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Hints on How to Write References for a Research Paper

A reference list is an essential part of any academic paper. In order to write it properly, you will need to adhere to the strict guidelines determined by the format of the essay. The following are rules that explain how to write a correct reference list for an APA (American Psychology Association) style paper.

  • The reference list should start with a new page, titled “References” (centered).
  • All text in APA format papers must be double-spaced.
  • All the lines after the first one must be indented (0.5 inch).
  • The list should be organized alphabetically. Start with the author’s surname. If the work you enter in the reference list has more than seven authors, put ellipses after the sixth name. Include the last author’s name after the ellipses.
  • If you use several works by the same author, you will need to list them chronologically (from the earliest to recent).
  • Journal titles must be presented in full.
  • Keep the capitalization and punctuation of the original title.
  • Capitalize the first words in the names of books, articles, web pages, and chapters. When entering a journal title, capitalize every major word.

Every source cited in your paper must be added to the reference list. This way, people who read the essay will be able to find and use them in their own research.

You must remember to be very careful with quotes, especially indirect ones. It may be easy to forget adding a citation after a quote you rephrase. However, not doing so can get you accused of plagiarism. Even ideas you borrow from someone else’s work must be credited.

You can avoid missing any quotes if you highlight them when taking notes. When they are clearly marked, you won’t forget that these phrases and ideas are actually borrowed. Writing down the source in the correct format in your notepad will make compiling the reference list much easier.

Please note that APA reference list guidelines only explain how to cite the most popular sources. If you use a source that is not mentioned in the rules, you will need to turn to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. There, you will be able to find many different examples of citations. Choose the one that is the closest to your source, and be sure to stick with the chosen format throughout the paper.

It’s very important that you keep the paper’s style integral. Check the work for any formatting mistakes when editing it. You should also consult your professor in order to make sure that you understand all the regulations correctly.


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