12 posts categorized "Author names"

October 22, 2010

Citing the Recurring Author With Crystal Clarity

Daisiesby Stefanie

When doing research, it is easy and natural to find yourself using a number of sources written by the same author or authors: Many experts in specialized fields are quite prolific writers. But confusion can set in once you try to cite those sources, especially when names and dates repeat:

Jones, I., Jones, H., & Brody, M. (1957). This is our name, and this is 
our quest: I. Searching for the Holy Grail. Journal of Archeology, 55,

Jones, I., Jones, H., & Brody, M. (1957). This is our name, and this is
our quest: II. Losing the Holy Grail. Journal of Archeology, 55, 445–

Jones, I., Ravenwood, M., & Williams, M. (1957). Crystal skulls are a
girl’s best friend: Evidence for (space) aliens in North and South
America? Parapsychological Reports, 51, 40–42.

Jones, I., Scott, W., Round, S., & Brody, M. (1957). Properties of the
Sankara Stones. Archeology Today, 22, 226–229.

Jones, I., Williams, M., & Ravenwood, M. (1957). Swinging with the
monkeys: Uncommon approaches to artifact retrieval. Archeological
Methods, 88,

The references above are presented in the correct order. Wait a moment: Alphabetically, the first two references are out of order (“Searching” should come after “Losing”—or, if you are being extremely picky, the second I of II)! However, as noted on page 182 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, sixth edition, “If the references with the same authors published in the same year are identified as articles in a series (e.g., Part 1 and Part 2), order the references in the series order, not alphabetically by title.” So the order is correct, but how can these two 1957 references of Jones, Jones, and Brody be differentiated when cited in text? Continue reading on page 182 of the Publication Manual: “Place lowercase letters— a, b, c, and so forth—immediately after the year, within the parentheses.” So our references become

Jones, I., Jones, H., & Brody, M. (1957a). This is our name, and this is
our quest: I. Searching for the Holy Grail. Journal of Archeology, 55,
Jones, I., Jones, H., & Brody, M. (1957b). This is our name, and this is
our quest: II. Losing the Holy Grail. Journal of Archeology, 55, 445–

Note that letters are only used in citations when the years are the same and when all of the authors in the references are the same and in the same order. The remaining references in the initial group above do not take letters after their years, nifty as that trick is, because they can be differentiated by their authors and/or author order.

After the first in-text citation, the three-author sources with nonlettered years cannot be shortened to Jones et al., 1957, because too many references could be meant by that citation. That means the three-author references with nonlettered years are cited in full every time, and the four-author reference needs to include the first two authors in its citation to differentiate it:

Although Jones and colleagues have not always been successful at returning artifacts to museums, they have managed to track down—through hard work, determination, foolhardy risk taking, and luck—some of the greatest treasures of the world (Jones et al., 1957a, 1957b; Jones, Ravenwood, & Williams, 1957; Jones, Scott, et al., 1957; Jones, Williams, & Ravenwood, 1957).

 Following these rules will help your documentation skills exceed those of Dr. Jones.

January 07, 2010

The Generic Reference: Who?

Chelsea blog by Chelsea Lee

This post is part of an ongoing series about how references work.

When you need a reference citation but nothing in the Publication Manual seems to fit, it helps to understand the generic template that all APA Style references follow. As discussed previously, the generic reference answers four interrogative questions: Who? When? What? and Where?

This post addresses the “who” or author element. Upcoming posts discuss the "when," "what," and "where" questions, as well as give advice on adding supplementary information in brackets and on mixing and matching elements of example references when what you need isn’t in the manual.

Who Is Responsible for This Content?

To determine authorship, ask yourself, “who is responsible for this content?” Most often, the “who” will be one person, or several people, who have served as authors or editors. But keep in mind that entities (governments, associations, agencies, companies, etc.) can also function as authors or editors. See pp. 196–197 of the Publication Manual for an index of the author variation examples available.
“No Author”: Are You Sure?

Oftentimes when it appears there is no author, a company or organization of some sort is actually responsible for the content. For example, if you are reporting on H1N1/swine flu pandemic of 2009, one of your sources might be a CDC brief like the one cited below, which was authored by an entity (the CDC) rather than a specific person:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2009). CDC recommendations 
for the amount of time persons with influenza-like illness should
be away from others.
Retrieved from

In other cases, there might be no author explicitly stated but you can be reasonably certain who it is. Example 67 in the manual shows an author name in square brackets to show that the author is “reasonably certain but not stated on the document” (p. 214). This is a new style guideline for APA, so we don’t have much practice in using it, but it’s available to you. 

“No Author”: For Sure

In some cases, there truly is no way to pin down who the author is. We treat this as “no author.” In reference citations, we handle this by moving the content’s title into the author position (with no quotation marks around it). This most commonly occurs for wiki entries, dictionary entries, and unattributed website content. In the in-text citation, the title (put inside double quotation marks) likewise takes the place of the author’s name.

Other Resources on Authorship in References

Pages 196–197 in the 6th ed. of the Publication Manual list the author variations in the reference examples.

These FAQs and blogs address how to cite when there is no author:

How to cite....

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