Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Citations: APA Style (7th ed.)

How to create a document and cite using APA, 7th edition.

Formatting

Start the reference list on a new page. The word References should be bold and centered.

References should be listed in alphabetical order by whatever the first name or word is. A work without an author will be alphabetized by the first word of the article title.

All references will be double-spaced, just like everything else. They will also use a hanging indent.

References

The other pages of this guide will help you create the References themselves. If you need additional help, please get in touch with a librarian!

Basic rules:

  • Authors names are always given last name first.
  • Do not write the author's first name! Only use the first initial and, if provided, their middle initial, e.g. Smith, J. A. not Smith, John.
  • Publication years are written with the year first, followed by the month (not abbreviated) and day, if available. E.g. 2014, January 29.
  • Article titles are always written like sentences. Capitalize the first word of the title and, if used, the subtitle, as well as any proper nouns. Everything else will be lower case.
  • Website names and magazine/newspaper/journal names, however, will be properly capitalized.
  • If you have to include a place of publication (print books, movies, TV shows), include the city and state for United States locations. For international cities, also include the country.

APA: Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief description of the source in which you basically justify why that source is one of your sources.

You will summarize the relevant information you're getting from that source (but remember, this isn't your paper -- you are summarizing, not presenting all the information itself) as well as how this well help you in your research (by providing background information, by exploring a certain angle, by presenting a contrary idea...).

Creating an annotated bibliography is not simply an academic exercise. An annotated bibliography is a tool to help you summarize your source content and evaluate its place within your research. If a source satisfies your "usefulness" criteria, that source belongs on your annotated bibliography. This process begins the transition from reading sources to incorporating content (ideas, quotes, paraphrasing) into your work. It is time to "make sense" of the knowledge you have gained from your research. This knowledge is the foundation on which to build your own voice, explain your methodology, discuss your conclusions, make and report on your new knowledge. 

Of course, evaluation of sources goes beyond "usefulness" to the other elements of authority, credibility, currency, and purpose.


Consulted Saylor Academy's open access course on research concepts and the writing process:  Research Writing in The Academic Disciplines. Annotated bibliographies have additional purposes that depend on the intent of the writer/researcher and the specific discipline.  
  1. Citation
  2. Annotation is a brief and concise statement about the source. Think in terms of a "note" consisting of 5-6 sentences.
  • One sentence to evaluate why the author is an expert on the topic(authority).
  • A sentence on the intended audience of the source (purpose).
  • A few sentences (perhaps a paraphrase) that explain how this source will illuminate your topic and how you will use the content in your paper (usefulness or relevance).
  • Any other criteria of note for this topic or discipline? 

APA7 Annotated Bibliography example