September 27 2011

Too many authors

by Barbie in APA Style, MLA Style

In a thesis or dissertation, you’re likely dealing with works by dozens of authors. Single-authored works are easy to reference within the text, but multiple-author works can be a bit trickier. How you list these authors within the text of your document depends on the number of authors and your style guide.

APA Style

  • Two authors: List both authors’ last names, separated by “and” within the text of the paper and by an ampersand (&) in the parenthetical citation.
  • Three to five authors: List all of the authors the first time you mention the work. On subsequent references, list only the first author’s last name followed by “et al.”
  • Six or more authors: List the first author’s last name followed by “et al.” in all references.

MLA Style

  • Three or fewer authors: List all last names, separated by commas and “and.”
  • Four or more authors: List the first author’s last name followed by “et al.” Or, list all of the authors’ last names. It’s your choice.