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Citation Styles

Guidelines for Reference List

The following discusses general aspects of a reference list including formatting.

Order: Citations are listed alphabetically by author's last name. Sources without authors are inserted alphabetically by title within the list.

Capitalization: Capitalize only the first word of the title and the subtitle of books, articles and websites. EXCEPTIONS: Capitalize all proper names/words. Capitalize all words in the title of a journal, magazine, newspaper. Example: The Arizona Republic. Reference works such as an encyclopedia only the first word of the title is captialized. Example: Concise encyclopedia of special education.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): A unique DOI is assigned to journal articles and provides a persistent link to the article but not all have a DOI. Eliminates issues with URLs changing. All DOIs begin with a 10. If available, DOI should be shown at the end of the citation. DOIs are visible in some databases but "hidden" in others.

Spacing: Insert 1 space after commas, colons, semicolons, periods that separate parts of the citation and periods of the initials in a name. Example: Author, A. A. (2009). Title. Journal, volume, pages. Citations should be double-spaced in the reference list.

Date: Follows the author's name or title if there is no author. Use exact date when citing magazines, newspapers, newsletters and conference/symposium papers and proceedings. Example: (2009, May 10). Use only the year when citing journal articles. If possible, include date website was created or updated.

Indention: First line of each citation is flush with the left margin; subsequent lines of the citation are indented and double-spaced to form hanging indents.

Italics & Underlining: Titles of books and journals are italicized. Journal volume numbers are also italicized but issue numbers are not. Example: Journal of Special Education, 29(2), 79-98. Underlining is not used in citations in the reference list including URLs.

Pagination: Use p. or pp. to signify page numbers when citing magazines and newspapers that do not have volume numbers. They are also used to designate pages for articles in encyclopedias and chapters in edited books. These page number abbreviations are not used when citing journal articles with volume numbers. See journal example in "Italics" above.

Other punctuation: Ampersand [&] is used instead of 'and' when there are multiple authors. Examples: Author, A. A. & Author, B. B. OR Author, A. A., Author, B. B., Author, C. C. & Author, D. D.

Editions: Cite edition of a book only if it is not the 1st edition. Edition is shown between title and location of publisher. Example: Title (3rd ed.). City, State: Publisher.

Publication information: Location of publisher should include city, state and name of publisher. Example: San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

URLs: Should not be underlined. URLs are used when a DOI is not used or found. If no DOI, use home page URL of the journal or book publisher. EX: Retrieved from http://www.xxxxxxxx or in the case of government/technical reports - Retrieved from agency name website: http://www.xxxx

Websites: When making a "passing reference to a website in the text, the URL is sufficient; no reference list entry is needed. However, when you are citing a particular document or piece of information from a website, include both a reference list entry and an in-text citation. The key to creating the reference list entry is to determine the type of content on the web page".  

Retrieved from: Use when there is no DOI for journal or magazine article and you retrieved the article electronically. Retrieved from

Retrieved date: No longer needed in citations unless the information may change over time [e.g. wikis].

Databases: No longer necessary to include a "retrieved from" statement with name of database from which online article was retrieved. Exception: Add database name used when citing materials with limited circulation.