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Reference List: Basic Rules
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Note: This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style can be found here .
This resource, revised according to the 7 th edition APA Publication Manual, provides fundamental guidelines for constructing the reference pages of research papers. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , (7 th ed.).
This page gives basic guidelines for formatting the reference list at the end of a standard APA research paper. Most sources follow fairly straightforward rules. However, because sources obtained from academic journals carry special weight in research writing, these sources are subject to special rules . Thus, this page presents basic guidelines for citing academic journals separate from its "ordinary" basic guidelines. This distinction is made clear below.
Note: Because the information on this page pertains to virtually all citations, we've highlighted one important difference between APA 6 and APA 7 with an underlined note written in red.
Formatting a Reference List
Your reference list should appear at the end of your paper. It provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any source you cite in the body of the paper. Each source you cite in the paper must appear in your reference list; likewise, each entry in the reference list must be cited in your text.
Your references should begin on a new page separate from the text of the essay; label this page "References" in bold, centered at the top of the page (do NOT underline or use quotation marks for the title). All text should be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay.
Basic Rules for Most Sources
- All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation.
- All authors' names should be inverted (i.e., last names should be provided first).
- For example, the reference entry for a source written by Jane Marie Smith would begin with "Smith, J. M."
- If a middle name isn't available, just initialize the author's first name: "Smith, J."
- Give the last name and first/middle initials for all authors of a particular work up to and including 20 authors ( this is a new rule, as APA 6 only required the first six authors ). Separate each author’s initials from the next author in the list with a comma. Use an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name. If there are 21 or more authors, use an ellipsis (but no ampersand) after the 19th author, and then add the final author’s name.
- Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.
- For multiple articles by the same author, or authors listed in the same order, list the entries in chronological order, from earliest to most recent.
- Note again that the titles of academic journals are subject to special rules. See section below.
- Italicize titles of longer works (e.g., books, edited collections, names of newspapers, and so on).
- Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as chapters in books or essays in edited collections.
Basic Rules for Articles in Academic Journals
- Present journal titles in full.
- Italicize journal titles.
- For example, you should use PhiloSOPHIA instead of Philosophia, or Past & Present instead of Past and Present.
- This distinction is based on the type of source being cited. Academic journal titles have all major words capitalized, while other sources' titles do not.
- Capitalize the first word of the titles and subtitles of journal articles , as well as the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and any proper nouns .
- Do not italicize or underline the article title.
- Deep blue: The mysteries of the Marianas Trench.
- Oceanographic Study: A Peer-Reviewed Publication
Please note: While the APA manual provides examples of how to cite common types of sources, it does not cover all conceivable sources. If you must cite a source that APA does not address, the APA suggests finding an example that is similar to your source and using that format. For more information, see page 282 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7 th ed.
Frequently asked questions
How many authors do i include in an apa reference list entry.
You may include up to 20 authors in a reference list entry .
When an article has more than 20 authors, replace the names prior to the final listed author with an ellipsis, but do not omit the final author:
Davis, Y., Smith, J., Caulfield, F., Pullman, H., Carlisle, J., Donahue, S. D., James, F., O’Donnell, K., Singh, J., Johnson, L., Streefkerk, R., McCombes, S., Corrieri, L., Valck, X., Baldwin, F. M., Lorde, J., Wardell, K., Lao, W., Yang, P., . . . O’Brien, T. (2012).
Frequently asked questions: APA Style
APA footnotes use superscript numbers and should appear in numerical order. You can place footnotes at the bottom of the relevant pages, or on a separate footnotes page at the end:
- For footnotes at the bottom of the page, you can use your word processor to automatically insert footnotes .
- For footnotes at the end of the text in APA, place them on a separate page entitled “Footnotes,” after the r eference page . Indent the first line of each footnote, and double-space them.
For both approaches, place a space between the superscript number and the footnote text.
APA Style requires you to use APA in-text citations , not footnotes, to cite sources .
However, you can use APA footnotes sparingly for two purposes:
- Giving additional information
- Providing copyright attribution
Yes, APA language guidelines state that you should always use the serial comma (aka Oxford comma) in your writing.
This means including a comma before the word “and” at the end of a list of three or more items: “spelling, grammar, and punctuation.” Doing this consistently tends to make your lists less ambiguous.
Yes, it’s perfectly valid to write sentences in the passive voice . The APA language guidelines do caution against overusing the passive voice, because it can obscure your meaning or be needlessly long-winded. For this reason, default to the active voice in most cases.
The passive voice is most useful when the point of the sentence is just to state what was done, not to emphasize who did it. For example, “The projector was mounted on the wall” is better than “James and I mounted the projector on the wall” if it’s not particularly important who mounted the projector.
Yes, APA language guidelines encourage you to use the first-person pronouns “I” or “we” when referring to yourself or a group including yourself in your writing.
In APA Style, you should not refer to yourself in the third person. For example, do not refer to yourself as “the researcher” or “the author” but simply as “I” or “me.” Referring to yourself in the third person is still common practice in some academic fields, but APA Style rejects this convention.
If you cite several sources by the same author or group of authors, you’ll distinguish between them in your APA in-text citations using the year of publication.
If you cite multiple sources by the same author(s) at the same point , you can just write the author name(s) once and separate the different years with commas, e.g., (Smith, 2020, 2021).
To distinguish between sources with the same author(s) and the same publication year, add a different lowercase letter after the year for each source, e.g., (Smith, 2020, 2021a, 2021b). Add the same letters to the corresponding reference entries .
According to the APA guidelines, you should report enough detail on inferential statistics so that your readers understand your analyses.
Report the following for each hypothesis test:
- the test statistic value
- the degrees of freedom
- the exact p value (unless it is less than 0.001)
- the magnitude and direction of the effect
You should also present confidence intervals and estimates of effect sizes where relevant.
The number of decimal places to report depends on what you’re reporting. Generally, you should aim to round numbers while retaining precision. It’s best to present fewer decimal digits to aid easy understanding.
Use one decimal place for:
- Standard deviations
- Descriptive statistics based on discrete data
Use two decimal places for:
- Correlation coefficients
- Inferential test statistics such as t values, F values, and chi-squares.
No, including a URL is optional in APA Style reference entries for legal sources (e.g. court cases , laws ). It can be useful to do so to aid the reader in retrieving the source, but it’s not required, since the other information included should be enough to locate it.
Generally, you should identify a law in an APA reference entry by its location in the United States Code (U.S.C.).
But if the law is either spread across various sections of the code or not featured in the code at all, include the public law number in addition to information on the source you accessed the law in, e.g.:
You should report methods using the past tense , even if you haven’t completed your study at the time of writing. That’s because the methods section is intended to describe completed actions or research.
In your APA methods section , you should report detailed information on the participants, materials, and procedures used.
- Describe all relevant participant or subject characteristics, the sampling procedures used and the sample size and power .
- Define all primary and secondary measures and discuss the quality of measurements.
- Specify the data collection methods, the research design and data analysis strategy, including any steps taken to transform the data and statistical analyses.
With APA legal citations, it’s recommended to cite all the reporters (publications reporting cases) in which a court case appears. To cite multiple reporters, just separate them with commas in your reference entry . This is called parallel citation .
Don’t repeat the name of the case, court, or year; just list the volume, reporter, and page number for each citation. For example:
In APA Style , when you’re citing a recent court case that has not yet been reported in print and thus doesn’t have a specific page number, include a series of three underscores (___) where the page number would usually appear:
In APA style, statistics can be presented in the main text or as tables or figures . To decide how to present numbers, you can follow APA guidelines:
- To present three or fewer numbers, try a sentence,
- To present between 4 and 20 numbers, try a table,
- To present more than 20 numbers, try a figure.
Since these are general guidelines, use your own judgment and feedback from others for effective presentation of numbers.
In an APA results section , you should generally report the following:
- Participant flow and recruitment period.
- Missing data and any adverse events.
- Descriptive statistics about your samples.
- Inferential statistics , including confidence intervals and effect sizes.
- Results of any subgroup or exploratory analyses, if applicable.
When citing a podcast episode in APA Style , the podcast’s host is listed as author , accompanied by a label identifying their role, e.g. Glass, I. (Host).
