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Reference List: Author/Authors
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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 .
The following rules for handling works by a single author or multiple authors apply to all APA-style references in your reference list, regardless of the type of work (book, article, electronic resource, etc.).
Note: Because the information on this page pertains to virtually all citations, we've highlighted a few important differences between APA 6 and APA 7 with underlined notes written in red.
Last name first, followed by author initials.
Ahmed, S. (2012). On being included: Racism and diversity in institutional life . Duke University Press.
List by their last names and initials. Separate author names with a comma. Use the ampersand instead of "and."
Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2017). The next big five inventory (BFI-2): Developing and assessing a hierarchical model with 15 facets to enhance bandwidth, fidelity, and predictive power. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 113 (1), 117-143. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000096
Three to Twenty Authors
List by last names and initials; commas separate author names, while the last author name is preceded again by ampersand. This is a departure from APA 6, which only required listing the first six authors before an ellipsis and the final author's name.
Nguyen, T., Carnevale, J. J., Scholer, A. A., Miele, D. B., & Fujita, K. (2019). Metamotivational knowledge of the role of high-level and low-level construal in goal-relevant task performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117 (5), 879-899. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspa0000166
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.
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. https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-18-0270.1
Group authors can include corporations, government agencies, organizations, etc; and a group may publish in coordination with individuals. Here, you simply treat the publishing organization the same way you'd treat the author's name and format the rest of the citation as normal. Be sure to give the full name of the group author in your reference list, although abbreviations may be used in your text.
Entries in reference works ( e.g. dictionaries, thesauruses, and encyclopedias) without credited authors are also considered works with group authors.
Merriam-Webster. (2008). Braggadocio. In Merriam-Webster’s Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary . Merriam-Webster.
When a work has multiple layers of group authorship (e.g. The Office of the Historian, which is a part of the Department of State, publishes something), list the most specific agency as the author and the parent agency as the publisher.
Bureau of International Organization Affairs. (2018). U.S. contributions to international organizations, 2017 [Annual report]. U.S. Department of State. https://www.state.gov/u-s-contributions-to-international-organizations/
When the work does not have an author move the title of the work to the beginning of the references and follow with the date of publication. Only use “Anonymous ” if the author is the work is signed “Anonymous.” This is a new addition to APA 7.
Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (11th ed.). (2003). Merriam-Webster.
NOTE : When your essay includes parenthetical citations of sources with no author named, use a shortened version of the source's title instead of an author's name. Use quotation marks and italics as appropriate. For example, parenthetical citations of the source above would appear as follows: ( Merriam-Webster's , 2003).
Two or More Works by the Same Author
Use the author's name for all entries and list the entries by the year (earliest comes first). List references with no dates before references with dates.
Urcuioli, P. J. (n.d.).
Urcuioli, P. J. (2011).
Urcuioli, P. J. (2015).
When an author appears both as a sole author and, in another citation, as the first author of a group, list the one-author entries first.
Agnew, C. R. (Ed.). (2014). Social influences on romantic relationships: Beyond the dyad . Cambridge University Press.
Agnew, C. R., & South, S. C. (Eds.). (2014). Interpersonal relationships and health: Social and clinical psychological mechanisms. Oxford University Press.
References that have the same first author and different second and/or third authors are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the second author, or the last name of the third if the first and second authors are the same.
Arriaga, X. B., Capezza, N. M., Reed, J. T., Wesselman, E. D., & Williams, K. D. (2014). With partners like you, who needs strangers?: Ostracism involving a romantic partner. Personal Relationships, 21(4) , 557-569.
Arriaga, X. B., Kumashiro, M., Finkel, E. J., VanderDrift, L. E., & Luchies, L. B. (2014). Filling the void: Bolstering attachment security in committed relationships. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5 (4), 398-405.
