May 17, 2017

What’s in a Name? Cultural Variations in Name Order

Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

This post is part of a series on author names. Other posts in the series will be linked at the bottom of this post as they are published.

Most people have one or more given names and a surname. However, the order of these names varies across cultures. This can create confusion when a writer is figuring out how to cite an author from a culture with different naming practices than the writer’s own.

To help you resolve questions regarding name order, do a little detective work.

  1. Look at how the author has been cited in other works and follow that presentation of the name.
  2. Authors usually use the default name order for the language in which they are publishing, so take your cues for name order from the language in which the article is written. For example, Yi-Chun Chang may publish as Yi-Chun Chang in an English journal but as Chang Yi-Chun in a Chinese journal. In either case, the APA Style format for the name is Chang, Y.-C., in the reference list entry and Chang (2016) in the in-text citation.
  3. Sometimes the surname is presented in all-capital letters on the source to distinguish it from the given name(s), for example, CHANG Yi-Chun or Yi-Chun CHANG. Do not retain the all-caps style for the reference; still write this name as Chang, Y.-C., in the reference list entry and as Chang (2016) in the text citation.

Other Questions

Do you have more questions on author names in APA Style? See these other posts, or leave a comment below:


May 10, 2017

What’s in a Name? Inconsistent Formats and Name Changes

Chelsea blog 2  by Chelsea Lee

This post is part of a series on author names. Other posts in the series will be linked at the bottom of this post as they are published.

Although APA encourages authors to use one format for their name throughout their publishing career, inconsistencies do arise, and some authors choose to change their name for professional publication. This post addresses how to cite works in each of these circumstances.

Inconsistent Presentation

Sometimes names are presented inconsistently across publications. If the author has used different forms of the same name on different works, then your reference list entries should match the form of the name on the work being cited for reasons of retrievability. For example, sometimes the author may use a middle initial and sometimes not (e.g., perhaps Jacob T. Baker sometimes publishes as Jacob Baker).

Because both names refer to the same person and the differences between names are minor (namely, a missing initial), it is not necessary to adjust the order of the works in the reference list to account for the missing initial or to put the author’s initials in the text citations to distinguish the references. (Read more about the order of works in the reference list and see examples.)

Name Changes

Another case is when an author has changed names, such as a surname change after marriage or divorce or a name change for a transgender author. Do not change the name on a work if an author has published under different names; cite the work using the name shown on the publication you read. In most cases, it is not necessary to note for the reader that two different names refer to the same person; just cite each work normally.

  • Example change of surname: If Morgan J. McDonald now publishes as Morgan J. Williams, then cite the works in the text as McDonald (2005) and Williams (2017), respectively; in the reference list, the works should be alphabetized under M and W, respectively.
  • Example change to a hyphenated or two-part surname: If Taylor T. Hartley now publishes as Taylor T. Hartley-Jones, then cite the works in the text as Hartley (2010) and Hartley-Jones (2017), respectively; in the reference list, all works by Hartley come before those published by Hartley-Jones because of the rules of alphabetizing the reference list. (The same principle applies if Taylor had decided to use no hyphen between the surnames, for example, Taylor T. Hartley Jones.) See this blog post on two-part surnames for more.
  • Example first name change for a transgender author (different initials): If John J. Smith now publishes under the name Rebecca L. Smith, and if you cite works published under both names in your paper, then cite the works in the text as J. J. Smith (2001) and R. L. Smith (2015), respectively; in the reference list, take the initials into account and put works by Smith, J. J., before works by Smith, R. L. Note: If you cite only works published as John or only works published as Rebecca, then no initials in the text or description of the author’s name change are necessary; just cite the works normally.
  • Example first name change for a transgender author (same initials): If Alicia K. Johnson now publishes under the name Adam K. Johnson, and if you cite works published under both names in your paper, then cite the works in the text as Alicia K. Johnson (2004) and Adam K. Johnson (2017), respectively—including the full name of the author because the initials are the same but the names themselves are different. In the reference list, put the author’s first name in brackets to alert the reader that the first names are different. The entries would be as follows:
    • Johnson, A. [Adam] K. (2017). ...
    • Johnson, A. [Alicia] K. (2004). ...

Note that if you cite only works published as Alicia or only works published as Adam, then no full names in the text and reference list or description of the author’s name change are necessary.

