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Citing Sources: Formatting a Reference List

A guide to citing sources in MLA, APA, and Chicago format.


The References page is an alphabetical list of all the sources you used for your paper.

Here are some basic rules to follow when creating your References page:

  • The References page should be placed at the end of your paper on a new page.
  • The page number should be in the top right corner in the header.
  • Center the heading References a few spaces down from the top of the page.
  • Two blank lines should be after the heading, and before the first entry on the list.
  • Use one blank line between each entry.
  • Each entry should be single spaced and the second line of each entry should be a hanging indent. To get this in MS Word:
    • Select all text, and then right-click it.
    • From the pop-up menu, select Paragraph.
    • To double-space the text, under Spacing, Line Spacing, select Single.
    • To add a hanging indent, under Indentation, Special, select Hanging. This indents the lower lines of each entry 0.5” from the left.
  • Alphabetize each entry by author’s last name, or if the author’s name is not given, by the title of the work.
  • When you are citing multiple works by an author, you can include a long dash as a substitute for the author's name.
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. 1988. The Signifying
Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism. New York: Oxford University Press.
-----. 2004. American Behind the Color Line:
Dialogues with African Americans. New York: Warner Books.


Example Reference List



Centers for Disease Control. 2012. "Overweight and
Obesity: A Growing Problem."  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last modified April 27. Accessed June 20, 2012.
Davis, Brennan. 2009. "Proximity of Fast-Food
Restaurants to Schools and Adolescent Obesity." American Journal of Public Health 99, no. 3: 505. Accessed August 29, 2011. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2008.137638.
Levine, Susan. 2008. School Lunch Politics: the
Surprising History of America's Favorite Welfare Program. Princeton: Princeton University Press.