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How to Reference an Author or Authors in APA Format

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APA format specifies a particular format for referencing authors of books and articles. Image: Kory Twaites

APA format establishes a number of clear rules for how to list reference works using author information. Reference listings vary based on the number of authors to whom the source is attributed.

Before you create a reference section for a psychology paper, it is important to know how to properly list books, articles, and other sources in APA format. The following guidelines can help you prepare a reference section in proper APA format.

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 first in italics. The volume number and page numbers should follow article titles, while book titles should be followed by the location and publisher name.

For example:
A student guide to APA format. (1997). Psychology Weekly, 8, 13-27.
and
The ultimate APA format guidebook. (2006). Hartford, CT: Student Press.

Single 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 journals titles should be listed in italics. The volume number and page numbers of the article should follow journal titles, while book titles should be followed by the location and name of the publisher.

For example:

McCrae, R. R. (1993). Moderated analyses of longitudinal personality stability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 577-585.

and

Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Two Authors:

Works by two authors should list 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 and page numbers. For books, list the location and name of the publisher.

For example:

Kanfer, F. H., & Busemeyer, J. R. (1982). The use of problem-solving and decision-making in behavior therapy. Clinical Psychology Review, 2, 239-266.

and

Buss, A. H., & Pomin, R. (1975). A temperament theory of personality development. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Three to Seven Authors:

Works by three to seven authors should list 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 and page numbers. For books, list the location and name of the publisher.

For example:

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.
and
Alper, S., Schloss, P. J., Etscheidt, S. K., & Macfarlane, C. A. (1995). Inclusion: Are we abandoning or helping students? Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

More Than Seven Authors Authors:

When a work is credited to more than seven authors, the reference is listed by providing the names of the first six authors followed by . . . and then the final author. The remainder of the reference follows the same format as that for seven or less authors.

Author last names and initials are followed by the date of publication enclosed in parentheses. The name of the article is listed immediately after the publication date. The title of the journal or the book title should be provided in italics. The volume number and page number should follow journal titles, while book titles should be followed by the location and publisher name.

For example:

Black, C. P., Arlo, S. T., Rechit, R., Machlen, J. P., Sempson, K., Bee, A. L., . . . Smith, R. K. (1999). Citing seven or more authors in APA format. Journal of APA Style and Format, 17, 45-75.

and

Black, C. P., Arlo, S. T., Rechit, R., Machlen, J. P., Sempson, K., Bee, A. L., . . . Clark, S. P. (2001). APA format for psychology students. Newark, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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