Making Note of a Name Change

Although in most cases it is not necessary to note that two different names refer to the same person, there are cases when it would be relevant or useful to do so.  For example, if you are reviewing multiple works by an author to describe the history of their research and a difference in name might confuse the reader, explain in the text that the two different names refer to the same person. Be warned; this might require some finesse to straighten out the citations. For example, you might write,

Smith-Hartman (publishing as Smith, 2010) pioneered treatment for depression and anxiety. In particular, she discovered a novel therapy involving the use of animals (Smith-Hartman, 2016).

Other Questions

Do you have more questions on author names in APA Style? See these other posts, or leave a comment below:


May 04, 2017

What’s in a Name? Two-Part Surnames in APA Style

Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

This post is part of a series on author namesOther posts in the series will be linked at the bottom of this post as they are published.

The APA Style format for author names in reference list entries is to provide the author’s surname(s) followed by the initials of their given name(s). 

  • Example: Lee, C. L. (2017).

In the in-text citation, provide only the surname(s) along with the year. (Note: The author's full name can be included in the in-text citation in limited circumstances, such as if the author is famous or if the whole purpose of the paper is to give an in-depth discussion of an author's work.)

  • Example: (Lee, 2017) or Lee (2017)

Many different name formats are possible; for example, authors might have two surnames (with or without a hyphen), names with particles, and names with suffixes. Sometimes it might be difficult to determine whether a name is a given name or a surname.

However, in all cases, the name in the reference list entry and in-text citation should match the name on the work being cited. Your task now is just a matter of figuring out the proper format. 


Formatting Names With Multiple Parts

  • If the surname is hyphenated, include both names and the hyphen in the reference list entry and in-text citation.
  • If the surname has two parts separated by a space and no hyphen, include both names in the reference list entry and in-text citation. Many Spanish names follow this format. 
  • If the surname includes a particle (e.g., de, de la, der, van, von), include the particle before the surname in the reference list entry and in-text citation.*
  • If the surname includes a suffix (e.g., Jr., Sr., III), include the suffix after the initials in the reference list entry but do not include it in the in-text citation.

Here are some examples:

Full Name

Name in Reference List

Name in In-Text Citation

Diego J. Rivera-Gutierrez

Rivera-Gutierrez, D. J. (2016).

(Rivera-Gutierrez, 2016)

Rena Torres Cacoullos

Torres Cacoullos, R. (2012).

(Torres Cacoullos, 2012)

Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz

von Thiele Schwarz, U. (2015).

(von Thiele Schwarz, 2015)

Simone de Beauvoir

de Beauvoir, S. (1944).

(de Beauvoir, 1944)

Ashley M. St. John

St. John, A. M. (2016).

(St. John, 2016)

Herbert M. Turner III

Turner, H. M., III. (2013).

(Turner, 2013)


*Note: In German and Portuguese, the particle is usually dropped when only the surname is used; for example, Ludwig van Beethoven is usually referred to in English as Beethoven and so would be credited as Beethoven, L. van, in the reference list entry and as Beethoven in the text. If you are writing in English, include the particle as part of the surname unless you know that the name is one of the famous German or Portuguese exceptions like Beethoven.


Is the Middle Name a Surname or a Given Name?

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether an author has two surnames without a hyphen or two given names and one surname—for example, is Maria Perez Garcia cited as Garcia (2017) or Perez Garcia (2017)? Here are some techniques to help you determine what name format to use:

  • Follow the format shown in the database bibliographic record for the work you are citing.
  • If the author has cited their own work in their own reference list, follow the same format they have used.
  • Look at how other authors have cited the author’s name and follow the most common presentation.
  • Look at your article to see if the surname is written in a distinguishing font (e.g., all-capital letters). If the surname is in all caps, convert it to title case for your reference (e.g., Peter Chen WANG becomes Wang, P. C., not WANG, P. C.).
  • Search for the author’s website or curriculum vita (CV) and follow the format they have used there.

Other Questions

Do you have more questions on author names in APA Style? See these other posts, or leave a comment below:


April 12, 2017

How to Alphabetize a Number

Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

If a reference list entry begins with a number (as might be the case for a reference with no author), you should alphabetize the entry in the reference list as though the number were spelled out. So in the following example, the reference that begins with 50 would be alphabetized as though 50 were written fifty.

Farthing, T., & Oates, P. P. (2010). The compendium of kittens (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Cat Press.

50 ways to improve your life with cats. (2017). Retrieved from

French, J. S. (2015). Purr-fect: A book about cats. New York, NY: Cat Press.

