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GEN / APA Citation Style: Author Names

Names in Reference List

Western names

In Western naming conventions, the given name usually appears before the family name (or surname). In the reference list, start with the author's family name followed by a comma, and use initials for the given names. 

  • Louisa May Alcott → Alcott, L. M. (First name: Louisa, Family name: Alcott)
  • Maya Angelou → Angelou, M.
  • John L. Parker Jr → Parker, J. L., Jr.
  • Petra Molthan-Hill Molthan-Hill, P.
  • Atwood, Margaret Eleanor → Atwood, M. E.

Chinese names

APA Style does not have any guidelines for non-Western names, but we can adopt the same convention for Chinese names:

  • Goh Poh Seng → Goh, P. S.
  • Jung Chang → Chang, J.
  • Felix Cheong Seng Fei → Cheong, F. S. F. (English name "Felix" used as first initial)

Malay names 

As Malay names do not include a family name, you can cite a name in the same way as it appears in a publication. Do not include bin, binti or binte nor titles such as Tun, Dato or Dr. For the in-text citation, use only the first name.

  • Nuraliah Binte Norasid → Nuraliah Norasid
  • Azhar Bin Ibrahim → Azhar Ibrahim
  • Muhammad Jailani Abu Talib → Muhammad Jailani Abu Talib

Indian names

For Indian names, you can cite a name in the same way as it appears in a publication. Do not include s/o, d/oFor the in-text citation, use only the first name.

  • Gopal Baratham → Gopal Baratham
  • Vineeta Sinha → Vineeta Sinha
  • Balli Kaur Jaswal→  Balli Kaur Jaswal

No author

The author's name need not be a person's name but can be that of an organisation. Check the first few or last few pages of the publication for the author's name. (On webpages, check the top or bottom of the webpage for a byline.) If it cannot be found, use the name of the organisation.

Please note

If you are not sure which is an author's last name, there are two things that you can do:

1. If there are co-authors, check how their names are written. Do the last names appear at the end or in front? In the case of journal articles, there are usually guidelines for authors about how to sequence their names, e.g. first name followed by last name. 

2. Google the author's name with the title of the book or article. If other authors have cited publications by this author, see how the name is cited. Sometimes an author may even cite his own book or article, so you can check the references of the publication which you wish to cite.

Multiple authors

In-text citation
If a work has three or more authors, include the name of the first author followed by et al. For example, if the authors are Cindy Booth, Ethan Ledger and Troy McCloud (2020), the in-text citation will be Booth et al. (2020) or (Booth et al., 2020). You will still need to cite all the authors in the reference list.

Reference list
a work has more than one author, use , (comma) between the names and & (ampersand) before the last family name. For example: Deuchar, R., & Bhopal, K. (2017). Young people and social control: Problems , prospects from the margins. Palgrave Macmillan.

If a work has 21 or more authors, list the first 19 names followed by ... (elipsis) and the name of the last author.