6.4 Creating a References List

A list of references is where detailed information about the various research sources mentioned in your document are itemized. This list allows readers to learn more about your sources and use the information to validate your research. A list of references contains the author(s), year of publication, title, publication information, along with the URL for each source.

How do I set up my References list?

(Seneca Libraries, 2020)

Different citation styles use various terms to introduce their list of references, for example, Bibliography or Works Cited. APA style uses the term References.

At the end of your reports, add a list of all the sources you have cited in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name. Each reference must provide thorough and complete documentation so that readers can identify the kind of source, and retrieve it if they want to read it. It is important to use the correct conventions for each type of source, as readers familiar with academic conventions will expect this, and they will be able to tell what kinds of sources you are referencing based on what information is included and how it is formatted. If you use conventions incorrectly (such as failing to italicize or use quotation marks around titles to indicate what kind of source it is), you can confuse and mislead your readers.

Format Guidelines for Setting up a REFERENCES List

Here are some general formatting guidelines for setting up your references list:

  • Create a bold heading called References, aligned with the left margin. If you are using headings, make this heading consistent with other first level headings in your document.
  • The author’s last name should be flush with the left margin, and the second and other lines of the entry must be formatted using the “hanging indent” function.
  • Give all authors’ names (up to five), but only use the first initial. The last name of each author is written first, followed by the author’s initials. Separate names with commas, and include the ampersand (&) before the last author.
  • Capitalize only the first word (and the first word after a colon, as well as proper nouns) in titles of articles within journals, magazines and newspapers, chapters in books, conference papers, and reports. Only use ALL CAPS for acronyms.
  • Capitalize the first letter of all main words in the titles of books, journals, magazines and newspapers.
  • Add a space between references if you single space each reference.

If you use citation software (such as Zotero, Endnote, or Mendeley) to generate a list of references, be sure to review the references it generates for any errors. These programs are not foolproof, and it is up to you to make sure your references conform to APA conventions. For example, sometimes the auto-generator will give a title in ALL CAPS or the author’s full first name. You will have to revise this. They usually do not give DOIs; you may have to add these.


        Figure 6.4.1 An example of an APA Reference list.

Referencing Different Kinds of Sources–Examples

For detailed examples on creating References using APA style, visit the References Examples page on the APA Style website.

APA Style (2020) requires that the basic guideline for referencing online sources is to follow the standard citation for the print source given previously and add the electronic location (URL) or the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) at the end of the citation.  Add a URL at the end of the reference if the source is available on the World Wide Web.  If both a URL and a DOI are available, place the DOI last.

Articles from Journals and Magazines (items that are published periodically)

Author(s). (date). Article title. Journal or Magazine Title, volume # only(issue #), pp.  DOI [If available online, add URL and/or DOI link]


Zhou, H. Y. & Hou, K. M. (2012, August). Intelligent urban public transportation for accessibility dedicated to people with disabilities. Sensors, 12(8), xx-xx.

Note that the volume number is italicized and the issue number is not.


Sakals, M. (2015, September-October). Eyes in the sky: Unmanned aerial vehicles in the natural resources sector. Innovation Magazine [Online],19(5), 17-19. http://www.digitalityworks.com/Viewers/ViewIssue.aspx?IssueID=140&PageNo=1

Conference Paper

 Author(s). (date). Title of paper.  Presented at Name of Conf., City of Conf., Abbrev. State/Prov., pp. xxx-xxx. Paper number [If available online, give URL or DOI].

Ibrahim, M. (2003). Creative design dynamics and creative systems. Presented at the 2003 IEEE Int. Systems Conference, Vancouver, BC.

Same paper published in conference proceedings:

Ibrahim, M. (2003). Creative design dynamics and creative systems. In Proc. 2003 IEEE Int. Systems Conf., Vancouver, BC, pp. 273-278. DOI: 10.1109/SYSTEMS.2009.4815811.

Newspaper Articles

Author(s). (year, month, day). Title of article. Title of Newspaper. URL.


Wilson-Clark, C. (2004, March 29).  Computers ranked as key literacy. The West Australian. http://www.thewest.com.au.


Bart, B. (2002, October 14). Going faster. Globe and Mail. A p.1.

Webpage or Website (WWW) (material only available online such as blogs, etc.)

Author(s). (date).  Webpage title. Website Name. URL.

