Apa Bibliography Or Works Cited Page

Knowing the proper term for your paper’s list of citations can be confusing. Do I call it a works cited page? Should it actually be called a bibliography? How is it different from a reference list? In this article, we explain what these three terms mean and how they are different or related to one another.

To begin, each citation style has its own way of naming the list of sources you used in your paper. Here we break down the differences in these list types, so that you can better understand which option works best for your work.

Works Cited

A “Works Cited” list is an alphabetical list of works cited, or sources you specifically called out while composing your paper. All works that you have quoted or paraphrased should be included. Works Cited is generally used when citing sources using MLA format (Modern Language Association) style, and sources should be listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name.

Example Works Cited entry:

Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution. Oxford UP, 2007.

References or “Reference List”

A “Reference List” is very similar to a Works Cited list, and is a term used when citing sources using APA format (American Psychological Association) style. The page should be titled “References,” and is arranged alphabetically by author last name.

Example References entry:

Middlekauff, R. (2007). The glorious cause: The American Revolution. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.


Bibliographies, on the other hand, differ greatly from Works Cited and References lists. In Works Cited and References, you only list items you have actually referred to and cited in your paper. A Bibliography, meanwhile, lists all the material you have consulted in preparing your essay, whether you have actually referred to and cited the work or not. This includes all sources that you have used in order to do any research. Bibliographies are often used in Chicago and Turabian citation styles. They usually contain a long reference that has a corresponding footnote within the body of the paper.

Example Bibliography entry:

Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2007.




Basic Information

Material in the social and behavioral sciences is typically written in APA Style, the format established by the American Psychological Association. The rules and guidelines of the style are outlined in The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. According to APA formatting, a paper should include four sections: title page, abstract, main body, and references. The manual provides style guidelines for each.

Basic Guidelines

  • Papers should be printed in black ink on standard, white 8.5x11-inch paper
  • Text should be double spaced, size 10-12 point, and typed in a clear font, such as Times New Roman. There should be 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • Create a header at the upper right-hand side of every page, composed of the first few words of the title, five spaces, and the page number.;

Title Page Guidelines

  • The title page should include the page header.
  • The first line of the title page should be left-aligned, not centered, and begin with the words “Running Head,” followed by a colon and an abbreviated version of your title using 50 characters or less in all capital letters.
  • Centered,in the upper half of the page, list your full title, name, and affiliation (for example, University of Michigan).
  • Any endnotes should be located on a separate page, before your Works Cited page.

Abstract Guidelines

  • The abstract page should include the page header.
  • The first line should just say the word “Abstract,” centered.
  • Your abstract should begin on the following line, without indentation, double spaced, and should consist of one paragraph of fewer than 120 words.


  • Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.
  • Cohen, R. C., & Meyers, R. R. (1991). APA guide for preparing manuscripts for journal articles. San Francisco: Modern Language Association.

Chapter from a Bookr

  • Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In A. Editor & B. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (pages of chapter). Location: Publisher.

Computer Program

  • Author, A. (Year). Title [computer software]. City: Publisher.
  • Baker, E. (2004). RetroActive [computer software]. Cincinnati: Jennings.

Computer Software

  • Jones, B., Tesar, B., & Luckow, K. (2007). IG: Intl Games Software (Version 2.1) [Software]. Available from http://www.intlgames.com

Database Article

  • Brown, A. M., Smith, A. L., & Yen, D. P. (2001). The Centrist Study. Journal of European Studies, 8(3). Retrieved February 20, 2001, from EURO ARTICLES database.

Dissertation Abstract

  • Goldstein, Y. (2003). Essays in Faith Based Studies (Doctoral dissertation, Harvard College, 2004). Dissertation Abstracts International, 62, 7741F.


  • Henry, F. G. (1990). Space. In The new encyclopedia Britannica (Vol. 26, pp. 306-508). Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica.


  • Producer, P. P. (Producer), & Director, D.D. (Director). (Date of publication). Title of motion picture [Motion picture]. Country of origin: Studio or distributor.Journal
  • Wong, I. (1998). Mischa Mischa. The New Criterion, 15(30), 5-13.


  • Henry, G. (2004, September). Ripples versus waves [Letter to the editor]. Scientific American, 287(2), 12.


  • Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day). Article Title. Publication Title, Volume number, page range.
  • Jones, W. A., III. (1994, April 12). Happy Living. Time, 135, 28-31.


  • Author, A. (Year, Month Day). Title of Article. Title of Publication, p. 1A.
  • Author, A. (Year, Month Day). Title of Article. Title of Publication, pp. 1A, 2A.

Online Periodical

  • Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Online Periodical, volume number(issue number if available).Retrieved month day, year, (if necessary) from http://www.someaddress.com/full/url/
  • Cohen, M. (2008). Why We Should Run. A List Apart: For People Who Exercise, 129. Retrieved June 2, 2000, from http://www.healthyliving.com

Private Organization

  • American Psychiatric Association. (1999). Practice guidelines for the treatment of patients with depression (1st ed.). Washington, D.C.: Author.


  • Producer, P. P. (Producer). (Date of broadcast or copyright). Title of broadcast [ Television broadcast or Television series ]. City of origin: Studio or distributor.


  • “Name of Episode.” Name of Series. Network. Station, City. Date of Broadcast.


  • Review Author. "Title of Review (if there is one)." Rev. of Performance Title, by Author/Director/Artist. Title of Periodical day month year: page.
  • Truman, Mark. "France: Where Art Thou?" Rev. of Majestic City, dir. Michael Roth and Benjamin Schwartz. San Francisco Chronicle 21 April 2006 late ed.: E1.


  • Author’s name (if available). Name of Site. Date of Posting/Revision. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sometimes found in copyright statements). Date you accessed the site
  • Benson, David. Ankle Replacement Prosthetics. 16 Nov. 2007. University of Maryland. 6 Feb. 2008 <http://www.anklereplacement.com>.

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