The American Psychological Association (APA) recommends specific standards for writing a bibliography, known as APA format. In this article, we will cover the basic rules of this standard, which will make it easier for you to implement it into practice.

The basics of APA format

The most important thing to remember is that the list of work cited should be placed on a new page at the end of a paper with a title References (centered). The entries in the list of works cited should be placed in alphabetical order, taking the author’s last name into consideration and using the system of letter by letter. You should only provide the initial of the first and middle name of the author. In case you don’t know the name of the author (this commonly occurs with online sources), you should position the source in the alphabetized list according to the title (make sure to ignore The, A, or An at the beginning of the title). When it comes to dates, many writers are confused with their positioning in the bibliography. In the text of your paper, the names of months should be spelled out, but they should be abbreviated in the works cited list (exceptions from this rule are May, June, and July). As for the style of writing the day, you can use either month-day-year style or day-month-year style, but make sure to keep it consistent throughout the text. If you decide to use the month-day-year style, you mustn’t forget to use a comma after the year if the construction doesn’t require another punctuation mark at that position.

Hanging indentation in APA format

Hanging indents should be used in all APA citations. This means that the first line of an entry should be aligned along the left margin, but you should create 1/2’’ indent for the second and all subsequent lines.

Does APA format recommend italics or underlining?

Back in the time when typewriters were used for the creation of reports, the names of publications were written with an underline. The reason for that was obvious – there wasn’t an option of italics in most typewriters. If the bibliography is written by hand, the underlining rule remains. However, the publication names should be written in italics if you are using a computer. Professors and instructors may have differing preferences regarding the use of underlining or italics, so you should make sure to consult them before creating the bibliography.

Punctuation, abbreviation, and capitalization

Sentence-style capitalization is required by the APA guidelines when it comes to the titles of articles or books. This means that only the first word of a title and subtitle should be capitalized. There are some exceptions from this regulation, which include periodical titles and the names in a specific title that still require capitalization. You should run the periodical titles in title case, and follow them by the volume number that should be written in italic, same as the title. If the publication has more authors, the name of the last author should be separated with an ampersand (&). If the source is written by more than six authors, you should only name the first one and indicate the rest by the use of et al. The date of publication should be placed in parentheses right after the author’s name. After the closing parenthesis, you should use a period. Shorter works within longer works should not be put between quotes, and they should not be underlined or italicized.

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