APA: Reference list

The American Psychological Association has established rules and conventions for documenting sources that writers can follow when they are putting together their reference list. The APA-style is one of the most common styles taught at and used by colleges, universities and other organizations, including several institutes of the HAN University of Applied Sciences.

The following overview describes the most important APA guidelines:

Please note
that a reference list is always written in alphabetical order, irrespective of the kind of source or material. 

1 Books

  • A second or later edition is added between brackets after the title. Do not list the first edition, even if the publication does.
  • If there is no author list the name of the editor, followed by Ed. (editor) or Eds. (editors) between brackets.
  • If there are multiple authors or editors, an ampersand (&) is added before the final author's name.


- 1.1 Print

Author, A. (year of publication). Title of book. Publisher.


  • One author
    Covey, S. R. (2020). The 7 habits of highly effective people: Powerful lessons in personal change (30th anniversary revised and updated edition). Simon & Schuster.

    Text: (Covey, 2020)
    or: Covey (2020)
  • Multiple authors
    Baxter, H. T., Berghofer, J. A., MacEwan, L., Nelson, J., Peters, K., & Roberts, P. (2007). The individualized music therapy assessment profile: IMTAP. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
    Text: (Baxter et al., 2007)
    or: Baxter et al. (2007)
  • Editor
    Malchiodi, C. (Ed.). (2018). The handbook of art therapy and digital technology. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
    Text: (Malchiodi, 2018)
    or: Malchiodi (2018)
  • Edition
    Verschuren, P., & Doorewaard, H. (2010). Designing a research project (2nd edition). Eleven International Publishing.
    Text: (Verschuren & Doorewaard, 2010)
    or: Verschuren and Doorewaard (2010)
  • Translated book
    Baarda, B. (2020). Research: This is it! Guidelines for designing, performing and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (J. W. Tjooitink, Trans.; 3rd edition). Noordhoff Uitgevers.
    Text: (Baarda, 2020)
    or: Baarda (2020)


- 1.2 Online

Author, A. (year of publication). Title of book. Publisher. Retrieved Month day, year, from https://xxxx

Author, A. (year of publication). Title of book. Publisher. https://doi.org/xxxx

  • If a DOI (digital object identifier) is given, do not include the retrieval date.



2 Book chapters

A chapter from a book is mentioned only if the author/editor of the chapter differs from the author/editor of the entire book. If the author of the chapter has also written the rest of the book, the chapter is not mentioned separately.

  • The initials of the editors of the entire book are placed before the last name.
  • Do not include numbers of chapters.


- 2.1 Print

Author, A. (year of publication). Title of chapter. In A. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (pp. xx-xx). Publisher.


  • One author, one editor
    Vick, R. M. (2012). A brief history of art therapy. In C. A. Malchiodi (Ed.), Handbook of art therapy (2nd edition, pp. 5-16). Guildford Press.
    Text: (Vick, 2012)
    or: Vick (2012)
  • Multiple authors, multiple editors
    Guile, D., & Lahiff, A. (2021) Rethinking the connective typology of work experience: The challenge of learning through internship. In E. Kyndt, S. Beausaert, & I. Zitter (Eds.), Developing connectivity between education and work (pp. 15-33). Routledge.

    Text: (Guile & Lahiff, 2021)
    or: Guile and Lahiff (2021)


- 2.2 Online

Author, A. (year of publication). Title of chapter. In A. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (pp. xx-xx). Publisher. Retrieved Month day, year, from https://xxxx

Author, A. (year of publication). Title of chapter. In A. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (pp. xx-xx). Publisher. https://doi.org/xxxx


  • Google Books
    Thornquist, E. (2017). Phenomenology: A source of inspiration. In M. Probst & L. Helvik Skjaerven (Eds.), Physiotherapy in mental health and psychiatry: A scientific and clinical based approach (pp. 18-22). Retrieved January 28, 2022, from https://books.google.nl/books?id=cHE3DwAAQBAJ
    Text: (Thornquist, 2017)
    or: Thornquist (2017)
  • DOI
    Fenner, P. (2021). Art therapy in mental health recovery: Towards an expanded lens. In U. Volpe (Ed.), Arts therapies in psychiatric rehabilitation (pp. 29-31). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-76208-7_4
    Text: (Fenner, 2021)
    or: Fenner (2021)