Two or More Works by the Same Author in the Same Year
If you are using more than one reference by the same author—or the same group of authors listed in the same order—published in the same year, first check to see if they have more specific dates ( this recommendation is new to APA 7) . Works with only a year should be listed before those with a more specific date. List specific dates chronologically. If two works have the same publication date, organize them in the reference list alphabetically by the title of the article or chapter. If references with the same date are identified as parts of a series (e.g. Part 1 and Part 2), list them in order of their place in the series. Then assign letter suffixes to the year. Refer to these sources in your essay as they appear in your reference list, e.g.: "Berndt (2004a) makes similar claims..."
Berndt, T. J. (2004a). Children’s friendships: Shifts over a half-century in perspectives on their development and their effects. Merrill Palmer Quarterly, 50 (3) , 206-223.
Berndt, T. J. (2004b). Friendship and three A’s (aggression, adjustment, and attachment). Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 88 (1) , 1-4.
Introductions, Prefaces, Forewords, and Afterwords
Cite the publishing information about a book as usual, but cite Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword (whatever title is applicable) as the chapter of the book.
Lang, J. M. (2018). Introduction. In Dujardin, G., Lang, J. M., & Staunton, J. A. (Eds.), Teaching the literature survey course (pp. 1-8). West Virginia University Press.
Generate accurate APA citations for free
- Knowledge Base
- APA Style 7th edition
- Beginner’s guide to APA in-text citation
APA In-Text Citations (7th Ed.) | Multiple Authors & Missing Info
Published on November 4, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on September 30, 2022.
In-text citations briefly identify the source of information in the body text. They correspond to a full reference entry at the end of your paper.
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) .
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Table of contents
Apa in-text citations explained in 4 minutes, parenthetical vs. narrative citations, apa in-text citations with multiple authors, no author, date or page number, multiple sources in one parenthesis, avoiding ambiguity in apa in-text citations, citing indirect sources (“as cited in”), citing personal communication, general mentions of websites and software, example paragraph with in-text citations, frequently asked questions.
The in-text citation can be placed in parentheses or naturally integrated into a sentence.
- Parenthetical : There is a correlation between social media usage and anxiety symptoms in teenagers (Parker, 2019) .
- Narrative: Parker (2019) found a correlation between social media usage and anxiety symptoms in teenagers.
The publication year appears directly after the author’s name when using the narrative format. The parenthetical citation can be placed within or at the end of a sentence, just before the period. Check out a full example paragraph with in-text citations .
If a work has two authors, separate their names with an ampersand (&) in a parenthetical citation or “and” in a narrative citation. If there are three or more authors, only include the first author’s last name followed by “et al.”, meaning “and others”.
Group authors known by their abbreviations (e.g., CDC) are written in full the first time and are abbreviated in subsequent citations.
If the author of a source is unknown, try to determine if there is an organization or government responsible for creating the content. If so, include its name in the in-text citation (and reference entry).
Alternatively, use the source title in place of the author. Italicize the title if it’s italicized in the reference entry (except for court cases , which are italicized in the in-text citation but not the reference entry). Otherwise, enclose it in double quotation marks.
Apply title case capitalization, and shorten long titles. The first word of the title should always be included so readers can easily locate the corresponding reference entry.
- (“U.S. Flood Risk,” 2015)
- ( Thinking, Fast and Slow , 2017)
No publication date
If the publication date is unknown, write “n.d.” (no date) in the in-text citation.
No page number (alternative locators)
Page numbers are only required with direct quotes in APA . If you are quoting from a work that does not have page numbers (e.g., webpages or YouTube videos ), you can use an alternative locator, such as:
- (Liu, 2020, 03:26 )
- (Johnson, 2019, Chapter 3 )
- (McCombes, 2016, para. 4 )
- (Davis, 2016, Slide 15 )
- (Flores, 2020, Table 5 )
- (Streefkerk, 2020, “No page number” section )
Note that Bible citations always use chapter and verse numbers, even when page numbers are available:
If a statement is supported by multiple sources, the in-text citations can be combined in one parenthesis. Order the sources alphabetically, and separate them with a semicolon.
When citing multiple works from the same author, list the years of publication separated by a comma.
When in-text citations are ambiguous because they correspond to multiple reference entries, apply the solutions outlined in the table below.
