The four basic elements of a reference list entry


amuhith. (2020, February). Lovely place, food n value just round the corner from Winton High street. Been coming here for years with my family. Restaurant_Review-g186262-d5814505-Reviews-The_Bay_Tree-Bournemouth_Dorset_England.html

Hassanien, A & Dale, C. (2019). Hospitality business development(2nd ed.). Routledge.

Martin-Rios, C., & Ciobanu, T. (2019). Hospitality innovation strategies: An analysis of success factors and challenges. Tourism Management, 70(2), 218-229.

Motivation2Study. (2019, August 19). 4 tips to improve your public speaking – how to captivate an audience [Video]. YouTube.–Yc

The Caterer. (2018, April 22). The Caterer’s 40 trends: food.

The four elements of a reference

A reference list entry usually has four elements: author, date, title, source. Each element answers a question:

Author: Who is responsible for this work?

Date: When was this work published?

Title: What is this work called?

Source: Where can I retrieve this work?

Identifying these four elements and answering these four questions will help you create a reference for any source, even if you do not have an example which exactly matches your source.

A Day To Shine! – a manageable mnemonic to simplify the seemingly complex APA references structure. By remembering Author, Date, Title, and Source, you will be well-equipped to construct clear and accurate APA references.

The format of APA7 style reference list entries is always the same: 


Author. Date. Title. Source. 


WHO.  The name of the author or authors –a person, people, or an organisation 

WHEN. The date of publication 

WHAT. The title of the source – title of journal article, book, webpage, video etc. 

WHERE. The location of the source – a DOI number, a URL, the name of the publishers etc. 


To remember these four elements  Author. Date. Title. Source  

think of the following phrase  A Day To Shine 

and Smile! Your reference list is almost finished…. 

For more information about this topic, see

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.), p. 283, section 9.4 Four elements of a reference and p. 303, section 9.43 Format of the reference list.

American Psychological Association. (n.d). Basic principles of reference list entries.