3 Journal articles

  • The main words from the title of the journal are written in capital letters, example: Journal of Vocational Behavior.
  • Write the title of the article as in a sentence, even if the publication contains several capitalized words.
    Correct: Identifying effective mentors in scientific communication: A latent profile analysis of mentor beliefs.
    Incorrect: Identifying Effective Mentors in Scientific Communication: A Latent Profile Analysis of Mentor Beliefs.
  • If information is missing, for instance volume number or page range, omit it from the reference.


- 3.1 Print

Author, A. (year of publication). Title article. Name Journal, volume(number), first page-last page.

  • If given, include month or date for a magazine article.


  • Journal
    Aral, S., & Walker, D. (2011). Forget viral marketing - make the product itself viral. Harvard Business Review89(6), 34-35.
    Text: (Aral & Walker, 2011)
    or: Aral and Walker (2011)
  • Magazine
    Coates, T.-N. (2020, September). A beautiful life. Vanity Fair, 62(9), 72-81, 148-149.
    Text: (Coates, 2020)
    or: Coates (2020)


- 3.2 Online

Author, A. (year of publication). Title article. Name Journal, volume(number), first page-last page. https://doi.org/xxxx

Author, A. (year of publication). Title article. Name Journal, volume(number), first page-last page. Retrieved Month day, year, from https://xxxx

  • If available, the retrieval date and the link are being replaced by the DOI-link for online journal articles, a unique code with which the article can always be found, regardless of where the content resides. The DOI is usually prominently displayed on the first page of the article and/or on the publisher's website. Always put https://doi.org/ in front of the code.


  • DOI
    Rapp, A., Agnihotri, R., & Baker, T. L. (2011). Conceptualizing salesperson competitive intelligence: An individual-level perspective. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 31(2), 141-155. https://doi.org/10.2753/PSS0885-3134310203
    Text: (Rapp et al., 2011)
    or: Rapp et al. (2011)
  • Article number or eLocator
    Verschuren, C. M., Tims, M., & De Lange, A. H. (2021). A systematic review of negative work behavior: Toward an integrated definition. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, Article 726973. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.726973
    Text: (Verschuren et al., 2021)
    or: Verschuten et al. (2021)
  • URL (no DOI)
    Eryilmaz, S. (2020). Compare teachers and students attitudes according to mobile educational applications. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 20(1), 19-24. Retrieved January 21, 2021, from http://www.tojet.net/articles/v20i1/2013.pdf 
    Text: (Eryilmaz, 2020)
    or: Eryilmaz (2020)


4 Newspaper articles

  • The main words from the title of the journal are written in capital letters, example: The Daily Telegraph.
  • If no author is given (including 'from our editor'), the title is placed first. Put the first words of the title in the text in double quotes to indicate that it is not an author's name.


- 4.1 Print

Author, A. (date of publication). Title article. Name Newspaper, p. xx-xx.


  • Author
    Barnes, B. (2021, May 24). Has Hollywood cracked the code to make a video game movie a success? The New York Times, p. 3.
    Text: (Barnes, 2021)
    or: Barnes (2021)
  • No author
    Champion featherweight boxer and telephone engineer from Hull. (2022, April 2). The Times, p. 77.
    Text: ("Champion featherweight boxer", 2022)
    or: "Champion featherweight boxer" (2022)


- 4.2 Online

Author, A. (date of publication). Title article. Name Newspaper. Retrieved Month day, year, from https://xxxx

  • For online news websites (not to be confused with online newspapers as shown here), see 5 Internet sources.
  • When an article is obtained from Nexis Uni, database information, retrieval date and URL are omitted.



5 Internet sources

  • The URL always starts with http:// or https://; file:///C is your own computer.
  • If no author is mentioned, list the name of the organization. Omit the name of the website if it is identical to the name of the organization.
  • If no date is given, write n.d. (=no date).
    Note: the year of copyright, for example © 2022, is not the same as year of publication. Write n.d. if only a copyright year is mentioned.
  • A long URL may be shortened with a URL shortener, for example bitly.


