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).

When paraphrasing (expressing another’s work in your own words) you can use an in text citation to introduce a discussion of an author’s ideas into your work naturally and help with the flow of the writing. Use the author’s surname(s) 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 …

You can also place your citation at the end of the sentence/paragraph, with the author’s surname(s) and year of publication in brackets:

Undertaking a literature review is essential within research, to help you justify why you have chosen a specific topic, establish what research has already been carried out and identify a new approach to explore (Moore, 2010).

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 our legal sources (case law and legislation) webpage.

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

Citation examples

One author
State the author’s surname without initials and the year of publication. This example uses a direct quote so the page number is included.

                ‘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

With four or more authors, all surnames should be given if possible, however for the citation you may also choose to use only the first author’s surname then write ‘et al.’ (this means ‘and others’). Note: this is an example of paraphrasing.

Only teaching students how to run a literature search without ensuring they understand the source of the information and how to use it could be considered inadequate (Jackson et al., 2014).

Use only in the citation - you must list all the names in the reference list:

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. 

We provide a separate section on how to reference a chapter in an edited book.

Authors with the same name or an author with more than one work in the same year

The different dates will show they are different sources. In the reference list start with the oldest to most recent for authors with the same name. 

If the name and date is the same use a lower case letter after the date starting with a then b, c…

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

Smith (2014b) makes the argument that the recent presence of a Chinese dance production in London reflects an international outlook.

No author

See the missing information section on our troubleshooting referencing webpage.