For numbers that represent years, use the way the year is commonly said to alphabetize the reference. For example, a reference beginning with 1984 would be alphabetized as though it were written nineteen eighty-four, not one thousand nine hundred eighty-four.

In the text, cite references beginning with a number with the first two pieces of the reference list entry: here, that's the title and the year because the reference has no author. If the title in the reference list is nonitalic, put the title in double quotation marks in the in-text citation and captialize it using title case; if the title in the reference list is italic, keep the title in italics in the in-text citation and capitalize it using title case. If the title is long, you can use just the first few words.

Example in-text citation: ("50 Ways," 2017)

 Got other numerical alphabetization questions? Ask away in the comments section.


March 29, 2017

How to Create References When Words in the Title Are Italicized

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

Although the title of a journal article or book chapter is not usually italicized, sometimes words within the title may be italicized. These include book or movie titles, letters or words as linguistic examples, statistics, scientific names for animals, and other items that would be italicized in text, per APA Style guidelines.


Corballis, M. C., & McLaren, R. (1984). Winding one's Ps and Qs: Mental rotation and mirror-image discrimination. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 10, 318–327.
Foulkes, D. (1994). The interpretation of dreams and the scientific study of dreaming. Dreaming, 4, 82–85.
Lai, J., Fidler, F., & Cummings, G. (2015). Subjective p intervals: Researchers underestimate the variability of p values over replication. Methodology, 8, 51–62.
Yoder, A. M., Widen, S. C., & Russell, J. A. (2016). The word disgust may refer to more than one emotion. Emotion, 16, 301–308.

If the title of the work is already italicized, as with a reference for a book, report, or dissertation or thesis, then the item that would otherwise be italicized is reverse italicized (meaning that it is in roman type within an otherwise italicized title).


Blaylock, B. (2015). Coming of age: The narrative of adolescence in David Almond’s Kit’s wilderness and Nick Lake’s In darkness (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 10000726)
Reichenberg, L. (2013). DSM–5 essentials: The savvy clinician’s guide to the changes in criteria. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.


March 15, 2017

How to Cite a Corrected Journal Article

Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

Mistakes sometimes make their way into published articles. When these mistakes are discovered, they must be disclosed to the community of scholars so that other researchers do not draw conclusions from false premises. If the error is relatively minor (e.g., mistakes in values of a table that do not impact the results of analyses), the online version of the article is usually corrected so that online readers only ever see the correct version. The article will carry a notice that it has been corrected, and the journal will also publish a separate correction notice describing the nature of the error. If the errors are far reaching, the publisher will retract the article and, depending on the reason for the errors, may publish a replacement corrected version. It is possible to cite the retracted version of the article (e.g., to discuss that it was retracted), and in this post I will explain how to cite a corrected version of an article.

Citing a Corrected (But Not Republished) Article

To cite an article that has been corrected, simply provide the publication details as you would to cite any other journal article. Readers will discover the existence and nature of the corrections when they visit the article.

Haataja, A., Ahtola, A., Poskiparta, E., & Salmivalli, C. (2015). A process view on implementing an antibullying curriculum: How teachers differ and what explains the variation. School Psychology Quarterly, 30, 564–576. 
  • In text: (Haataja, Ahtola, Poskiparta, & Salmivalli, 2015).

Citing a Retracted, Corrected, and Republished Article

To cite an article that has been republished in a corrected version, provide the publication details for the corrected version as you would to cite any other journal article. Often times the authors will include the words “corrected version” or similar in the title to alert readers as to the corrected nature of the article, but if these words are not present in the corrected version, do not add them or make other notations.

Kullgren, K. A., Tsang, K. K., Ernst, M. M., Carter, B. D., Scott, E. L., & Sullivan, S. K. (2015). Inpatient pediatric psychology consultation-liaison practice survey: Corrected version. Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology, 3, 340–351. 
  • In text: (Kullgren et al., 2015).

Citing a Correction Notice

It is possible to cite a correction notice as well, and the format follows the regular format for a journal article reference. Here is an example:

Elliott, E., & Leach, A.-M. (2016). Correction to Elliott and Leach (2016). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 23, 99.
  • In text: (Elliott & Leach, 2016)

Citing Both Retracted and Corrected Versions of an Article

If you want to cite both an original article that has been retracted and its corrected version, create two separate references. Use the format described in this post for the retracted article.

