In APA referencing style, the first in-text citation of a work by three to five authors must include all the authors, while the subsequent citations should only mention the first author followed by the expression "et al."

Does this apply literally to a long text such a thesis (in my case, 25 pages)? Or is there some kind of reset, say, for each chapter?

  • $\begingroup$ I found a complete answer on the APA Style Blog, but I understand that I cannot answer just rephrasing her idea and crediting her properly. What is the right approach here? blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2011/11/… $\endgroup$ – Michele Dorigatti Oct 10 '19 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ Not that it necessarily changes the answer in the blog you linked or by @JeromyAnglim, but just as a point of note; if you are to apply the most current style guide, 7th edition has just recently been released when the blog refers to the 6th edition $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Oct 13 '19 at 7:54

APA style is mostly designed for defining manuscript submission rules for journal articles.

When you seek to apply these rules to a thesis or book, you inevitably have to apply your own rules.

The general principle is that in-text citations should unambiguously identify an end of text reference. Thus, whatever principle you adopt should do this.

For a thesis, I think either approach would be fine. You could use et al across chapters or reset each chapter.

More generally, I think that if you have a combined reference list at the end of the book/thesis, then it's fine to not reset after each chapter. In contrast, if each chapter has its own reference section, then it makes sense to reset each chapter.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks you Jeromy! Your answer is helpful but it would be even better if it referenced a source (e.g. the APA style manual). $\endgroup$ – Michele Dorigatti Oct 11 '19 at 12:41
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    $\begingroup$ @MicheleDorigatti Fair enough. There is a section in the APA style manual were they explain that the APA style manual is not explicitly designed for theses. But beyond that, I think you are moving into "common sense" territory. I.e., the style manual wont answer the question. Rather, you have to reason from more general principles. $\endgroup$ – Jeromy Anglim Oct 12 '19 at 3:24

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