Citing and referencing: APA 6th

A guide to the styles recommended by Monash schools and departments for students and researchers

American Psychological Association (APA) style

APA 6th Edition

APA style is an author-date citation style. It was developed mainly for use in psychology, but has also been adopted by other disciplines.

There are two major components to the APA author-date style

  • the in-text author-date citation at the appropriate place within the text of the document, e.g. (Smith, 2010), and
  • the detailed reference list at the end of the document.

All in-text citations must have a corresponding reference list entry, and the converse applies for reference list entries.

This guide is based on more detailed information in:

Frequently asked questions about APA style

APA Academic Writer is a new online resource designed to assist in the application of APA style formatting rules.

Printing this guide: Please note printing directly from pages in this guide may alter the citation formatting display. A printable document is available below.  Note that this document is adapted from this online guide and does not contain all information and examples. Please use it in conjunction with the online guide which is more regularly updated.

Reference list: General notes

  • Important: Please carefully check your assignment instructions, or with your lecturer, for any specific referencing requirements.
  • Begin your reference list on a new page and title it References, then centre the title on the page.
  • Double-space your reference list and have a hanging indent:
    • To double-space, highlight the reference list then choose "CTRL 2" (PC) or "Command 2" (Mac)
    • Hanging indent: Left align the first line of each reference with subsequent lines indented to the right to a width of    
      5 -7 spaces or 1.25 cm. Highlight the reference list then choose "CTRL t" (PC) or "Command t" (Mac).
  • All of the references in the reference list must also be cited in the text.
  • All references cited in text must also be included in the reference list (unpublished items, such as personal
    correspondence, are an exception).
  • List the references in alphabetical order by author surname/family name according to the first listed author. (Note: the order of the authors on a document is important. Do not rearrange them).
  • Where there are two articles with the same authors and date, order the references alphabetically by article title and add a letter suffix to the year of publication (e.g. 2003a, 2003b...).
  • Provide organisation names in full, unless they are obviously recognisable as abbreviations (e.g. APA for American Psychological Association).
  • Do not add full stops to URLs (e.g.
  • In an article, chapter or book title capitalize only the first word of the title and of the subtitle, if any, and any proper nouns. A proper noun is a person, place or entity. (Note: book titles should be italicised).
  • In a periodical, journal, or serial title, give the title in full, in upper and lower case letters. The title should be italicised (e.g. Harvard Business Review).
  • APA requires use of an en dash between pagination numbers. An en dash is longer and thinner than a hyphen. Type in an en dash, or if an en dash is unavailable on the keyboard, use a single hyphen. In either case there is no space before or after. We recommend consulting your faculty staff to determine their requirements.
  • Check the reference details against the actual source - you are indicating that you have read that source when you cite it.
  • Be consistent with your referencing style across the document.

Author layout guidance

Where a publication has: List authors in the reference list as:
One author Author, A. A.
Two authors Author, A. A., & Author B. B.
Three to seven authors

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., Author, C. C., Author, D. D., Author, E. E., Author, F. F., & Author, G. G.

Eight or more authors - list first six authors, add a three dot elipse, then the last author Author, A. A., Author, B. B., Author, C. C., Author, D. D., Author, E. E., Author, F. F., ...Author, Z. Z.
No author Transfer the title to the author space
Two or more works by same author

Use author's name for all entries and list entries by year - earliest year comes first.

If they are the published in the same year, list alphabetically by title, assigning a suffix of a, b, c, d etc after the year (e.g. 2011a, 2011b)

a group or corporate author Spell the name out