When citing a whole podcast series, if different episodes have different hosts, list the executive producer(s) instead. Again, include a label identifying their role, e.g. Lechtenberg, S. (Producer).
Like most style guides , APA recommends listing the book of the Bible you’re citing in your APA in-text citation , in combination with chapter and verse numbers. For example:
Books of the Bible may be abbreviated to save space; a list of standard abbreviations can be found here . Page numbers are not used in Bible citations.
Yes, in the 7th edition of APA Style , versions of the Bible are treated much like other books ; you should include the edition you used in your reference list .
Previously, in the 6th edition of the APA manual, it was recommended to just use APA 6 in-text citations to refer to the Bible, and omit it from the reference list.
To make it easy for the reader to find the YouTube video , list the person or organization who uploaded the video as the author in your reference entry and APA in-text citation .
If this isn’t the same person responsible for the content of the video, you might want to make this clear in the text. For example:
When you need to highlight a specific moment in a video or audio source, use a timestamp in your APA in-text citation . Just include the timestamp from the start of the part you’re citing. For example:
To include a direct quote in APA , follow these rules:
- Quotes under 40 words are placed in double quotation marks .
- Quotes of 40 words or more are formatted as block quote .
- The author, year, and page number are included in an APA in-text citation .
APA doesn’t require you to include a list of tables or a list of figures . However, it is advisable to do so if your text is long enough to feature a table of contents and it includes a lot of tables and/or figures .
A list of tables and list of figures appear (in that order) after your table of contents, and are presented in a similar way.
Copyright information can usually be found wherever the table or figure was published. For example, for a diagram in a journal article , look on the journal’s website or the database where you found the article. Images found on sites like Flickr are listed with clear copyright information.
If you find that permission is required to reproduce the material, be sure to contact the author or publisher and ask for it.
If you adapt or reproduce a table or figure from another source, you should include that source in your APA reference list . You should also include copyright information in the note for the table or figure, and include an APA in-text citation when you refer to it.
Tables and figures you created yourself, based on your own data, are not included in the reference list.
An APA in-text citation is placed before the final punctuation mark in a sentence.
- The company invested over 40,000 hours in optimizing its algorithm (Davis, 2011) .
- A recent poll suggests that EU membership “would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters” in a referendum (Levring, 2018) .
In an APA in-text citation , you use the phrase “ as cited in ” if you want to cite a source indirectly (i.e., if you cannot find the original source).
Parenthetical citation: (Brown, 1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) Narrative citation: Brown (1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) states that…
On the reference page , you only include the secondary source (Mahone, 2018).
Popular word processors like Microsoft Word and Google Docs can order lists in alphabetical order, but they don’t follow the APA Style alphabetization guidelines .
If you use Scribbr’s APA Citation Generator to create citations, references are ordered automatically based on the APA guidelines, taking into account all the exceptions.
Order numerals as though they were spelled out:
- “20 tips to relax” is ordered on the “T” of “Twenty”.
- “100 cities you should visit” is ordered on the “O” of “One hundred”.
Read more about alphabetizing the APA reference page .
If the author of a work is unknown, order the reference by its title. Disregard the words “A”, “An”, and “The” at the beginning of the title.
- The privacy concerns around social media
- Teens, social media, and privacy
Yes, if relevant you can and should include APA in-text citations in your appendices . Use author-date citations as you do in the main text.
Any sources cited in your appendices should appear in your reference list . Do not create a separate reference list for your appendices.
When you include more than one appendix in an APA Style paper , they should be labeled “Appendix A,” “Appendix B,” and so on.
When you only include a single appendix, it is simply called “Appendix” and referred to as such in the main text.
Appendices in an APA Style paper appear right at the end, after the reference list and after your tables and figures if you’ve also included these at the end.
An appendix contains information that supplements the reader’s understanding of your research but is not essential to it. For example:
- Interview transcripts
- Detailed descriptions of equipment
Something is only worth including as an appendix if you refer to information from it at some point in the text (e.g. quoting from an interview transcript). If you don’t, it should probably be removed.
If you adapt or reproduce a table or figure from another source, you should include that source in your APA reference list . You should also acknowledge the original source in the note or caption for the table or figure.
APA doesn’t require you to include a list of tables or a list of figures . However, it is advisable to do so if your text is long enough to feature a table of contents and it includes a lot of tables and/or figures.
A list of tables and list of figures appear (in that order) after your table of contents , and are presented in a similar way.
In an APA Style paper , use a table or figure when it’s a clearer way to present important data than describing it in your main text. This is often the case when you need to communicate a large amount of information.
Before including a table or figure in your text, always reflect on whether it’s useful to your readers’ understanding:
- Could this information be quickly summarized in the text instead?
- Is it important to your arguments?
- Does the table or figure require too much explanation to be efficient?
If the data you need to present only contains a few relevant numbers, try summarizing it in the text (potentially including full data in an appendix ). If describing the data makes your text overly long and difficult to read, a table or figure may be the best option.
In an APA Style paper , the abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page (page 2).
An APA abstract is around 150–250 words long. However, always check your target journal’s guidelines and don’t exceed the specified word count.
In APA Style , all sources that are not retrievable for the reader are cited as personal communications . In other words, if your source is private or inaccessible to the audience of your paper , it’s a personal communication.
Common examples include conversations, emails, messages, letters, and unrecorded interviews or performances.
Interviews you conducted yourself are not included in your reference list , but instead cited in the text as personal communications .
Published or recorded interviews are included in the reference list. Cite them in the usual format of the source type (for example, a newspaper article , website or YouTube video ).
To cite a public post from social media , use the first 20 words of the post as a title, include the date it was posted and a URL, and mention the author’s username if they have one:
Dorsey, J. [@jack]. (2018, March 1). We’re committing Twitter to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation, and to hold ourselves publicly [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/jack/status/969234275420655616
To cite content from social media that is not publicly accessible (e.g. direct messages, posts from private groups or user profiles), cite it as a personal communication in the text, but do not include it in the reference list :
When contacted online, the minister stated that the project was proceeding “according to plan” (R. James, Twitter direct message, March 25, 2017).
When you quote or paraphrase a specific passage from a source, you need to indicate the location of the passage in your APA in-text citation . If there are no page numbers (e.g. when citing a website ) but the text is long, you can instead use section headings, paragraph numbers, or a combination of the two:
(Caulfield, 2019, Linking section, para. 1).
Section headings can be shortened if necessary. Kindle location numbers should not be used in ebook citations , as they are unreliable.
If you are referring to the source as a whole, it’s not necessary to include a page number or other marker.
When no individual author name is listed, but the source can clearly be attributed to a specific organization—e.g., a press release by a charity, a report by an agency, or a page from a company’s website—use the organization’s name as the author in the reference entry and APA in-text citations .
When no author at all can be determined—e.g. a collaboratively edited wiki or an online article published anonymously—use the title in place of the author. In the in-text citation, put the title in quotation marks if it appears in plain text in the reference list, and in italics if it appears in italics in the reference list. Shorten it if necessary.
APA Style usually does not require an access date. You never need to include one when citing journal articles , e-books , or other stable online sources.
However, if you are citing a website or online article that’s designed to change over time, it’s a good idea to include an access date. In this case, write it in the following format at the end of the reference: Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.uva.nl/en/about-the-uva/about-the-university/about-the-university.html
The 7th edition APA Manual , published in October 2019, is the most current edition. However, the 6th edition, published in 2009, is still used by many universities and journals.
The APA Manual 7th edition can be purchased at Amazon as a hardcover, paperback or spiral-bound version. You can also buy an ebook version at RedShelf .
The American Psychological Association anticipates that most people will start using the 7th edition in the spring of 2020 or thereafter.
It’s best to ask your supervisor or check the website of the journal you want to publish in to see which APA guidelines you should follow.
If you’re citing from an edition other than the first (e.g. a 2nd edition or revised edition), the edition appears in the reference, abbreviated in parentheses after the book’s title (e.g. 2nd ed. or Rev. ed.).
In the 7th edition of the APA manual, no location information is required for publishers. The 6th edition previously required you to include the city and state where the publisher was located, but this is no longer the case.
