When to use “et al.” in Harvard referencing style

5
(1)

Et al.” is used in Harvard style to indicate that a source has four or more authors. By using “et al.”, writers can also avoid having very long citations that list every single author. 

What is “et al.” and what does it mean?

Et al.” is a Latin term and the short form of “et alia”, which literally means ”and others”. It is used in academic citations for sources that have multiple authors.

The ”al” in “et al.” is always followed by a full stop. Other punctuation marks, such as a comma, can follow the full stop after ”al”.

Usage of “et al.” in an in-text citation

When providing a citation for a source with four or more authors, the following format is used in Harvard style:

(Surname of the first author et al., Year of publication)

Example:

“Continuous flow LVAS rely on pressure gradients between the left ventricular cavity and the aorta” (Jameson et al., 2018).

Usage of “et al.” in a reference list

Depending on your institution, “et al.” may or may not be used in a reference list entry. Below, we’ll give examples of both.

References with “et al.

If you have a choice, consider using “et al.” in your reference list. This is preferable, since it helps keep your references succinct. 

To use “et al.” in your references, state the name of the first listed author and follow it by “et al.” in italics in the author section of the citation. 

Example reference structure (journal):

1st author’s surname, Initial. et al. (Year published) ‘Article title’, Name of Journal, Volume(Issue), pp. 00-00.

Example reference (journal):

Bogaerts, W. et al. (2020) ‘Programmable photonic circuits’, Nature, 586(7828), pp. 207-216.

References that do not use “et al.

Since references are usually where all the source details are shown, your institution may prefer to have all the author names included in references. If this is the case, do the following:

  • List author names in the order they are shown in the source and not alphabetically.
  • Each author name is formatted as last name, first-name initial. Example: Smith, J.
  • Separate each name with a comma until you get to the last two names. Add the word “and” instead of a comma between the last two names.

Example author structure:

1st author’s surname, Initial., 2nd author’s surname, Initial., 3rd author’s surname, Initial. and 4th author’s surname, Initial.

Example reference structure (journal):

1st author’s surname, Initial., 2nd author’s surname, Initial., 3rd author’s surname, Initial., 4th author’s surname, Initial., 5th author’s surname, Initial., 6th author’s surname, Initial. and 7th author’s surname, Initial. (Year published) ‘Article title’, Name of Journal, Volume(Issue), pp. 00-00.

Example reference:

Bogaerts, W., Pérez, D., Capmany, J., Miller, D.A.B., Poon, J., Englund, D., Morichetti, F. and Melloni, A. (2020) ‘Programmable photonic circuits’, Nature, 586(7828), pp. 207-216.


Published October 29, 2020.


How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?