References are used to document and substantiate statements made in the paper.

APA publications and other publishers and institutions using APA Style generally require reference lists, not bibliographies. A reference list contains works that specifically support the ideas, claims, and concepts in a paper; in contrast, a bibliography provides works for background or further reading and may include descriptive notes (e.g., an annotated bibliography).

The Publication Manual (see Section 9.51) provides formatting guidance and examples for annotated bibliographies. Annotated bibliographies can also be created with APA’s cloud-based writing and research software called Academic Writer.

Reference lists versus bibliographies is covered in the introduction to Chapter 9 of the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition

Last updated: December 2021Date created: September 2019