Citations, References and Bibliographies Referencing There are many referencing systems and different conventions depending on what you’re studying. The two main referencing systems used are (a) the Harvard system (in-text referencing), and (b) the footnote system.
Check whether your department/Faculty/tutor have set guidelines or require you to use one particular system; if they don’t, and you can’t decide which one to use, check which system is used by the most important journal(s) in your field.
Whatever system you choose to use, the important thing is to be consistent: pick one system and stick to it!
The Harvard system This is arguably the most economical of referencing systems and one of the most widely used in academia. It consists of a set of brackets within the text with the author’s surname, year of publication, and page number(s). These can be written in a variety of (similar) ways, e.g.:
Jones argues that there are many ways of referencing (Jones 2002:34).
Jones argues that there are many ways of referencing (Jones 2002, 34).
Jones argues that there are many ways of referencing (Jones 2002, p. 34).
If you’re referencing several pages, this could be done like this:
Jones examines referencing systems at length (Jones 2002:34-9).
If you’re referencing a work by two authors, then you need to include both surnames in your reference. E.g.:
Referencing is something many students find boring (Hughes and Smith 2005:65). [Or (Hughes and Smith 2005, 65), or (Hughes and Smith 2005, p. 65)]
If you’re referencing a work by more than two authors, then you only write the surname of the first author that appears in the book/article/chapter, and you write ‘et al.’ for the rest. (‘et al.’ is an abbreviation of the Latin term ‘et alii’, meaning ‘and others’.) E.g.:
Many scholars have argued that there is no perfect referencing system (Gardner et al. 2007:178).
Finally, if you’re referencing more than one text at the same point in your text, you should divide your references by using semicolons or commas. E.g.:
The question of referencing has been widely discussed in the last decade (Jones 2002; Hughes and Smith 2005; Gardner et al. 2007).
The footnote system
If you’re using this system, all your references should appear as footnotes and not as part of the main text. The first time a reference occurs in a footnote you should write it in full. E.g.:
Jones observed that different departments in SOAS use different referencing systems.1
Note that in footnotes the authors’ first name comes before their surname. Also note that the footnote number always occurs after any punctuation marks – such as this if it’s a comma,2 and like this if it’s a full stop.3 If the footnote occurs in the middle of the sentence4 it doesn’t really matter where it is inserted.
If the same reference appears again later on in your text, you only need to reference the author’s surname, year of publication, and page number. E.g.:
Jones argues that SOAS has the best referencing system among the colleges of the University of London.5
If the same reference occurs consecutively, then you need to write the word ‘ibid.’ in the footnote. (‘Ibid.’ is an abbreviation of the Latin word ‘ibidem’ – yes, another Latin word! – which means ‘in the same source [place]’.)
In the same article, Jones also claims that all students in SOAS write their references correctly.6
If your reference is from the same work as the one you previously referenced but occurs on different pages, then you need to write ‘ibid.’ again and also include the new page numbers. E.g.:
It has also been claimed that different colleges in the University of London use different referencing systems.7
Q: Why reference?
A: To distinguish your ideas from those of others and acknowledge your sources. Also,to enable the reader to follow up if s/he is interested in the source you have used. If you do not acknowledge your sources properly, you run the risk of being accused of plagiarism.
Citations in the text Quotations are used when quoting the exact words from the original author’s work. If your quotation is lessthan 30 words, you can include it in the main body of your text. In this case, you need to put the quotation in quotation marks. You should not italicise the quotation. E.g.:
In his pioneering work on referencing systems, Jones observed that “different colleges in the University of London use different referencing systems” (Jones 2002:37).