In an APA reference list , journal article citations include only the year of publication, not the exact date, month, or season.
The inclusion of volume and issue numbers makes a more specific date unnecessary.
In an APA journal citation , if a DOI (digital object identifier) is available for an article, always include it.
If an article has no DOI, and you accessed it through a database or in print, just omit the DOI.
If an article has no DOI, and you accessed it through a website other than a database (for example, the journal’s own website), include a URL linking to the article.
Include the DOI at the very end of the APA reference entry . If you’re using the 6th edition APA guidelines, the DOI is preceded by the label “doi:”. In the 7th edition , the DOI is preceded by ‘https://doi.org/’.
- 6th edition: doi: 10.1177/0894439316660340
- 7th edition: https://doi.org/ 10.1177/0894439316660340
APA citation example (7th edition)
Hawi, N. S., & Samaha, M. (2016). The relations among social media addiction, self-esteem, and life satisfaction in university students. Social Science Computer Review , 35 (5), 576–586. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894439316660340
When citing a webpage or online article , the APA in-text citation consists of the author’s last name and year of publication. For example: (Worland & Williams, 2015). Note that the author can also be an organization. For example: (American Psychological Association, 2019).
If you’re quoting you should also include a locator. Since web pages don’t have page numbers, you can use one of the following options:
- Paragraph number: (Smith, 2018, para. 15).
- Heading or section name: ( CDC, 2020, Flu Season section)
- Abbreviated heading: ( CDC, 2020, “Key Facts” section)
Always include page numbers in the APA in-text citation when quoting a source . Don’t include page numbers when referring to a work as a whole – for example, an entire book or journal article.
If your source does not have page numbers, you can use an alternative locator such as a timestamp, chapter heading or paragraph number.
Instead of the author’s name, include the first few words of the work’s title in the in-text citation. Enclose the title in double quotation marks when citing an article, web page or book chapter. Italicize the title of periodicals, books, and reports.
No publication date
If the publication date is unknown , use “n.d.” (no date) instead. For example: (Johnson, n.d.).
The abbreviation “ et al. ” (meaning “and others”) is used to shorten APA in-text citations with three or more authors . Here’s how it works:
Only include the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.”, a comma and the year of publication, for example (Taylor et al., 2018).
APA Style papers should be written in a font that is legible and widely accessible. For example:
- Times New Roman (12pt.)
- Arial (11pt.)
- Calibri (11pt.)
- Georgia (11pt.)
The same font and font size is used throughout the document, including the running head , page numbers, headings , and the reference page . Text in footnotes and figure images may be smaller and use single line spacing.
The easiest way to set up APA format in Word is to download Scribbr’s free APA format template for student papers or professional papers.
Alternatively, you can watch Scribbr’s 5-minute step-by-step tutorial or check out our APA format guide with examples.
You need an APA in-text citation and reference entry . Each source type has its own format; for example, a webpage citation is different from a book citation .
Use Scribbr’s free APA Citation Generator to generate flawless citations in seconds or take a look at our APA citation examples .
APA format is widely used by professionals, researchers, and students in the social and behavioral sciences, including fields like education, psychology, and business.
Be sure to check the guidelines of your university or the journal you want to be published in to double-check which style you should be using.
Yes, page numbers are included on all pages, including the title page , table of contents , and reference page . Page numbers should be right-aligned in the page header.
To insert page numbers in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, click ‘Insert’ and then ‘Page number’.
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APA Style Reference Lists: Multiple Authors (Examples)
What are APA style reference list rules for multiple authors? The references below use the APA Publication Manual 7 (released on October 2019). Learn how to properly cite a source or reference in APA style format in this full APA format citation guide. Read the other guides to learn how to cite other source types according to research papers, professional papers, scholarly journal’s, and student essays.
Understanding an APA reference list for authors and multiple authors: what is APA style?
APA is a writing format for academic documents. These documents typically include scholarly journals, books, student essays, and other educational material. For example, in the field of behavioral and social sciences (including sociology, education, health science, criminal justice, and psychology) APA style is used as a standard format for research.
APA stands for the American Psychological Association. The APA became involved in journal publishing in 1923. And in 1929, an APA committee had created a seven-page writer’s guide published in the Psychological Bulletin . Editions of the APA manual have since evolved. With major releases in 1974, 1983, 1994, 2001, 2009, and 2019. Each with their edition titles.
For example, the 2019 edition is referred to as “APA 6” style. Revisions of the APA style guide tend to follow developments of the English language and linguistics as a whole.
APA Style 7th Edition font suggestions
APA Publication Manual 7 requires that chosen fonts be accessible to readers and consistent throughout essays and research papers. The APA Manual does not specify a certain typeface or font for papers. They do recommend the following typefaces with their point sizes as follows:
What are the APA reference list rules for multiple authors?
Other reference common cases.
Here are other multiple author reference list APA style guides:
No author, date, or page number
Apa 7th edition formatting and style guides:.
Here are more resources on APA style:
- General APA Citation Format
- In-text Citations
- In-text Citations: Author/Authors
- Reference List: Basic Rules
- Reference List: Author/Authors
- Reference List: Articles in Periodicals
- Reference List: Books
- Reference List: Other Print Sources
- Reference List: Electronic Sources
- Reference List: Audiovisual Material
- Reference List: Non-Print Resources
- APA Legal References
- Footnotes and Appendices
- Numbers and Statistics
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- Abstract Noun
- Accusative Case
- Active Sentence
- Adjective Clause
- Adjective Phrase
- Adverbial Clause
- Appositive Phrase
- Body Paragraph
- Compound Adjective
- Complex Sentence
- Compound Words
- Compound Predicate
- Common Noun
- Comparative Adjective
- Comparative and Superlative
- Compound Noun
- Compound Subject
- Compound Sentence
- Copular Verb
- Collective Noun
- Concrete Noun
- Conditional Sentence
- Comma Splice
- Correlative Conjunction
- Coordinating Conjunction
- Coordinate Adjective
- Cumulative Adjective
- Dative Case
- Declarative Sentence
- Declarative Statement
- Direct Object Pronoun
- Direct Object
- Dangling Modifier
- Demonstrative Pronoun
- Demonstrative Adjective
- Direct Characterization
- Definite Article
- Equivocation Fallacy
- False Dilemma Fallacy
- Future Perfect Progressive
- Future Simple
- Future Perfect Continuous
- Future Perfect
- First Conditional
- Gerund Phrase
- Genitive Case
- Helping Verb
- Irregular Adjective
- Irregular Verb
- Imperative Sentence
- Indefinite Article
- Intransitive Verb
- Introductory Phrase
- Indefinite Pronoun
- Indirect Characterization
- Interrogative Sentence
- Intensive Pronoun
- Inanimate Object
- Indefinite Tense
- Infinitive Phrase
- Indicative Mood
- Linking Verb
- Misplaced Modifier
- Nominative Case
- Noun Adjective
- Object Pronoun
- Object Complement
- Order of Adjectives
- Prepositional Phrase
- Past Simple Tense
- Past Continuous Tense
- Past Perfect Tense
- Past Progressive Tense
- Present Simple Tense
- Present Perfect Tense
- Personal Pronoun
- Persuasive Writing
- Parallel Structure
- Phrasal Verb
- Predicate Adjective
- Predicate Nominative
- Phonetic Language
- Plural Noun
- Punctuation Marks
- Preposition of Place
- Parts of Speech
- Possessive Adjective
- Possessive Determiner
- Possessive Case
- Possessive Noun
- Proper Adjective
- Proper Noun
- Present Participle
- Quotation Marks
- Relative Pronoun
- Reflexive Pronoun
- Reciprocal Pronoun
- Subordinating Conjunction
- Simple Future Tense
- Stative Verb
- Subject Complement
- Subject of a Sentence
- Sentence Variety
- Second Conditional
- Superlative Adjective
- Slash Symbol
- Topic Sentence
- Types of Nouns
- Types of Sentences
- Uncountable Noun
- Vowels and Consonants
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References provide the information necessary for readers to identify and retrieve each work cited in the text.
