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Referencing

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What is Referencing?

Referencing is telling your reader where you learned or found the information that you are writing.

It is similar to a hyperlink on a web page - by following the link or the reference the reader can find more information.

You should write references in 2 places, in your text and at the end of the text. In the text write a short reference, with just the author's family name, the date of publication and any page numbers; e.g. 'Smith (, p. 10) claims that...'. At the end of the text write a more detailed reference, including the title and publication information; e.g.

Smith, J. (). Academic English Coursebook. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Polytechnic University Press.

You may FAIL Hong Kong Polytechnic University courses if you plagiarise, which means if you don't reference the authors and sources where you found the information in your writing.

Other reasons for referencing are:

  • so that your readers can find useful background information; e.g. by finding the book in the library
  • to show that you are building on previous research
  • to show readers that you are well-informed in this area and that therefore your writing is more trustworthy
  • so that the library has enough information to order the book or journal if they don't have it
  • so that readers and especially teachers and examiners can check that you haven't failed to understand or mis-represented what the author wrote
  • so that other writers can find background material to use in their writing
  • because ideas are the property of the people who thought of them, and using those ideas without saying who thought of them first is stealing
  • the reputation of teachers and researchers is partly based on their ideas
  • the APA style used by the ELC is a widely-used and understood system.

 

How to Reference in Your Text

You can give the source of your ideas in 3 ways, by quoting, summarising and by paraphrasing. All three should contain an in-text reference including the author's family name, the date of publication and the page number(s); e.g. Yule (1996, p. 3). All three should also have a reference in the bibliography. If you are not sure whether to quote, summarise or paraphrase, click here for a page that helps you choose.

Quoting

'Quoting' means using the exact same words as the original author. There are 3 ways you can do this:
  1. Quotation integrated with the text. This is for shorter pieces of text; e.g. from one word up to  two sentences.
    e.g. 'Pragmatics', says Yule (1996, p.3), 'is concerned with the study of meaning as communicated by a speaker (or writer).'
  2. Quotation using ellipsis ( ... ) to omit certain words, phrases or sentences from the original. You can do this to miss out any unnecessary information.
    e.g. Yule argues that pragmatics 'requires a consideration how speakers organize what they want to say ... and under what circumstances' (1996, p.3).
  3. Quotation in an indented (narrow margins) paragraph, without quotation marks. This is for longer pieces of text, for example for paragraphs.
    e.g. For example, Yule points out:

Thus, pragmatics is appealing because it's about how people make sense of each other linguistically, but it can be a frustrating area of study because it requires us to make sense of people and what they have in mind.

Phrases that you can use for quoting include, 'As stated by...'(an author or authors), 'As stated in...'(books, articles or papers), 'In the view of....'(an author or authors).
e.g. In the view of Yule (1996, p. 3-4) 'pragmatics is appealing because it's about how people make sense of each other linguistically'.

You can also use introductory verbs such as: he argues, she acknowledges, it claims, we predict, they warn
e.g. Yule argues that 'pragmatics is appealing because it's about how people make sense of each other linguistically' (1996, p. 3-4).

Try the Reference Machine: it automatically makes quotation references for you.
Click here for examples and an exercise on in-text citation.

 

Summarising

Summarising is writing a summary of what the author says. Summarising is useful because:

  • you can miss out unnecessary details, such as examples
  • you can use less words than the author, and therefore reduce the number of words in your writing

A summary should have about 50% or less words than the words that you are summarising.

A summary should have both an in-text reference and a reference in the bibliography.

Try the Reference Machine: it automatically makes summary references for you.
Click here for examples and an exercise on in-text citation.

 

Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing means using the ideas of an author, but not using his or her exact words. However, the meaning should be the same. You can do this, for example, to say that 2 different authors have the same opinion, and give the opinion as a paraphrase. This shows that you can categorise ideas, which is a useful studying skill which can improve your marks in assignments.

e.g. According to Yule (1996, p. 3-4) and Grundy (1995, p. 5), pragmatics is about how people understand each other's meaning from their words.

