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In your in-text references, use the surname or family name of your authors, or if an author is an organisation use the name of the organisation. You should not include the initials of authors' first name(s) in your in-text references.

In your reference list, on the other hand, you should include the initials of each author's first name(s), after their surname. If a reference has 2 or more authors, use & between the last and second last name. If your reference contains more than 20 authors, you can list the first 19, then place in ellipses [...], then list the final author (see the Trickey reference below). List the authors in the order they appear in the original text.


'.... range in Australia' (Gillespie et al. 1986, p. 589). Trickey et al. note that mortality rates for cancer are increased in HIV patients (2020). 

Reference list

Gillespie, N.C., Lewis, R.J., Pearn, J.H., Bourke, A.T.C., Holmes, M.J., Bourke, J.B. & Shields, W.J. 1986, 'Ciguatera in Australia: occurrence, clinical features, pathophysiology and management', Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 145, no. 11-12, pp. 584-90.

Trickey, A., May, M.T., Gill, M.J., Grabar, S., Vehreschild, J., Wit, F., Bonnet, F., Cavassini, M., Abgrall, S., Berenguer, J., Wyen, C., Reiss, P., Grabmeier-Pfistershammer, K., Guest, J.L., Shepherd, L., Teira, R., Monforte, A.D., del Amo, J., Justice, A., [...] & Sterne, J.A.C. 2020, 'Cause-specific mortality after diagnosis of cancer among HIV-positive patients: A collaborative analysis of cohort studies', International Journal of Cancer, vol. 146, no. 11, pp. 3134-46.

Please see in-text referencing or the reference list if the information you are looking for is not on this page.

Authors in your in-text reference

Creating an in-text reference depends on how many authors there are. Here are some examples:

One author

(Larsen 1971) or Larsen (1971)

Two authors

Note the use of and instead of & when using two author names outside the brackets.

(Williams & Jones 1991) or Williams and Jones (1991)

Three authors

Note the use of and instead of when using multiple author names outside the brackets.

(Tarnoud, Rossi & Monticelli 2014) or Tarnoud, Rossi and Monticelli (2014)

Four or more authors

If there are four or more authors, list the first author and replace the other authors with et al.

(Brown et al. 1983) or Brown et al. (1983)

More examples can be found on the HELPS sample essay pages.

Author is an organisation

Sometimes an author can be an organisation such as a government or university department, or a company. In this case treat the name of the organisation as the author.


... as documented in the report (New South Wales Health 2017).

Reference list

New South Wales Health 2017, Health care records - documentation and management, viewed 17 October 2017, <http://www1.health.nsw.gov.au/pds/ActivePDSDocuments/PD2012_069.pdf>.

Abbreviating long organisational names

If the organisation has a long name, and you wish to refer to its works many times, you may wish to create a short version of the organisation's name for referencing purposes. If you do this, you can then use the short version of the name in your in-text citations.

The first time you use the short version, you should note the full name of the organisation in your written text, and make it clear that the short version will be used from that point on in place of the full name (see below).

In your reference list, you must still use the full organisational name as the author of all its works you have cited.

You must also include an extra entry in the reference list for the short version, in the appropriate place alphabetically, that directs readers to the full name.


When considering the series of reports produced by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), we will firstly analyse the most comprehensive policy report by DFAT (2006). Larsen (2018) noted that in the following year, departmental policy changed considerably (DFAT 2007).

Reference list

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 2006, Policy guidelines, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 2007, Policy revisions, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra.

Derrida, J. 1982, Margins of philosophy, trans. A. Bass, Chicago University Press, Chicago, IL.

DFAT - see Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Dunstan, D. 1981, Felicia, Macmillan, South Melbourne, Vic.

Note that the extra entry (for DFAT in this example) does not have a year, since you might wish to refer to several works by this organisation from different years. It does not matter if the extra entry is not next to the longer ones in your reference list: in the example above there is a reference by Derrida in between the short and long version entries.

Two or more references by the same author

If you have two or more references by the same author or group of authors, published in different years, list the references in chronological order in your reference list.

