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About APA Citation Online Tools
As anyone who has ever written a paper for a college class knows, there are certain style rules and guidelines to be followed depending on which discipline you are in. Such style rules ensure consistency in formatting and publishing and address details such as comma placement, capitalization, references and in-text citations. One of the most commonly used styles is the APA style, which is the style preferred by the American Psychological Association. APA style is style that is generally used for disciplines such as the social sciences, education and psychology.
Origins of APA Style
For many college students, learning APA style can be tricky. The specifics of the style often trip up even the best writers, since it is difficult to remember whether titles should be in italics or not, how references should be alphabetized and how to cite citations, which can vary depending upon where they appear.
According to the APA, the style originated in 1929, when a group of psychologists, anthropologists, and business managers decided to establish a simple set of procedures, or style rules, to bring uniformity to the elements of scientific writing to increase the ease of reading comprehension.
Some of the procedures they decided upon can be challenging. Plus, there are various online tools and style generators out there that can help. We’ve gathered a few of them here.
Online Citation Machines
It takes just a few clicks to find any number of reliable citation machines that help writers be sure their papers conform to APA style. In general, a citation machine website helps students and professionals properly credit the information that they use. As any good student knows, proper credits are essential to presenting a strong paper, because they cite the sources used, giving credit where credit is due and not plagiarizing.
Avoid Plagiarism at All Costs
In a reference paper, article, blog post or any other published work, writers must give credit to their sources. Failing to do so, even if you have completely reworded the information or summarized the information, is considered to be plagiarism. A good rule of thumb is to cite sources extensively, because even if you think you have an original thought, you may actually be paraphrasing something you’ve read elsewhere. It is safe to say that you cannot cite too many sources.
Citation Machine Ensures APA Conformity
Citation Machine is a free online tool that students, researchers, teachers and publishers can use to see how well their paper conforms to APA style guidelines.
The site is extremely clear about the two types of APA citations and provides a good summary. The first kind of citation is called an in-text or parenthetical citation. These citations must be included when you use information from someone else’s work in your own paper. They are used in the main body of your paper and must be placed immediately after the information you have borrowed.
The second kind of citation is a reference citation and is included with all other full citations at the end of your paper on the last page. They are alphabetical and listed one after the other. They’re the full citations for the in-text citations included in the body of your paper.
BibMe Details APA Style
BibMe is another free online citation generator for APA style. Along with citation guidelines, it spells out ways in which paper elements such as publication dates and titles should be structured. For example, publication dates should place the date that the source was published in parentheses, after the author’s name. If no date is available, you should write n.d. In parentheses, which stands for no date.
Book titles should capitalize just the first letter of the first word in the title. Do the same for the subtitle. The first letter of any proper nouns should be capitalized and italicized. Each should end with a period.
Check Every Last Detail
Learning APA style on your own can be daunting. Fortunately, you can learn more about it while making sure that paper is correct and that you properly cite each and every one of your sources by using online tools developed for this exact purpose.
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In-Text Citations: Author/Authors
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Though the APA's author-date system for citations is fairly straightforward, author categories can vary significantly from the standard "one author, one source" configuration. There are also additional rules for citing authors of indirect sources, electronic sources, and sources without page numbers.
A Work by One Author
The APA manual recommends the use of the author-date citation structure for in-text citation references. This structure requires that any in-text citation (i.e., within the body of the text) be accompanied by a corresponding reference list entry. In the in-text citation provide the surname of the author but do not include suffixes such as "Jr.".
Citing Non-Standard Author Categories
A work by two authors.
Name both authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses each time you cite the work. Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and use the ampersand in parentheses.
A Work by Three or More Authors
List only the first author’s name followed by “et al.” in every citation, even the first, unless doing so would create ambiguity between different sources.
In et al. , et should not be followed by a period. Only "al" should be followed by a period.
