1

I have been wanting to ask this question for a while, but I am not sure if this would be on topic. But I really need a solution, so here goes.

This is a sentence that I wrote:

... and this has been well documented (Bryant 2010; Jordan 1998; James 2016).

But I want to change the style into this form:

... and this has been well documented in Bryant (2010), Jordan (1998), and James (2016).

If I use "in", then it implies something has been documented in those studies/papers. The focus here is on the published papers. But it might confuse readers as why I am using "in" with a person's name.

If I use "by"

... and this has been well documented by Bryant (2010), Jordan (1998), and James (2016).

then it implies something has been documented by the authors.

Now both are valid and mean the same thing. But I can't quite figure out which one is idiomatic and common usage.

I can always put the in-text citations at the very beginning (e.g., Bryant (2010), Jordan (1998), and James (2016) argue that ...), but that is not something I want to do here. The list of the authors that goes into this sentence is actually quite big, and hence it only makes sense to put them at the end.

Which is the appropriate preposition here?

2

I suspect there is no absolute answer here. As you say yourself, both are valid and mean the same thing. If I were forced to choose, however, I would vote for “in” based upon the notion that you are listing papers/works rather than listing the authors who wrote them.

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