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Run-On Sentences

Run-on sentences occur when writers try to combine more than one idea into a single sentence. They cause confusion because readers are not sure when one idea ends and the next one begins. Read our entry and test your knowledge with our quiz!

APA References

The American Psychological Association (APA) produces a style manual that lists rules for how writers in the social sciences should format their work. These rules standardize writing, provide credit to sources, and help readers locate source material. 

This is a brief guide to writing references in APA style.  Page numbers will refer to the APA Publication Manual, 6th edition. Please see our other pages on APA Style for more information on formatting your paper and citing sources in the text

  1. Formatting the Reference List
    1. Abbreviations
    2. Arabic Numerals
    3. Alphabetizing Entries
    4. Multiple Works by One Author
  2. Reference Components
    1. Authors
    2. Multiple Works by One Author
    3. Group Authors, No Author
    4. Editors
    5. Publication Date
    6. Title
    7. Nonroutine Information
  3. Publication Information
    1. Periodicals
    2. Nonperiodicals
    3. Electronic Resources


Formatting the Reference List

Center the head References. Double-space all entries. First line of each entry starts at the margin, but the next is indented. This is called the "hanging indent" (p. 37). See below for details on what to include in specific entries. 


A reference list is not a bibliography. It does not cover background material, and it doesn’t include descriptive notes. The information you include on a reference list is merely to help the reader find the texts. Each entry should have four components: author, year of publication, title, and publishing data. 

Here’s the correct order for a book, a journal, and a web reference:

Author, A. A. (2008). Title of chapter. In E. E. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (pp. xx-xx). Location:  Publisher.

Author, A.A. (2009). Title of article. Journal Title, Volume(Issue), pp-ppp.

Author, A.A. (2012). Title of article. Website Title. Retrieved from 



The references pages make use of several abbreviations. Here's a key to the most common ones:

ed. (edition), Rev. ed. (Revised edition), 2nd ed. (second edition), Ed. Or Eds. (Editor), Trans. (Translator), n.d. (no date), p. or pp. (page or pages), Vol. (Volume), No. (Number), Pt. (Part), Tech. Rep. (Technical Report), Suppl. (Supplement).


Arabic Numerals (p. 180)

Use Arabic numerals for journal and book volume numbers, even for those that are originally written in Roman numerals.  The exception is if a title contains roman numerals (Rocky IV). 


Alphabetizing Entries (pp. 181-182)

Alphabetize entries by surname. “Nothing precedes something,” so Brown comes before Browning (p. 181). Ignore apostrophes when alphabetizing: MacNeil precedes M’Carthy (p. 182).


Multiple Works by One Author (P. 182)

Earlier dates precede later ones; works by that author alone precede works that share other authors. If the author and date are the same, alphabetize by title.


Reference Components

Parts of a reference: author, date of publication, title, and publication data. There are rules for each part:


Authors (p. 184)

Last names first. Use commas to separate an author’s surname and initials. Use an ampersand before the last author of a given title.


Multiple Works by One Author (P. 182)

Earlier dates precede later ones; works by that author alone precede works that share other authors. If the author and date are the same, alphabetize by title.


Group Authors, No Authors (p. 183)

Alphabetize by first significant word in their name. Use title for alphabetizing works with no authors. For authors identified as Anonymous, use that word. Treat legal references as works with no author—alphabetize by first significant word in entry.


Editors (p. 184)

If the reference is for a complete edited book, place editors’ names in the author position, and identify them as (Eds).

If you’re referring to a chapter in an edited book, invert the chapter authors’ names (Last name, First initial) but do not invert the editors’ names. Use the word "In" before listing the editors' names. 


Publication Date (p. 185)

Include the year in parentheses (2011). For magazines and periodicals, give the year and exact date (2002, June). If no date is available, write (n.d.). When referencing several volumes in a multivolume work, use a range of years to express the date (1942-1965). You can use circa and the date in brackets [ca.] for estimated dates.


Title (pp. 185-186)

With Article titles, capitalize only the first word of the title and the subtitle. Do not italicize the title or use quotation marks. 

Italicize periodical titles. 

For books, follow the same capitalization process but italicize the title. Some titles will have additional identifying information, such as report numbers or volume numbers, which is included in parentheses after the title (but before ending punctuation).


Nonroutine Information (p. 186)

Some types of work are in less common formats [CD, Brochure]. Identify those formats in brackets after the title.


Publication Information

Periodicals (p. 186)

Italicize the Volume number that appears after the title. Include the issue number in parentheses after the title, if available. 4(3).

Provide include page numbers for the article.


Nonperiodicals (pp. 186-187)

Give the location of the publisher (city and state, or city and country if outside the U.S.). You can find this information on the title page of the source. Abbreviate the names of U.S. states and territories. 

Use a colon to separate the location from the publisher name. 


Electronic Resources (pp. 187-192)

When an electronic article is based on a print source, include the page numbers listed. If there is a Digital Object Identifier (DOI, found on database landing page), list it:


If the DOI is available, there's nothing else needed. If it is not available, provide the URL. Write "Retrieved from" before the URL. 

Only include the retrieval date if the contents are likely to change over time (such as in a wiki).