Fogarty, M. (n.d.). Which versus that. Grammar Girl, Quick and Dirty Tips  https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/which-versus-that-0

Murdoch University Library. (n.d.).  IEEE Style: A guide to referencing style for Murdoch University students and staff. Murdoch University. http://libguides.murdoch.edu.au/IEEE


Author(s). (year). Title of book. City: Publisher.

Ogot, M. & Kremer, G. (2004).  Engineering design: A practical guide. Pittsburgh: Togo Press.

Chapter in a book

Author(s). (year). Title of chapter. In Title of book. City: Publisher, pp.

McCahan, S.,  Anderson, P.,  Kortschot, M.,  Weiss, P. E., & Woodhouse, K. A. (2015). Introduction to teamwork.  In Designing engineers: An introductory text. Hoboken: Wiley, pp. 219-260.

Technical Report (Government, Industry, Organizations)

Author(s). (date). Title of the report.  Name of Company/Organization, City, Report. #. URL or DOI

Delcan. (2019). Johnson Street Bridge Condition Assessment Report. Delcan and City of Victoria, Victoria, B.C. https://www.johnsonstreetbridge.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/johnson-street-bridge-condition-assessment-delcan-engineering.pdf

University of Victoria Campus Planning and Sustainability. (2018).  The Grand Promenade: Design Charrette.  Campus Greenway, Summary Report 11.2018.  https://www.uvic.ca/campusplanning/current-projects/campusgreenway/index.php

Personal Communication (interview, telephone, email, etc.)

Author. (year, month, day ). Private communication.

Gates, B. (2021, January 27). Private communication.


Author. (year, month, day). Title of patent. U.S. Patent x xxx xxx.

Wilkinson, J. P.  (1990, July 16).  Nonlinear resonant circuit devices. U.S. Patent 3 624 125.

Lecture or Presentation

Speaker. (Date). Title of Presentation/Lecture. Occasion and location of presentation. [Type of medium: URL if available online].

Potter, R.L. ( 2020, October 22). Team dynamics.  TEC400 Lecture. Seneca College.

Lecture Notes

Author. (date). Title of class notes. Class notes for Course Number. Department, University.

Smith, J. (2015, Winter). Maxwell’s equations and time-varying electromagnetic fields. Class notes for ECE359. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Victoria.

Reference Work (Encyclopedia, Dictionary, Handbook, etc.)

Author(s). (year). Chapter title. In Book title, xth ed. [Type of medium]. Editor(s) name(s), Ed(s). Location: Publisher, volume or chapter number (if available), pp. URL. Add the date access if you expect the source information to change.

With an author

Hart , D. & Bauen, A.  (2002). Fuel cell fuel cycles. In Fuel cell technology handbook. G. Hoogers, Ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ENGnetBASE [Accessed: Sept. 22, 2008].

French, A. D., Bertoniere, N. R., Brown, R. M., Chanzy, H.,  Gray, D., Hattori, K., & Glasser, W. (2003). Cellulose. In Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. DOI: 10.1002/0471238961.0305121206180514.a01.pub2.

No author

Composite material. (2008, May 18). In Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Composite_material [Accessed: May 24, 2008].

Image from a print source

Similar to a chapter in a book or article in a print journal:

Creator of image. (date). Title of image. In Title of article or Title of book, and the rest of the required publication information for an article or book.

Coutenay, B. (2021). Image of sunflower. In Flowers for all seasons. Toronto: Pearly Publishers.

Images from an online source

Creator of image. (date). Title of the image. Web Site name, the URL.

Coutenay, B. (2021). Image of a sunflower. Flowers Almanac. http://flowersalmanac.com


Artist. (Credit). (date). Title of episode.Title of Program: Subtitle. Publisher. Available: URL.

Gary, S. (Presenter). (2019, June 12). Mars Insight’s drill fails. SpaceTime with Stuart Gary. Sydney: SpaceTime. [Podcast episode].  https://megaphone.link/BIT3581656190.


Knowledge Check: Touch the symbols below for an explanation of each area of the Reference page below.



Find a variety of sources (at least 5 different types) on a specific topic related to your current course project. Set up a References list for them in APA Style.


American Psychological Association (APA). (2020).  References examples. APA Style. https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/references/examples

Seneca College Libraries. (2021, February 9, updated). APA citation guide (APA 7th edition): Welcome. Seneca College. https://library.senecacollege.ca/apa

Seneca Libraries. (2020). APA: Building a reference list (7th edition) [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E45hW7ebU2Q


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Technical Writing Essentials Copyright © 2019 by Suzan Last is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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