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

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

  • 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 but there is an editor, Ed. (editor) or Eds. (editors) is added between brackets.
  • If there are multiple authors or editors, an ampersand (&) is added before the final name.


  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Malchiodi, C. (Ed.). (2018). The handbook of art therapy and digital technology. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
    Text: (Malchiodi, 2018)
    or: Malchiodi (2018)
  • Verschuren, P., & Doorewaard, H. (2010). Designing a research project (2nd edition). Eleven International Publishing.
    Text: (Verschuren & Doorewaard, 2010)
    or: Verschuren and Doorewaard (2010)


2 Book chapters

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

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.


  • 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)


3 Journal articles

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

  • 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.

Examples print version

  • Aral, S., & Walker, D. (2011). Forget viral marketing - make the product itself viral. Harvard Business Review, 89(6), 34-35.
    Text: (Aral & Walker, 2011)
    or: Aral and Walker (2011)
  • Rapp, A., Agnihotri, R., & Baker, T. L. (2011). Conceptualizing salesperson competitive intelligence: An individual-level perspective. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management31(2), 141-155.
    Text: (Rapp et al., 2011)
    or: Rapp et al. (2011)

Example online version with 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)

Example online version 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

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


  • McKinnon, J. D. (2011, September 19). Millionaire’s tax to be tough sell. Wall Street Journal, p. 4.
    Text: (McKinnon, 2011)
    or: McKinnon (2011)
  • Bowers, S. (2011, September 5). High street braced for more shop closures as rents fall due. The Guardian: Financial pages, p. 22.
    Text: (Bowers, 2011)
    or: Bowers (2011)
  • Separated spouses: What are the consequences for taxes? (2011, September 6). Enniscorthy Guardian, p. 2.
    Text: ("Separated spouses", 2011)
    or: "Seperated spouses" (2011)
  • Ferguson, D. (2021, October 17). How Leonard Cohen mined sacred texts for lyrics to his songs. The Observer. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/oct/17/how-leonard-cohen-mined-sacred-texts-for-lyrics-to-his-songs
    Text: (Ferguson, 2021)
    of: Ferguson (2021)


5 Internet sources

Author, A. (date of publication). Title of document. Name website. Retrieved from http://url

The website address should start with http:// or https://.
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.

Example webpage

Examples databases

Examples online dictionaries

Example Google Books

  • Armstrong, G., Harker, M., Kotler, P., & Brennan, R. (2009). Marketing: An introduction. Pearson Education. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from http://books.google.com/books?id=UNd1Bm9l6KUC
    Text: (Armstrong et al., 2009)
    or: Armstrong et al. (2009)


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 Table examples

​Note: the tables themselves are not shown.


- 8.2 Figure examples

Note: the figures themselves are not shown.


9 Audiovisual materials (Dvd, TV-programme, streaming, etc.)

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


  • Coninx, A. (Host). (2003, August 21). McDonald’s vs. Subway [TV series episode]. In Terzake. Canvas. 
    Text: (Coninx, 2003)
    or: Coninx (2003)
  • 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)

Example streaming video


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 19, 2021