Creating a reference list

Each source that is referred to in the text needs a corresponding entry in the reference list. The entry should contain enough identifying information about the source to allow it to be located by someone else. The information is presented as parts in a set order to help the reader identify at a glance which piece of information relates to which part.

A basic APA reference entry is made up of the following parts:

Author + Year + title+ Publisher Information or DOI or Retrieved from URL

Below are instructions for formatting the parts of an APA reference entry. When you are ready to create your entries, read the instructions and copy the punctuation used in the examples. Note that every part ends with a full stop, except DOIs and URLs, and a space follows each punctuation mark.


Who created the source?

  • This identifies the creator or principal contributor of the source.
  • It could be a person or a group (organisation or government).
  • Some sources may have more than one author.

One author

Give the author’s surname, a comma, and the initial/s of the given name/s.

Winton, T. (2001). Dirt music. Sydney, Australia: Picador.

2–7 authors

Name all authors. Separate by commas and join last author by ‘&’.

Hall, J. L., & Ashton, B. T. (2005). A spoonful of valour …

8 or more authors

Name the first six and last authors. Join last author by three dots (‘…’).

Donat, T. G., Jenkins, M., Baysch, V., Adamson, E., Wilkins, W. L., Lingstrom, A., … Farr, P. B.

Group author (government or organisation)

Give the name of the group in full followed immediately by the year of publication.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2004). Australia’s health …

Legislation/criminal cases (government or organisation)

No punctuation is required when citing legislation/criminal case. Formatting of civil law cases appears the same in the reference list as in your text.

Burger King Corp v Hungry Jack’s Pty Ltd [2001] NSWCA 187 TITLE in CIVIL CASE LAW

Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) s 124(1) TITLE in STATUTES


Publication year/date

When was the source published?

  • This identifies the year or specific date the source was made available in the version you accessed. (Use the copyright year/date if this is shown).
  • For online sources, use the year or specific date the content was created (for a page or document), or the date of posting (for a post).

What to include:

  • Enclose year of publication in round brackets.
  • Add month and day for sources with specific publication dates. (Give only year in in-text citation).

Winton, T. (2001). Dirt music. Sydney, Australia: Picador.

Greendale, N. (2006, May 4). Road toll rising. The Age, p. 13.

Same author, Same year

Add a lower case letter (‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’, etc.) to the year to reflect the order the entry appears in the reference list.

Harris, D. W. (2001a). Hadrian’s wall …

Harris, D. W. (2001b). Julius Caesar …

No year/date

Use ‘n.d.’, (stands for ‘no date’) if no year/date can be found on the source.

Gardiner, I. T. (n.d.). Life in rural Australia …


What is the source called?

  • This is the full title in the words and spelling of the source.
  • If your source is part of a larger work (e.g., article from a journal; chapter from a book), you need to include the title of each.

What to include:

  • Give the title in italics in the wording and spelling shown on the source.
  • Separate title and subtitle by a colon.
  • Give initial capitals to the first word of the title and the subtitle, and to any proper nouns.
  • Give both titles if the source is part of a larger work. No italics for parts of works.

Harris, M. (1983). The mighty Yarra: Rivers of Victoria. … TITLE AND SUBTITLE

Gerd, N. B. (2001). Method in action. Journal of Health, … PART OF & WHOLE WORK

No title

If no title, give a brief descriptive title in your own words in square brackets. No italics.

Jensen, P. R. (1945). [Wartime navy reminiscences]. Brisbane, Australia: Liberty Press.

Publication information

Who made the source available in the form I used?

  • This identifies the publisher and their location.
  • You need to include this information for print books and physical or broadcast media. You don’t need it for journals, newspapers or online sources.
  • The information can usually be found with the copyright information.

What to include:

  • If published in the USA, give city, US state (initials) and publisher.
  • If published outside the USA, give city, country and publisher.
  • Separate city and state/country by a comma and publisher by a colon.
  • If there is more than one city named on the source, give the first-named city.
  • If the publisher is also the author, use ‘Author’ instead of repeating name.

Gourley, D. (2002). Action man. Chicago, IL: Bellinger.

Temple, P. (2009). Truth. Melbourne, Australia: Text.

Gull Group. (1992). Annual report. Sydney, Australia: Author.


Is there a Digital Object Identifier [DOI]?

  • The DOI acts as a permanent link to an item. Not all material has a DOI but you need to include one whenever it has been assigned.
  • If you provide a DOI, you don’t need to give the URL or retrieval date.
  • If a DOI has been assigned, you should find it with the copyright information, or with other details on database or catalogue lists.Use a DOI when one has been assigned, even for print material. No full stop at the end. Give exactly as found on the source. If using a DOI in the original format (beginning with ‘10’) introduce it by ‘doi’ (always use lower case). New format DOIs (beginning with ‘http’) don’t need ‘doi’ added in front.


Uniform Resource Locator [URL] and retrieval date

What is the address of the source online, and when did I retrieve it?

  • This is included for sources accessed online. It tells your reader the location of the source on the Internet and the date you accessed it. It is only included if the source has no DOI.
  • Provide the URL that leads most directly and reliably to the source. Give the homepage URL if the item can be searched for easily from there or if a login is required or if the URL is unstable. Otherwise give the full URL.
  • Do not include the retrieval date unless the content you have used is likely to be edited or updated, or has no publication date.

Retrieved from