How to Reference

DETAILS ON REFERENCING SECTION

Referencing (also called citing or documenting) your sources means systematically showing what information or ideas you are quoting or paraphrasing, and where they come from. You are entitled to use someone else’s words, ideas or information in your work – and in fact you have to do so – but you must show that they are not your own by indicating their source.

Referencing systems vary between different fields of study and between different journals or publishers within a field of study. Despite this variation, all referencing systems have the same basic components:

  1. an in-text reference to show that a piece of information, idea, quotation, etc. you have included in your writing belongs to another writer. It is always designed to be short because it is interrupting the text, and is usually in parentheses:

In recent years, there has been a rapid increase in car sales in Thailand (Honda 1995).
OR
In recent years, there has been a rapid increase in car sales in Thailand (Honda, 1995).
OR
In recent years, there has been a rapid increase in car sales in Thailand (Honda 135).
OR
In recent years there has been a rapid increase in car sales in Thailand [1].
OR
In recent years there has been a rapid increase in car sales in Thailand1.

  1. The reader then uses the in-text reference to find full bibliographic information (about when and where the source was published, and by which publisher) either at the end of the page or more usually at the end of the paper (as a footnote), thesis or book (depending on the referencing system used).

A referencing system that in the text uses the author’s family name will always list sources on the references page alphabetically by author’s family name; a referencing system that uses numerical in-text references will usually list sources in the order in which they appear in the writing (not by author’s name). This enables the reader to find sources easily.

 PROBLEMS

  • Mixing two referencing systems. If you are using (name year) for your in-text references, do not list your sources by number on your references page because your reader will be looking for the author’s name. Similarly, if you are using numerical in-text references, you cannot list your sources on your references page by author name – your reader will be looking for numbers.
  • What should you do if there is more than one author listed? For the in-text reference, for a paper with two authors list by paper by both (for example, Shaw and Clayton, 1996), but for a paper with more than two authors list by the main author and add et al. (literally “and the others”), e.g. (Jones, Suzuki and Chan 1997) is written as (Jones et al., 1997). Note: do not change the order of the names, i.e. you cannot write (Chan et al., 1997) because Chan is not the main author.
  • What should I do if there is no author listed? Some articles are credited to organizations rather than to individuals (e.g. many software manuals) so the organization is listed as the “author.” Many on-line materials do not have an author listed: again, often the organization is used or, if no organization owns the material, then it is referred to by its title. See the links below for more details for both electronic and print materials.
  • Adapting existing referencing systems for your own work. Why make work for yourself by adapting an existing referencing style? Use a referencing style that is commonly used in your field and use it yourself. Besides, strange, new styles will only confuse your reader (and as a student, your readers are your professors), and are often used just because the writer didn’t bother to follow an existing referencing style! [Ask your advisor]
  • What should you do if you want to use information by Writer X that you have found quoted or paraphrased in Writer Y? Your first choice should be to refer to the original source. For example: you find a book by Honda published in 1993 that says: “A study by Singh (1990) has shown that 60% of clowns suffer from chronic depression”. If you want to use this information, try to find the study by Singh and read it for yourself. If this is difficult or impractical, you should indicate where you found the information. You cannot attribute the information simply to Honda (as that writer was not the person who did the research) and you cannot attribute it to Singh (unless you have read Singh’s study). Instead, in your research, you will write something like this:

“Previous research supports this argument, since it has been found that 60% of clowns are sufferers of chronic depression (Singh, 1990, cited in Honda, 1993).”

This shows that you found the information from Singh in a piece by Honda and that you did not read the original, i.e. if there’s a mistake, it’s Honda’s not yours!

  • All work done by other researchers, and that you want to refer to in your own writing.
  • Other writers’ words
You must reference (in other words, indicate the source of) all information and ideas from existing work that you use in your writing, whether you use the source’s words or your own. All information that is not referenced is assumed to be general knowledge (in your field) or to come directly from you, so neglecting to reference someone’s work often means you are leading your reader to believe that the work is your own (see the section on plagiarism for more details about this).

  • general knowledge (e.g. that George W. Bush is the President of the U.S.A., that China has a larger population than Thailand),
  • information that is common knowledge in your field, and
  • ideas that are definitely your own, and findings or insights from your own research.