Check each reference carefully against the original publication to ensure information is accurate and complete. Accurately prepared references help establish your credibility as a careful researcher and writer.
Consistency in reference formatting allows readers to focus on the content of your reference list, discerning both the types of works you consulted and the important reference elements (who, when, what, and where) with ease. When you present each reference in a consistent fashion, readers do not need to spend time determining how you organized the information. And when searching the literature yourself, you also save time and effort when reading reference lists in the works of others that are written in APA Style.
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How to Reference Authors in APA Format
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.
Three to 20 authors, more than 20 authors, frequently asked questions.
APA format establishes a number of clear rules for how to list reference works using author information. How you reference different sources varies depending on the number of authors to whom the source is attributed. For example, the way that you reference a single author will differ somewhat from how you reference a source with multiple authors.
Before you create a reference section for a psychology paper, it is important to know how to properly list books, articles, and other sources as well as in-text citations in APA format. The following guidelines can help you prepare a reference section for your APA format paper.
Articles and other works that do not provide an author attribution should begin with the title of the work . If the title is a book, list the title in italics. The volume number, issue number (if available), and page numbers should follow journal titles, while book titles should be followed by the publisher's name.
- A student guide to APA format. (1997). Psychology Weekly, 8, 13-27.
- The ultimate APA format guidebook. (2006). Student Press.
For in-text citations, or those referenced within the body of the text, you will also use the title, either in italics (for books) or in quotation marks (for articles). For example: Using proper APA format ("A student guide to APA format," 1997).
Works by a single author should list the author's last name and initials. The date of publication should be enclosed in parentheses and followed by the title of the article or book. Books and journal titles should be listed in italics. The volume number, issue number, and page numbers of the article should follow journal titles, while book titles should be followed by the name of the publisher.
- McCrae, R. R. (1993). Moderated analyses of longitudinal personality stability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65 (3), 577-585.
- Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Prentice-Hall.
One-author in-text citations should include the surname without any suffixes (Jr.) and the date of publication in parenthesis. For example: As Bandura (1997) mentions... or (Bandura, 1977). If you are citing different authors with the same last name, include the first initial: (A. Alper, 2004) and (B. Alper, 2005).
Works by two authors should list the last names and first initials separated by an ampersand (&). These names should be followed by the date of publication enclosed in parentheses.
If the work is a journal article, the title of the article should immediately follow the publication date. Next, the title of the book or journal should be listed in italics. If the reference is a journal article, provide the volume number, issue number, and page numbers. For books, list the name of the publisher.
- Kanfer, F. H., & Busemeyer, J. R. (1982). The use of problem-solving and decision-making in behavior therapy . Clinical Psychology Review, 2 (2) , 239-266.
- Buss, A. H., & Pomin, R. (1975). A temperament theory of personality development . Erlbaum.
In-text citations of works by two authors should include the surnames of both authors separated by the word "and" or by an ampersand if using parenthesis. For example: Studies by Buss and Pomin (1975) support... or (Buss & Pomin, 1975).
Works by three to 20 authors should list the last names and first initials of each author separated by an ampersand. Author names should be followed by the date of publication enclosed in parentheses.
If the work is a journal article, include the title of the article immediately following the publication date. The title of the book or journal should then be listed in italics. If the reference is a journal article, provide the volume number, issue number, and page numbers. For books, list the name of the publisher.
- Abma, J. C., Chandra, A., Mosher, W. D., Peterson, L. S., & Piccinino, L. J. (1997). Fertility, family planning, and women’s health: New data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth. Vital and Health Statistics, 23 (9), 1-67.
- Alper, S., Schloss, P. J., Etscheidt, S. K., & Macfarlane, C. A. (1995). Inclusion: Are we abandoning or helping students? Corwin Press.
In-text citations for works by three or more authors should list the first author's name, followed by "et al." in every citation. For example: Alper, et al. (1995) supports...or (Alper, et al, 1995).
However, if you are citing multiple works by similar groups of authors, you may need to include multiple names to avoid confusion. For example: Alper, Schloss, Etscheidt, et al. (1995) discovered...or (Alper, Schloss, Etscheidt, et al., 1995).
When a work is credited to more than 20 authors, the reference is listed by providing the names of the first 19 authors followed by . . . and then the final author. The remainder of the reference follows the same format as that for 20 or fewer authors.
Author last names and initials are followed by the date of publication enclosed in parentheses. The name of the article is listed immediately after the publication date. The title of the journal or the book title should be provided in italics. The volume number, issue number, and page number should follow journal titles, while book titles should be followed by the publisher's name.
- Pegion, K., Kirtman, B. P., Becker, E., Collins, D. C., LaJoie, E., Burgman, R., Bell, R., DelSole, R., Min, D., Zhu, Y., Li, W., Sinsky, E., Guan, H., Gottschalck, J., Metzger, E. J., Barton, N. P., Achuthavarier, D., Marshak, J., Koster, R., . . . Kim, H. (2019). The subseasonal experiment (SubX): A multimodel subseasonal prediction experiment. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society , 100 (10), 2043-2061.
- Arlo, A., Black, B., Clark, C., Davidson, D., Emerson, E., Fischer, F., Grahmann, G., Habib, H., Ianelli, I., Juarez, J., Kobayashi, K., Lee, L., Martin, M., Naim, N., Odelsson, O., Pierce, P., Qiang, Q., Reed, R., Scofield, S., . . . Thatcher, T. (2001). Instructive falsehoods: Examples and sources . Thommel-Reed.
In-text citations should list the first author's name, followed by "et al." in every citation. You can read more about a few different aspects of referencing sources in APA format if you have book references , article references , and electronic sources .
How do I cite a website with no author in APA format?
If a website has no author, cite the title (or first few words of the reference list entry) followed by the year. APA website citations will also include the website name and URL.
How do I cite a publication with no author in APA format?
If there's no author, the title of the work is listed first followed by the volume number, issue number (if available), and page numbers. If it's a book, the title should be in italics and followed by the publisher's name.
How do I cite an author with two last names?
Works by an author with two last names should list both names. If the name is hyphenated, include both names and the hyphen.
American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2019.
Purdue Online Writing Lab. In-text citations: Author/authors .
Purdue Online Writing Lab. Reference list: Author/authors .
By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
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APA (7th Edition) Referencing Guide
- Information for EndNote Users
- Authors - Numbers, Rules and Formatting
- In-Text Citations
Everything must match!
Setting out the reference list, example reference list, apa 7th reference lists.
- Books & eBooks
- Book chapters
- Journal Articles
- Conference Papers
- Newspaper Articles
- Web Pages & Documents
- Specialised Health Databases
- Using Visual Works in Assignments & Class Presentations
- Using Visual Works in Theses and Publications
- Using Tables in Assignments & Class Presentations
- Custom Textbooks & Books of Readings
- ABS AND AIHW
- Videos (YouTube), Podcasts & Webinars
- Blog Posts and Social Media
- First Nations Works
- Dictionary and Encyclopedia Entries
- Personal Communication
- Theses and Dissertations
- Film / TV / DVD
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- APA Format for Assignments
- What If...?
- Other Guides
Notes on the layout for your reference list:
Layout of page:
- The reference list starts on a new page, after your assignment and before any appendices. Place the word "References", centered, in bold, at the top of the page. APA does not require other formatting for the title of your reference page (like underlining), but check with your lecturer.
- Each entry in the reference list has a hanging indent , so that the first line of the entry is flush with the left margin, but all other lines are indented (this is the opposite of the paragraph structure in the body of your essay). Tip: You can do this easily by selecting your references, and pressing Ctrl + T on a PC, or Command (⌘) + T on a Mac. (For Word Online, see the instructions for creating a hanging indent here: https://libanswers.jcu.edu.au/faq/266638 ).
Order of references:
- For APA the reference list is arranged in alphabetical order of authors' surnames.
- Arrange by first author's name, then by second author if you have the same first author, etc. ( check the page on Authors for how to lay out the reference if you have more than one author ).
- If a reference has no author , list it alphabetically according to the title. Ignore the words 'A', 'An' and 'The' at the beginning of a corporate author or title for deciding where it fits alphabetically.
