Ordering Your References, Reference Style, and Citing a Work with No Author

APA Editing

The reference list is a key component of your dissertation. This list includes the sources you consult and refer to in the research process of your dissertation, which prevents plagiarizing that information and increases your credibility as a researcher. In order for source information to be clear to your reader, follow the guidelines in the APA Manual and your University guidelines, in case differences exist between the two. Below we discuss three aspects of the APA Reference list: (a) Order of References, (b) Basic Book and Journal style Reference, and (c) Citing a Work with No Author.

Order of References

Entries in the reference list should be in alphabetical order by author’s surnames. In cases where two or more of the authors have the same surname, arrange the works in alphabetical order based on their initials. Where two entries are by the same author, arrange the works chronologically from oldest to newest. Where there are two entries with the same author(s) and publication year(s), include lowercase letters immediately after the year (APA6 pp. 181–183).

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1. Benjamin, A. S.
ben Yaakov, D.
2. Mathur, A. L., & Wallston, J. (1999).
Mathur, S. E., & Ahlers, R. J. (1998).
3. Upenieks, V. (2003).
Upenieks, V. (2005).
4. Baheti, J. R. (2001a).
Baheti, J. R. (2001b).

Basic Book and Journal Style Reference

Generally, citations will include the author or contributor’s name, year of publication, title, and publishing data. However, each type of publication has its own citation format. In this way, other researchers know where to find your sources and that you are a conscientious researcher. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to spelling of proper names and to electronic retrieval data. For more information, see APA6, pp. 180–192 and pp. 198–215.


Author, A. (2016). Best book in American history. New York, NY: Random House.


Author, A. A., & Author, B. (2016). Super amazing and fun title. Equally Amazing Journal, 25(3), 12–13. doi:10.xxxxxxxxxxxx OR Retrieved from https://www.website.com/

Citing a Work with No Author

If the reference you want to cite has neither an author nor an editor, put the title of the book or article in the author position. Alphabetize such citations according to the first significant word in the title. In text, use either part of the title or the whole title (if it is short) in place of the author in the citation. If an online version refers to a print edition, include the edition number after the title (APA6, p. 205).


Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary (11th ed.). (2005). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.

Heuristic. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (11th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/heuristic

Following the basic APA formatting for references is essential to keeping your dissertation organized and producing scholarly, high-quality research. These basics and more can be found in the APA 6 manual, Chapter 7: Reference Examples. When in doubt, make sure to reach out to a qualified APA editor for assistance!