If you’re citing multiple works with similar groups of authors, and the shortened “et al” citation form of each source would be the same, you’ll need to avoid ambiguity by writing out more names. If you cited works with these authors:
They would be cited in-text as follows to avoid ambiguity:
Since et al. is plural, it should always be a substitute for more than one name. In the case that et al. would stand in for just one author, write the author’s name instead.
If the work does not have an author, cite the source by its title in the signal phrase or use the first word or two in the parentheses. Titles of books and reports are italicized; titles of articles, chapters, and web pages are in quotation marks. APA style calls for capitalizing important words in titles when they are written in the text (but not when they are written in reference lists).
Note : In the rare case that "Anonymous" is used for the author, treat it as the author's name (Anonymous, 2001). In the reference list, use the name Anonymous as the author.
Organization as an Author
If the author is an organization or a government agency, mention the organization in the signal phrase or in the parenthetical citation the first time you cite the source, just as you would an individual person.
If the organization has a well-known abbreviation, you may include the abbreviation in brackets the first time the source is cited and then use only the abbreviation in later citations. However, if you cite work from multiple organizations whose abbreviations are the same, do not use abbreviations (to avoid ambiguity).
Two or More Works in the Same Parentheses
When your parenthetical citation includes two or more works, order them the same way they appear in the reference list (viz., alphabetically), separated by a semi-colon.
If you cite multiple works by the same author in the same parenthetical citation, give the author’s name only once and follow with dates. No date citations go first, then years, then in-press citations.
Authors with the Same Last Name
To prevent confusion, use first initials with the last names.
Two or More Works by the Same Author in the Same Year
If you have two sources by the same author in the same year, use lower-case letters (a, b, c) with the year to order the entries in the reference list. Use the lower-case letters with the year in the in-text citation.
Introductions, Prefaces, Forewords, and Afterwords
When citing an Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword in-text, cite the appropriate author and year as usual.
For interviews, letters, e-mails, and other person-to-person communication, cite the communicator's name, the fact that it was personal communication, and the date of the communication. Do not include personal communication in the reference list.
If using a footnote to reference personal communication, handle citations the same way.
Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous Peoples
When citing information you learned from a conversation with an Indigenous person who was not your research participant, use a variation of the personal communication citation above. Include the person’s full name, nation or Indigenous group, location, and any other relevant details before the “personal communication, date” part of the citation.
Citing Indirect Sources
Generally, writers should endeavor to read primary sources (original sources) and cite those rather than secondary sources (works that report on original sources). Sometimes, however, this is impossible. If you use a source that was cited in another source, name the original source in your signal phrase. List the secondary source in your reference list and include the secondary source in the parentheses. If you know the year of the original source, include it in the citation.
If possible, cite an electronic document the same as any other document by using the author-date style.
Unknown Author and Unknown Date
If no author or date is given, use the title in your signal phrase or the first word or two of the title in the parentheses and use the abbreviation "n.d." (for "no date").
Sources Without Page Numbers
When an electronic source lacks page numbers, you should try to include information that will help readers find the passage being cited. Use the heading or section name, an abbreviated heading or section name, a paragraph number (para. 1), or a combination of these.
Note: Never use the page numbers of webpages you print out; different computers print webpages with different pagination. Do not use Kindle location numbers; instead, use the page number (available in many Kindle books) or the method above.
The APA Publication Manual describes how to cite many different kinds of authors and content creators. However, you may occasionally encounter a source or author category that the manual does not describe, making the best way to proceed unclear.
In these cases, it's typically acceptable to apply the general principles of APA citation to the new kind of source in a way that's consistent and sensible. A good way to do this is to simply use the standard APA directions for a type of source that resembles the source you want to cite. For example, a sensible way to cite a virtual reality program would be to mimic the APA's guidelines for computer software.
You may also want to investigate whether a third-party organization has provided directions for how to cite this kind of source.
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
- Next: Three to Five Authors or Editors >>
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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.
APA Citation Examples
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- 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 November 5, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/in-text-citation/
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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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APA 7th Edition Citation Guide
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Source with Two Authors
Rules for citing more than one author apply to all sources, regardless of format. Below is an example of a book with two authors.
Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and use an ampersand (&) for parenthetical citations.
Reference Page Format:
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year of Publication). Format the remainder according to resource type.
Reference Page Example:
Loveless, D., & Griffith, B. (2014). Critical pedagogy for a polymodal world . Birkhäuser.
In-text Citation Examples:
According to Loveless and Griffith (2014) ... ...(Loveless & Griffith, 2014). ...(Loveless & Griffith, 2014, p. 121).
Source with Three to Twenty Authors
For all sources with three to twenty authors, include all of the authors on your References page.
For in-text citations, sources with three or more authors can be abbreviated to only the first author's last name followed by "et al." For example, (Author et al., Year).
Author, A. A., Author, B. B., Author, C. C. (Year of Publication). Format the remainder according to resource type .
Somerville, I., Purcell, A., & Morrison, F. (2011). Public relations education in a divided society: PR, terrorism and critical pedagogy in post-conflict Northern Ireland. Public Relations Review, 37 (5), 548-555. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2011.09.008
According to Somerville et al. (2011) ... ... (Somerville et al., 2011). ... (Somerville et al., 2011, p. 549).
Source with Twenty-One or More Authors
For sources with twenty-one or more authors, write out the first twenty authors on the References page, add an ellipsis (...), and end with the last author.
For in-text citations, sources with more than twenty authors can be abbreviated to only the first author's last name followed by "et al." For example, (Author et al., Year).
Author, A. A., Author, B. B., Author, C. C., Author, D. D., Author, E. E., Author, F. F., Author, G. G., Author, H. H., Author, I. I., Author, J. J., Author, K. K., Author, L. L., Author, M. M., Author, N. N., Author, O. O., Author, P. P., Author, Q. Q., Author, R. R., Author, S. S., Author, T. T., . . . Author, Z. Z. (Year of Publication). Format the remainder according to resource type .
Aad, G., Abbott, B., Abdallah, J., Abdinov, O., Aben, R., Abolins, M., AbouZeid, O. S., Abramowicz, H., Abreu, H., Abreu, R., Abulaiti, Y., Acharya, B. S., Adamczyk, L., Adams, D. L., Adelman, J., Adomeit, S., Adye, T., Affolder, A. A., Agatonovic-Jovin, T., Aguilar-Saavedra, J. A., Alen, S. P., . . . Woods, N. (2015). Combined measurement of the Higgs boson mass in pp collisions at √s=7 and 8 TeV with the ATLAS and CMS experiments. Physical Review Letters, 114 (19), 1-33. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.114.191803
According to Aad et al. (2015) ... ... (Aad et al., 2015). ... (Aad et al., 2015, p. 20).
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APA 7th Edition - University of Lincoln
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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.
Author Surname, Initial(s)., & Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year). Book title: Subtitle . Publisher. DOI (if there is one)
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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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APA (7th Edition) Referencing Guide
- Information for EndNote Users
Number of authors
Format of authors, order of authors, when the author isn't a person, no author or anonymous, who's the author.
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- How many authors do you have?
- 1-2 Authors
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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
See the tabs on this box for details.
Things to Note:
Pay attention to the use of commas, the ampersand (&), and the word "and".
- You use the word "and" when you are using the author's names as part of your sentence, but an "&" when the names are in the brackets or the reference list.
- In text, you will always use a comma after each author (except the last one) when you have more than two names. In your reference list, you put a comma after each author (except the last one).
You always put a full stop after the al. in et al., because it is short for "et alia" ("and others").
For one or two authors , always mention the names of all authors
Narrative citation: Zhang and Webb (2019) noted that students who read bilingual books performed better in vocabulary tests.
Parenthetical citation: Students who read bilingual books may perform better in vocabulary tests ( Zhang & Webb, 2019).
In Your Reference List:
Zhang, Z., & Webb, S. (2019). The effects of reading bilingual books on vocabulary learning. Reading in a Foreign Language, 31 (1), 109–139. http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/rfl/April2019/April2019/articles/zhang.pdf
When you have 3 or more authors , you only use the first author's surname in text, and abbreviate the rest of the list with "et al." (Latin for "and others"). In your reference list, you list all of the authors (up to 20) .
