Citation or citing sources means to include select information about books or articles you read on a topic and use in your paper. Citation is required when quoting, paraphrasing, or using the ideas (artwork, photos, videos, etc.) or words of others. The purpose of citation is to give proper credit for the information you borrow from others and to help readers find sources you used in case they want to read more from those pieces for themselves. The two main terms associated with citation are in-text citation and reference or full citation. The following rules apply to the formatting of reference citations.
Reference citations are
- listed in full citation format on a separate page, the last page of the document (unless appendices follow);
- double-spaced (no additional space is needed between citations);
- not numbered or bulleted;
- alphabetized according to the author’s last name. If a title is used because no author’s name is given, use the first significant word in the title, so if the title begins with the words A, An, or The, alphabetize using the next word in the title. (Example: The title The Whales of the Atlantic Ocean would be alphabetized using the letter “W” because “Whales” is the first significant word in the title);
- are formatted using a “hanging indent” where the second and consecutive lines are indented a half inch in order to improve readability.
- The word “References” (without quotation marks) is centered on the first line of the page in regular font.
- Two or more works by the same author are ordered chronologically by publication date.
- References with the same first author and a different second author are alphabetized by the second author.
- View a sample at the end of the Sample APA Research Paper.