Skip to main content

APA Citation Style Guide: Step 1- Author (Names)

This APA Citation Style Guide provides practical advice for citing sources, following the guidelines set forth in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th Edition).

How to Use This Guide

What You Will Find Here

This page provides a breakdown on a specific component of a Reference list citation.  It reviews the details that can help you construct your citations to fit the needs of the source you are citing.

Can't find what you need?

If you are looking for full examples of Reference list citations, please see the Reference Examples guide.


Preparing the List

Start your Reference list on a new page.

Title the list "Reference" if you have one citation or "References" if you multiple citations.

Always use the hanging indent for each citation.

Alphabetize the references by the first author's last name or by Title, if no Author is listed.

Need Help?

Please enable Javascript to use this chat service.

 

You can also contact us by:

Author Basics

Reference list citations start with Author information. Since Author information comes first, it is the first component that your readers will identify and therefore needs to tie most directly to the In-text citation.  In this regard it is the main identifying component.

Examples:

Falvo, D. R.

Rudd, A., & Gordon, B. S.

Formatting Author information:

Always list the author's surname before listing his or her initials.  

You only need to provide initials for the first and middle names, but do include initials for all middle names provided by the source.  

Include a comma after every last name and in-between different authors' names. Include a period after every initial. Always close the Author portion of the citation with one period. See examples above. 

APA Manual p. 184, Section 6.27

Advanced

Multiple Authors:

You can list up to seven authors in the Reference list citation. Always invert every author name to position the surname first and any initials second. See examples above. 

If you have more than seven authors, list the first six authors followed by an ellipsis and ending with the last author listed.  Example: Johnson, M. C., Carlson, M., Hanover, L. E., Chan, X. H., Smith, J. N. H., Kim, H. B., ... Watson, J. M.

No Author:

Sometimes you will not know the author's exact name.  If a source claims the author is "anonymous," then state the author as Anonymous.

If a source has no specific author but is the work of a larger group or organization, please follow the example below for group authors.

If a source provides Editor information instead of Author information, see the example below for editors.

If a source has no author listed, whether an individual or a group, do not include any author information, i.e. do not mark it as Anonymous. Instead list the source's Title first followed by the Date.  In this case you are marking the Title as the citation's main identifying component, which is usually the Author. To cite this source in-text, provide the Title with the Date instead of the Author with the Date.  See the Title breakdown for more information.   

Group Author:

If an organization, institution, corporation, and/or agency is the author, provide the full name of the group, not its initials or acronym.  

Order of Authors:

List authors according to the order they appear on the source. Do not alphabetize the names.

Similar Author Information:

If you are citing multiple items by the same author that were created the same year (e.g. multiple webpages on the same website), distinguish the sources by including letters in the Date information.  See the Date breakdown for more information.

If you have different authors with the same last name and initials, include their given names in brackets.   Example:

Jackson, S. [Samual].

Jackson, S. [Samantha].

Editors:

If a source (usually a book) provides only Editor information, list the editors in place of the author.  You must include in parentheses Ed. or Eds. to distinguish the names as editors.  Example: Marquez, J. C., & Henderson, H. (Eds.).

If you are citing an edited book (i.e. a book that includes multiple chapters by different authors), leave the Author information as the citation's main identifying component as described above.  You should include the Editor information after the Title, but do not invert the editor's name.  Example: Asher, J. W. (2003). The rise to prominence: Educational psyhocology 1920-1960. In B. J. Zimmerman & D. H. Schunk (Eds.), Education psychology: A century of contributions, (pp. 189-205). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Punctuation:

If an author has a hyphen in his or her first name, use initials and maintain the hyphen in your citation.  Example: Larson, J.-P. (for John-Paul Larson)