- N.B. A year without a date is considered to be "older" than a year with a date ("nothing comes before something"), so 2018 will go before 2018, September - and a month without a day will go before a month with a day, so 2018, September will go before 2018, September 12. Please note that the year only is required in-text, so you will need to follow the advice below whenever you have multiple citations in the same year.
- N.B. If you have a full date, only use the title to order the references if the date is identical. Always use 'a', 'b', etc after the year, if more than one work has been published by the same author in the same year, as this is used in the in-text referencing, e.g. (2019a, April 12), (2019b, March 23). For example:
Queensland Health. (2017a, April 9). Managing your asthma symptoms . https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-alerts/news/managing-asthma-symptoms
Queensland Health. (2017b, August 23). Five things you might not know about asthma . https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-alerts/news/5-things-you-might-not-know-about-asthma
Format of titles:
- APA uses sentence case for all titles except for journal titles.
- Begin each title and subtitle with a capital letter, but only names should be capitalised for all titles other than journal titles.
Below is an example of a reference list formatted in APA style. Mouse over the references to find more information about writing a reference list.
This list has been single spaced for this guide, but you will probably be asked to double-space your assignment, and that includes the reference list.
Note: the DOIs and URLs in the reference list above should be hyperlinked to the appropriate page, but the code for hyperlinking and the code for mouseover text was not compatible. In your reference list, make sure your DOIs and URLs are hyperlinked to the relevant page.
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How to Cite Multiple Authors in APA
Last Updated: February 2, 2023 References
This article was co-authored by Cara Barker, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Cara Barker is an Assistant Professor and Research and Instruction Librarian at Hunter Library at Western Carolina University. She received her Masters in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Washington in 2014. She has over 16 years of experience working with libraries across the United States. This article has been viewed 148,011 times.
In many social science disciplines, you'll use the citation method of the American Psychological Association (APA) to identify the references you used in your paper. When writing a research paper, you may encounter works that have more than 1 author. To cite multiple authors in APA style, include the names of all authors unless there are more than 6.  X Research source
Cite Multiple Authors in APA Template
Citing 2 to 6 Authors
- For instance, an author named Francis Leanne Montgomery would be listed as "Montgomery, F. L."
- If the author's middle name or initial is not provided, just use their first initial. For example, "Powell, J."
- Separate names of authors with commas. Check to make sure you have a comma after each last name and after each set of initials. For example: "Sunshine, S. J., Summers, P. T., & Autumnwood, S."
- Alphabetize entries in your reference list by the last name of the first author listed.
- The ampersand is always preceded by a comma. For example: "Sunshine, S. J., & Davis, T."
- For example: "Sunshine, S. J., Summers, P. T., & Autumnwood, S. (2010)."
- There is no comma between the last author's initial and the opening parenthesis.
- If the work also has a subtitle, include it after a colon. You'll also capitalize the first word of the subtitle.  X Research source
- The title may be in italics, depending on the type of work you're citing. This stays the same regardless of the number of authors. For example, a book title would be italicized, but an article in a scholarly journal would not be italicized.
- For example, if you're citing a book written by 3 authors, your citation might be "Calfee, R. C., & Valencia, R. R. (1991). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association."
Citing 7 or More Authors
- Keep the names of the authors in the order they are listed on the title page of the book.
- Check your word processing app for an ellipsis style function – it looks like it's just a string of 3 periods, but they are spaced further apart than regular periods.
- For example: "Sunshine, S. P., Brown, J. B., Honey, T., Smith, R., Grandin, T., Petty, L., . . . Sullivan, T.D."
- For example: "Sunshine, S. P., Brown, J. B., Honey, T., Smith, R., Grandin, T., Petty, L., . . . Sullivan, T.D. (2015)."
- For instance: "Sunshine, S. P., Brown, J. B., Honey, T., Smith, R., Grandin, T., Petty, L., . . . Sullivan, T.D. (2015). Creating APA citations for multiple authors."
- For instance: "Sunshine, S. P., Brown, J. B., Honey, T., Smith, R., Grandin, T., Petty, L., . . . Sullivan, T.D. (2015). Creating APA citations for multiple authors. London: Johnson Publishing Group."
Writing In-Text Citations
- Use an ampersand (&) before the last author's name if you are doing a parenthetical citation. If you're incorporating the authors' names into your text, you would spell out the word "and." For example: "(Sunshine, Clark, & Lane, 2010)" or "This truth is reflected in the work of Sunshine, Clark, and Lane."
- If the work has more than 5 authors, you would simply list the last name of the first author, followed by the Latin abbreviation "et al." For example: "(Lane et al., 2014)".
- For example, a parenthetical in-text citation might read "(Sunshine, Summers, & Autumnwood, 1984)."
- For example: "(Sunshine et al., 2010)."
- For example: "(Lane, Clark, & Winters, 2016, p. 92)."
- Use the word "and" immediately before the last author's name. Make sure you have a comma after the next-to-last authors' name as well.
- For example: "According to Sunshine, Summers, and Autumnwood (2010), pizza is a great afternoon snack."
- If there are more than 5 authors, use the first authors' name followed by the Latin abbreviation "et al." when you mention them in your text, just as you would in the parenthetical citation. For example, "Sunshine et al. (2010) further described the value of pizza."
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/06/
- ↑ http://libguides.gwumc.edu/c.php?g=27779&p=170362
- ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/08/
- ↑ http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2009/11/the-generic-reference.html
- ↑ http://research.moreheadstate.edu/c.php?g=107001&p=695202
About This Article
To cite multiple authors in APA in text, list the last names of the authors in parentheses at the end of the sentence you're sourcing, followed by the year of publication. You should also use an ampersand instead of writing out "and" before the last author's name. For example, you would write, "(Smith, Clark, & Lane, 2018)." However, if there are more than 5 authors, only list the first author's last name, followed by the Latin abbreviation "et al." Regardless of how many authors there are, you should use "et al." for all subsequent in-text citations. For more tips from our Librarian co-author, like how to cite multiple authors in your bibliography, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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APA 7th referencing style
- About APA 7th
- Printing this guide
- In-text references
- Direct quotations
Reference list formatting
Difference between reference list and bibliography, order of works with no title, publisher details, publication date, page numbers, multiple works with same author(s) and same year, example reference list.
- Author information
- Additional referencing information
- Using headings
- Book chapter
- Brochure and pamphlets
- ChatGPT and other generative AI tools
- Dictionary or encyclopaedia
- Government legislation
- Journal article
- Lecture notes and slides
- Legal sources
- Newspaper or magazine article
- Other web sources
- Patents and standards
- Personal communication
- Press (media) release
- Secondary source (indirect citation)
- Social media
- Software and mobile apps
- Specialised health information
- Television program
- Works in non-English languages
- Works in non-English scripts, such as Arabic or Chinese
- No specific font type or size required. Recommendations include Calibri size 11, Arial size 11, Lucida size 10, Times New Roman size 12, Georgia size 11 or Computer Modern size 10 (LaTeX).
- The reference list is double spaced (between each reference AND within the reference).
- A reference list is arranged alphabetically by author last name .
- Each reference appears on a new line.
- Each item in the reference list is required to have a hanging indent .
Zarate, K., Maggin, D. M., & Passmore, A. (2019). Meta‐analysis of mindfulness training on teacher well‐being. Psychology in the Schools , 56(10), 1700–1715. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22308
- References should not be numbered.
- If a reference has no author, it is cited by title, and included in the alphabetical list using the first significant word of the title.
- If you have more than one item with the same author, list the items chronologically, starting with the earliest publication.
- If there is no date, the abbreviation n.d. may be used.
- Use the full journal name , not the abbreviated name.
- Web addresses or DOIs can either be live links (blue and underlined) or as normal black text with no underline. If the work containing the reference list is to be made available online, use the live link format.
- APA 7th sample papers Includes example papers formatted in the APA 7th style from the American Psychological Association
- A reference list only includes the books, articles, and web pages etc that are cited in the text of the document.
- A bibliography includes all sources consulted, even if they are not cited in the document
- use sentence case (the first word uses a capital letter with each subsequent word in lower case). The exceptions are for names eg. countries and after a colon : eg. Writing prose in Australia: Words of wisdom from the best
- do not use single or double quotation marks.
