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In-Text Citations: Author/Authors
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APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6 th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , (6 th ed., 2 nd printing).
Note: This page reflects APA 6, which is now out of date. It will remain online until 2021, but will not be updated. The equivalent APA 7 page can be found here .
APA style has a series of important rules on using author names as part of the author-date system. There are additional rules for citing indirect sources, electronic sources, and sources without page numbers.
Citing an Author or Authors
A Work by Two Authors: Name both authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses each time you cite the work. Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and use the ampersand in parentheses.
A Work by Three to Five Authors: List all the authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses the first time you cite the source. Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and use the ampersand in parentheses.
In subsequent citations, only use the first author's last name followed by "et al." in the signal phrase or in parentheses.
Six or More Authors: Use the first author's name followed by et al. in the signal phrase or in parentheses.
Unknown Author: If the work does not have an author, cite the source by its title in the signal phrase or use the first word or two in the parentheses. Titles of books and reports are italicized; titles of articles, chapters, and web pages are in quotation marks. APA style calls for capitalizing important words in titles when they are written in the text (but not when they are written in reference lists).
Note : In the rare case the "Anonymous" is used for the author, treat it as the author's name (Anonymous, 2001). In the reference list, use the name Anonymous as the author.
Organization as an Author: If the author is an organization or a government agency, mention the organization in the signal phrase or in the parenthetical citation the first time you cite the source.
If the organization has a well-known abbreviation, include the abbreviation in brackets the first time the source is cited and then use only the abbreviation in later citations.
Two or More Works in the Same Parentheses: When your parenthetical citation includes two or more works, order them the same way they appear in the reference list (viz., alphabetically), separated by a semi-colon.
Two or More Works by the Same Author in the Same Parentheses: When your parenthetical citation includes two or more works from the same author, list the years of publication in sequence, with the earliest first. Provide in-press citations last. Only list authors' surnames once for each list of dates.
Following this pattern, multiple works from multiple authors can be contained within a single parenthetical. Separate authors' sources with a semicolon. Note, however, that the authors' names should be provided in the order they appear in the reference list regardless of when their sources were published.
Authors With the Same Last Name: To prevent confusion, use first initials with the last names.
Two or More Works by the Same Author in the Same Year: If you have two sources by the same author in the same year, use lower-case letters (a, b, c) with the year to order the entries in the reference list. Use the lower-case letters with the year in the in-text citation.
Introductions, Prefaces, Forewords, and Afterwords: When citing an Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword in-text, cite the appropriate author and year as usual.
(Funk & Kolln, 1992)
Personal Communication: For interviews, letters, e-mails, and other person-to-person communication, cite the communicator's name, the fact that it was personal communication, and the date of the communication. Do not include personal communication in the reference list.
Citing Indirect Sources
If you use a source that was cited in another source, name the original source in your signal phrase. List the secondary source in your reference list and include the secondary source in the parentheses.
Note: When citing material in parentheses, set off the citation with a comma, as above. Also, try to locate the original material and cite the original source.
If possible, cite an electronic document the same as any other document by using the author-date style.
Unknown Author and Unknown Date: If no author or date is given, use the title in your signal phrase or the first word or two of the title in the parentheses and use the abbreviation "n.d." (for "no date").
Sources Without Page Numbers
When an electronic source lacks page numbers, you should try to include information that will help readers find the passage being cited. When an electronic document has numbered paragraphs, use the abbreviation "para." followed by the paragraph number (Hall, 2001, para. 5). If the paragraphs are not numbered and the document includes headings, provide the appropriate heading and specify the paragraph under that heading. Note that in some electronic sources, like webpages, people can use the "find" function in their browser to locate any passages you cite.
Note: Never use the page numbers of webpages you print out; different computers print webpages with different pagination.
The APA Publication Manual describes how to cite many different kinds of authors and content creators. However, you may occasionally encounter a source or author category that the manual does not describe, making the best way to proceed can be unclear.