- 5.1 Webpage

Author, A. (date of publication). Title of webpage. Website name. Retrieved Month day, year, from http://xxxx

  • Include the full date in the reference list and the year in the text.



- 5.2 Online dictionary or encyclopedia

Entry. (date of publication). In Title dictionary or encyclopedia. Retrieved Month day, year, from http://xxxx



- 5.3 Databases

Author, A. (date of publication). Title of article. Database name. Retrieved Month day, year, from http://xxxx

  • If no author is mentioned, the reference starts with the title of the webpage.
  • Databases may provide less or additional information. Try to be as complete as possible, when an article has a number this can be put in brackets after the title.



- 5.4 Social media

Author, A. [username]. (date of publication). Content of the post up to 20 words [Description]. Site name. Retrieved Month day, year, from https://xxxx

  • If the name of the author or organization is known, put it in front followed by the username in square brackets. If only a username is known, write it without square brackets.
  • Retain hastags, emoji's, URLs, etc.


  • Facebook
    National Trust. (2022, April 7). Trees are incredibly important in our day-to-day lives, but they also play a huge role in our cultural heritage. Silent [Status update]. Facebook. Retrieved April 11, 2022, from https://bit.ly/3jrIbJp
    Text: (National Trust, 2022)
    of: National Trust (2022)
  • Instagram
    National Geographic [@natgeo]. (2021, July 15). Photo by Keith Ladzinski @ladzinski / A female jaguar descends a tree in Brazil’s Pantanal region, pausing to lock eyes with my camera [Photo]. Instagram. Retrieved August 10, 2021, from https://www.instagram.com/p/CRUw2GQMuhc/
    Text: (National Geographic, 2021)
    or: National Geographic (2021)
  • Twitter
    Obama, B. [@BarackObama]. (2020, June 5). I wrote out some thoughts on how to make this moment a real turning point to bring about real change [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved June 8, 2020, from https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/1267459874788646912
    Text: (Obama, 2020)
    or: Obama (2020)


6 Dissertations, theses, etc.

Author, A. (year of publication). Title of publication [Description]. Name of Institution.

  • When the title page does not give a description, provide one yourself.


  • Doomen, N. (2015). Expressive art therapies and pediatric oncology : the effect of expressive art therapies on children with cancer during rehabilitation: A systematic literature review [Bachelor thesis]. HAN University of Applied Sciences.
    Text: (Doomen, 2015)
    or: Doomen (2015)
  • Sipman, G. (2021). Enhancing teacher pedagogical tact through intuition: A design study [Dissertation]. University of Twente.
    Text: (Sipman, 2021)
    or: Sipman (2021)

Online example (HBO Kennisbank)

  • Boersma, A. (2020). Pollination and pest control in agricultural landscapes: The implementation of landscape elements for optimising natural pollination and pest control in the farmercollective Waadrâne (Northern Friesland) [Bachelor thesis, UAS Van Hall Larenstein]. HBO Kennisbank.
    Text: (Boersma, 2020)
    or: Boersma (2020)


7 Unpublished works

Author, A. (year of publication). Title of publication [Description]. Name of Institution.


  • Berends, B. (2010). Rexroth Bosch Group: The Drive & Control Company [Placement report]. Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen.
    Text: (Berends, 2010)
    or: Berends (2010)
  • Klein Woolthuis, R. (1998). Sleeping with the enemy: About trust and dependence in inter-organisational relationships in a technological setting (Research report 98W-007/T&O-005). Research Centre of the University of Twente Entrepreneurship Centre.
    Text: (Klein Woolthuis, 1998)
    or: Klein Woolthuis (1998)


8 Tables and figures

The APA guidelines distinguish two types of images: tables (information that can be read horizontally and vertically in columns and rows) and figures (all other images: photographs, illustrations, diagrams, etc.).

Both tables and figures have a number, placed in bold above the table or figure, followed by a white line and the title in italics. If necessary, below the table or figure a note can give additional information, preferably in a smaller font.
A note is also used to indicate if the table or figure was taken from a publication. If so, also include a copyright notice or a Creative Commons licence or In the public domain. When a copyright notice is missing, write Copyright n.d. by unknown.
Also provide a reference list entry for the work the table or figure was reproduced from.

