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APA 6th edition Referencing guide: Author Variations

This guide will show you all you need to know about APA.

Variations on Authors

Use the title in place of the author inside the text of your work and in the reference list at the back.

Shorten the title is too long.

For One to two authors insert the surname comma year in round brackets.  E.g.

(Murphy, 2004)

(Wilson & Thomas, 2009).  

In the case of three to five authors, all authors should be listed the first time the work is cited:

(O’Brien, Smith, Horgan, White & Dunphy, 2009).  

For any further references or citations just enter the first surname and et al. comma year e.g. (O’Brien et al., 2009) 

For six and more authors after the first citation you need only name the first author, followed by et al. (from the Latin, meaning ‘and others’): (O’Brien et al., 2009).

This is because listing numerous authors would become quite cumbersome and add significantly to your word count

Use only the first author’s surname followed by et al. within the body of your assignment or text.

For works with 8 or more authors, list the first 6 authors followed by 3 full stops (…) then the last author’s name in the reference list.

Intext citation

(Shields et al., 2016) OR Shields et al.(2016) claimed that…

Reference list

Shields, J., Brown, M., Kaine, S., Dolle-Samuel, C., North-Samardzic, A., McLean, P., …O’ Leary, P. (2016) Managing employee performance and reward: Concepts, practices, strategies (2nd ed.) Port Melbourne, VIC: Cambridge University Press.

Name of corporate author. (Year). Title. Place of publication: Publisher.

Economic and Social Research Institute. (2008). ESRI research strategy 2008-2013: research for a changing Ireland. Dublin: ESRI.

Intext citation

  • Name of Corporate Author (Year)
  • (Name of Corporate Author, Year)
  • Economic and Social Research Institute (2008) highlight research…
  • Research (Economic and Social Research Institute, 2008) highlighting other trends…

Where a book has been edited you must insert (ed.) (if there is only one editor) or (eds.) (for two or more editors) after their names:

O’Connor, T. & Murphy, M. (Eds.). (2006). Social Care in Ireland: theory, policy and practice. Cork: CIT Press. 

Same author but multiple works in the same year (unusual yes but it happens)

When citing an author who has published two or more works in the same year, use lower case letters (a, b, c) with the year to distinguish them:

The Department of Education and Science (2007a) has reported that…

Order alphabetically by title in the reference list.

Order chronologically (by year most current first) in the reference list.

The intext reference/citation refers to the primary or main author only.

If the authors are listed with the word with, include them in the reference within brackets.

Intext citation

Ransom (2009)

Reference List

Ransom, J. (with Cormack, C. & Blake, R.) (2009) How hard can it be?:Developing in open source.  Code4Lib Journal, (7). Retrieved from

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