In these cases, it's typically acceptable to apply the general principles of APA citation to the new kind of source in a way that's consistent and sensible. A good way to do this is to simply use the standard APA directions for a type of source that resembles the source you want to cite. For example, a sensible way to cite a virtual reality program would be to mimic the APA's guidelines for ordinary computer software .
You may also want to investigate whether a third-party organization has provided directions for how to cite this kind of source. For example, Norquest College provides guidelines for citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers —an author category that does not appear in the APA Manual . In cases like this, it's a good idea to ask your instructor or supervisor whether using third-party citation guidelines might present problems.
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- Knowledge Base
- APA Style 7th edition
- Beginner’s guide to APA in-text citation
APA In-Text Citations (7th Ed.) | Multiple Authors & Missing Info
Published on November 4, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on September 30, 2022.
In-text citations briefly identify the source of information in the body text. They correspond to a full reference entry at the end of your paper.
APA in-text citations consist of the author’s last name and publication year. When citing a specific part of a source, also include a page number or range, for example (Parker, 2020, p. 67) or (Johnson, 2017, pp. 39–41) .
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Table of contents
Apa in-text citations explained in 4 minutes, parenthetical vs. narrative citations, apa in-text citations with multiple authors, no author, date or page number, multiple sources in one parenthesis, avoiding ambiguity in apa in-text citations, citing indirect sources (“as cited in”), citing personal communication, general mentions of websites and software, example paragraph with in-text citations, frequently asked questions.
The in-text citation can be placed in parentheses or naturally integrated into a sentence.
- Parenthetical : There is a correlation between social media usage and anxiety symptoms in teenagers (Parker, 2019) .
- Narrative: Parker (2019) found a correlation between social media usage and anxiety symptoms in teenagers.
The publication year appears directly after the author’s name when using the narrative format. The parenthetical citation can be placed within or at the end of a sentence, just before the period. Check out a full example paragraph with in-text citations .
If a work has two authors, separate their names with an ampersand (&) in a parenthetical citation or “and” in a narrative citation. If there are three or more authors, only include the first author’s last name followed by “et al.”, meaning “and others”.
Group authors known by their abbreviations (e.g., CDC) are written in full the first time and are abbreviated in subsequent citations.
If the author of a source is unknown, try to determine if there is an organization or government responsible for creating the content. If so, include its name in the in-text citation (and reference entry).
Alternatively, use the source title in place of the author. Italicize the title if it’s italicized in the reference entry (except for court cases , which are italicized in the in-text citation but not the reference entry). Otherwise, enclose it in double quotation marks.
Apply title case capitalization, and shorten long titles. The first word of the title should always be included so readers can easily locate the corresponding reference entry.
- (“U.S. Flood Risk,” 2015)
- ( Thinking, Fast and Slow , 2017)
No publication date
If the publication date is unknown, write “n.d.” (no date) in the in-text citation.
No page number (alternative locators)
Page numbers are only required with direct quotes in APA . If you are quoting from a work that does not have page numbers (e.g., webpages or YouTube videos ), you can use an alternative locator, such as:
- (Liu, 2020, 03:26 )
- (Johnson, 2019, Chapter 3 )
- (McCombes, 2016, para. 4 )
- (Davis, 2016, Slide 15 )
- (Flores, 2020, Table 5 )
- (Streefkerk, 2020, “No page number” section )
Note that Bible citations always use chapter and verse numbers, even when page numbers are available:
If a statement is supported by multiple sources, the in-text citations can be combined in one parenthesis. Order the sources alphabetically, and separate them with a semicolon.
When citing multiple works from the same author, list the years of publication separated by a comma.
When in-text citations are ambiguous because they correspond to multiple reference entries, apply the solutions outlined in the table below.
If you want to refer to a source that you have found in another source, you should always try to access the original or primary source .
However, if you cannot find the original source , you should cite it through the secondary source that led you to it, using the phrase “as cited in”.
If the publication date of the primary source is unknown, include only the year of publication of the secondary source.
Only include a reference entry for the secondary source, not the primary source.
