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Joe Moxley, Founder, WritingCommons.org

Joe Moxley


Dear Colleagues and Students,

At Writing Commons, we are happy with the overall success of our project. Since 2011, when we launched at WritingCommons.org, we have hosted 6,315,882 users who have reviewed over 11 million pages. We are thrilled that students and faculty find our site to be helpful. Our ongoing mission is to be the best writing textbook possible. We also happen to be free. While we cannot perhaps claim yet that we are the best possible textbook for technical writing or creative writing courses, we are working on that.

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The References page is located at the end of the main body of the paper and begins at the top of a new page. Appendices, footnotes, and additional materials should follow after the References page.

General Format

Like the rest of the paper, the References page should be double-spaced and typed in Times New Roman, 12 pt. The running head should appear flush with the upper left-hand corner of the page, and the page number should appear at the upper right-hand corner of the page.

The title of the References page is capitalized and centered at the top of the page without any formatting, including bold, italics, underlining, or quotation marks. Avoid mislabeling the References page as “Works Cited,” “Sources,” or “Bibliography.”


Each entry should be formatted as a hanging indentation: the first line of each citation should be flush with the left margin while each subsequent line of the citation is indented five spaces from the left margin. Alphabetize the entries in the References page based on the authors’ last names (or the first word of a work’s title, if a work does not name any authors). Though it will vary from source to source, the general structure of a print book citation is as follows:

Author Last Name, Initials. (Year of publication). Title of the work. Publication city: Publishing Company.

Electronic sources generally require more information than print sources, such as a uniform resource locator (URL), a digital object identifier (DOI), or the date the source material was accessed.

When a source released by an organization does not include the names of the authors involved, simply cite the name of the organization in place of the author’s name. However, if the name of the sponsoring organization is unavailable, the title of the work appears in place of the author’s name. When citing a source authored by seven or more individuals, use ellipsis points between the sixth author’s name and the last author’s name; the ellipsis points should replace the omitted names of the authors between the sixth and last author.

Following is a list of sample citations for commonly used sources. Consult the current edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) for a complete list of guidelines for formatting entries on the references page.

Print Examples

Single-Authored Book

Hoppensteadt, F. C. (1997). An introduction to the mathematics of neurons: Modeling in the frequency domain. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Book with Multiple Authors

Two or more authors

Pandi-Perumal, S. R., Cardinali, D. P., & Chrousos, G. (2007). Neuroimmunology of sleep. New York, NY: Springer.

Seven or more authors

Krauss, H., Weber, A., Appel, M., Enders, B., Isenberg, H. D., Schiefer, H. G., . . . Zahner, H. (2003). Zoonoses: Infectious diseases transmissible from animals to humans. Washington, DC: ASM Press.

Book by an Association or Organization

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Article or Chapter in an Edited Collection

Riding, R. (2001). The nature and effects of cognitive style. In Sternberg, R. J., & Zhang, L.-F. (Eds.), Perspectives on thinking, learning, and cognitive styles (pp. 47-72). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Collected Content in an Edited Book

Single editor

Gray, W. D. (Ed.). (2007). Integrated models of cognition systems. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Multiple editors

Reynolds, W. M., & Johnston, H. F. (Eds.). (1994). Handbook of depression in children and adolescents. New York, NY: Plenum Press.

Article in Print Periodical

With DOI: Marsh, J. K., & Ahn, W. (2012). Memory for patient information as a function of experience in mental health. Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology, 26(3), 462-474. doi:10.1002/acp.2832

Without DOI: Murphy, V. M. (1960). Anxiety: Common ground for psychology and sociology. The American Catholic Sociological Review, 21(3), 213-220.


Electronic Examples

Book in Electronic Form

Levitin, D. J. (2002). Foundations of cognitive psychology: Core readings. Retrieved from https://ehis.ebscohost.com

Article in Online Periodical

With DOI: Oruç, I., Krigolson, O., Dalrymple, K., Nagamatsu, L. S., Handy, T. C., & Barton, J. S. (2011). Bootstrap analysis of the single subject with event related potentials. Journal of Cognitive Neuropsychology, 28(5), 322-337. doi:10.1080/02643294.2011.648176

Without DOI: Niccolai, V., Jennes, J., Stoerig, P., & Van Leeuwen, T. M. (2012). Modality and variability of synesthetic experience. The American Journal of Psychology, 125(1), 81-94. Retrieved from JSTOR database at https://www.jstor.org/

Article from a Webpage

By Multiple Authors

Vorvick, L. J., Longstreth, G. F., & Zieve, D. (2011, January 10). E. coli enteritis. Retrieved from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000296.htm

By an Organization/Group

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Lead. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/lead/

Unknown Author, Unknown Date

Water, carbon and nitrogen cycle. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.etap.org/demo/biology_files/lesson6/instruction4tutor.html

For more information about referencing sources in APA, see also:

Cassandra Branham, Editor-in-Chief WritingCommons.org

Cassandra Branham


Dear Colleagues and Students,

Welcome to Writing Commons, an open-education resource for instructors and students of writing across the disciplines. Our mission is to provide a high-quality, cost free resource to support students in the development of writing, research, and critical thinking practices.

This summer, we have been working on a site redesign in an effort to increase the usability of our site for both instructors and students. Our most significant change has been the inclusion of additional categories and subcategories to create a more intuitive hierarchy within the site.

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