How to Reference Authors in APA Format

Typing APA references with multiple authors
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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 in APA format. The following guidelines can help you prepare a reference section for your APA format paper.

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, issue number (if available), and page numbers should follow journal titles, while book titles should be followed by the publisher name.

For example:

A student guide to APA format. (1997). Psychology Weekly, 8, 13-27.

and

The ultimate APA format guidebook. (2006). 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 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.

For example:

McCrae, R. R. (1993). Moderated analyses of longitudinal personality stability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(3), 577-585.

and

Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Prentice-Hall.

Two Authors

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.

For example:

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.

and

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

Three to Twenty Authors

Works by three to 20 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, issue number, and page numbers. For books, list the 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? Corwin Press.

More Than Twenty 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.

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

For example:

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 Society100(10), 2043-2061.

and

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.

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.

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Article Sources
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  • American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2019.

  • Purdue Online Writing Lab. Reference list: Author/Authors.