- do not italicise.
- use sentence case
- italicise the title
- should be provided in full (not abbreviated) and use capitals where appropriate (rather than sentence case) eg. Psychological Review .
- they should be italicised .
- Website titles should be italicised.
- add a description of the reference used, including the type of reference in square brackets. For example, [Image of a child playing in outdoor playground].
- For social media posts or comments without a title , add up to the first 20 words used in the post or comment and italicise it. Also include a description of the work in square brackets. For example, On Monday and Tuesday (16-17 December) this week, we are replacing computers in the PACE Health Sciences Library [Infographic].
- use the title in place of the author
- list alphabetically
- Use the first significant word of the title. Ignore "A", "And" and "The".
The best 10 years of Radio magazine. (2003). Radio , 9 (9), 79.
The only 10 recipes you'll ever need. (1998). Good Housekeeping , 227 (3).
- List multiple publisher names in the order in which they appear, separated by semicolons.
- For publisher names, words like "Co.", "Publishers" or "Inc." should not be included. For example, use Springer, not Springer Publishers.
- Places of publication are not included.
- Do not include publisher name if it is the same as the author.
- Use n.d. if there is no date available
- Use in press when the work is accepted for publication but has not been published
- When the work has been published online prior to publication , include the year of when it was added online.
- When a month, date or season is used, use (Year, Month Date) or (Year, Season). For example, (2019, November 8) or (2019, Autumn/Winter).
- If a "Last Updated" date in used, include this as the publication date. This is only when the information has been clearly changed, not just reviewed.
- For online works that are meant to be changed regularly eg. Facebook, dictionary entry, use Retrieved Month, Date, Year, from Web address. For example, Retrieved November 8, 2019, from https://www.facebook.com/uniofqldlibrary
- Use the full page range and full page numbers eg. 121-138
- For an online publication that uses article numbers or similar, include Article then the article number in the Page Number place. For example, Article e09645731
- Page numbers are included when you are referring to a section of a greater work eg. book chapter, journal article.
- Use pp. for book chapter page numbers but not for journal articles.
- Arrange works with the same author(s) and same year alphabetically by title in the reference list. This then determines which references uses a, b, c etc.
- Add the relevant letter after the year (which is also used for corresponding in-text references). The first reference listed in the reference list uses "a", second uses "b" etc.
Yang, Q., & Harris, J. G. (2010a). Dynamic range control for audio signals using fourth-order level estimation [Paper presentation]. 129th Audio Engineering Society Convention, San Francisco, CA.
Yang, Q., & Harris, J. G. (2010b). A higher-order spectro-temporal integration model for predicting signal audibility [Paper presentation]. International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, Dallas, TX.
(Yang & Harris, 2010a)
(Yang & Harris, 2010b)
- If the date is n.d . (for no date), include a dash then the relevant letter at the end eg. n.d.-a. It will appear before any specified years.
- If the date is " in press ", include a dash then the relevant letter at the end eg. in press-a. It will appear after any specified years.
- If a month and day are included , references with just a year are first , followed by specified dates in chronological order. For example:-
(Taylor, 2019b, May 14)
(Taylor, 2019c, August 3)
- This applies to all reference types with the same author(s) and year.
Ballard, T., Yeo, G., B. Vancouver, J., & Neal, A. (2017). The dynamics of avoidance goal regulation [Advance online publication]. Motivation and Emotion , 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-017-9640-8
Brown, C. G. (2020). Ethical and legal considerations for using mind–body interventions in schools. In Promoting mind–body health in schools: Interventions for mental health professionals. (pp. 113-128). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000157-008
Carson-Chahhoud, K. V., Ameer, F., Sayehmiri, K., Hnin, K., van, A. J. E., Sayehmiri, F., Brinn, M. P., Esterman, A. J., Chang, A. B., & Smith, B. J. (2017). Mass media interventions for preventing smoking in young people. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (6). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001006.pub3/abstract
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Beyond boredom and anxiety . Jossey-Bass. (Original work published 1975).
Dravsnik, J., Signal, T., & Canoy, D. (2018). Canine co‐therapy: The potential of dogs to improve the acceptability of trauma‐focused therapies for children. Australian Journal of Psychology, 70 , 208-216. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/ajpy.12199
Leigh, J. (2010). Self-determined mindfulness and attachment style in college students (Publication Number 305210119) [Doctoral dissertation, Indiana State University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.
Malcolm, L. (2002-present). All in the mind [Audio podcast]. https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. (n.d.). Wikipedia . Retrieved November 20, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mindfulness-based_cognitive_therapy&oldid=905716408
O’Brien, B. (2017, May 5). NVivo 11 training - full video (5/4/17) - updated [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNo-Qxsp-mk
Office of Fair Trading. (2018, August 17). Community groups key to seniors staying engaged [Press release]. https://www.qld.gov.au/law/laws-regulated-industries-and-accountability/queensland-laws-and-regulations/fair-trading-services-programs-and-resources/fair-trading-latest-news/media-statements/community-groups-key-to-seniors-staying-engaged
Quealy-Gainer, K. (2014, 16 April). I kill the mockingbird by Paul Acampora (review). Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books , 67 (10), 494-494. https://doi.org/10.1353/bcc.2014.0415
Rappaport, J., & Dubin, C. S. (1983, January 24). Say no more (Season 11, Episode 12) [Television series episode]. In B. Metcalfe, M*A*S*H . 20th Century Fox Television; CBS.
Shapiro, R. E., & Cowan, R. (2017, January 10). Key points about caffeine and migraines . American Migraine Foundation. https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/caffeine-and-migraine/
Siegal, Z. V., Teasdale, J. D., & Williams, G. M. G. (2011). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: Theoretical rationale and empirical status. In S. C. Hayes, V. M. Follette, & M. M. Linehan (Eds.), Mindfulness and acceptance: Expanding the cognitive-behavioral tradition (pp. 45-65). Guilford Publications. https://books.google.com.au/books?id=Tr0N7aGgAS4C
Simon, P., & Garfunkel, A. (1965). The sounds of silence. On Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. [Song]. Columbia.
U2. (1988). Rattle and hum [Album]. Island; Sun Studio; Point Depot; Danesmoat; STS Studio; A&M Studios; Ocean Way.
University of Queensland Library [@UQ_Library]. (2017, October 4). Turtles down by UQ St Lucia lakes today. Air conditioned library or enjoying the sun and the view - tough choice! [Image attached] [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/uqlibrary/status/915782138905034752
University of Queensland Library. (2017, October 4). The winners of the 2017 Queensland Literary Awards will be revealed at tonight’s ceremony. Good luck to all shortlisted writers! [Status update]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/pg/uniofqldlibrary/posts/
Zachary, K. C. (2018). Treatment of seasonal influenza in adults. UpToDate . Retrieved May 3, 2018, from https://www-uptodate-com.ezp3.library.uq.edu.au/contents/treatment-of-seasonal-influenza-in-adults
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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / APA Format / When to use et al. in APA citation style
When to use et al. in APA citation style
APA citation style has a few quirks, and one of them is the use of the phrase “et al.,” which is short for the Latin term et alia , meaning, “and others.” We use the abbreviated “et al.” when citing a source with multiple authors. However, the 7 th edition of APA citation differs from previous versions in how “et al.” is applied.
Only use et al. in in-text citations
The abbreviation “et al.” is used only for in-text citations in the 7 th edition. This is a big change from the 6 th edition where it was also used in the reference list.
This means that references in APA 7 do NOT use the phrase “et al.”
In-text citation format with et al.
The phrase “et al.” is used with in-text citations (including APA parenthetical citations ) only when referencing a source that has three or more authors. Include the name of only the first author’s last name plus “et al.” in every citation.
In-text citation structure:
Text (1st Author et al., Year Published )
Text that mentions 1st Author et al. (Year Published)
In-text citation example:
The American Heart Association, in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health (Virani et al., 2020), annually report on the most up-to-date statistics related to heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular risk factors, including core health behaviors and health factors that contribute to cardiovascular health.
According to Virani et al. (2020), the American Heart Association, in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health, annually report on the most up-to-date statistics related to heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular risk factors, including core health behaviors and health factors that contribute to cardiovascular health.
