Topic outline

  • The reference list appears at the end of your assignment under the heading References.  It provides full bibliographic details for all the sources referred to in your assignment.  Each different source you have referenced in your assignment must have a matching entry in your reference list. If a source does not appear as an in-text citation in the body of your writing it should not be included in the reference list. 

    The reference list is:

    • arranged alphabetically by author's family name (or title/sponsoring organisation where a source has no author) (Recognising family names of authors - Pdf)
    • arranged with a single space between each reference list entry
    • a single list where books, journal articles and electronic sources are listed together
    • is formatted using a hanging indent (This means that the first line of every source starts at the margin but every line after that is indented/positioned a few spaces to the right)

    The main elements required for all references are the author, year, title, and publication information.  Below is an image which shows what a reference list might look like in APA 7:

    How you format each reference list entry will depend on the type of source it is (e.g. journal article, book, book chapter, website, etc.).  Once you know what type of source the text is, use the appropriate referencing style guide to identify which bibliographic elements to include, the sequence in which they are ordered, the font style used for each element, and correct punctuation.  It takes practice getting this right, but there are Referencing style guides which have been designed to help you and they include examples for many different types of sources.

    The way you organise your reference list also depends on the referencing style you are required to use in your studies.  Please note, the examples provided above are in APA 7 style.  For information about reference lists in other referencing styles, visit the Referencing style guides section on this site.

    What is a bibliography? Is it the same as a reference list?

    It is important to note that the reference list is not a bibliography. A bibliography lists everything you may have read, while a reference list is deliberately limited to those sources for which you have provided in-text references. A bibliography is not needed unless specifically requested by your course lecturer or tutor.