If your quotation is more than 30 words, then you need to write it as a separate paragraph. In this case, you should indent your text (on both the right and left side of the page), and use smaller fonts (if, for example, you’re using 12pt fonts, use 11pt for the quotation). However, you should notuse quotation marks and you should not use italics. Note that in this case the full stop comes before the brackets. E.g.:
In his famous article on referencing systems, Jones made the following observations:
Different University departments use different referencing systems. My research suggests that departments within the Social Sciences tend to prefer the footnote system. Arts and Humanities departments, on the other hand, seem to favour the Harvard system. Language departments usually also prefer the latter. (Jones 2002:30)
Summariesor paraphrases (also known as ‘referring’) are used when you are not quoting directly but you are using someone else’s concepts or describing someone else’s idea in your own words (paraphrasing). Give the author’s name and the date of publication either where the paraphrasing occurs (e.g. in the middle of a sentence), or at the end of a sentence. E.g.:
Stubbs (1980:89) argues that, in general, spelling hardly ever causes serious problems with understanding.
It is argued that, in general, spelling hardly ever causes serious problems with understanding (Stubbs 1980:89).
Diagrams or illustrationsare referenced as though they were a quotation (if they have been taken from a published work). E.g.: Davies (2006:28)* illustrated the organisation of SOAS into Faculties:
[*Alternatively, the reference could be written at the bottom of the diagram, such as below:]
Other Common Examples of Citations in the Text If you are referencing a newspaper articlewhose author is known, you should treat as a book/journal article. For the Harvard system, you reference the author’s surname, year of publication, and page number. For the footnote system, you need to write the name of the author, year of publication, article title, newspaper name in italics, date (not just year), and page number. E.g.:
It is argued that “unless spelling errors are particularly gross, there are rarely any problems of communication” (Stubbs 2000:23).
It is argued that “unless spelling errors are particularly gross, there are rarely any problems of communication”.8
If the article’s author is unknown, reference everything as before, omitting the author’s name, and using the newspaper’s name instead (for the footnote system). E.g.:
It is argued that “unless spelling errors are particularly gross, there are rarely any problems of communication”.9
If you’re using the Harvard system, then treat the newspaper’s name as if it were the author. You will provide the rest of the information needed in your Bibliography (see below). E.g.:
It is argued that “unless spelling errors are particularly gross, there are rarely any problems of communication” (The Fake Newspaper 2000:23).
If you are referencing an internet source whose author is known, you treat it as a book/journal/newspaper article. For the footnote system, you need to reference the author’s name, year of publication (where known), article title (if applicable), e-source title in italics, editor (where known), date accessed and the exact web address. E.g.:
It is argued that “[s]tudies in musical semiotics reflect the diversity of ‘semiotics’ generally”.10
If you’re using the Harvard system, then you only need to provide the author’s surname and year of publication in your text. You will provide the rest of the information needed in your Bibliography (see below). E.g.:
It is argued that “[s]tudies in musical semiotics reflect the diversity of ‘semiotics’ generally” (Cumming 2001).
If you are referencing an internet source whose author is unknown, then you only need to provide the web address and the date the article was accessed. Note that, in this case, those using the Harvard system will also need to use a footnote reference, as there is no way to reference a web address in the text. (Note that you need to provide web addresses in full, i.e. not only the “basic” web address.). E.g.:
The SOAS website informs us that the School “took its present title in 1938, by which time it had also established itself as a centre for African Studies”.11
If you are referencing a book that appeared in more than one edition, you need to write both the year of the first edition and the year when the edition you are using appeared. You only need to do this the first time the reference occurs; for all subsequent references you only need to include the year of the edition you are using. E.g.:
Along Harris’s lines, “referencing correctly can be very hard” (2005:31).
(Note the use of square brackets for the first edition.)
Along Harris’s lines, “referencing correctly can be very hard”.12
If you are referencing a source quoted in another source, then you need to cite both in the text. E.g.:
A study by Simons (1980; cited in James 1990:67) showed that “spelling mistakes are very common amongst university students”.
If you are referencing two works by a single author, both of which were published in the same year, you need to distinguish documents by adding lower case letters after the publication year. E.g.:
Simons argues that “spelling mistakes are very common amongst university students” (1980a:67). In another study, he claims that “university students are not the only ones who suffer from spelling problems” (1980b:34).
If you do NOT know the exact year of publication, use ‘ca.’ before an approximate date (if you know one). E.g.: (ca.1750). If you have no idea of the date,this should be clearly stated. E.g.:(no date).