If you want to refer to a source that you have found in another source, you should always try to access the original or primary source .
However, if you cannot find the original source , you should cite it through the secondary source that led you to it, using the phrase “as cited in”.
If the publication date of the primary source is unknown, include only the year of publication of the secondary source.
Only include a reference entry for the secondary source, not the primary source.
Personal communications , such as phone calls, emails, and interviews, are not included in the reference list because readers can’t access them. The in-text citation is also formatted slightly differently.
Include the initials and last name of the person you communicated with, the words “personal communication,” and the exact date in parentheses.
General mentions of a website or software don’t have to be cited with an in-text citation or entry in the reference list. Instead, incorporate relevant information into the running text.
- The website of Scribbr (www.scribbr.com) contains various useful resources.
- Statistical software SPSS (version 25) was used to analyze the data.
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)
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.
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).
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.
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 .
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).
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) .
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Streefkerk, R. (2022, September 30). APA In-Text Citations (7th Ed.) | Multiple Authors & Missing Info. Scribbr. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/in-text-citation/
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APA Citation Style, 7th edition: Two Authors or Editors
- General Style Guidelines
- One Author or Editor
- Two Authors or Editors
- Three to Five Authors or Editors
- Article or Chapter in an Edited Book
- Article in a Reference Book
- Edition other than the First
- Government Publication
- Journal Article with 1 Author
- Journal Article with 2 Authors
- Journal Article with 3–20 Authors
- Journal Article 21 or more Authors
- Magazine Article
- Newspaper Article
- Basic Web Page
- Web page from a University site
- Web Page with No Author
- Entry in a Reference Work
- Government Document
- Film and Television
- Youtube Video
- Audio Podcast
- Electronic Image
- Secondary Sources
- Citation Support
- Avoiding Plagiarism
- Formatting Your Paper
About Citing Books
For each type of source in this guide, both the general form and an example will be provided.
The following format will be used:
In-Text Citation (Paraphrase) - entry that appears in the body of your paper when you express the ideas of a researcher or author using your own words. For more tips on paraphrasing check out The OWL at Purdue .
In-Text Citation (Quotation) - entry that appears in the body of your paper after a direct quote.
References - entry that appears at the end of your paper.
Information on citing and several of the examples were drawn from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).
Book with Two Authors or Editors
The general format below refers to a book with two authors.
If you are dealing with two editors instead of two authors, you would simply insert the names of the editors into the place where the authors' names are now, followed by "(Eds.)" without the quotation marks (see the example below). The rest of the format would remain the same.
- << Previous: One Author or Editor
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- Web page on a website
- Referencing Glossary
Sources with two authors
If you are citing a source with two authors, the surname of both of the authors should be listed in your in-text citation. You should keep the names in the same order as they are in the source.
The surname and initial(s) of both the authors should appear in the full reference for the source. Use a comma to separate them (as well as an ampersand).
The rest of the reference should follow the usual style for the type of source you are citing.
(Reiss & White, 2013, p.6)
Reiss M.J., & White, J. (2013). An aims-based curriculum: the significance of human flourishing for schools. London: IOE Press.
Sources with three to five authors
If you are citing a source with three to five authors, cite all authors in the in-text citation the first time it occurs; after this only include the first author's surname followed by 'et al'.
The surname and initial(s) of all the authors should appear in the full reference for the source. Use commas to separate the authors and an ampersand before the last one.
(Rogers, Hallam, Creech & Preti, 2018) - first time
(Rogers et al., 2018) - subsequent references
Rogers, L., Hallam, S., Creech, A., & Preti, C. (2018). Learning about what constitutes effective training from a pilot programme to improve music education in primary schools. Music Education Research , 10 (4), 485-497.
Sources with six or more authors
If you are citing a source with six or more authors, the surname of only the first person attributed as one of the source's authors should be included in your in-text citation, followed by the words 'et al'.
All the authors' surnames and initial(s) should appear in the full reference for the source (separated by commas) and with an ampersand before the last author.