PROBLEMS
 
1. What should you do if you find that your idea has already been published by another writer?

Acknowledge the other writer’s work, for example by writing in your reference something like: (see also Wong, 1993). You must not ignore the other author’s work, because your readers may think that you have either taken the idea or information without referencing (this is plagiarism) or that you do not have a good idea of the literature in your field.

2. What should you do if you want to use an adapted version of someone else’s work?
You must still cite  the original work. For example, maybe you are using a diagram from an article by Wattana published in 1996, but you have altered it. Reference the adapted diagram as (adapted from Wattana 1996). You can also use other terms in order to specify the exact relationship between the source and the version you have presented e.g. based on Wattana 1996, summarized from Wattana 1996, etc.

3. What should you do if several authors have published very similar information or ideas?
You can indicate that the idea or information can be found in the work of more than one author, e.g. Though in fact many authors have described this kind of system (for example, Hynes, 1989; Wu, 19991; Lefrère, 1994) little work has been done on extending it to application to robotic systems. If you only reference one author, then your readers may assume that only one author has published this on this topic, or that you have not read the literature thoroughly and are not aware of the other work published in this area. Use your referencing to give your readers a clear idea of the situation, not a distorted one, and to demonstrate your knowledge.

4. Should you avoid referencing other people’s work?
Referencing other people’s work is NOT a sign of weakness in their own work. In fact, the opposite is true. If you write up your research with no references to previous work, you are indicating to your reader that you are not familiar with the research that has already been done, and are therefore undermining your own credibility and the validity of your own work. Including references is a way of demonstrating your knowledge of your field –  therefore you must refer to previous work.

5. What if I find exactly what I want to say in other people’s writing?
It depends on what it is; if someone else has done the same thesis as you, then you’re going to have to change your topic, or find something new to say about what you’re doing. 

If it is someone else’s particularly succinct expression, but fits perfectly what you have been trying to say, you can quote directly, citing the page reference as well as the author and year of publication.

Chicago style: This referencing system is used widely in science and technology, and in some fields of the humanities. The in-text reference uses the family name of the author/s plus the year the work was published:

In-text reference:
(Smith 1978) Note: no comma between name and date
OR . . . according to Smith (1978)

If there are more than two authors, generally the name of the first is used followed by the words “et al.” (which means “and others”). E.g.: The yield has substantially increased since 1993 (Wong et al. 1997).

References page:
This page comes at the end of the paper, thesis or book (but before any appendices) and has full bibliographic information. In other words, it provides all the publication (or other information about the source) that readers need to either find it themselves or to assess its validity. It contains a list arranged alphabetically by the last name of the main author and only includes works that have been referred to in the text (i.e. that have in-text references.

Example:

Smith P. 1988. An argument against wet paddy mechanization of wet paddy
      agriculture. Journal of Rice Production, 8: 34-60.
Wong, X., M. Singh and P. Duncan. 1997. Increasing rice yields in wet paddy.
      Agricultural Review 15: 167-191.

For full information, see The Chicago Manual of Style (available in languages’ Learning Resource Center, Room 236). For example for sources not mentioned here, such as anonymous sources, interviews, TV programs.

APA (American Psychological Association) Style: this system is primarily used by those writing in the social sciences. It is similar to the Chicago style outlined above. For more information, consult the University of Southern Mississippion-line tip-sheet (which also includes information for referencing electronic sources).

In-text reference:
(Smith, 1978) Note: comma between name and date
For referencing a quotation or specific part of a source: “Development will be slowed by such a move” (Smith, 1988, p. 80)

References page:
As for the Chicago style, only works referenced in the text are included, and are listed alphabetically by main author’s last name. E.g.

Smith, P. (1988). An argument against wet paddy mechanization of wet paddy
      agriculture. Journal of Rice Production, 8, 34-60.
Wong, X., Singh M. & Duncan, P. (1997). Increasing rice yields in wet paddy.
      Agricultural Review, 15, 167-191.

For information about citing electronic sources using the APA system, see theUniversity of Vermont’s webpage.