Personal communications , such as phone calls, emails, and interviews, are not included in the reference list because readers can’t access them. The in-text citation is also formatted slightly differently.
Include the initials and last name of the person you communicated with, the words “personal communication,” and the exact date in parentheses.
General mentions of a website or software don’t have to be cited with an in-text citation or entry in the reference list. Instead, incorporate relevant information into the running text.
- The website of Scribbr (www.scribbr.com) contains various useful resources.
- Statistical software SPSS (version 25) was used to analyze the data.
When citing a webpage or online article , the APA in-text citation consists of the author’s last name and year of publication. For example: (Worland & Williams, 2015). Note that the author can also be an organization. For example: (American Psychological Association, 2019).
If you’re quoting you should also include a locator. Since web pages don’t have page numbers, you can use one of the following options:
- Paragraph number: (Smith, 2018, para. 15).
- Heading or section name: ( CDC, 2020, Flu Season section)
- Abbreviated heading: ( CDC, 2020, “Key Facts” section)
Instead of the author’s name, include the first few words of the work’s title in the in-text citation. Enclose the title in double quotation marks when citing an article, web page or book chapter. Italicize the title of periodicals, books, and reports.
If the publication date is unknown , use “n.d.” (no date) instead. For example: (Johnson, n.d.).
The abbreviation “ et al. ” (meaning “and others”) is used to shorten APA in-text citations with three or more authors . Here’s how it works:
Only include the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.”, a comma and the year of publication, for example (Taylor et al., 2018).
Always include page numbers in the APA in-text citation when quoting a source . Don’t include page numbers when referring to a work as a whole – for example, an entire book or journal article.
If your source does not have page numbers, you can use an alternative locator such as a timestamp, chapter heading or paragraph number.
If you cite several sources by the same author or group of authors, you’ll distinguish between them in your APA in-text citations using the year of publication.
If you cite multiple sources by the same author(s) at the same point , you can just write the author name(s) once and separate the different years with commas, e.g., (Smith, 2020, 2021).
To distinguish between sources with the same author(s) and the same publication year, add a different lowercase letter after the year for each source, e.g., (Smith, 2020, 2021a, 2021b). Add the same letters to the corresponding reference entries .
In an APA in-text citation , you use the phrase “ as cited in ” if you want to cite a source indirectly (i.e., if you cannot find the original source).
Parenthetical citation: (Brown, 1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) Narrative citation: Brown (1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) states that…
On the reference page , you only include the secondary source (Mahone, 2018).
An APA in-text citation is placed before the final punctuation mark in a sentence.
- The company invested over 40,000 hours in optimizing its algorithm (Davis, 2011) .
- A recent poll suggests that EU membership “would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters” in a referendum (Levring, 2018) .
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Streefkerk, R. (2022, September 30). APA In-Text Citations (7th Ed.) | Multiple Authors & Missing Info. Scribbr. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/in-text-citation/
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- Library skills
- Sources with multiple authors
- APA Style Guide (7th edition)
- Book chapters
- Journal articles
- Online video
- Webpage on a website
- APA Guidance for other sources
- APA Style Guide (6th edition)
- Web page on a website
- Referencing Glossary
Sources with two authors
If you are citing a source with two authors, the surname of both of the authors should be listed in your in-text citation. You should keep the names in the same order as they are in the source.
The surname and initial(s) of both the authors should appear in the full reference for the source. Use a comma to separate them (as well as an ampersand).
The rest of the reference should follow the usual style for the type of source you are citing.
(Reiss & White, 2013, p.6)
Reiss M.J., & White, J. (2013). An aims-based curriculum: the significance of human flourishing for schools. London: IOE Press.
Sources with three to five authors
If you are citing a source with three to five authors, cite all authors in the in-text citation the first time it occurs; after this only include the first author's surname followed by 'et al'.
The surname and initial(s) of all the authors should appear in the full reference for the source. Use commas to separate the authors and an ampersand before the last one.