(Battersby et al., 2018)
Battersby, C., Armus, L., Bergin, E., Kataria, T., Meixner, M., Pope, A., Stevenson, K. B., Cooray, A., Leisawitz, D., Scott, D. Bauer, J., Bradford, C. M., Ennico, K., Fortney, J. J., Kaltenegger, L., Melnick, G. J., Milam, S. M., Narayanan, D., Padgett, D., & Wiedner M. C. (2018). The Origins Space Telescope. Nature Astronomy, 2 , 596-599.
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How to Reference Single and Multiple Authors in APA Format
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
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.
- Multiple Authors
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.
These guidelines are sometimes referred to as APA 7 since the guidebook for APA formatting is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition .
APA Format for No Author
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).
APA Format for One Author
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).
APA Format for Multiple Authors
The APA format for multiple authors varies depending on how many authors a publication has.
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).
Three to 20 Authors
According to APA 7 guidelines, works by three to 20 authors are cited by listing 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).
Whether citing a source with three, five, seven, or 20 authors, the APA format is the same.
More Than 20 Authors
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.
Authors' 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 .
Frequently Asked Questions
How do i cite a website with no author in apa format.
If a website has no author, cite the title (or the 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, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
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- Referencing styles
- Books and book chapters, theses, online dictionaries and encyclopedias
You may need to consult more than one section to accurately represent the source used (eg. number of authors and source descriptions)
Format for In-text citation
In-text citation example.
The internet has gone from a tool for "elites" to accessible to everyone (Wellman & Haythornthwaite, 2002).
Wellman and Haythornthwaite (2002) refute the argument…
Wellamn and Haythornthwaite (2002, pp. 34–35) refute the argument…
Format for reference list
Elements, punctuation and capitalisation.
Author, A. A., & Author B. B. (Year of publication). Title of book (Edition). Publisher name. https://doi.org/xxx
Reference list example
Wellman, B., & Haythornthwaite, C. (2002). The Internet in everyday life. Blackwell.
Make sure you read the style notes below
In-text citation style notes
- APA 7 Publication Manual , p. 266
- For a work with one or two authors, include the author names in every citation. Separate the names with the ampersand (&) within the brackets and with 'and' in the narrative citations.
- If pages are being directly referenced in the text, include the page number/s in the in-text citation after the year.
Reference list style notes
- APA 7 Publication Manual , pp. 285-289, 266
- Book titles are italicised.
- Capitalisation - capitalise only the first word of the title and of the subtitle, if any, and any proper nouns.
- Use a comma to separate an author's initials from additional author names, even when there are only two authors. Use an ampersand (&) before the final author's name.
- Use one space between initials.
- Write the author's surname exactly as it appears in the published work, including hyphenated surnames and two-part surnames.
- Details about edition, volume number or chapter page range are placed in parentheses directly after the title, with the period after the parentheses, e.g., (2nd ed.). or ( Rev. ed.). or (Vol. 26).
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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / APA Format / How to cite in APA when there are multiple authors
How to cite in APA when there are multiple authors
This article covers how to cite a reference in APA style (7th ed.) when there are multiple authors. Broadly speaking, in an APA style “the author” refers to the person(s) or group(s) who should be given credit for the work being referenced.
Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:
In-text citations when there are multiple authors
Reference list entries when there are multiple authors, troubleshooting.
APA 7th ed. uses the author-date citation system for citing references in text. Unless you are citing a source with no author in APA , the structure in parenthetical citations includes placing the author’s last name/surname, followed by a comma, and the publication year in parentheses. In narrative citations, this information is incorporated into the sentence.
Parenthetical citation for one author:
(Author Last Name, Year Published)
Narrative citation for one author:
Author Last Name (Year Published)
For a work with two authors, include both authors’ last names in every in-text citation, whether narrative or parenthetical. In parenthetical citations, use an ampersand (&) between the authors’ last names.
