APA 6th Edition References – In-Text & Reference List

20.12.22 Citation & referencing Time to read: 4min

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When writing academic papers, it is crucial to properly credit any ideas or data that are not your own to avoid cases of plagiarism. In addition, it is essential to follow a Style Guide consistently throughout the whole paper. APA style in the 6th edition provides specific guidelines regarding in-text citations as well as the reference list. This article closely examines APA 6th edition references in their various formats, delves into proper placement, and what information must be included.

In a nutshell: APA 6th edition references

  • Researchers mostly use APA 6th edition references to cite sources in academic research.
  • APA 6th edition references consist of two parts: in-text citations and reference list entries.
  • When citing APA 6th edition references in-text citations, follow the author-date method of in-text citation, for example: (Cooper, 2015).
  • References should always begin on a new page, with the heading “References” centered at the top.

Definition: APA 6th edition references

The APA style (American Psychological Association) manual is one of the most used citation formats among scholars. APA 6th edition references can be divided as follows:

In-text citation This is a brief parenthetical citation that includes the author's last name and the publication year, for example (John, 1960).
Reference list entry The reference page at the end of your research contains all key publication information. The citations contain every piece of information required to locate each source, e.g., John, W. (1960, March 23).
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APA 6th edition references: In-text citations

In-text citations are brief references used within the text itself. In APA 6th edition references, an in-text citation offers enough information to identify the source in your reference list uniquely.

When citing APA 6th edition references in-text citations, follow the author-date method of in-text citation.


  • A study comparing drug resistance between X and Y showed… (Brown, 2015)
  • Brown (2015) demonstrates how, in X and Y, drug resistance…

Two authors

When using APA 6th edition references for a source with two authors, use an ampersand (&) or the word “and” to separate their last names.


  • Various studies indicate that the human brain can….(Johnson & Taylor, 2016)
  • Johnson and Taylor (2016) write that the human brain can…

Three to five authors

When using APA 6th edition references for a source with three or more authors, use commas to separate their last names. Use a comma and an ampersand to separate the last names of the authors.


  • A Harvard study reveals that… (Cooper, King, Harris & White, 2003).
  • Cooper, King, Harris, and White (2003) argue that…

If you cite the same source multiple times, use the first author followed by et al.


  • In the study, the participants…(White et al., 2003).
  • White et al. (2003) discovered that …

Six or more authors

For APA 6th edition references with six or more authors, use the shortened form.


Baker et al. (2012) argue that …

Organization as an author

When using APA 6th edition references for a source without an author, list the organization instead.


Apple (2022) argue that …

Direct quotes

When using APA 6th edition references, the in-text citation must include the page number of the source.


According to the study, “manually recruiting the participants was laborious, but it was necessary to reach all demographics” (Johnson, 2019, p. 7).

Multiple sources in one citation

When citing multiple sources in a single citation in APA 6th edition references, combine them into a single set of parentheses and separate them using semicolons.


Research suggests that… (Brown & Taylor, 1997; Johnson, 2004; Cooper, White, & King, 2014).

APA 6th edition references: Reference list

All sources cited in the text should be included in the reference list. Every reference should begin with the last name and initials of the author, followed by the year or date of publication, and then the source’s title. However, this format differs based on the type of source used.

Book citations

Italicize book titles when citing books using APA 6th edition references.

Format Last Name, Initials. (Year). Book title (edition). City, State/Country: Publisher.
Example Dahmer, J. B. (1993). Survey in Social Research: Methods for Behavioral Pattern Analysis (3rd ed.). Alabama, AL: Reuters.

Journal citations

Italicize the journal title and volume number.

Format Last Name, Initials., & Last Name, Initials. (Year). Article title. Journal Name, Volume(Issue), Page Number(s). https://doi.org/DoiNumber
Example King, M., & Mckinsey, D. W. (2005). The evolving model of personal finance. Journal of Finance Economics, 1(2), 17–21. https://doi.org./11.1234/8905467834289754

Website citations

Use the following format when citing website sources.

Format Last Name, Initials. (Year, Month Day). Page title [Type or format of document]. Retrieved from Webaddress
Example Cooper, J. (1996, October 18). US Inflation could be worse than statistics depict.[Report] Retrieved from http://time.com/1378095/inflation-analysis-Q2

Report citations

Italicize titles when citing reports using APA 6th edition references.

Format Organization Name or Author Last Name, Initials. (Year). Report title. Retrieved from Webaddress
Example Bank of England. (2022). Knocked down during lockdown: the return of cash. Retrieved from https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/quarterly-bulletin/2022/2022-q3/knocked-down-during-lockdown-the-return-of-cash

APA 6th edition references: Formatting

Follow these guidelines for formatting the APA 6th edition references page:

  • Place the section label “References” in bold and centered at the top of the page.
  • Sort the references by the author’s surname. If you use multiple sources by the same author, order them by year of publication.
  • Double-space between references.
  • Apply a 0.5-inch hanging indent.
  • For page ranges, use en dashes instead of hyphens: 21–27. There should be no spaces between the page numbers and the en dash.
  • Remove the underlines from URLs to reveal any underscores (_).
  • For US publishers, give the full city name and state abbreviation, e.g., New York, NY.
  • For publishers outside the United States, give the city and country in full form, e.g., London, England.
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In-text APA citations include the author’s last name and the year of publication, for example: (Cooper, 2015).

Arrange the reference entries alphabetically by the last name of the first author or by the title or first word if no author is listed.

References should always begin on a new page, with the heading “References” centered at the top.