If you are visiting this site, you have an interest in research. Therefore,
it is likely you are going to be writing an assignment, article or
paper and you will want to provide references. This is something many
writers put off until they have finished their work, but this is a
mistake. Referencing needs to start as the article starts and learning
how to do it needs to start before that.
how to reference once and then for the rest of your life you will
know how to do it. Read on; I have made it as simple as possible.
are there two titles, "referencing" and "bibliographies"
this makes it confusing already?
Well yes you are right, but this is the result of different views
in the academic fraternity. For some disciplines the two words can
have different meanings. The fire service suffers from the same problem,
just think of how many names there are for a branch. It can also be
called a jet, a nozzle and so on. Easy for firefighters to understand,
but not so easy for academics.
reference your work?
There are at least three reasons for putting references in your written
is an acknowledgement that you are referring to another author’s
work and providing a reference avoids the risk of being accused of
allows people who read your work and have an interest in digging deeper
into the subject, to find the piece of text you are referring to;
is an indication of the depth of your reading and understanding.
What is the
best tip you can give me?
The best advice I can give you is to start referencing as soon as
you start writing. In fact make up a file called ‘references’
and put the bibliography in it for every book you read. As soon as
you start to read a book, put the reference in your reference file.
Referencing is the simplest part of writing. It only requires you
to copy readily available detail. However, this can become a nightmare
if insufficient attention is given to detail.
Where do I reference?
Whenever you refer to an authors’ work you reference it immediately
in the text and then again at the end. There are many ways of doing
this but, to avoid confusion, I am only going to explain one method.
What detail do I need?
If it is a book you need the name of the author, the year the book
was published, the title of the book, the place it was published and
the name of the publisher. You enter these details in that order.
Most of this detail is on the first page or so of the book. Here is
S. (1973) London’s Noble Fire Brigades 1833-1904, London:
Note the order,
the punctuation marks and the italics. These are all important and
you must follow the same format for book references. As soon as you
start to read a book, put the reference in your reference file.
if it is not a book I am referencing?
If it is a journal article or a chapter in an edited book you will
need some other details, but do not worry about that yet.
a reference in the text as you write it
The examples below refer to a piece of work written by Howell in 1994.
If you are
quoting directly from Howell’s work then the reference will
look like this:
It is argued,
“perceptions in the Fire Service have been unfounded and so
far no real evidence of women being physically incapable or disadvantaged
on the fireground has been shown” (Howell 1994: 13).
be clear from the example that the piece of text in the speech marks
belongs to Howell and it is a requirement to include the date and
page number. Note also the full stop after the reference.
you wish to use your own words to refer to a specific argument in
Howell’s work then you will still need to mention the page numbers
it is on.
13-14) suggest that there is no evidence of women having physical
difficulties on the fireground.
may wish to be even less specific and then your reference to Howell
may look like this:
suggests that the fire service has some difficulties with equal opportunities.
I know how to reference in the text, but how do people know what Howell’s
book is called?
At the end
of the piece of work you create a list of books you reference in the
does this list look like?
It is an alphabetic
list of all the books you have referenced. The format for this list
is as I explained earlier:
S. (1973) London’s Noble Fire Brigades 1833-1904, London:
there will need to be a clear and consistent method for recording
all the details about the piece of work. The author, the year the
book was published, the title of the book, the place it was published
and the name of the publisher.
work is not a book it is a dissertation and this goes in your reference
(1994) Women firefighters ‘the inequality gap’, unpublished
dissertation for MBA: The Business School; University of Hertfordshire.
you to be quoting it from a published source such as the online version
you would put
(1994) Women firefighters ‘the inequality gap’,
fitting-in.com. downloaded from www.fitting-in.com/c/howell.htm on
dd. mm. yyyy
Note you cannot
record a page number for an online document but you should record
the date that you downloaded.
Sadly it is not. Whilst it is correct to reference all books, unpublished
articles and online documents in the format provided above, each different
type of published work has a specific format. Some more examples are
shown below and the differences are often very small but significant.
Note in particular the punctuation and the use of italics.
Books or booklets
Home Office (2000) Race equality: The Home Secretary’s Employment
Targets, First Annual Report: Staff Targets for the Home Office,
the Police, the Fire and the Probation Services, London: Home Office.
S. (1973) London’s Noble Fire Brigades 1833-1904, London: Cassell.
This becomes a little more difficult. In edited books it is normal
for each chapter to be written by a different writer. When you refer
to that chapter in the text then you reference it as per normal. But
when you put the reference in your reference file it is done like
(1996) ‘Is masculinity dead? A critique of the concept of masculinity/masculinities’,
in M. Mac an Ghaill, (ed.), Understanding Masculinities, Buckingham:
Open University Press.
chapter is not italicised, but it is set apart by single speech marks
and followed by a comma:
masculinity dead? A critique of the concept of masculinity/masculinities’,
Then the authors
name follows but note the initials come first under these circumstances:
in M. Mac
an Ghaill, (ed.),
Then the italicised
title of the book follows:
Masculinities, Buckingham: Open University Press.
For a journal article you need the additional details of the issue
number and the pages the article was on. For example:
(1997) ‘Picking the best—how we choose today the firefighters
of tomorrow’, London Firefighter, 127, 25-27.
(2001a) ‘Experience versus degree: which works out best’?
Fire, 93, 1150, 23-24.
These have their own format again:
Buck, G. (1997)
Psychometric research and development ltd, the role of complexity
in critical incident management and the paradox for organisational
succession planning: whatever happened to the likely lads?, unpublished
Paper to the Fire Service Research Conference, The Fire Service College,
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