Narrative citation: Boers et al.'s (2017) research i nto the use of pictures in glosses found they may decrease the amount of attention given to the words.
Parenthetical citation: Using pictures to illustrate glosses may, in fact, decrease the amount of attention given to the words ( Boers et al. , 2017).
Boers, F., Warren, P., He, L., & Deconinck , J. (2017). Does adding pictures to glosses enhance vocabulary uptake from reading? System, 66, 113-129. https://doi.org/ 10.1016/j.system.2017.03.017
When you have more than 3 authors (regardless of how many) , you only use the first author's surname in text, and abbreviate the rest of the list with "et al.". In your reference list, you list the first 19 authors and the last one, using an ellipses (...) to show that some authors have been omitted (do not use an ampersand &).
Narrative citation: Tobler et al.'s (2017) research found genetic evidence that suggests Australian Aboriginal people have inhabited the Australian landmass for approximately 50,000 years.
Parenthetical citation: Genetic evidence suggests the Australian Aboriginal people have inhabited the Australian landmass for approximately 50,000 years ( Tobler et al. , 2017).
Always include no more than twenty names, the first 19 and the last one:
Tobler , R., Rohrlach , A., Soubrier , J., Bover , P., Llamas, B., Tuke , J., Bean, N., Abdullah-Highfold , A., Agius , S., O'Donoghue , A., O'Loughlin , I., Sutton, P., Zilio , F., Walshe , K., Williams, A. N., Turney , C. S. M., Williams, M., Richards, S. M., Mitchell, N., ... Cooper, A. (2017) . Aboriginal mitogenomes reveal 50,000 years of regionalism in Australia. Nature, 544 (7649), 180-184. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature21416
- Use only initials of author's first or given names within the reference list
- If the author's first name is hyphenated then format as initial, full stop, hyphen and second initial. For example, Jean-Luc Picard is formatted as Picard, J.-L.
- For hyphenated surnames include both names and the hyphen in the reference list and the in text citation. For example: (Jones-Smith, 2015)
- For surnames with multiple parts that do not include a hyphen include both names separated by a space in the reference list and the in text citation. For example: Arce Arias, A. (2017).
- If the surname includes a particle (for example, van, der, den, la, von etc), include the particle before the surname in the reference list and the in text citation. Follow the authors example regarding capitalisation. For example: (van der Woodsen, 2021) (Del Castillo, 2017)
- If the authors name has a suffix, include the suffix after the second initial in the reference list. For example, Jones, H. W., Jr., & Jones, H. W., Sr. (1941) ... Do not include the suffix in the in-text citation
Some points to remember about authors:
- Do not alter the order of the authors within a citation (that is, the first, second, third etc authors of a work). You should leave them in the order they appear on the work.
- Your reference list will be placed in alphabetical order based on the name of the first author for each reference. See the page on Reference list structure for more information about the order of your references.
- (Corbin, 2015; James & Waterson, 2017; Smith et al., 2016).
- (Corbin, 2015; 2018)
- (Queensland Health, 2017a; 2017b)
- Use only the surnames of your authors in text (e.g., Smith & Brown, 2014) - however, if you have two authors with the same surname who have published in the same year, then you will need to use their initials to distinguish between the two of them (e.g., K. Smith, 2014; N. Smith, 2014). Otherwise, do not use initials in text .
Notes on et al.:
"Et al." is short for "et alia" - which means "and others". Note this is plural - "other s " - you only use it when there is more than one "other" (which is why you never use it for a work with two authors - always name both authors). Never use et al. to replace one person.
If you have the same first author and date for two works, but the other authors are not the same for both works, keep listing authors until the citations are clearly different, and then use et al. for the remaining authors.
