in the field of library information and has several articles published by himself and with other experts. In this case, you will alphabetize by the order of the author’s name as listed in the publication.

APA Abbreviations

APA style has acceptable abbreviations for editions, volumes, and so forth. Use these abbreviations in your reference entry:

Rev. ed.Revised edition
2nd ed.second edition
Ed. (Eds.)Editor (Editors)
n.d.no date
Vol. Volume (ex: Vol. 8)
Vols.Volumes (ex: Vols. 3-8)
Tech. Rep.Technical Report

Source: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition.

Note: To indicate an edition, use lower case ed. but to indicate an editor, capitalize it Ed.

Arranging your APA paper and reference list correctly is important. However, just read your assignment rubric and follow these instructions and you’ll be sure to do a good job on your paper. Your final task is to make sure that every in-text citation corresponds to a reference list citation.

Related Articles

How to Alphabetize Your APA Reference List

Creating a School Project in APA Style

About the author

Adrienne Mathewson

Adrienne Mathewson, Editor-in-Chief of Bibliography.com, is an Information Professional with a Master’s in Library, Information & Science from San José State University with an emphasis on information literacy and scholarly publishing. She is a certified librarian through the State of New Mexico.

Add comment

three × four =