You’ve finished your paper and organized your references. Now you’re ready to alphabetize the entries in your APA 6 format reference list. So, that’s as easy as ABC… or is it? Wait! Not so fast! You have three separate works written by the same author and two articles written by people with the same last name, but different first names. Maybe this isn’t as easy as it seems at first glance. Take a deep breath and follow the basic “letter by letter” alphabetizing format.
The author’s surname is first, followed by his/her initials. Alphabetize the reference list letter-by-letter.
Ring, A. A.
Ringing, A. B.
This surname/given name format is commonly used in the U.S.; however, in other countries, it may be different. If you don’t know how a particular author’s name should be formatted, look for other publications or resources, such as the author’s web page, to figure it out.
Same Surname, Different First Names
When you have authors with the exact same surname, but different first names, alphabetize based on their first names.
Note: Lopes precedes Lopez. The surnames are spelled differently and are alphabetized accordingly.
Several Works by the Same Author
It’s common to have several works cited by the same author, who may be an expert in his/her field. When that happens, place them in order by publication date, from oldest to newest.
Hayman, D. (2001).
Hayman, D. (2005).
Single Author vs. Multiple Authors
Works with single authors precede works by multiple authors, if they are from the same year.
Hayman, D. (2001).
Hayman, D.,& Forrest, R. (2001).
If the prefix is commonly part of a surname, use it for alphabetizing.
De Vries, A.
Mc and Mac
Using the letter by letter alphabetization system, Mac comes before Mc.
McDonald, A. J.
Ignore apostrophes, spaces and capitals when you are organizing your APA reference list.
Organizations and government agencies are alphabetized by the organization or agency’s title spelled out in full.
American Medical Association (not AMA)
Central Intelligence Agency (not CIA)
The parent body precedes the department.
University of New Mexico, Department of Anthropology
If there is no author, move the title to the author position. Then, alphabetize it by the first significant word in the title.
Code of Warfare, The
If a work is signed by Anonymous, then spell it out and alphabetize it as though it was real name.
Alphabetize legal cases by the case name.
Lessard v. Santos
Lessard v. Schmidt
As Easy as ABC
Now you have a good idea of how to alphabetize your APA reference list. Go ahead and give it a try. Just remember to follow the basic letter by letter system and you’ll do great with your APA citations.