If a table or figure is altered, change 'From' into 'Adapted from'.


- 8.1 Tables

​Note: the tables themselves are not shown.


- 8.2 Figures

Note: the figures themselves are not shown.


9 Audiovisual materials

Author, A. (Function). (year of publication or date of broadcasting). Title [Description]. Production company.


  • TV-programme
    Coninx, A. (Host). (2003, August 21). McDonald’s vs. Subway [TV series episode]. In Terzake. Canvas. 
    Text: (Coninx, 2003)
    or: Coninx (2003)
  • Audiobook
    Leven, J. D., & Allen, J. M. (Directors). (2013). Customs of the world: Using cultural intelligence to adapt, wherever you are [Audiobook]. Teaching Company.
    Text: (Leven & Allen, 2013)
    or: Leven and Allen (2013)
  • YouTube
    Hyshler. (2016, June 29). How to solve a rubik's cube in 2 easy moves! [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved August 18, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyMQP2JlEz4
    Text: (Hyshler, 2016)
    or: Hyshler (2016)
  • Podcast episode
    Arnett, W., Bateman, J., & Hayes, S. (Hosts). (2020, 31 augustus). Robert Downey Jr. (Nr. 2) [Audio podcast episode]. In Smartless. Simplecast. Retrieved November 30, 2020, from https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/robert-downey-jr/id1521578868?i=1000489613549
    Text: (Arnett et al., 2020)
    or: Arnett et al. (2020)


10 Interviews

A published interview is referred to according to the reference format appropriate for the source (see Internet source, Book etc.).

When you have conducted an interview or survey by personal communication, e-mail, chat, phone, etc., you do not have to include the interview in your reference list because there are no recoverable data available for the reader. In addition to the reference list you may want to add a list of names and data from the interviews you conducted. When referring to a conversation or interview in the main text, you will need to add the term “personal communication” and the date on which the interview took place. Especially when you are quoting an interviewee (see third example), it is advisable to ask the person you are quoting for permission in advance. With second or later referrals you will need to write the name, personal communication and date again. 

Note: If the interview is part of your research and you anonymise the interviewee, there will be no citation, not even personal communication.


  • …according to John Smith (personal communication, November 30, 2014) this is not the case…
  • …but this is not the case (J. Smith, personal communication, November 30, 2014) and will…
  • …John Smith (personal communication, November 30, 2014) e-mailed us that “this is not the case” and…


11 Appendices

An appendix is a section at the end of a paper that includes information that is too detailed for the text of the paper itself. Each appendix has to be referred to in the main text.

The appendices section comes after your reference list. When the content of an appendix contains information retrieved from an outside source, cite the source within the text of the appendix and include the reference in your reference list.

If you want to include more than one appendix you will need to label them with the following letters: Appendix A, Appendix B, Appendix C, etc.


12 Patents

Inventor, A. (Year patent was issued). Titel of patent (Number). Name of patent office.



13 Computer software

Author, A. (year of publication). Title of work (Version number) [Description]. Publisher.

  • Standard programs such as Word, Excel, Photoshop and SPSS do not need a reference list entry.

Example computer programs

  • ATLAS.ti (Version 9.1) [Computer software]. (2021). ATLAS.ti Scientific Software Development.
    Text: (ATLAS.ti, 2021)
    or: ATLAS.ti (2021)
  • Esolang, A. N. (2014). Obscure Reference Generator (Version 2.1) [Computer software]. E & K Press.
    Text: (Esolang, 2014)
    or: Esolang (2014)

Example app


14 Data sets

Author, A. (year of publication). Title of data set [Data set]. Publisher.

  • A data set is a collection of research data (“raw data”). These data span a wide variety of topics and can be used to create a table or chart, for example.
  • When the data set is retrieved from an online source, the URL should be included in the reference. If the data set has a DOI, the reference should include that DOI.


  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. (2013). Treatment episode data set -- discharges (TEDS-D) -- concatenated, 2006 to 2009 [Data set]. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR30122.v2
    Text: (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2013)
    or: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2013)


Last update: October 4, 2022