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APA Format for Journal Article with Three to Six Authors

Updated on May 17, 2014
Citing, referencing and formatting references in APA style
Citing, referencing and formatting references in APA style | Source

APA style has specific formats for referencing a journal article with multiple authors for your References page. It is important that you fully understand the source from which you are extracting information to use in your paper. Is it a journal article? A magazine article? A newspaper article? A "type of print" article? APA style has different formats for each of these sources.

You must know the "type of source" so you can format your references accurately, otherwise you will wind up using different (incorrect) formatting rules. You certainly do not want to reference a journal article based on rules for referencing a magazine article. The two formats are slightly (but noticeably) different.

In this special Hub, I will show you the different formats for referencing a journal article with up to six authors, based on the latest edition of APA style (6th edition). I have provided numerous examples on proper formatting and what each finished reference looks like as it would appear on your References page (where you list all of your sources in detail). These APA style formatting rules apply only to journals, and not to other types of periodicals—so make sure your source is, in fact, a journal.

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The Basic Format

To understand how to reference a journal article with three to six authors, we must first understand how to do it with a single author.

Here is the basic format for referencing a journal article with one author, including the "elements of information" that you need, according to APA style.

BASIC FORMAT TO REFERENCE A JOURNAL ARTICLE
BASIC FORMAT TO REFERENCE A JOURNAL ARTICLE

Dissecting the Elements of Information

Let's break this format into its individual elements so you can understand what information goes where. I have included a visual, marked with nine numbers. Each number corresponds to the list below.

ELEMENTS OF INFORMATION
ELEMENTS OF INFORMATION

Note: All line spacing is double-space throughout your paper, including your references. (My examples may appear to have single line spacing because I had to enlarge the fonts to sharpen the images, but they have double-line spacing.)

1) AUTHOR'S LAST NAME: Include the full last name of the author.

2) AUTHOR'S FIRST NAME: Use the initial of the author's first name only. Do not provide the author's full first name.

3) MIDDLE INITIAL: if the author uses a middle initial, then include it; if not, make sure you end the author's first name initial with a single period.

4) YEAR OF PUBLICATION: Provide only the year in parenthesis, such as: (2012). Do NOT include the month and/or day even if the journal provides one.

5) TITLE OF ARTICLE: Include the full title of the article. Never abbreviate a title. Use plain text only. You do NOT italicize the title of the article. IMPORTANT: You do not capitalize words in the article title except for the first letter of the first word and for proper nouns.

6) TITLE OF JOURNAL: Include the full name of the journal and italicize it.

7) VOLUME #: the journal will have a volume #. Usually you can find this number on the cover or In the masthead inside. Using a comma as a separator, add the volume number after the title of the journal. Italicize the volume number as well.

8) ISSUE #: A journal may or may not have an issue #. Not all journals provide an issue # because they may publish annually or semi-annually or seasonally. If your journal provides an issue #, then add it in parenthesis right after the volume number (without a space). Do NOT italicize the issue #; it is plain text.

9) PAGE NUMBERS: provide the page number or page numbers where you extracted the information for your paper. Usually articles in a journal run on consecutive pages, such as pages "22-30." If you need to cite a source that runs on different pages, then the page formatting is slightly different, such as pages "2; 4-6." Also do NOT add pp. (for pages) or p. (for page) as a prefix. It is not required when formatting a source from a journal.

Hanging Indention

When you format your sources on the References page (the last page of your paper), you must use a hanging indention for each source.

EXAMPLE OF HANGING INDENTION
EXAMPLE OF HANGING INDENTION

As you can see from the example, the paragraph is flushed left and all succeeding lines are indented .05-inches (about 5-7 spaces) from the left margin, creating a "hanging" appearance.

Now that we understand what the basic format looks like, we can learn how to use the same format to include multiple authors. The following examples will show you the formats for referencing a journal article written by one author, two authors, and all the way up to six authors. For each example, I will first show you the basic format, followed by a real reference formatted correctly for a journal article.

Note: For simplicity, I have removed the "issue #" identifier in my examples since a journal may or may not provide one, depending on the journal. If I include an issue # in an example, I will let you know.

Journal Article with 1 Author

A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH ONE AUTHOR - BASIC FORMAT
A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH ONE AUTHOR - BASIC FORMAT
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - ONE AUTHOR
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - ONE AUTHOR

Adding an additional author

It is very simple to reference a journal article written by two or more authors. When an article credits more than one author, you simply include the ampersand symbol (e.g., the "&" symbol) after the first author and add the next author in the same format as the first author.

