20 – Recommendation Reports


Nicole Hagstrom-Schmidt

Your references section contains the complete bibliographic information for any sources you have cited in the report. Depending on your citation style, this section may be titled “References” (APA) or “Works Cited” (MLA). Other citation styles will have their own preferred title, or your organization may have a house style that they prefer. Figure 20.11[1] below offers a format template for common resources used in reports. For more information on end citation, see Chapter 12.

Regardless of whether you are using APA or MLA, organize your sources alphabetically. Use the first word of the entry for alphabetization purposes, whether that first word is from a title, an author’s last name, or the first word of an organization. You should not organize sources according to when they appear in the report.

For formatting, use a hanging indent. A hanging indent is the reverse of a normal indent. Your first line of a reference entry should be fully left aligned. All subsequent lines in an entry should be one half-inch (or one tab) over. You can set up a hanging indent in Word or Google Docs rather than manually inserting a tab for each line. Using formatting rather than doing the tabbing yourself is recommended, as the format will stay consistent even if you need to make revisions to the entry.

This image shows a sample reference list in APA style. Please click the link at the end of the caption for an accessible version of this information.
Figure 20.11. APA references template. (Alternative PDF version: Figure 20.11.)
McKinney, Matt, Kalani Pattison, Sarah LeMire, Kathy Anders, and Nicole Hagstrom-Schmidt, eds. Howdy or Hello?: Technical and Professional Communication. 2nd ed. College Station: Texas A&M University, 2022. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


  1. Nicole Hagstrom-Schmidt, "APA References Template," 2022. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Figure derived from Jason Swarts, Stacey Pigg, Jamie Larsen, Julia Helo Gonzalez, Rebecca De Haas, and Elizabeth Wagner, Communication in the Workplace: What Can NC State Students Expect? (Raleigh: North Carolina State University Professional Writing Program, 2018), https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pMpVbDRWIN6HssQQQ4MeQ6U-oB-sGUrtRswD7feuRB0/edit#heading=h.n2a3udms5sd5. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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