Making your reference list

What to include

The basics:


Most common in psychology:

Authors' last names and initials. (Year). Title of the article: Subtitle. Title of the Journal, volume(issue). pages-pages.

Missing some info?

Crossref has you covered!  Enter the title of the article.  As long as it has been assigned a DOI, all of the citation info you need will pop up!


Include only the authors' last names and all of the provided initials.  If more than one initial is provided, put a space between them.  If there is more than one author, put a comma after the period after the initial, then list the next author's info.  If there is more than one author, put "&" instead of "and" between the last two authors' names.  If one of the authors has a hyphenated name, include the full last name, then the initials (see the "Three to seven authors" example).

One author

Adam, E. K. (2015). Susceptibility or vulnerability? The role of basal cortisol in psychopathology. Journal of Adolescent Health, 56(5), 475-476.

Two authors

Klein, N., & Epley, N. (2017). Less evil than you: Bounded self-righteousness in character inferences, emotional reactions, and behavioral extremes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43(8), 1202-1212. 

Three to twenty authors

Michl, L. C., McLaughlin, K. A., Shepherd, K., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2013). Rumination as a mechanism linking stressful life events to symptoms of depression and anxiety: Longitudinal evidence in early adolescents and adults. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 122(2), 339-352. 

More than twenty authors

List the first twenty authors, a comma after the nineteenth author's initials, elipses (three periods), then the last author.

Forsyth, J. K., McEwen, S. C., Gee, D. G., Bearden, C. E., Addington, J., Goodyear, B., Cadenhead, K. S., Mirzakhanian, H., Cornblatt, B. A., Olvet, D. M., Mathalon, D. H., McGlashan, T. H., Perkins, D. O., Belger, A., Seidman, L. J., Thermenos, H. W., Tsuang, M. T., van Erp, T. G., Walker, E. F., ... Cannon, T. D. (2014) Reliability of functional magnetic resonance imaging activation during working memory in a multi-site study: Analysis from the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study. Neuroimage, 15(97), 41-52. 


This is the year the article was published.  Articles often include several dates on the document including when it was submitted, accepted, and published online (crossed-out in red) as well as a date is was published in an actual issue of the journal, often spanning multiple years.  You only care about the date it was actually published.  This will usually appear at the top or bottom of the article in parentheses (green circle)

DO NOT include the month or date.  Only the year.  Put the year in parentheses, followed by a period.

Article title

List the entire title of the article, including subtitles.  The article title should be in sentence caps, which means the only words that should be capitalized are 

Journals often capitalize all of the major words of the title (as in the image above), but this is not proper APA format for the reference list, so make sure you don't just copy and paste!  If you are using a reference manager, you will often need to go in and edit the reference entry with the correct capitalization for the citation.

Capitalization examples:

Journal title

The journal title should be in title caps (capitalize the first letter of all major words) and italicized.  

NOTE: Elsevier, NCBI, Science Direct, Wiley Online Library, Taylor and Francis, EBSCO, JSTOR, etc. are the names of the databases, not the names of the journal titles.  On most of these database sites, you can click on the title of the journal, and it will take you to a page where you can see other articles that have appeared in that journal.  If you click on the name, and it takes you to a homepage where you can search lots of different subjects, that's the database name, not the journal title.

Abbreviated titles

There is a small number journals that now officially go by acronyms, such as JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association), PLOS One (Public Library of Science), and PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).  For these few journals, you should only include the acronym name.

A few search engines (most notably PubMed/NCBI) abbreviate names.  For instance, they list the journal Child Development as "Child Dev".  You should be sure to write out the full name of these journals.

Volume number

List the volume number in which the article was published.  The volume number should be italicized (like the journal title).

Some journals (e.g. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development) use the year as the volume number, so you'll list the same number in both locations.

Issue number

List the issue number in which the article was published.  This should appear in parentheses and NOT ITALICIZED right after the volume number (no space between them).

Several journals don't use issue numbers.  In these cases, go straight from the volume number to the page numbers.

Page numbers

List the full range of the page numbers. Do not italicize the page numbers, and do not put "p." or "pp." before the numbers.  Just the numbers for the first and last pages of the article. 


The Direct Object Identifier (DOI) is a permanent, unique code given to each article that allows for it to be easily searched for and identified (since many articles have the same names).  In the past, you probably included a url (web address/permalink) for the article.  The DOI takes its place.  Most journals now provide a Direct Object Identifier (DOI) for each article.  This is almost always the case for new articles, and most journals have issued DOIs retrospectively to articles published before this was the standard.  The DOI may appear in a few places (see right)

If you still can't find the DOI, put the title of the article into   If the article does not come up in the search results, that means there was no DOI assigned.  In that case, you should provide a url (web address) to the article.

As of the 7th edition of the APA manual, this should be formatted as a web address starting with "" followed by the numbers and letters (usually starting with 10.____).  This address will take the person directly to the article.   Most word processing software will automatically format it as a hyperlink where you can click on the link.  This is fine, but you don't have to format it into a hyperlink if it doesn't do it automatically.

Top or bottom of the .pdf of the article

Article Website

Advanced online publications

In recent years, journals have started releasing articles online before they are officially "published".  These are usually called "advanced online publications", "early view", "online first", or "in-press" articles.  When you are citing one of these articles, you should list the year it was published online for the year.  Instead of volume and page numbers, you should write "Advanced online publication".   Most journals will give articles a DOI as soon as it is published online, so include that.  The APA Style Blog has a whole post on online-first articles here: APA Style Blog: Almost PublishedNOTE: If you are using a reference manager, you should periodically go through your references and update any that have moved from advanced online to published and include the year the article was physically published, the volume number, and the page numbers.  

Phan, J. M., Van Hulle, C. A., Shirtcliff, E. A., Schmidt, N. L., & Goldsmith, H. H. (2020). Longitudinal effects of family psychopathology and stress on pubertal maturation and hormone coupling in adolescent twins. Developmental Psychobiology. Advance online publication. 

Articles with article/locator numbers instead of page numbers

Unlike classic journals, which published hard copies of each issue, some newer journals are entirely online.  One of the most reputable of these is PLoS ONE.  Because it is entirely online, page numbers are unnecessary, and they instead use article numbers or eLocator numbers.  For these, you'll use "Article _______" in place of the page numbers.

Hennessy, M. L., Indugu, N., Vecchiarelli, B., Bender, J., Pappalardo, C., Leibstein, M., Toth, J., Katepalli, A., Garapati, S., & Pitta, D. (2020) Temporal changes in the fecal bacterial community in Holstein dairy calves from birth through the transition to a solid diet. PLoS ONE 15(9), Article e0238882.