References (Bibliography) A Bibliography is an alphabetical list of the books and other references which you have used in your work, located at the end of your essay or dissertation. This list is also called References, Works Cited or Literature Cited, if it includes only works referred to in the text.
Note that what follows is only one suggested way of writing your Bibliography.
You need to include the following information: author’s surname, author’s first name (or initials, if first name is not known), year of publication, book title in italics, place of publication, and publisher. E.g.:
Bohlman, Philip V. 1988. The study of folk music in the modern world. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Single-authored books that appeared in more than one edition (see above):
Ong, Walter J. 1995 . Orality and literacy. The technologizing of the world. London and New York: Routledge.
Single-authored books in translation:
Yamada, Taichi. 2008. I haven’t dreamed of flying for a while. Translated from Japanese by David James Karashima. London: Faber.
Reference to a chapter from an edited volume
You will often need to reference chapters taken from edited volumes, i.e. books where there are many contributors. E.g.:
Sugarman, Jane. 2003. “Those ‘other women’: dance and femininity among Prespa Albanians”. In Music and gender: perspectives from the Mediterranean, edited by Tullia Magrini, 87–118. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
Reference to a journal article
For journal articles, you need to include the following information: author’s surname, author’s first name (or initials, if first name is not known), year of publication, article title “in quotation marks”, title of the journal where the chapter was taken from in italics, journal volume, journal number (in brackets), and page numbers. E.g.:
Livingston, Tamara E. 1999. “Music revivals: towards a general theory”. Ethnomusicology 43 (1): 66–85.
Reference to an edited volume
Hobsbawm, Eric, and Terence Ranger, eds. 1983. The invention of tradition.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
(A) Known author: You need to include the same information as in a journal article, but you also need to add the date the site was last accessed, as well as the web address. E.g.:
Powers, Harold S., and Frans Wiering. 2001. “Mode §1: The term”. Grove Music Online, edited by L. Macy (accessed 22 September 2008), .
(B) Unknown author: You only need to provide the web address and the date the article was accessed. E.g.:
http://www.soas.ac.uk/about/history/history-of-soas.html (accessed 16 October 2008).
(C) Collaborative work: If there’s a site you have systematically used (e.g. an online dictionary), then you do not need to write the exact web address of every entry you’ve accessed, but only the “basic” web address. In cases such as that of an online dictionary which you have used as a tool for writing your essay, it may be acceptable not to include the date the site was last accessed. E.g.:
Smith, Nigel. 2005. “Spelling problems in University”. The Fake Observer, 26 August 2005: 20.
(B) Unknown author: Instead of the author’s name you write the newspaper’s name. E.g.:
The North London Newspaper. 2008. “How to write good essays”. 12 September 2008: 15.
Reference to a Public Document
You need to include the following information: name of the body that published the document, year of publication, document’s title in italics, place of publication, publisher, and any numbers that distinguish the document (such as “report number” in the example below). E.g.:
Refugee Council Briefing. 1998. The Development of Refugee Settlement Policy in the UK. Paris: UNHCR, Report number 12.
1 Michael Jones, 2002. ‘Referencing systems in the School of Oriental and African Studies.’ In The University of London Fake Journal 23 (2):34-9.
2 This footnote number was written after the comma.
3 This footnote number was written after the full stop.
4 This footnote occurs in the middle of a sentence.
5 Jones 2002:34-9.
8Simon Stubbs, 2000. “Spelling mistakes and communication”, The Fake Newspaper, 16 November 2000, p. 23.
9 The Fake Newspaper, 2000. “Spelling mistakes and communication”, 16 November 2000, p. 23.
10 Naomi Cumming, 2001. “Semiotics, §2: Musical Semiotics”. Grove Music Online, edited by L. Macy (accessed 12 October 2008), .
11 http://www.soas.ac.uk/about/history/history-of-soas.html (accessed 16 October 2008).
12 Dina Harris, 2005 , How to be successful in University, London: Made-Up Publishing, p. 31.
Academic Development Directorate www.soas.ac.uk/skillsforsuccess