(Rogers, Hallam, Creech & Preti, 2018) - first time
(Rogers et al., 2018) - subsequent references
Rogers, L., Hallam, S., Creech, A., & Preti, C. (2018). Learning about what constitutes effective training from a pilot programme to improve music education in primary schools. Music Education Research , 10 (4), 485-497.
Sources with six or more authors
If you are citing a source with six or more authors, the surname of only the first person attributed as one of the source's authors should be included in your in-text citation, followed by the words 'et al'.
All the authors' surnames and initial(s) should appear in the full reference for the source (separated by commas) and with an ampersand before the last author.
(Battersby et al., 2018)
Battersby, C., Armus, L., Bergin, E., Kataria, T., Meixner, M., Pope, A., Stevenson, K. B., Cooray, A., Leisawitz, D., Scott, D. Bauer, J., Bradford, C. M., Ennico, K., Fortney, J. J., Kaltenegger, L., Melnick, G. J., Milam, S. M., Narayanan, D., Padgett, D., & Wiedner M. C. (2018). The Origins Space Telescope. Nature Astronomy, 2 , 596-599.
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APA Citation Style, 7th edition: Two Authors or Editors
- General Style Guidelines
- One Author or Editor
- Two Authors or Editors
- Three to Five Authors or Editors
- Article or Chapter in an Edited Book
- Article in a Reference Book
- Edition other than the First
- Government Publication
- Journal Article with 1 Author
- Journal Article with 2 Authors
- Journal Article with 3–20 Authors
- Journal Article 21 or more Authors
- Magazine Article
- Newspaper Article
- Basic Web Page
- Web page from a University site
- Web Page with No Author
- Entry in a Reference Work
- Government Document
- Film and Television
- Youtube Video
- Audio Podcast
- Electronic Image
- Secondary Sources
- Citation Support
- Avoiding Plagiarism
- Formatting Your Paper
About Citing Books
For each type of source in this guide, both the general form and an example will be provided.
The following format will be used:
In-Text Citation (Paraphrase) - entry that appears in the body of your paper when you express the ideas of a researcher or author using your own words. For more tips on paraphrasing check out The OWL at Purdue .
In-Text Citation (Quotation) - entry that appears in the body of your paper after a direct quote.
References - entry that appears at the end of your paper.
Information on citing and several of the examples were drawn from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).
Book with Two Authors or Editors
The general format below refers to a book with two authors.
If you are dealing with two editors instead of two authors, you would simply insert the names of the editors into the place where the authors' names are now, followed by "(Eds.)" without the quotation marks (see the example below). The rest of the format would remain the same.
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APA Citations (7th ed.)
- General Formatting
- Professional Paper Elements - Title Page
- Student Paper Elements - Title Page
- In-text Citation Basics
- In-text Citation Author Rules
- Citing Multiple Works
- Personal Communications
- Classroom or Intranet Resources
- Secondary Sources
- Books and Reference Works
- Edited Book Chapters and Entries in Reference Works
- Reports and Gray Literature
- Conference Sessions and Presentations
- Dissertations and Theses
- Data Sets and Software
- Tests, Scales, & Inventories
- Audiovisual Works
- Audio Works
- Visual Works
- Social Media
- Webpages & Websites
- Basics & Formatting
- Avoiding Plagiarism
APA has different rules for in-text citations depending on:
- The number of authors of a work
- Whether you are citing a group author that has an abbreviation
- If an author is unknown or anonymous
- If more than one work has the same author and date
- If multiple authors share surnames
Look to the right to find rules about each of these circumstances.
Number of Authors to Include in In-text Citations
For a work with one or two authors, include the author name(s) in every citation.
(Moyer & Hendricks, 2014)
Thornton and Manning (2016)
For a work with three or more authors, include the name of only the first author plus "et al." in every citation, including the first citation, unless doing so would create ambiguity.
(Huerta et al., 2019)
Kapoor, Bloom, Montez, et al. (2017)
Kapoor, Bloom, Zucker, et al. (2017)
To learn more about avoiding ambiguity in in-text citations, see pp.266-267 of the manual.
