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Reference guide (APA 7)

This guide shows how you cite different types of sources. It is based on the APA 7 style (American Psychology Association)

General guidelines

In the reference list, the reader will find more information about the sources you have based your text on. When you compile your references, remember that different types of sources require different information.

  • The main entries in the in-text citations should correspond to the first word in the reference list, so that the reader can find and identify the sources. The reference list is placed at the end of your text. Appendices are placed before the reference list. All sources you cite with in-text citations should also be found in the reference list.
  • The reference list is alphabetical.
  • Format your list of references and make it clear and readable. Adding an empty line between the different entries and using hanging indent make it easier for the reader to distinguish the different sources from each other.
  • Printed and electronic sources are listed together in one single list of references.


Elements of the reference list:

  • Author. A person or organisation.
  • Date: Year or date of publication.
  • Complete title.
  • Edition, when you use the second or later editions.
  • Publication series and serial number if these are vital for identifying the source.
  • Publisher or other publishing organization.
  • DOI number if the publication has one.
For a journal article, also add:
  • Name of journal.
  • Year/volume, issue.
  • Pages (first and last page of the article).
  • URL if the article has no DOI. The URL should not be underlined in the reference list. If the link is long, you can use a URL shortening tool.
For other online material, add also:
  • Date of use if you are citing a source that is continuously updated.


Personal communication:

  • Personal communication should not be included in the reference list, since this information can’t be accessed by the reader. Personal communication such as interviews can be presented in an appendix for example.

Consistency between the in-text citation and the reference list

Source with a person as the author

In-text citation: (Patton, 2015)

Reference list: Patton, M.Q. (2015). Qualitative research & evaluation methods: integrating theory and practice. (4th ed.) Sage publications.


Source with an organisation as the author

In-text citation: (European Commission, 2020)

Reference list: European Commission, Directorate-General for Communication, (2020). Business and industry, Publications Office. 


Source with no author (Title as the main entry)

In-text citation: In an interview for the BBC the chief executive stated… (BA and Ryanair, 2021)

Reference list: BA and Ryanair investigated for refusing refunds (2021). BBC News 9.6.2021. 

Alphabetical order

Works are listed in the alphabetical order in the reference list, by the first word of the reference list entry.

Alphabetizing rules:

  • if you have several sources by the same author, or two authors with the same name, arrange the entries according to year of publication, the earliest first. One author precedes multiple authors, use the first author's surname.
  • When the author is an organisation, use the first word in the organisation's name.
  • When alphabetizing by title, use the first word with meaning in the title (disregarding the, a, an, etc.).
  • Alphabetize numerals as though the number is spelled out.
Example of the order in a reference list

Anderson, E. (n.d.)

Anderson, E. (2022a)

Anderson, E. (2022b)

Anderson, E. (2023)

Anderson, E. & Holmes, M. (2021)

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Hanken School of Economics. (2023)

VisitFinland. (n.d.)