Referring to sources (citing) within the text

Referring to sources (citing) within the text

Citation styles

For a direct quote - state the author’s surname(s) without initials, year of publication and the page number within brackets.  If a quote is more than two sentences you should indent it:

‘In learner-driven knowledge and skills creation, learners are provided with symbolic tools for the development of active learning methods’ (Niemi, 2011, p. 38).

In-text citations can introduce a discussion of an author’s ideas into your work using the author’s surname within the sentence and the year of publication in brackets:

Lyman (2011) states that… however Seaborn (2014)challenges this…

It is good to vary the styles used and the words used to introduce ideas.  Think about the point of view of the author and whether it agrees with your views. 

Bartlett (2014) argues / claims / observes / proposes etc.
According to McGarry (2012) there is no …

If you need to cite more than one source you can list the citations together and separate them with a semi-colon (;) begin with the most recent:

Writing a good literature review requires the ability to critically assess resources (Aveyard, 2014; Ridley, 2012).

For citing legal sources see the section on page 10 of the full guide.

Remember  -  you must include a citation whenever you use a quote, summarise a piece of writing or rewrite an idea in your own words (known as paraphrasing). 

Citation examples

One author

State the author’s surname without initials and the year of publication.

‘Critical thinking is learned’ (Kleinig, 2016, p.5).

Two or three authors

As for one author but include all the surnames.

‘Reference methods evolve as technology and preferences alter’ (McMillan & Weyers, 2007, p.199).

Four or more authors

You don’t have to include all the authors - use the first author’s surname only then write ‘et al.’ (this means ‘and others’):

‘It is not enough for students to be taught the mechanics of literature searching - they must understand how information is created and used’ (Jackson et al., 2014, p.5).

Organisation as author (Corporate author)

If no person is stated to be the author use the organisation’s name for the citation and the reference.  Common examples of this are government departments and professional bodies.

‘The fear of others’ reactions to HIV is still stopping some people from telling those closest to them about their diagnosis’ (Terrence Higgins Trust, 2014, p.3).

Chapter authors / Edited books

Where a book has chapters written by different authors the chapter author(s) should be cited. 

See page 7 for how to reference a chapter in an edited book.

Authors with the same name or an author with multiple works in the same year

To make it clear they are from different sources use a lower case letter after the date. Begin with the earliest source:

‘Edinburgh has long been a rite of passage for actors’ (Smith, 2014a).

‘The recent presence of a Chinese dance production in London reflects the country's burgeoning international outlook’ (Smith, 2014b).


Secondary referencing

Where an author is quoted or referred to within another source you can cite that resource and make it clear it is in another work by using the phrase ‘cited in’:

‘18 to 24-year-olds represent 33% of the population but only account for 7% of the voters’ (Cregg, 2006 cited in Young, 2015, p.137) 

Cregg (2006) cited in Young (2015) asserts that …

You should always try and find the original source and only use a secondary reference if you cannot use the original.  For your reference list give the details of the source you have - in this case Young (2015).

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SMILE by Imperial College, Loughborough University and the University of Worcester, modified by Marion Kelt Glasgow Caledonian University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.