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Setting up the APA Reference Page Guide with Examples

Published by at February 4th, 2022 , Revised On February 5, 2024

The reference page contains all the sources that you have cited in your research paper. This page falls right after the end of the main body text. There are some instructions to follow while setting your reference page;


  • Write “References” in bold letters at the top center of the page.
  • Start listing references in Alphabetical order.
  • Apply double space.
  • Put in hanging indent of 0.5 Inch.

APA Alphabetical Order Guidelines

The first author’s last name is used to arrange the references alphabetically. If an author is unknown, sort the reference entries by the first significant word in the title (exclude articles such as “the,” “a,” and “an“). The reference list is generally ordered automatically by word processing programs such as Word or Google Docs and citation generators. Unfortunately, if you reference multiple works by the same author or works by authors with the same last name, ordering becomes more difficult.

Source to Add on the Reference Page

It is recommended to add only the sources you have cited in the main body (in-text citation).

Do not add sources like;

  • The sources you used for consultation.
  • Personal communication like phone calls, text or emails.
  • Common knowledge.

Annotated Bibliography

In certain student papers, an annotation is used to characterise or assess the source. Below the relevant reference entry, these annotations are inserted on a new line. The whole annotation is 0.5 inch indented.

If there are several paragraphs in an annotation, the first line of the second and any following paragraphs are indented an extra 0.5 inch.

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Frequently Asked Questions

To set up a reference page in APA Formatting Style, start with the title “References” at the top. List all sources alphabetically by the author’s last name. Include the author’s name, publication year, title of the work, source information, and digital object identifier (DOI) if available. Follow the prescribed format for each source type.

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