Reference list

Smith, A. 2003, 'A study on genericism', Journal of Generalism, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-13.

Smith, A. 2005, 'An advanced review of literature on genericism', Journal of Generalism, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 44-58.

Two or more references by the same author, published in the same year

If you have two (or more) references by the same author or group of authors, published in the same year, list the references in the reference list in alphabetical order of their titles, and add 'a' to the year of the first, 'b' to the year of the second, 'c' to the year of the third (if there is one), and so on.

These letters are also added to the years in any in-text citations to these references. Note that this can sometimes mean that the first cited reference in text is not the one with 'a' after the year, as in the example below.


... noted by the author (Dickinson 1990a). In his second paper on the same topic, Dickinson (1990b) ...

Reference list

Dickinson, V. 1990a, Cats reprised: my second take on felines, Chordata Press, Vladivostok.

Dickinson, V. 1990b, Cats without limit: an introduction to felines, Chordata Press, Vladivostok.

References by the same author, but no date of publication

Although it is very rare, sometimes you might use one or more works by the same author, where none has a date. You would normally use n.d. in place of the year for no date, but n this case where the authors are also the same, you should use n.d.-a and n.d.-b, etc.


The New Art movement was publicised in pamphlets (Wilson n.d.-a) and in zines (Wilson n.d-c), including one example in which the term seems to have been first defined (Wilson n.d.-b, p. 2).

Reference List

Wilson n.d.-a, Art for the masses: public meeting, pamphlet, New Art Society, New York.

Wilson n.d.-b, New forms for a new art, zine, Seattle Art Cooperative, Seattle, WA.

Wilson n.d.-c, Where to now for New Art?, zine, Seattle Art Cooperative, Seattle, WA.

Uncredited works/works without an author

If a reference has no author, use the book title, chapter title or article title in place of the author, both in-text and in your reference list. The title should keep the same formatting as it has normally, ie: for books it should be in italics, and for chapters and articles it should be in single quotes (see formatting your reference list).


... which we can see in the one of the most commonly used manuals (Web development made easy 2017).

This was controversially started by the editorial 'Racism is always with us' (2008) but the issue seems to have lost momentum within a couple of years ('Racism revisited' 2012).

Reference List

'Racism is always with us' 2008, Journal of Behavioral Studies, vol. 100, no. 5, p. 3.

'Racism revisited' 2012, Journal of Psychological Manifestations, vol. 34, no. 1, p. 2.

Web development made easy 2017, Kingston Press, Cleveland, OH.


Junior and Senior in author surnames

If your author's name has 'Junior' or 'Senior', eg W. Strunk Jr, cite with just the surname in the text:


... as observed in 1979 (Strunk & White).

In your reference list place the Jr or Sr after the final initial of the author's first names:

Reference list

Strunk W. Jr & White E.B. 1979, The elements of style, 3rd edn, Macmillan, New York.

Authors with names like da Vinci and van Beethoven

Authors with names like da Vinci or van Beethoven should retain their original capitalisation. Alphabetically they should be placed in your reference list according to common usage, so da Vinci would go under D, whereas van Beethoven would go under B. Using the same principle, van Gogh would go under V.

Author's name format is Surname + Given Name

Generally when you see an author’s name in a work you can assume that the second part of the author’s name is the surname for the purposes of referencing. For example, If you see Jian Liang listed as an author, you would usually use Liang for in-text citations, and Liang, J. in your reference list.

However, if you are aware that the surname of an author is being placed first you can use the first listed name as the surname in-text and in your reference list. This is common in sources with Chinese or Japanese authors. In this case, if you see Lu Jie as an author and you are aware that Lu is the surname, you should use Lu for in-text citations and Lu, J. in your reference list.

What is important in this situation is to replicate the order that the author identifies his or her name with most commonly. If in doubt, look up the author’s work, or possibly their Google Scholar profile, and aim to use the order they use.

Referencing your own student assignment

As a student you shouldn’t reference your own assignments (or anyone else’s), as these are not published works.