Parenthetical citation for two authors:
(1st Author & 2nd Author, Year Published)
(Curtis & Williams, 2020)
Narrative citation for two authors:
1st Author & 2nd Author (Year Published)
Curtis & Williams (2020)
Three or more authors
When citing a journal paper in APA with 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:
(1st Author et al., Year Published)
(Harris et al., 2020)
Narrative citation for three or more authors:
1st Author et al. (Year Published)
Harris et al. (2020)
Here is a page with more information on when to use “et al.” in APA style .
The same guidelines for in-text citations apply when the authors of a source are a distinct group or organization such as a government agency, association, nonprofit organization, business, hospital, task force, or study group. To confirm whether a reference was written by individual author(s) or a group, check the cover or title page.
Hint: for an online resource, the author could be the name of the organization hosting the webpage or website, rather than the name of just one content contributor.
Before using an abbreviated group name as the author of your citation, spell out the abbreviation and define the group one time first in the text. Afterward, use the abbreviation of the group name throughout the rest of the paper.
Group author in-text citation examples:
First parenthetical citation with group abbreviation included: (Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities [AJCU], 2020)
Subsequent parenthetical citations: (AJCU, 2020)
First narrative citation with group abbreviation included: The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities [AJCU] (2020)
Subsequent narrative citations: The AJCU (2020)
Avoiding ambiguity in in-text citations
Sometimes, in-text citations that have three or more authors, some of whom have the same last name, and the same publication year can look like they are the same reference when using the et al. abbreviation. For example, Curtis et al. (2020) could refer to
Curtis, Acres, Thomas, Henderson, and Tyler (2020)
Curtis, Acres, Thomas, Henderson, Maxey, Key, Smith, and Esparza (2020)
To avoid this ambiguity and confusion for the reader, write out as many names as possible for the in-text citation until the references are distinguished, and then add “et. al” to abbreviate the other authors’ names.
Curtis, Acres, Thomas, Henderson, et al. (2020)
Curtis, Acres, Thomas, Henderson, Maxey, et al. (2020)
When only the final author is different, list all of the names in every citation to avoid any confusion.
Curtis, Acres, Thomas, Henderson, and Esparza (2020)
APA has slightly different reference structures for different source types (e.g., book, website, journal article, etc.), but each structure generally includes the following:
Author last name, Author initials. (Date Published). Title. URL or DOI if available .
Need more help with citing a particular source? Find further guidance in this APA citations guide.
One or two authors
For references with one or two authors, cite using the four-part structure.
Two individual authors example:
Smith, J., & Jones, S. (1994). Making a movie star. Behind the Scenes Stories: A Journal of Celebrity Life, 44 (2), 192–200. https://doi.org/l4nds0r
One group author example:
The American Marine Society. (2003). Whale mating patterns in the new millennium. The American Marine Society Magazine , 17-20 . https://fams.gov/article/2003/whale-mating-patterns-in-the-new-millennium
2 – 20 authors
In APA 7th ed., up to 20 authors should be included in a reference list entry. Write out the last name and first initial(s) for each contributor.
2–20 authors example:
Wright, A., Komal, G., Siddharth, D., Boyd, G., Cayson, N., Beverley, K., Travers, K., Begum, A., Redmond, M., Mills, M., Cherry, D., Finley, B., Fox, M., Ferry, F., Almond, B., Howell, E., Gould, T., Berger, B., Bostock, T., Fountain, A. (2020). Styling royalty. London Bridge Press.
For references with more than 20 authors, after listing the 19th author replace any additional author names with an ellipsis ( … ) followed by the final listed author’s last name and first initial(s).
21+ authors example:
Wright, A., Komal, G., Siddharth, D., Boyd, G., Cayson, N., Beverley, K., Travers, K., Begum, A., Redmond, M., Mills, M., Cherry, D., Finley, B., Fox, M., Ferry, F., Almond, B., Howell, E., Gould, T., Berger, B., Bostock, T., . . . Booker, T. (2020). Eating well: Tips from 23 lifestyle authors. Food Magazine. https://foodmag.com/article/2020/tips-from-22-lifestyle-authors
Solution #1: How to order the names of multiple authors in an APA reference
Authors should be cited in the exact order that they are listed by the source, even if they have not been listed alphabetically.