Other phrases besides 'According to...' that you can use to do this include:
  • 'As stated by...'(an author or authors)
  • 'As stated in...'(books, articles or papers)
  • 'In the view of....(an author or authors).

You can also use introductory verbs such as: argues, acknowledges, claims, predicts, warns
e.g. Yule argues that pragmatics is how people understand each other's meaning from their words ( 1996, p. 3-4).

To see how this works, use the Reference Machine to automatically make a reference for you.
Click here for examples and an exercise on in-text citation.

 

How to write a bibliography:

Click any part of the reference to find out what it is: (The underlines are to show you that you can click on the words. Your references should NOT be underlined.) References in a bibliography should be in alphabetical order by the author's family name.

Try the Reference Machine: it automatically makes bibliography references for you.
Click here for an exercise on bibliographical referencing.

Using APA style:

You write (no underlines): Channel, J. (1994). Vague language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

For an article in an edited book:

Halliday, M.A.K. (1993). Quantitative studies and probabilities in grammar. In Hoey, M. (ed.) Data, Description, Discourse. London: HarperCollins, 1-25.

For an article in a journal:

Partington, A. (1995). English word stress, syllable structure and lexical access. The Hong Kong Polytechnic Working Papers in ELT and Applied Linguistics 1, (1), 119-138.

For an Internet site:
If you know the name of the author:

Johns, T. (1997). Lingua multilingual concordancer. Retrieved from http://sun1.bham.ac.uk/johnstf/lingua.htm

If you don't know the name of the author, put the name of the institution or company:

Hong Kong Polytechnic University. (1997). 'Departments and Centres at PolyU'.  Retrieved from  http://www.polyu.edu.hk/cpa/NewHome/Depart.htm

If you don't know the date, use (n.d.). , which stands for 'no date'.


Try the Reference Machine: it automatically makes bibliography references for you:

Referencing Resources on the Internet

 

Click here for a list of materials in CILL on referencing.


 

 

 

 

 

This is the author's family name. It is important because, first, books are usually indexed alphabetically, and second, your bibliography should be in alphabetical order. If you do not know which name is the family name, and which is the other name, use all of them. In general, western names start with the other names, and eastern names start with the family name.

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This is the name of the institution or company. Use this if you don't know the author's name.

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This is the author's initial(s). There may be a lot of authors with the same family name, so the initial(s) are useful so you don't waste time looking at other author's books. A useful option is to write all of the author's other names; e.g. Smith, Joshua, because three may be many authors called Smith, J. If you do not know which name is the family name, and which is the other name, use all of them. In general, western names start with the other names, and eastern names start with the family name.

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This is the date of the publication of the book, article or Internet page you are reading. Authors often publish many books and papers, this helps to show which one you are referring to.

If you reference more than one work by the same author, they should be in order of date of publication.

If the author published two or more works in the same year, refer to the earlier one as (1997a), and the second as (1997b), etc.

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This is the title of the book. It is in italics to show that this is the title you are looking for in an index.

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This is the title of the Internet site. You can find it in the dark blue bar at the top of the Internet browser program screen.

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This is the place the book was published. This is usually a city. This shows whether the book was, for example, the English or the American edition. These editions might be different, for example the same information might be on different pages. Click here for more information on how to find the city.

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This is the name of the publishing company. This information is useful if you want to buy the book.

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(ed.) shows that the person edited the book. Not all of the book was written by him or her. For one editor, write (ed.). For two or more editors, write (eds.).

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Editor's family name. This is not the name of the author.

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Editor's Initial(s).

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Title of the article.

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Page numbers of the start and end of the article in the edited book or journal.

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Name of the series of books.

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Number of the book in the series.

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Title of the journal.

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Volume number of the journal.

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Number of the journal. Journals may, for example be published quarterly, in spring, summer, autumn and winter. So winter would be number 4.

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Page number(s) the reference is from.

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This is the Internet address of the web page you are referencing. It is sometimes called a 'Universal Resource Locator (URL).

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Last updated on: Wednesday, April 03, 2013