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APA 6th Edition Referencing: Formatting

This is a Wintec guide to help you with referencing in the American Psychological Association (APA) style.


APA referencing consists of two parts:

  1. An in-text citation within your assignment
  2. A full entry in the reference list at the end of your assignment

Reference List

At the end of your assignment, you are required to provide full reference information for each source you have used. Reference lists give full information about the printed and electronic sources referred to in your writing so that your reader is able to locate the sources you used. 

The items in your reference list need to be: 

  • In alphabetical order, by the author/producer’s surname, in the order they appear on the title page
  • Combined in one list—do not separate different types of sources
  • In correct format (brackets, punctuation, capital letters, italics, etc.) as in the examples in this guide. This includes underlining all URLs so they are active hyperlinks.
  • In ‘hanging indent’ format 
  • Checked with your department for their preferred line spacing

Remember, be consistent!

How do I format the reference list?

For APA referencing, the reference list at the end of your assignment needs to be single-spaced. Each reference needs to have a hanging indent with a single line spacing between each reference, as shown below:

Hales, M. (2012). Community health nursing. In A. Berman, S. Snyder, B. Kozier, G. Erb, T. Levett- Jones, T. Dwyer,…D. Stanley (Eds.), Kozier and Erb’s fundamentals of nursing (1st Australian ed., Vol. 2, pp. 123-132). Frenchs Forest, Australia: Pearson.

Hubbard, J., Thomas, C., & Varnham, S. (2010). Principles of law for New Zealand business students (4th ed.). Auckland, New Zealand: Pearson.

Stulz, J. (2006). Integrating exposure therapy and analytic therapy in trauma treatment. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76(4), 482-488. doi:10.1037/0002-9432.76.4.482

Steps to format your reference list

  1. Enter your APA references and organise them alphabetically.                  
  2. Highlight them with your mouse.
  3. In Word, click the arrow in the bottom right hand corner of the Paragraph box

  4. This opens up an options box. Select Hanging from the drop-down box under Indentation – Special.

  5. Select Single from the drop-down box under Line spacing.
    Note: Check with your tutor what line spacing they prefer.

  6. Click OK.

  7. Alternatively, you can highlight your whole reference list and then press [Ctrl] + [t] (Windows) / [Command] + [t] (Mac) and this should create a hanging indent for you.

What is the difference between a bibliography and reference list?

A bibliography is a list of all sources used while researching for an assignment. A reference list is ONLY the sources that were included in the assignment, either as direct quotations or paraphrases. Tutors usually only require a reference list.

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