Chan, G. C., Leung, J., Quinn, C., Kelly, A. B., Connor, J. P., Weier, M., & Hall, W. D. (2016). Rural and urban differences in adolescent alcohol use, alcohol supply, and parental drinking. The Journal of Rural Health, 32 (3), 280-286. https://doi.org/10.1111/jrh.12151
Chan, G. C., Kelly, A. B., Connor, J. P., Hall, W., Young, R. M., Toumbourou, J. W., & Williams, J. (2016). Regional versus urban differences in teenage alcohol use: Does parental disapproval account for these differences? Australian Journal of Rural Health, 24 (1), 3-8. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajr.12177
If you used both of these works for your paper you would cite them like this:
(Chan, Leung, et al., 2016)
(Chan, Kelly, et al. 2016)
If the first two or three (etc) authors are the same, keep adding authors until they are different.
(Chan, Kelly, Smith, et. al, 2016)
(Chan, Kelly, White, et al., 2016)
Remember, you don't use et al. for only one person, so if there were only three authors and you needed to name the first two authors in your in-text citation, you would name all three authors. If you had only four authors, and you had to include the first three authors to make the citation clear, then you would include all four authors.
When this happens, use an & between your last two authors:
(Smith, Jones & Brown, 2016)
(Taylor, Brown, Gwyrdd & Schwarz, 2016)
There are circumstances where you cannot find a person to use as your author because the "author" is a group, a company or an organisation. Some times there is no author, in which case see " No author or anonymous " below.
Is the author a company or organisation?
- Government bodies (such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics or the Department of Education and Training) are often the official "author" of the works they publish.
- Companies are usually the authors of their web pages
Write the company's name in full, the first time you use them, in text, then you can use an acronym. Always write the name in full in the reference list.
For example :
In text, the first time:
Narrative: The American Psychological Association (APA, 2012) noted that...
Parenthetical: The consumer price index is collated by using around a million pricing structures (Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS], 2018).
In text, subsequent times:
Narrative: As noted by the APA (2012)...
Parenthetical: New weights were used to maximise transaction data (ABS, 2018).
In the reference list:
Do not use acronyms unless the acronym is the official name of the company/organisation - and even then try to find the full version (e.g. CSIRO is Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation). Check the legal information or copyright pages of the organisation's web site.
American Psychiatric Association. (2012). How to write an APA style reference when information is missing . http://blog.apastyle.org/files/missing-pieces---apa-style-reference-table.pdf
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). Consumer price index, Australia, Dec 2017 (No. 6410.0). http://www.abs.gov.au
N.B. Write author names "as is" to the best of your ability. Use their capitalisation, spacing and punctuation. If they use an "and" or and "&" in their name (e.g. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) retain the version of "and/&" they have used.
Is there a corporate body (like a government department or a company) who is responsible for the work? They're probably your author. Take a look at " When the Author isn't a person " above.
Is the work anonymous, or without a byline?
- Sometimes newspaper articles and dictionary or encyclopedia entries don't have an author attributed. Editorials in peer reviewed journals may not have a byline. These works are unattributed, but they are not "anonymous".
- Only list the author as "anonymous" if the article/work has been attributed to "Anonymous" or "Anon". If there is no attribution, follow the advice below.
When there is no attributed author, move the title of the article (or encyclopedia entry, etc) to the first position in the reference list. In text, use the title of the document in "quotation marks" where you would use the author's name. For long titles, it is okay to use only the first few words.
Narrative: In the Nature editorial, "On the March" (2017), it was suggested that crowds might be "painted as hostile" (p. 137) by the media.
Parenthetical: During the 2017 presidential inauguration, there were some moments of awkwardness ("Mrs. Obama Says ‘Lovely Frame’", 2018).
Please note: In text, the title of the article is given title case - that is, major words are capitalised. You do not use title case in the reference list.
On the march. (2017). Nature, 554 , 137. https://www.nature.com/articles/544137a.pdf
Mrs. Obama says ‘lovely frame’ in box during awkward handoff. (2018, February 1). AP News . https://www.apnews.com/31f3520500c94a6ebfdbd2a0db5f4b60
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