I get a lot of questions about when and how to use et al. When in doubt, it will help if you exchange et al. for “and company.” The first time you list from three to five authors in your text, give all authors credit (i.e., Adams, Bole, Cannon, Dale, & Evans, 2013). The next time and all subsequent times you cite these authors, just list the first author and mention the rest of the authors as “et al.” (i.e., Adams et al., 2013). Just as you would not write Adams, and company; you would not use a comma between the name and et al. Whenever you need to list six or more authors in text, only list the first author and et al. (Adams et al., 2012). If you want to make the authors possessive (Bole’s study, for example), place the apostrophe after the period and before the “s” (i.e., Adams et al.’s study).
The easy way to check if you did this correctly is go to you references and highlight the second or third name of each reference with three or more authors and click “Find.” You should only see the second or third author one time in your text (unless he or she is mentioned in another reference).
Hope this helps!
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