CBE (Council of Biology Editors) Style: This style is predominantly used by writers in the natural sciences. It is rather different from the Chicago and APA styles because references are numbered.

In-text reference:
As Smith (1) has argued, Wong et al.’s (2) theory is still in need of development because wet paddy yield in the area remained low (3).

For the references page, sources are listed in the order in which they appeared in the text i.e. (1) then (2) then (3) etc.

1. Smith, P. An argument against wet paddy mechanization of wet paddy
    agriculture. Journal of Rice Production 8: 34-60; 1988.
2. Wong, X.; Singh M.; Duncan, P. Increasing rice yields in wet paddy.
     Agricultural Review 15: 167-191; 1997.
3. Ahmed, M. Causes of low rice yields of the Mekong Delta area. New York:
    Random House; 1996.

Note: 3 is a book, not a journal article so the publisher and place of publication are listed.

Other referencing systems: other systems use endnotes (that appear at the end of the article or thesis) or footnotes (that appear at the bottom of the page on which the in-text reference appears. The in-text reference may take the form or a number in brackets (e.g. Rice yields have consistently fallen [9]) or a superscript number (e.g. Rice yields have consistently fallen 9). As with CBE style, sources are numbered according to the order in which they appear in the text, and in the endnotes or footnotes sources are listed in the same order. Note: some systems mix referencing foot/endnotes with foot/endnotes that provide additional information to the text, E.g.

1. Smith, P. An argument against wet paddy mechanization of wet paddy
    agriculture. Journal of Rice Production 8: 34-60; 1988.
2. Wong, X.; Singh M.; Duncan, P. Increasing rice yields in wet paddy.
     Agricultural Review 15: 167-191; 1997.
3. It has also been argued that the official figures for crop yields are unrealistically
    high, and that the true figures could be as much as 30% lower in some cases.
4. Ahmed, M. Causes of low rice yields of the Mekong Delta area. New York:
    Random House; 1996.

Other referencing systems: other systems use endnotes (that appear at the end of the article or thesis) or footnotes (that appear at the bottom of the page on which the in-text reference appears. The in-text reference may take the form or a number in brackets (e.g. Rice yields have consistently fallen [9]) or a superscript number (e.g. Rice yields have consistently fallen 9). As with CBE style, sources are numbered according to the order in which they appear in the text, and in the endnotes or footnotes sources are listed in the same order. Note: some systems mix referencing foot/endnotes with foot/endnotes that provide additional information to the text, E.g.

1. Smith, P. An argument against wet paddy mechanization of wet paddy
    agriculture. Journal of Rice Production 8: 34-60; 1988.
2. Wong, X.; Singh M.; Duncan, P. Increasing rice yields in wet paddy.
     Agricultural Review 15: 167-191; 1997.
3. It has also been argued that the official figures for crop yields are unrealistically
    high, and that the true figures could be as much as 30% lower in some cases.
4. Ahmed, M. Causes of low rice yields of the Mekong Delta area. New York:
    Random House; 1996.

With so many referencing systems available, it can be difficult to decide which system to use. Here are some tips:
  • talk to your advisor, who will be able to tell you if your School or program has a preference, and which system is most commonly used.
  • look at current academic journals in your field of study to see how they ask writers to reference sources.
  • look at recent theses or dissertations in your field of study in your institution. Bear in mind, though, that some students’ referencing work may not be as reliable as that of published authors.
  • bear in mind that the numbering systems (e.g. CBE) are growing less popular that the parenthetical Chicago and APA styles, which are generally easier for readers to use.

Referencing systems for electronic sources are becoming standardized (so do not try and reference sources by inventing a system yourself or adapting an existing non-electronic system!). The in-text reference should follow the same format as for printed sources; however, the bibliographic information on your references page will be different and generally requires you to include the type of resource plus when it was accessed, as well as the URL for on-line sources. For example, 

American Council of Learned Societies (2000). “Fulbright Economics Teaching Program, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam”. Available online: http://www.acls.org/pub-list.htm. (Downloaded: May 10,2000).

For further information, consult the following links:

 
 
 
 
 

 A quotation is the use of your source’s exact words in your work. A quotation may be as short as one word but, if that word is significant, it must be put in quotation marks and referenced. 

