How to Cite More Than Six Authors in Text

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If you use scholarly journals or research conducted by a large university department in writing your paper, you may have to cite a source that has more than six authors. Each major citation style provides a format for referencing sources with multiple authors in the body of your text. If you are unsure of which style is appropriate for your paper, check with your teacher.

Modern Language Association (MLA) Style

  • In MLA format, whenever you reference material from one of your sources in the body of your paper, place an in-text citation at the end of the sentence. The in-text citation includes the author of the work and the page number. For example,

    Religious movements have been thought of by some authors in terms of literal spatial movements (Tweed 7).

    If the source you are citing has more than four authors, the in-text citation only notes the first author as listed by the text. The rest of the authors are replaced by "et al." For example,

    The consortium's research into electrical impulses showed a correlation between their slowing and the onset of depression (Gunder et al. 8).

American Psychological Association (APA) Style

  • APA in-text citations note the author of a work, the date of a work, and the page number on which the referenced information was found:

    Religious movements have been thought of by some authors in terms of literal spatial movements (Tweed, 2006, p. 7).

    In APA format, an in-text citation for a work with six or more authors replaces all authors beyond the first with "et al." For example,

    The consortium's research into electrical impulses showed a correlation between their slowing and the onset of depression (Gunder et al., 1992, p. 8).

Chicago Manual of Style: Author-Date

  • The Chicago style of citation includes two different systems for citing sources in your work. The first of these, author-date, uses a reference page at the end of the paper, and parenthetical citations in the paper body. These citations include author last name, year and page number. There is no comma between author name and year.

    Religious movements have been thought of by some authors in terms of literal spatial movements (Tweed 2006, 7).

    When including an in-text citation for a source with more than three authors, the Chicago author-date style replaces all but the first author with et al.:

    The consortium's research into electrical impulses showed a correlation between their slowing and the onset of depression (Gunder et al. 1992, 8).

Chicago Manual of Style: Notes-Bibliography

  • The other system of Chicago style citation is the notes-bibliography system. This system does not use parenthetical in-text citations, but rather uses footnotes or endnotes each time a source is referenced in the body of a paper. It also includes a bibliography page after the last page of a paper. A Chicago style footnote-endnote citation uses the following basic format:

    Author name, Book Title (Publication Location: Publisher, Year), page number.

    For example,

    1. Thomas A. Tweed, Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory of Religion (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006), 7.

    Each subsequent note referencing the same source lists only the author, abbreviated title and page number.

    1. Tweed, Crossing and Dwelling, 5.

    If the same source is referenced multiple times in a row, the footnote-endnote should simply state "Ibid." and the page number:

    1. Ibid., 56.

    As with the author-date style, if the source you are citing has more than three authors, all authors past the first are replaced with "et al.":

    1. Marcel Gundel et al., Brain Relations and Pathology (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992), 8.

    "Et al." is used in the abbreviated citation as well:

    1. Gundel et al., Brain Relations, 27.

Harvard Style

  • Harvard style in-text citations are parenthetical and include the author last name, year of publication and page number(s) cited. For example,

    Religious movements have been thought of by some authors in terms of literal spatial movements (Tweed 2006, p. 7).

    Note that this in-text citation style only differs from APA in that there is no comma between the author name and the year.

    When using an in-text citation for a source with three or more authors, all authors past the first are replaced with "et al.":

    The consortium's research into electrical impulses showed a correlation between their slowing and the onset of depression (Gunder et al. 1992, p. 8).

References

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