References in essays

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References is a general term used to describe the system of giving bibliographic details of the sources of any quotations used in essays.

1. Most tutors will normally be satisfied with references which are given in the standard form suggested here:

Author, Title, Publisher, Date, Page

J. Brown, Applied Physics, Routledge, 1986, p.89.

2. Remember that these bibliographic details are given so that the source of the information could be traced. If your information is from an electronic source you should consult those pages for details of presentation.

3. If your subject-discipline requires you to use the Harvard system of referencing, this information is given with the date of publication following the author’s name:

Author, Date, Title, Publisher, Page

Brown, J. (1986) Applied Physics, Routledge, p.89.

4. There are a number of subtle refinements to this basic system which may be of interest to those students moving on to more advanced study. The suggestions that follow refer to the UK conventions. They are based on Judith Butcher’s classic study of bibliographic presentation, Copy Editing: the Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Authors and Publishers, 3rd edition, Cambridge University Press, 1992.

American users may wish to consult Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, These, and Dissertations, Sixth edition, University of Chicago Press.

5. Always quote the sub-title to a work if it is necessary to explain the main title:

Alan Harvey, Writing in Numbers: Dickens and Serial Fiction, Cambridge University Press, 1987, p.25.

6. The title of another work included in any title should be shown in single quotation marks:

R.W.M. Stapford, The Textual History of ‘King Henry IV’, London: Scholar Press, 1980, p.40.

7. The name of an editor is placed after the author and title:

Fanny Burney, Camilla: or A Picture of Youth, ed. Edgar J. Broom and Liam S. Trentham, London: Oxford University Press, 1972, p. 112.

8. If there is no author, the editor or compiler will precede the title:

J. Melford Britain (ed.), Religious Drama 2: Twenty-one Medieval Mystery and Morality Plays, New York: Meridan, 1958, p.12.

9. Edition and volume numbers are given following the title:

John A. Smith, The Growth of the Cotton Trade in Lancashire, 3rd edn, 4 vols., London: Textile Press, 1987-8, vol. 3, p.2.

10. The name of translators should be placed after the title:

Lara-Vinca Masini, Art Nouveau, tr. Lucy Fairbrook, London: Thames and Hudson, 1984, p.45.

11. The name of someone revising a work should be placed after the edition number:

H.W. Fowler, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, 2nd edn, revised by Sir Ernest Gowers, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965.

12. In references to articles or chapters within books, the author and article title are given first:

R.S. Craft, ‘Monastic sites’ in D. Masters (ed), The Archeology of Anglo-Saxon England, London: Routledge, 1962, pp.101-52.

13. References to articles within journals are shown in the same way:

Moreton Winslow, ”Craft against Vice’: morality play elements in Measure for Measure’, Shakespeare Studies, 14 (1981), pp.229-48.

14. References to editions of ‘standard’ texts are given in the normal manner, but if the emphasis of the book is on the editor’s work it is better to give that name first:

J.W.Smithson (ed), John Locke, An Essay concerning Human
Understanding
, London: Macmillan, 1983, p.45.

15. The presentation of items in bibliographic references may vary according to the conventions of the subject discipline. You should be prepared to follow the order which is common in the subject you are studying. Details of references to electronic sources are given here in a separate section.

16. In scholarly texts and in library records, the author’s surname will often be given first, and there is an increasing tendency to follow this with the date of publication, as in the Harvard and the short title referencing system.

© Roy Johnson 2003


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