Solution #2: How to cite an article with more than 20 authors in APA style
If an article has more than 20 authors, all authors do not need to be listed in the reference. Instead, name the first 19, then use an ellipsis (…), then add the name of the final author listed. The ellipsis acts as a substitute for all the names between the first 19 and the final authors. No ampersand (&) is needed before the final name.
Richards, B.A., Lillicrap, T. P., Beaudoin, P., Bengio, Y., Bogacz, R., Christensen, A., Clopath, C.
Costa, R. P., de Berker, A., Ganguli, S., Gillon, C. J., Hafner, D., Kepecs, A., Kriegeskorte,
N., Latham, P., Lindsay, G. W., Miller, K. D., Naud, R., Pack, C. C., … Kording, K. P. (2019). A deep learning framework for neuroscience. Nature Neuroscience , 22 (11), 1761–1770. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-019-0520-2
When making an in-text citation, only write the first author’s last name followed by “et. al.” This applies to both parenthetical and narrative citations.
(Richard et al., 2019)
Richard et al. (2019)
Solution #3: How to cite an article written by an organization in APA style
- Organization as author
When an article is written by an organization, use the typical four-part APA structure (author, date, title, publisher) and cite the organization as the author.
American Nurses Association. (2019). 2018 Annual Report, American Nurse Today, 14 (6), 29-36.
- Organization as author and publisher
If the organization that authored an article is also its publisher , omit the publisher’s name in the citation.
- In-text citation when an organization is an author
Use the organization’s name as the author. For example:
American Nurses Association [ANA] (2019)
If an organization’s name is long, abbreviate it by doing the following:
- First, write the organization’s name in full the first time, followed by the abbreviation in parenthesis.
- After this, you may use the abbreviation without including the complete name.
1 st in-text narrative citation: American Nurses Association [ANA] (2019)
1 st in-text parenthetical citation: (American Nurses Association [ANA] (2019)
After this distinction is made, abbreviations in-text can be used as demonstrated below:
Narrative citations: The ANA (2019)
Parenthetical citations: (ANA, 2019)
Published October 28, 2020.
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To cite a source with multiple authors and an edition number in APA style, you need to know the names of the authors, title of the book, edition number, and publisher. The in-text citation of a book with multiple authors and an edition number is similar to citing a journal or a book reference with multiple authors. An example of a book reference with three authors and an edition number, along with a template, is given below:
In-text citation template and example:
Author Surname et al. (Publication Year)
LeBuffe et al. (2012)
(Author Surname et al., Publication Year)
(LeBuffe et al., 2012)
Reference list entry template and example:
Author Surname, F. M., Author Surname, F. M., & Author Surname, F. M. (Publication Year). Book title (edition number). Publisher
LeBuffe, P. A., Naglieri, J. A., & Manderth, A. (2012). Devereux early childhood assessment for preschoolers (2nd ed.). Kaplan Early Learning Company.
Use numerals to indicate an edition number. The word “edition” is abbreviated as “ed.” Italicize the book title and follow sentence case for capitalization.
Citing a source that has multiple authors with the same last name and same initials is the same as citing a source with different authors. There is no need to add the initials of the authors in in-text citations as all surnames (although the same) appear in a single source. Examples of a book reference with three authors with the same last name and initials and their templates are given below:
Dunn et al. (2007)
(Dunn et al., 2007)
Author Surname, F. & Author Surname, F. (Publication Year). Book title. Publisher.
Dunn, L. M., Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, L. M. (2007). Peabody picture vocabulary test-IV. American Guidance Service.
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APA 7th Edition - University of Lincoln
- APA style and referencing
- Main changes from the 6th edition to the 7th edition of APA
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(McQueen & Knussen, 2006)
McQueen and Knussen (2006)
McQueen, R. A., & Knussen, C. (2006). An introduction to research methods and statistics in psychology . Pearson Prentice Hall.
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APA Citation Style Guide (6th Ed.): Two Authors
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