Your list of references needs to be properly ordered.
- Usually, this is easy to do: simply alphabetize by the first (significant) word of each reference.
- However, when two references begin with the same word, special rules apply.
- Follow the three steps below.
1. Alphabetize your references by the first word (letter by letter). Then pause.
The first word means one of these things:
- The surname of the first author. Adelson, M. M.
- The first word of a corporate author* The Center for Civil Dialogue
- If no author is given, the first word of the title* A Christmas Carol.
*Ignore the words A, An, or The, when they begin a reference. Alphabetize by the next word.
What if an author's surname is two words? Treat it as one word (as if the spaces and punctuation are removed).
- Garcia Chavez, P. Think of it as: Garciachavez, P.
- Goodrich-Potter, A. Think of it as: Goodrichpotter, A
- St. John, T. G. Think of it as: Stjohn, T. G.
What about the following situation?
- Brown, G. (2017)
- Brownmiller, A. (2003) The Longest word goes Last!
What about references that begin with a number? Alphabetize the number as if it is spelled out in words.
- Russell, A. O.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey 2001 = Two thousand and one
2. Stop and check: do any of the references begin with the same word? (Ignore A, An, or The)
- The following rules apply only when two references begin with the same word. Otherwise, ignore them!
- Once you have "broken a tie," stop. For example, don't try to put references in order by date, unless the rules tell you to.
In general, to break a tie, alphabetize by the 2nd element. It will will be one of these things:
- An author's first initial
||Ford, B. K. (2017). Worker affection for robot work partners.
- The next word* in a corporate author
||Ford Motor Company. (2017). Jobs for robot welders.
- The next word* in a title.
"Ford: The next part is the hardest." (2018, May 2).
*Alphabetize A, An, or The like any other word, except when it begins a title or corporate name. (In that case, ignore it, and skip to the next word.)
In general, if you still need to break a tie, apply the rules above to the third element, etc.
Special tie-breakers for Author names.
Surnames match, but the initials don't? Compare the 1st initials. If they match, compare the 2nd initials.
- Jobson, B. T. (2015)
- Jobson, C. (2000).
If your paper includes sources like those above, include the initials in your in-text citations:
(B. T. Jobson, 2015). Otherwise, the reader won't know which Jobson you mean.
Authors match exactly? Order them by year. The Latest year goes Last!
- Jobson, J. (2012).
- Jobson. J. (2018). The Latest year goes Last!
- Scorsese, M. (Ed). (2006).
- Scorsese, M. (Director). (2020). Ignore roles (like Ed. or Director). Order by date.
- Potts, T. B., & Kelvin, J. (2008). In this case, the entire author string matches.
- Potts, T. B., & Kelvin, J. (2011). The Latest year goes Last!
- Mitchell, A. (n.d.).
- Mitchell, A. (2018).
- Mitchell, A. (in press). For non-numerical dates, use this order.
Part of the author-string matches?
- Jobson, J. (2001).
- Jobson, J., & Rios, A. (2000). The Longer author string goes Last!
First authors match, but second ones don't? Order by the surnames of the 2nd authors.
- Jobson, J., & Betts, R. T. (2002).
- Jobson, J., & Carrasco, A. (2001).
Second authors' surnames also match? Skip the initials. Order the surnames of the 3rd authors, etc.
- Jobson, J., Bellocchio, T. J. & Apple, R. R. (2001)
- Jobson, J., Bellocchio, A. C., & Xiao, W. -K. (2003).
Authors match exactly and the YEARS also match? [This is rare.]
Step 1: Order them by the first significant word in the title. (Continue with the next word, etc., if needed.)
- Jobson, J. (1999). A quantitative method revisited.
- Jobson. J. (1999). Systems of observation.
Step 2: Once you alphabetize by title, add letters to the dates, as follows:
- Jobson, J. (1999a). A quantitative method revisited.
- Jobson. J. (1999b). Systems of observation.
When you cite these works, use the revised year format: (Jobson, 1999b).