The same rules apply for page numbers as with fewer authors, regardless of whether the citation is parenthetical or narrative.
Rare exception: Multiple works with the same authors
There are times when using “et al.” can cause more problems by muddying the waters. If multiple works have the same three or more authors and publication year, simply using “et al.” becomes confusing.
Since this is the case, when there is more than one source with the same three or more author surnames and date, it may be necessary to write out as many names as needed to distinguish the references, then “et al.” can be used for the remaining names for each citation throughout the text. If this doesn’t help to distinguish the sources, but the first initials are different, they can be used as well (T. Hanks et al.). As a last resort, a letter can accompany the year (2018a).
APA reference list entries for multiple authors
Per APA style, every in-text citation has a reference in the the reference list. Each reference contains source information to allow a reader to track down a source for additional reading, if desired.
In the reference list “et al.” is not used even if a work has more than three authors.
Sources with two authors list the last name and initials (First initial, and middle if available) of both authors. The names are divided by a comma and an ampersand (&). List the names in the order they are shown in the original source.
1st Last Name, F. M., & 2nd Last Name, F. M.
Handler, D., & Kalman, M. (2013). Why we broke up . Little, Brown and Company.
3 to 20 authors
Sources with 3 to 20 authors list the last name and initials of all authors. Each name is divided by a comma, and the last name is preceded by an ampersand (&). List each name in the order they are shown in the original source.
Author structure (f0r 3 authors, as an example):
1st Last Name, F. M., 2nd Last Name, F. M., & 3rd Last Name, F. M.
Hand, C., Ashton, B., & Meadows, J. (2016). My lady Jane . HarperCollins Publishers.
21 or more authors
Sources with 21 or more authors list the last name and initials of the first 19 names. After the 19th name, include an ellipsis and then the final name.
1st Last Name, F. M., 2nd Last Name, F. M., 3rd Last Name, F. M., 4th Last Name, F. M., 5th Last Name, F. M., 6th Last Name, F. M., 7th Last Name, F. M., 8th Last Name, F. M., 9th Last Name, F. M., 10th Last Name, F. M., 11th Last Name, F. M., 12th Last Name, F. M., 13th Last Name, F. M., 14th Last Name, F. M., 15th Last Name, F. M., 16th Last Name, F. M., 17th Last Name, F. M., 18th Last Name, F. M., 19th Last Name, F. M., . . . Final Last Name, F. M.
Virani, S. S., Alonso, A., Benjamin, E. J., Bittencourt, M. S., Callaway, C. W., Carson, A. P., Chamberlain, A. M., Chang, A. R., Cheng, S., Delling, F. N., Djousse, L., Elkind, M. S. V., Ferguson, J. F., Fornage, M., Khan, S. S., Kissela, B. M., Knutson, K. L., Kwan, T. W., Lackland, D. T., . . . Heard, D. G. (2020). Heart disease and stroke statistics—2020 update: A report from the American Heart Association. Circulation , E139–E596. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000757
The powers that be at the APA citation style believe this change will be a welcome one for authors, as it gives more of them credit for their contributions.
Published October 28, 2020.
APA Formatting Guide
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- et al Usage
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- Reference Page
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- Website (no author)
- View all APA Examples
Do not use “et al.” in APA reference list entries. If the number of authors in the source is 20 or less, list all author names. If the number of authors is more than 20, list the first 19 author names followed by an ellipsis and then add the final author name. An example of the beginning of a reference entry having more than 20 authors is given below:
Author Surname1, F. M., Author Surname2, F. M., Author Surname3, F. M., Author Surname4, F. M., Author Surname5, F. M., Author Surname6, F. M., Author Surname7, F. M., Author Surname8, F. M., Author Surname9, F. M., Author Surname10, F. M., Author Surname11, F. M., Author Surname12, F. M., Author Surname13, F. M., Author Surname14, F. M., Author Surname15, F. M., Author Surname16, F. M., Author Surname17, F. M., Author Surname18, F. M., Author Surname19, F. M., . . . Last Author Surname, F. M. (Publication Year).
Alvarez, L. D., Peach, J. L., Rodriguez, J. F., Donald, L., Thomas, M., Aruck, A., Samy, K., Anthony, K., Ajey, M., Rodriguez, K. L., Katherine, K., Vincent, A., Pater, F., Somu, P., Pander, L., Berd, R., Fox, L., Anders, A., Kamala, W., . . . Jones, K. (2019).
Note that, unlike references with up to 20 author names, the “&” symbol is not used here before the last author name.
You can use “et al.” in in-text citations only when you reference a source with more than two authors as contributors. In such a case, you can add only the first author’s last name followed by “et al.”
First Author Surname et al. (Publication Year)
Thomas et al. (1921)
(First Author Surname et al., Publication Year)
(Thomas et al., 1921)
However, if you have many sources with the first two or more authors having the same surname with same publication year, using “et al.” will be confusing. In such cases, use as many author names as required to distinguish the references from one another and then use “et al.”
For example, if you have two sources with the same first author names, such as:
Aghion, R., Felix, J. F., Pitchai, M., & Ankit, N. (2005).
Aghion, R., Comin, L. F., Sivakumar, M., & Gilbert, N. (2005)
and if you would like to cite the second source, you need to follow the style mentioned below.
First Author Surname, Second Author Surname, et al. (Publication Year)
Aghion, Comin, et al. (2005)
(First Author Surname, Second Author Surname, et al., Publication Year)
(Aghion, Comin, et al., 2005)
For multiple publications with the first two or more authors having the same surname but with different initials for the first author, you can use the first author’s name and initials and et al. to distinguish the citations.
For example, the references
Aghion, P., Felix, J. F., Pitchai, M., & Ankit, N. (2005).
Aghion, R., Felix, L. F., Pitchai, M., & Ankit, N. (2005).
will be cited as
P. Aghion et al. (2005)
T. Aghion et al. (2005)
(P. Aghion et al., 2005)
(T. Aghion et al., 2005)
APA Citation Examples
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Cite using APA
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3-20 authors, more than 20 authors, group authors, no named author, multiple works by the same author from the same year, dates in in-text citations, citations including multiple works, page numbers and quotes.
- Articles in journals
- Articles in newspapers
- Book chapters
- Datasets and statistics
- Dictionaries, thesauruses and encyclopedias
- E-mails and letters
- Films and TV-shows
- Personal communication
- Radio and podcasts
- Social media
- Theses and essays
For in-text citations using APA 7 you use parentheses. The citation should include information about author and year of publication. Each in-text citation must correspond to a full entry in the reference list and each entry in the reference list must be cited in the text.
There are two formats for in-text citations in APA 7, parenthetical and narrative.
- In parenthetical citations , you include the author's surname and publication year in the parentheses. If the parentesis is included at the end of a sentence the parenthesis is placed before the full stop.
- In narrative citations , the author's name is included in the text as part of the sentence and you only include the publication year in the parentheses directly following the name.
The ampersand (&) is used both in the parenthesis and in the reference list but not in your own text.
Note that the author refers to the person(s) or group(s) responsible for a work. An author may be an individual, multiple people, a group (institution, government agency, organization, etc.), or a combination of people and groups. If there is no information of a named author you instead include the title of the work and if there is no known year of publication you write n.d. for "no date".
Examples of in-text citations:
... the most important thing to remember (Lundgren et al., 2007).
... usually true (Lea & Street, 1998).
...final part (Bell, n.d.).
... wash your hands (Public Health Agency of Sweden, 2022).
According to Lundgren et al. (2007) it is mostly concerning ...
Lea and Street (1998) claim that ...
According to both Bell (n.d.) and Furuland (2010) you should...
The Public Health Agency (2022) recommend ...
If the work has 1-2 authors both are listed in the citation. You always write the names in the same order as they appear in the publication.
(Nutefall & Chadwell, 2012)
According to Bell (2006) there is...
According to Nutefall and Chadwell (2012) there is...
If the work has 3-20 authors only the first author is listed in the citation followed by "et al."
(Lundgren et al., 2007)
According to Lundgren et al. (2007) it is mostly ...
