Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting

Missing information  

Where information is missing from a source you should make it clear to the reader.  

No date?  If there is no date say that in the citation (Barnet Council, no date) and in the reference list Barnet Council, [no date] …  If you can guess the approximate date you can use ‘c.’ (means ‘circa’) - Barnet Council (c.2010) introduced this planning process…  

No author?   If no personal author or organisation can be identified use the title in italics (Who governs a country’s airspace? 2020) as the citation. If the author’s name has been intentionally concealed use ‘Anon’ (for Anonymous) for both the citation and the reference list.   

No page, volume or issue numbers?   Almost all journals are published online now and often have no page numbers.  Some eBooks also have no page numbers only chapter headings.  You can use the article code in place for example: e12345.  You can also say [no pages] in place of the number.  Volume/issue may be the month of publication or not present at all.  

It is ok to adapt the style to fit new forms of information.  It is more important that it is clear for your reader and that you are consistent.   

PDF documents  

If you only have a pdf of a document, found on the web or in Google Scholar, you should try and track down the source.  Search the web using the document title and publisher or organisation.  If you can’t find it that usually indicates that the source is out of date or has been replaced.  It is important that you assess the reliability of the resources you choose to use and that your reader can find them too.  

URLs / Web addresses  

It is ok to shorten or tidy up a long URL.   For example, instead of: http://www.healthcareimprovementscotland.org/our_work/standards_and_guidelines/stnds/hai_standards_2015.aspx  you can use: www.healthcareimprovementscotland.org  

Make sure you haven’t used a library or database URL with coding in – for more help see our choosing the right URL webpage.  

Editions and Reprints  

For all editions use the published date not the reprint date.  Reference the source you have in front of you whether online or in person.    

Take any information from the edition details not the reprint unless the publisher changes.  If the publisher changed then reference it with the edition and updated place and publisher.  

Different online and print versions  

Sometimes an online resource can evolve differently to print, it can have a different publisher or format.  You should reference the version you are using.  

The British National Formulary is a good example of this: 

Online reference:

JOINT FORMULARY COMMITTEE, 2020. Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) [online]. British National Formulary. [viewed 18 November 2020]. Available from: https://bnf.nice.org.uk/  

Cited as (Joint Formulary Committee (JFC), 2020) the first time and just (JFC, 2020) after that.  

Print reference: 

BRITISH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION & ROYAL PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETY, 2020. BNF 78: September 2019 - March 2020. London: BNF Publications.  

Cited as (British Medical Association (BMA) & Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), 2020) then (BMA & RPS, 2020)  

Secondary referencing  

Where an author is quoted or referred to within another source you can cite that resource and make it clear that 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).