If both the retracted and corrected articles would have the same in-text citation (by virtue of having the same authors and year of publication), put lowercase letters after the year to distinguish the two, as described in this post on reference twins. (Of course, if the retracted and corrected versions were published in different years, this is not a problem.)

Do you have other questions about citing corrected articles? Leave a comment below.


March 01, 2017

DOI Display Guidelines Update (March 2017)

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

Do you know Crossref? Crossref is an organization “working to make content easy to find, link, cite, and assess” (Crossref, 2016). One of their services is to register digital object identifiers (DOIs), and we follow their guidelines for display of DOIs.DOI image-sm

Effective March 2017, Crossref has updated their DOI display guidelines, in part to ensure security (with https). For more details, see and

Their new recommended format looks like this:

And here’s how that looks in an APA Style reference:

Morey, C. C., Cong, Y., Zheng, Y., Price, M., & Morey, R. D. (2015). The color-sharing bonus: Roles of perceptual organization and attentive processes in visual working memory. Archives of Scientific Psychology, 3, 18–29.

Note the secure https and the simple url prefix

Although we recommend moving to the new format, in APA Style manuscripts, we will be accepting the older formats (doi:10.1037/arc0000014 or or the new format (

We recommend that you pick one format to use consistently throughout a reference list.

We will begin using the new format in our examples on this blog from this point forward. But, to clarify, in your manuscripts or papers, all of the following are currently considered correct APA Style:


Crossref. (2016). Annual report 15–16. Retrieved from

February 15, 2017

How to Format Scientific Names of Animals

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

When an animal name is part of a journal article title, it is conventional to provide the animal’s scientific name (genus and species). Genus is always capitalized and species is not. Notice that the scientific names are also italicized (see examples on p. 105 of the APA Publication Manual).

For example, see the following articles from APA Journals:

Journal of Comparative Psychology article: Dogs (Canis familiaris) Account for Body Orientation but Not Visual Barriers When Responding to Pointing Gestures Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition: Control of Working Memory in Rhesus Monkeys (Macaca mulatta)

This convention of including the scientific name in the paper’s title is not an APA Style guideline specified in the manual; however, it is an accepted norm of scientific research. (If you have any questions about whether to include the scientific name in your paper or manuscript, ask your teacher, advisor, or editor.)

So, if you cite an article that includes a genus and species in the title, how should the title appear in your reference list? Keep the italics and capitalization of the animal’s scientific name exactly as they appear in the original title:

MacLean, E. L., Krupenye, C., & Hare, B. (2014). Dogs (Canis familiaris) account for body orientation but not visual barriers when responding to pointing gestures. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 128, 285–297.
Tu, H.-W., & Hampton, R. R. (2014). Control of working memory in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 40, 467–476.

February 01, 2017

How to Cite the UpToDate Database in APA Style

Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

The UpToDate database contains peer-reviewed medical articles that are periodically updated by experts in the field; as such, it is a popular source for writers to cite in APA Style.

Cite an article from UpToDate like you would an entry in an online reference work or chapter in an edited book. Here is an example citation:

Williams, J., & Nieuwsma, J. (2016). Screening for depression in adults. In J. A. Melin (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved February 1, 2017, from

  • In text: (Williams & Nieuwsma, 2016).

Here are some notes about the components of the reference:

  • Use the authors of the article as the authors in the reference.
  • For the year in the reference, use the year listed after “this topic last updated.”
  • For the title, use the title of the article.
  • Use the name of the deputy editor(s) for the article as the editor(s) of the reference work. Section editors do not need to be listed in the reference.
  • Write UpToDate in italics as the name of the reference work.
  • Provide a retrieval date because the content will change over time.
  • Provide a URL for retrieval of the article.

 Do you have additional questions about citing the UpToDate database? Leave a comment below.

Uptodate logo

January 26, 2017

How to Cite a Twitter Moment

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

With Twitter moments, introduced last year, anyone can collect related tweets in one page.

These are easy to cite because Twitter provides all the necessary information—who (Twitter username), when (date), what (title), and where (URL)!




APA Style [APA_Style]. (2016, November 15). Research and writing [Twitter moment]. Retrieved from

In-text citation: (APA Style, 2016) or APA Style (2016).


Reuters Top News [Reuters]. (2016, November 1). Inside David Bowie's art collection [Twitter moment]. Retrieved from

In-text citation: (Reuters Top News, 2016) or Reuters Top News (2016).

If you need more help citing social media, see our posts about tweets, Facebook status updates, hashtags, and more!

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