THE AMPERSAND SYMBOL
THE AMPERSAND SYMBOL

Journal Article with 2 Authors

A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH TWO AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT
A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH TWO AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - TWO AUTHORS
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - TWO AUTHORS

That was easy! Now you can use the same process for referencing three to six authors. Here is what each format looks like...

Journal Article with 3 Authors

A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH THREE AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT
A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH THREE AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - THREE AUTHORS
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - THREE AUTHORS

Journal Article with 4 Authors

A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH FOUR AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT
A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH FOUR AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - FOUR AUTHORS
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - FOUR AUTHORS

Journal Article with 5 Authors

A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH FIVE AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT
A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH FIVE AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT
A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH FIVE AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT WITH COMMENTS
A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH FIVE AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT WITH COMMENTS
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - FIVE AUTHORS
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - FIVE AUTHORS

Journal Article with 6 Authors

A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH SIX AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT
A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH SIX AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT
A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH SIX AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT WITH COMMENTS
A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH SIX AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT WITH COMMENTS
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - SIX AUTHORS
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - SIX AUTHORS

Listing more than 6 authors

If you are referencing an article written by more than six authors, then you list only the first six authors, followed by a comma and an ellipsis (e.g., a series of three dots), and then the last author. For example, if you need to format a reference for an article written by 12 authors, you list the first six authors, followed by ", ..." and then list the 12th author. You do not list authors 7 through 11, nor do you use the ampersand "&" symbol.

A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH MORE THAN SIX AUTHORS -  BASIC FORMAT WITH COMMENTS
A JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH MORE THAN SIX AUTHORS - BASIC FORMAT WITH COMMENTS
USE A COMMA AND ELLIPSIS TO INDICATE OMISSION OF AUTHORS.
USE A COMMA AND ELLIPSIS TO INDICATE OMISSION OF AUTHORS.
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - MORE THAN SIX AUTHORS
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - MORE THAN SIX AUTHORS

Formatting Online Journal Articles in APA Style

Now that we know how to format a journal article with one author or with multiple authors, we can easily learn how to do the same for an online journal article. The format is exactly the same except that we add one more element called the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to differentiate between a print article and an online (digital) article. You can usually find the DOI on the first page of the online article, near the copyright notice. The DOI format is very distinct; you will see it listed as: do1:xx.xxxxxxxx. The word DOI is lowercase when used as part of a reference and you do NOT end it with a period unless it is part of the DOI .

THE DIGITAL OBJECT IDENTIFIER (DOI)
THE DIGITAL OBJECT IDENTIFIER (DOI)

To reference an article from an online journal with more than one author, we use the exact formats that we learned above and just add the DOI qualifier at the end. It's that simple!

EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - TWO AUTHORS (ONLINE JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH DOI)
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - TWO AUTHORS (ONLINE JOURNAL ARTICLE WITH DOI)

No DOI? No Problem

You will come across online journal articles that do not have a DOI. In this case, you include the word "Retrieved from" and the home page URL of the journal. The format looks like this: Retrieved from http://www.xxxxxxxxx (Note: You never add a period at the end unless it is part of the URL.)

URL OF JOURNAL
URL OF JOURNAL
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - TWO AUTHORS (ONLINE JOURNAL ARTICLE WITHOUT DOI)
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE - TWO AUTHORS (ONLINE JOURNAL ARTICLE WITHOUT DOI)

How would you format this reference?

Red and blue markup inserted by me
Red and blue markup inserted by me | Source

The above screenshot (courtesy of APA.org) is the first page of "How to (and how not to) assess the integrity of managers," an article published in the online edition of Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research. The first page of this article provides all the information that we need to reference and format our source. Here is what it looks like as a formatted reference for your References page:

EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE WITH COMMENTS
EXAMPLE OF THE FORMATTED REFERENCE WITH COMMENTS

An ONLINE Journal with up to 6 Authors in APA Style

If you need to reference an ONLINE journal article with up to six authors, just refer back to the basic formats for referencing a print journal article. Remember: the format and elements are the same as print journals—you are just adding a DOI or URL at the end.

One last reminder

Remember to double space between lines throughout your paper, even when you format your references. If you use MS-Word to write your paper, set the line space to double space for all paragraphs. When you hit the "Enter" key on your keyboard or exceed the right margin, it should automatically space down two lines.

Let's see how much you've learned...

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