Answered By: Theresa Bell
Last Updated: Apr 11, 2019     Views: 158

The sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010) recommends adhering to the following designated formats for author names in your reference list and in-text citations:

References: “invert all authors’ names; give surnames and initials for up to and including seven authors (e.g. Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C.)” (p. 184).

In-text citations: “the author—date method of citation requires that the surname of the author […] and the year of publication be inserted in the text at the appropriate point” (p. 174).

However, what should you do if authors’ have multiple first or last names, it is unclear which name(s) are the first and last names, or there are cultural variations in the order of the names?

Multipart Surnames

For information about how to cite and reference multipart author surnames (including authors with hyphenated surnames, two different surnames, particles in their surnames, and suffixes in their surnames), please see: “What’s in a Name? Two-Part Surnames in APA Style.”

Uncertainty Regarding Which Names are First, Middle, and Last Names

For advice regarding how to determine which names are the author’s first, middle, and last names, please see: “What’s in a Name? Two-Part Surnames in APA Style.”

Cultural Variations in Name Order

For information about cultural variations in name order, and suggestions regarding which name order to follow in your citations and references, please see: “What’s in a Name? Cultural Variations in Name Order.”

Additional Resources

For more information regarding author names, please see the following WriteAnswers entries:


American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Lee, C. (2017a, May 17). What’s in a name? Cultural variations in name order [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Lee, C. (2017b, May 4). What’s in a name? Two-part surnames in APA style [Blog post].