Group Authors, With and Without Abbreviations
Authors may be groups. For example, you may cite a work written by the National Institute of Mental Health, or NIMH.
If a work is authored by one or two groups, include the group author name(s) in every citation.
(Morningside College, 2019)
(Harvard University & Cambridge College, 2018)
(U.S. Department of Agriculture et al., 2019)
If a group author has an abbreviation, introduce the abbreviation in the first citation. In subsequent citations, use the abbreviation in place of the full group name.
First citation: (Mothers Against Drunk Driving [MADD], 2015)
Subsequent citations: (MADD, 2015)
Unknown or Anonymous Author
For works with an unknown author, include the title and year of publication in the in-text citation.
If the title of the work is italicized in the reference list, also italicize the title in the in-text citation. If the title of the work is not italicized in the reference list, use double quotation marks around the title in the in-text citation.
Capitalize titles in in-text citations using title case, even though sentence case is used in the reference list entry.
Book with no author: ( The Future of Entrepreneurship , 2018)
Magazine article with no author: ("Towards a Psychology of Collective Memory," 2015)
When the author of a work is overtly designated as "Anonymous," this takes the place of the author name in the in-text citation.
See pp. 264-265 of the manual for more information.
Works With the Same Author and Same Date
When multiple references have an identical author (or no authors) and publication year, include a lowercase letter after the year. This lowercase letter is also included in the reference entry.
Use only the year with a letter in the in-text citation, even if the reference list entry contains a more specific date.
(LaBlanc & Ibarra, 2019a)
(LaBlanc & Ibarra, 2019b)
(Kirk, n.d.-a, n.d.-b)
Authors With the Same Surname
If the first authors of multiple references share the same surname but have different initials, include the first author's initials in all in-text citations, even if the year of publication differs.
(J. R. Stuart & Frey, 2016; M. Stuart, 2019)
If the first authors of multiple references share the same surname and the same initials, cite the works in the standard author-date format.
(Grant, 2019; Grant & Reese, 2017)
If multiple authors within a single reference share the same surname, the initials are not needed in the in-text citations.
(Chen & Chen, 2018)
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APA Style (7th ed.)
- Cite: Why? When?
- Book, eBook, Dissertation
- Article or Report
- Business Sources
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tools
- Format Your Paper
Prefer a video tutorial?
Click below to watch: .
When you use others' ideas (paraphrases) and direct quotes, you must cite your source by including:
Author's last name, publication year, (only for direct quotes) page number of the quote.
The purpose of in-text citation is to direct the reader to the full citation on the References list , which will have the full publication details.
You are encouraged to write your in-text citations in several ways:
Author's last name and publication year in parentheses at the end of the sentence.
Ex. There is not a strong correlation between a high GPA and students who began reading at an early age (Kahneman & Klein, 2009).
Author's name in the text with the publication year in parentheses after it.
Ex. Kahneman and Klein (2009) found that there is not a strong correlation between a high GPA and early readers.
Jump to more specific examples by using the table below:
One or Two Authors: Direct Quotes
Include the author's last name(s), with an ampersand if needed between the two; publication date; and page number(s).
Ex. Although businesses collect a lot of information on their customers' buying patterns, "it is not enough to know how customers behave, you also need to know why" (Kahneman & Baudin, 2009, p. 522).
One or Two Authors: Paraphrasing
Cite the author, publication year, and page numbers if needed.
Ex. Many insects and animals have a larger spectrum of color vision than humans, including ultraviolet and infrared (Gadhavi & Krupin, 2009).
Three or More Authors (see p. 266-267 in Manual)
In every citation, cite only the first author followed by "et al."
Ex. A study by Alloy et al. (2009) examines the relationship between bipolar personality and substance abuse.
No Author (see p. 264-265 in Manual)
Cite the first few words of the source's entry in the Reference list, which is usually the title. The title will be italicized if it's italicized in the References list, or if it's not italicized, put it in "quotation marks" to identify it as the title here.
Article or Website
Ex. From 2010 to 2022, the U.S. Mint will issue quarters featuring United States National Parks ("Quarter to Feature Smokies," 2009).