  • Quotations should include the exact words of your source inside quotation marks, e.g. “Everything we do is an experience of a kind” (Kenny 1996: 45). If you look in Kenny 1996 at page 45 you will find the words Everything we do is an experience of a kind with no alterations or omissions. However, you can make changes, if necessary, as follows:
  1. leaving out a word or words:
    ORIGINAL
    “In many academic circles in America, literary translation is still considered a secondary activity, mechanical rather than creative, neither worthy of serious critical attention nor of general interest to the public” (Gentzler 1993: 34).

SHORTENED
“In many academic circles in America, literary translation is still considered a secondary activity . . . neither worthy of serious critical attention nor of general interest to the public” (Gentzler 1993: 34).

No matter how many words you take out, you only use three dots (except if the quoted sentence comes to an end, in which case you use three plus a full stop, i.e. four). Also, there is no need to use en ellipsis ( . . . ) at the beginning and end of each quotation.

Note the use of page numbers here –  in this case, the quote is borrowed from page 34 of Gentzler’s 1993 publication. You should always give page numbers when you quote text directly from a source.

  1. making small alterations/clarifications:

ORIGINAL
Raymond (1996) argues that, “The people never knew what good food was” (p.245).

ALTERED
Raymond argues that “[t]he people [in England] never knew what good food was” (1996: 245). Here the writer clarifies who “The people” are, and changes capital T to small to fit the writer’s sentence structure.

  • Quotations should be included in your sentence. For example:

INCORRECT
“Everything we do is an experience of a kind” (Kenny 1996: 45).

CORRECT
It can be argued that “[e]verything we do is an experience of a kind” (Kenny 1996: 45). Here the writer has included Kenny’s quotation in his/her own sentence.

The quotation should fit grammatically into your sentence – so choose the point at which to start.

This is a long quotation and so is not shown by quotation marks but by being set in a block that is indented and usually single-spaced. The exact style of indentation (e.g. indented on one side or both, indented by three or five spaces) will depend on the style you are using in your work (e.g. APA, CBE, etc.) (Brightwell, 1998)

  • Quotations must be indicated with quotation marks (” . . .”) unless you are using a long quotation, in which case it should be set in an indented block.
  • Quotations should be kept short and kept to a minimum (i.e. only use quotations when the words themselves are important). Avoid using a large number of quotations as they mean you are letting your sources present ideas instead of you presenting your own.

Paraphrasing means putting an author’s ideas or information into your own words:

Original
 “This has led to the conclusion that, out of the US population at large, 90% watch television to excess” (Wu, 1994).

Paraphrased
“In contradiction to Suzuki’s claim, Wu argues that 90% of Americans watch too much television (1994)”. 

There is no need to use Wu’s exact words as it is his information (not his words) that is important here. Notice too that with paraphrasing it is easier to comment on the work you are referring to (e.g. here it is compared to Suzuki’s). It is also not usually necessary to give page numbers when paraphrasing.

You should be careful to indicate which are your ideas and which are the author’s by careful use of references and by where and how you break sentences. This is a subtle art and you should look at published work for examples for how to do this effectively. 

  • Paraphrasing must include page references. This is necessary, as you are claiming that the quote you are reproducing is authoritative; the reader needs to be able to check the exact point in the text to which you refer.
  • Paraphrasing is more generally used than quoting as it enables you to comment on, evaluate and summarize information;
  • Paraphrasing can be used with quotations (i.e. you can quote within a paraphrase);
  • Paraphrasing must always be referenced (because you are using someone else’s ideas or information);
  • Paraphrasing is never enclosed by quotation marks or indentation;
  • Paraphrasing does not mean a word-for-word rewrite of the original (usually you are summarizing your source or highlighting one or more points).

This means using someone else’s words, ideas or information without referencing them – in other words, presenting them as your own. Any work that is not referenced is assumed to be yours, so ensure that this is true. 

Plagiarism is a serious academic offence and can result in penalties, including dismissal from the Institute.

To avoid it, use quotations and paraphrases with proper referencing. When you are reading, keep careful notes of your sources, including all the bibliographic information that you need to write a full reference for the sources.

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