If the work has more than 20 authors only the first author is listed in the citation followed by" et. al." In the reference list only up to 20 authors are listed. If there are 21 authors or more you list the first 19 followed by three full stops and then the last author. Remember to always list the authors in the same order as they appear in the publication.
(Wiskunde et al., 2019)
According to Wiskunde et al. (2019) there is...
Reference list entry
Wiskunde, B., Arslan, M., Fischer, P., Nowak, L., Van den Berg, O., Coetzee, L., Juárez, U., Riyaziyyat, E., Wang, C., Zhang, I., Li, P., Yang, R., Kumar, B., Xu, A., Martinez, R., McIntosh, V., Ibáñez, L. M., Mäkinen, G., Virtanen, E., . . . Kovács, A. (2019). Indie pop rocks mathematics: Twenty One Pilots, Nicolas Bourbaki, and the empty set. Journal of Improbable Mathematics , 27(1), 1935–1968. https://doi.org/10.0000/3mp7y-537
Group authors are often government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and task forces. If the names of individuals are presented on the title page or cover of a work you treat the work as having individual authors. If only the name of the group is presented treat the group as the author. On a page from an organizational or government agency website, the organization or government agency is considered the author, unless otherwise specified.
The Swedish National Agency for Education, 2020).
In their report the Swedish National Agency for Education (2020) claim that...
Group author abbreviations
If a group author has a well-known abbreviation you can, if you want, use the abbreviation. As with any abbreviation you provide the full name the first time on first mention, followed by the abbreviation.
If you first mention the group name in a narrative citation you include the abbreviation before the year in the parenthesis, separated with a comma. If you first mention the group name in a parenthetical citation you include the abbreviation in square brackets, followed by a comma and the year.
In the reference list, however, you do not use the abbreviation but spell out the full name of the group. If a date of last update is available you include that in the reference but do not include a date of last review since it does not mean the content has been changed.
Supercomputers, computational models, statistics and research are used to produce forecasts (The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute [SMHI], 2021).
The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI, 2021) is an expert authority with a mission to forecast climate change.
The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (2021, April 30). Who we are. https://www.smhi.se/en/about-smhi/who-we-are/who-we-are-1.83748
If there is no information of a named individual or group author you instead include title and year of publication in your citation.
( Dolphins under threat , 1998).
In the film Dolphins under threat (1998) there is…
Dolphins under threat (1998). [DVD]. International Masters Publishers BV.
Works published the same year by the same author you list alphabetically based on title. Also give these entries a separating letter after the year of publication. The first letter is a, the following b, etc. The separating letters are also included in the reference list entry.
This is an example sentence (Butler, 2015a).
This is also an example sentence (Butler, 2015b).
In her work Butler (2015a) claims that...
However, Butler (2015b) also states that...
Reference list entries
Butler, J. (2015a). Notes toward a performative theory of assembly . Harvard University Press.
Butler, J. (2015b). Senses of the subject . Fordham University Press.
In in-text citations you only include year of publication, even if the reference list entry has a more specific date (e.g. year, month and day).
For works with no date you use the abbreviation "n.d." for no date in the in-text citation.
For works that have been accepted for publication but not been published yet you use "in press."
This is an example sentence (Harris, n.d.).
In his work Harris (n.d.) claims that...
If you wish to cite two or more publications in the same parenthesis you separate the citations with a semicolon. List the works alphabetically within the parenthesis. If you include several publications by the same author in the parenthesis you do not have to repeat the name.
If you use a direct quote you should always include on what page the quote can be found.
Follow these guidelines when you provide a page number:
- Use the abbreviation "p." for a single page (e.g. p. 51).
- Use the abbreviation "pp." for multiple pages in a range (e.g. pp. 51–54).
- Use a comma between the page numbers if the pages are discontinuous (e.g., pp. 48, 52).
"The objectification is always bound to remain partial, and therefore false,..." (Bourdieu, 1980, p. 226).
"One of the most important tasks of higher education is to..." (Rimsten, 2009, p. 45).
If there are no page numbers in the cited work you should use another way to specify where in the text the quote is found. Sometimes it helps to download the work in the pdf format. In this format there are usually page numbers. If not you can for example give chapter or paragraph.
Page number might be included in the in-text citation even if it is not a direct quote. It might for example be relevant if you discuss a particular part of the work.
(Alvesson & Sköldberg, 2008, p. 490)
(Nilsson, 2018, pp. 58-60; Eriksson, 2012, p. 72)
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More Than Twenty Authors List by last names and initials; commas separate author names. After the first 19 authors' names, use an ellipsis in place of the remaining author names. Then, end with the final author's name (do not place an ampersand before it). There should be no more than twenty names in the citation in total.
APA in-text citations consist of the author's last name and publication year. When citing a specific part of a source, also include a page number or range, for example (Parker, 2020, p. 67) or (Johnson, 2017, pp. 39-41). Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr Webpage Book Video Journal article Online news article Cite
Three or more authors When citing a journal paper in APAwith three or more authors, only enter the last name of the first author listed and add "et al." after it. "Et al." is Latin for the phrase "and others," which is why it is used as a substitute for two or more authors' last names. Parenthetical citation for three or more authors:
Give the last name and first/middle initials for all authors of a particular work up to and including 20 authors ( this is a new rule, as APA 6 only required the first six authors ). Separate each author's initials from the next author in the list with a comma. Use an ampersand (&) before the last author's name.
For a work with up to 20 authors, include all of the names in the reference. When the work has 21 or more authors, include only the first 19 names, an ellipsis, and the final name (see this guideline in the fifth and sixth bullets in Section 9.8 of the Publication Manual and Example 4 in Chapter 10).
How many authors do I include in an APA reference list entry? You may include up to 20 authors in a reference list entry. When an article has more than 20 authors, replace the names prior to the final listed author with an ellipsis, but do not omit the final author:
What are the APA reference list rules for multiple authors? Other reference common cases Here are other multiple author reference list APA style guides: No author, date, or page number APA 7th Edition Formatting and Style Guides: Here are more resources on APA style: General APA Citation Format In-text Citations In-text Citations: Author/Authors
References provide the information necessary for readers to identify and retrieve each work cited in the text. Consistency in reference formatting allows readers to focus on the content of your reference list, discerning both the types of works you consulted and the important reference elements with ease.
Works by three to 20 authors should list the last names and first initials of each author separated by an ampersand. Author names should be followed by the date of publication enclosed in parentheses. If the work is a journal article, include the title of the article immediately following the publication date.
How many authors? APA has strict rules for how to show the author's names in the text of your assignment and in your reference list. You need to check the number of authors you have for your work, and then format your references accordingly: 1-2 authors 3-20 authors More than 20 authors See the tabs on this box for details. Things to Note:
For APA the reference list is arranged in alphabetical order of authors' surnames. Arrange by first author's name, then by second author if you have the same first author, etc. ( check the page on Authors for how to lay out the reference if you have more than one author ). If a reference has no author, list it alphabetically according to the title.
Cite Multiple Authors in APA Template Method 1 Citing 2 to 6 Authors 1 List all authors by last name and first and middle initials. Generally, if a work has multiple authors you must list all of their names in the citation entry on your reference list.
Although Behavior Analysts have used the three-term contingency to analyze and describe behavior, they also discuss the importance of variables external to the three-term contingency. Many psychologists have addressed the important effect that external variables have on behavior. This reference list is by no means exhaustive indicating a great deal of attention to the concept of external ...
A reference list is arranged alphabetically by author last name. Each reference appears on a new line. Each item in the reference list is required to have a hanging indent. Zarate, K., Maggin, D. M., & Passmore, A. (2019). Meta‐analysis of mindfulness training on teacher well‐being.
APA reference list entries for multiple authors. Per APA style, every in-text citation has a reference in the the reference list. Each reference contains source information to allow a reader to track down a source for additional reading, if desired. In the reference list "et al." is not used even if a work has more than three authors. 2 authors
For in-text citations using APA 7 you use parentheses. The citation should include information about author and year of publication. Each in-text citation must correspond to a full entry in the reference list and each entry in the reference list must be cited in the text. There are two formats for in-text citations in APA 7, parenthetical and ...