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APA Reference List: Format and Indentation

Formatting Italics

APA formatting guidelines in the fourth edition of its Publication Manual (1994) call for underlining titles rather than using italics. The typesetting process would then convert all underlining of italics. However, if you are writing a paper for a college course and not submitting it for publication, italics for titles would be consistent with what a published paper would look like. Check with your instructor as to whether you should use underlining or italics.

Indentation

There are three methods for the appearance of entries in the reference list. Each method has its advantages. Check with your instructor to find out which method you should use.

Paragraph Indentation

The fourth edition of the Publication Manual calls for a paragraph indent for the first line of each entry in the reference list. This format is recommended if your paper is to be submitted for publication. It is also the format followed in this handbook in its printed version.
 
       Klein, D. F. (1995). Response to Rothman and
Michels on placebo-controlled clinical trials.
Psychiatric Annals, 25, 401-403.
 
       Rothman, K.F., Michels, K. D. (1994). The
continuing unethical use of placebo controls.
New England Journal of Medicine, 331, 394-398.
 
Hanging Indentation

If you do not plan to submit your paper for publication, you may prefer to use hanging indents. Indent three or five spaces for the second and subsequent lines of each entry.
    Klein, D. F. (1995). Response to Rothman and Michels
   on placebo-controlled clinical trials.
   Psychiatric Annals, 25, 401-403.
 
    Rothman, K. F., & Michels, K. D. (1994). The
   continuing unethical use of placebo controls.
   New England Journal of Medicine, 331, 394-398.
   
No Indentation

If you plan to post work on the Internet, probably the least problematic format is to list entries with no indentation but with an additional line space between each entry. The APA Web site <http://www.apa.org/journals/webref.html>, for example, lists references this way.
 
    Klein, D. F. (1995). Response to Rothman and Michels
on placebo-controlled clinical trials. Psychiatric
Annals, 25, 401-403.
 
    Rothman, K. F., & Michels, K. D. (1994). The contin-
uing unethical use of placebo controls. New England
Journal of Medicine, 331, 394-398.

[seealso.bmp]
See also
Basic Guidelines
Order of Entries
Sample Entries