Book or Report
Ex. Getting plenty of sleep is essential to academic success ( College Bound Seniors , 2008).
Quoting a Quote (see p. 277 in Manual)
If at all possible, APA tells you to find the original source and cite that source directly.
However, if you cannot find the original source, you can cite the quote as a secondary source . Cite the quoted author in the text and the author of the article at the end. In this example, Jonsen and Willse are the authors of the source that you cannot retrieve (i.e. the secondary source), and Kosek is the author of the source that you have in-hand.
Ex. Jonsen and Willse concluded "there was no direct correlation between the two factors" (Kosek, 2011).
Authors with Acronym Name (see p. 268+ in Manual)
For short names where the abbreviation would not be readily understandable, write out the name each time. For long names where the abbreviation is familiar, write out the name with the acronym in brackets for the first reference, then use just the acronym.
Ex. In 2012, approximately 1 in 68 children were diagnosed with a form of Autism Spectrum Disorder (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2016).
However, the entry in the References list should still spell out the full name.
Two Citations in One Sentence (see p. 263 in the Manual)
Order the citations alphabetically by the first author's last name.
Ex. Several studies (Nakano et al., 1999; Gadhavi & Krupin, 2009; Walker et al., 2008) cite the need for more replication studies.
For works by the same author, order them by publication year: give the last name once and then the dates.
Personal Interviews (see p. 259 in Manual)
Only cite interviews in-text, not on the references list.
Ex. Individual researchers are not eligible for many private foundation grants, because often those funds are only given to nonprofit organizations (P. Karga, personal communication, May 3, 2019).
More questions? Check out the authoritative source: APA style blog
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- RRU Writing Centre
Q. How do I cite a resource by two authors in APA Style?
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Answered By: Jonathan Faerber (he/him/his) Last Updated: Feb 19, 2022 Views: 4724
APA Style (7th ed.)
If a work has two authors, insert an ampersand (&) between the authors’ names in the parenthetical citation, and spell out “and” in the running text to format a narrative citation. Cite both authors every time the resource is referenced (American Psychological Association, 2020, p.266). For example:
- Parenthetical citation : (Kouzes & Posner, 2017)
- Narrative citation : Kouzes and Posner (2017)
American Psychological Association. (202 0). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7 th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000
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- Referencing styles
- Books and book chapters, theses, online dictionaries and encyclopedias
You may need to consult more than one section to accurately represent the source used (eg. number of authors and source descriptions)
Format for In-text citation
In-text citation example.
The internet has gone from a tool for "elites" to accessible to everyone (Wellman & Haythornthwaite, 2002).
Wellman and Haythornthwaite (2002) refute the argument…
Wellamn and Haythornthwaite (2002, pp. 34–35) refute the argument…
Format for reference list
Elements, punctuation and capitalisation.
Author, A. A., & Author B. B. (Year of publication). Title of book (Edition). Publisher name. https://doi.org/xxx
Reference list example
Wellman, B., & Haythornthwaite, C. (2002). The Internet in everyday life. Blackwell.
Make sure you read the style notes below
In-text citation style notes
- APA 7 Publication Manual , p. 266
- For a work with one or two authors, include the author names in every citation. Separate the names with the ampersand (&) within the brackets and with 'and' in the narrative citations.
- If pages are being directly referenced in the text, include the page number/s in the in-text citation after the year.
Reference list style notes
- APA 7 Publication Manual , pp. 285-289, 266
- Book titles are italicised.
- Capitalisation - capitalise only the first word of the title and of the subtitle, if any, and any proper nouns.
- Use a comma to separate an author's initials from additional author names, even when there are only two authors. Use an ampersand (&) before the final author's name.
- Use one space between initials.
- Write the author's surname exactly as it appears in the published work, including hyphenated surnames and two-part surnames.
- Details about edition, volume number or chapter page range are placed in parentheses directly after the title, with the period after the parentheses, e.g., (2nd ed.). or ( Rev. ed.). or (Vol. 26).
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