Citing books with a single author

When citing a book with a single author, invert the author’s name – placing the surname first – followed by a comma and the author’s initials.

For example, a book by David Ricardo would be cited in the reference list as:

Ricardo, D.

A book by Louisa May Alcott would be listed as:

Alcott, L. M.

Next, you will need:

  • The book’s year of publication
  • Its title
  • Its edition details – “2nd edn”/“3rd edn”/“4th edn” etc.
  • Its place of publication
  • Its publisher

Format for citing books with a single author: Harvard style

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication) Title. Edition details. Place of publication: Publisher.

For example:

Kuhn, T. (2012) The Structure of Scientific Revolution. 4th edn. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Citing books with multiple authors

When citing a book with two authors, use a period after the first author’s initials, followed by “and” before the last author’s surname.

Format for citing two authors: Harvard style

Author Surname, Initial(s). and Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication) Title. Edition details. Place of publication: Publisher.

For example:

McQueen, R. A. and Knussen, C. (2006) An Introduction to Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Gravelle, H. and Rees, R. (1981) Microeconomics. London: Longman.

Citing three authors

When citing a book with three authors, follow the first author’s initial(s) with a period and a comma, then after the second author’s initial(s) place a period followed by “and” before the final author’s surname and initial(s).

For example:

White, K., Williams, B. and Willig, L. (2016) The Forgotten Room. New York: Berkley Publishing.

Citing four or more authors

When citing a book with four or more authors in your reference list, follow the format listed above, remembering to place a period followed by “and” to separate the last two author names.

For in-text citations, when referring to a source with four or more authors, use the Latin term “et al.,” (meaning “and others”).

(Brown et al., 2020).

This abbreviation is only to be used for in-text citations. For your reference list, you are required to name all authors.

Citing chapters in edited books

Citing chapters in edited books and anthologies is a tad more complicated, as you must include the chapter’s author(s) and the book’s editor(s).

In an edited book, the title of the chapter is not italicized. Only the title of the book should be italicised. This helps distinguish between the two titles.

Format for citing chapters in edited books: Harvard style

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of publication) ‘Chapter title’, in Editor Surname, Initial(s). (ed./eds.) Book Title. Edition (where relevant). Place of publication: Publisher, Page numbers.

For example:

Rosenfeld, J. and Laird, J. (2016) ‘Unions and Poverty’, in Brady, D. and Burton, L. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Poverty. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 800-819.