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Posted on: February 14th, 2012

APA Bibliography: Examples, Tips, and Overall Guidelines

APA-bibliographyPeople who have never written college essays or research papers may find it difficult to compile an APA bibliography. Firstly, they need to make sure that each bibliography entry has the correct structure and format. Secondly, it is important for them to learn about the punctuation of APA style and formatting rules. The following tips will help beginners to write better papers that strictly adhere to APA citation style.
 
APA Bibliography: General Rules of Thumb
 
There are several things that you need to remember while working on your essays, reports, or term papers. Here are some of them:

  • The proper title for an APA style bibliography is “Reference List”. Don’t use other titles such as Works Cited or References, because those should be used only with MLA and Harvard citation styles respectively
  • The lines in each entry have to be indented or shifted to the right; the only exception is the first line of each entry
  • Each entry in the reference list must have at least one corresponding in-text citation in the body of the paper. Don’t include in this list any source that you don’t cite, even if it may be related otherwise to the topic

APA Bibliography: Examples of Various Entries
 
According to APA style, bibliography entries for various types of sources should have different formats. For instance, if you reference a book, you should follow the following format: 1) the last name of the author (or authors) with initials; 2) the year when a book was published; 3) italicized title; 4) place of publication, and 5) the name of the publisher. Here is an example of a book correctly referenced in an APA bibliography:
 
Trimmer, J. (1998).The essentials of APA style: A guide to documentation for writers of research papers.
 
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

APA-style-bibliographyWhen compiling an APA bibliography, students struggle with entries of peer-reviewed journals. But you don’t have to struggle with that, just follow this simple template for referencing a journal article: the last name of the author or authors, with initials; the title of the article without italicization; italicized name of the journal; the number of volume and issue if they are available; page numbers. The following example illustrates the use of this template:
 
Fisher, S. (2003). Citation styles and their main distinctive features. The Journal of Linguistics, 15 (31), 10-13.
 
Very often students use peer-reviewed articles from online databases. In this case, it is advisable to specify when the document was accessed, and most importantly, its URL address. According to APA guidelines, a student is not actually obliged to provide this type of information. Yet, you need to take into account that your professor may want to take a look at the articles that you cite.
 
APA Bibliography: Performing Independent Research
 
A student may have to use a variety of sources such as films, interviews, government reports, official websites, and so forth. According to APA bibliography format, each of these sources should be referenced differently. There are various examples of APA bibliographies available online. If you choose to read them, you will find it easier to work on your papers.

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