How do I go about ordering references with the same author and year of publication?
How to arrange reference entries when author and year are the same
When you find an APA same author same year reference, follow this rule of thumb. If more than one entry has the same author(s) with the same year of publication, the entries are then alphabetized by title. Letters (a, b, c, etc.) are added to the year of publication to differentiate the entries.
Beware of three things that might trip you up: spacing, adding letters when the year of publication is n.d., and alphabetizing titles that include articles. We cover all three items below!
The basics of alphabetizing reference list entries
1. Author last name
In APA Style, entries in a reference list are first alphabetized by the last name of the primary author. (Yes, there are some variations, such as by organization name. The principles we discuss here are the same, so for simplicity’s sake we’ll refer only to author last name.)
2. Year of publication
If you have more than one source by the same author, entries are then arranged by year of publication.
If the year of publication is also the same, alphabetization moves to the title. Let’s look at two sample entries where the author name and year of publication are the same.
The author and year of publication are the same, so to determine which entry comes first in the reference list, we look at the first word (or words) of the titles. “Learning” precedes “Phenomenographic” alphabetically. Thus, “Learning about phenomenography” would be listed first and would become 2005a. “Phenomenographic methods” would be listed second and would become 2005b.
Writing the references and citations
The reference list entries would look like this:
Parenthetical citations: (Åkerlind, 2005a, 2005b)
Narrative citations: Åkerlind (2005a, 2005b)
Spacing and punctuating the added letters
When adding letters to a year of publication, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Do not include spaces or hyphens: 2005a, 2005b
- Note that n.d. (no date) is an exception. For readability, a hyphen is added before the letter: n.d.-a, n.d.-b.
- If you have more than 26 entries—in other words, you’ve added from a to z—double up the letters: 2005aa, 2005bb
- Bonus tip: This double lettering applies to appendices, too: After Appendix Z comes Appendix AA
- We know you’re going to ask: What if you need to go past zz in your references or ZZ in appendices? The answer: Wha—?! Think about simplifying!
If you have cited multiple pages of a website, each page needs its own entry in your reference list. In many cases, they have the same author and year of publication, and they would therefore be lettered in this way.
Good luck with ordering your APA same author same year references!
We hope that this article has helped you with ordering references with the same author and year of publication in your paper, thesis, or dissertation. To ask us your questions, use the form at the bottom of our Ask the Editor page. We’d love to hear from you!