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Advice on bibliographic references

Advice on bibliographic references

1 Ensure that you record all the details for an item at the time of reading it:

  • author; title; page numbers of chapters; place, publisher and date of publication; page number of quotes and specific ideas; editors and title of edited works; volume, part and page numbers of journal articles; web address of anything taken from the internet.

This might seem time-consuming, but it is far better to do it as you go along than have to fill in the gaps later.

2 Maintain a card index, database or Endnote files for these references. It will make writing up the bibliography easier and less prone to gaps. Make an entry for edited volumes as well as the chapters taken from them. This helps ensure everything you use is properly referenced.

3 I suggest you produce these records using the Harvard referencing system, the basis of which is given below. Certain things appear to be a matter of personal preference, e.g.:

  • bracketing the date of publication, putting authors in capitals or bold, using full stops after initials, preceding or following the publisher with the place of publication.

The initial letter of words in journal titles are always in capitals; how you deal with book titles is a matter for personal choice. Simply make a decision and be consistent. The object is to produce references that are clear and easy to follow for a reader wanting to follow up your sources. The examples below are in the format I use for the department annual publications list.

  • i - books
    • Ferguson, J. (1999) Expectations of modernity: myths and meanings of urban life on the Zambian copperbelt. Berkeley: University of California Press [title emphasised]
  • ii - journal articles
    • Klooster, D. (2000) 'Institutional choice, community and struggle: a case study of forest co-management in Mexico.' World Development 28(1): 1-20 [article title in inverted commas, journal title emphasised, part number in brackets where used, page numbers in full]
  • iii - chapters in edited books
    • Harvey, N. (1996) 'Rural reforms and the Zapatista rebellion, 1988-1995.' in: G. Otero (ed.) Neo-liberalism revisited: economic restructuring and Mexico's political future. Boulder, CO: Westview, 187-208 [chapter title in inverted commas, book title emphasised, page numbers in full at the end. The editors names can be inverted if you wish.]
  • iv - theses
    • Scott, H.V. (2002) Contested territories: the struggle over landscape in the conquest and colonisation of Peru. Unpublished PhD thesis. Cambridge: Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. [title of the thesis emphasised, unpublished thesis statement necessary.]
  • v - newspaper articles
    • Alexander, A. (2003) 'Hearsay can't be the basis for war.' Daily Mail, February 7 2003, p.14 [title of the article in inverted commas, name of paper emphasised, precise date given]
  • vi - edited books
    • Riposa, G. and Dersch, C. (eds.) (1992) City of angels. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Press. [title of the book emphasised]
  • vii - material from the internet
    • U.S. Census Bureau (2000) Census. (last accessed 6 August 2000) [item name emphasised, full web address given, date last accessed before publication - important]

Note: do not mix up single and multiple author works by the same chronological sequence - remember how they will be referenced in the text. Put single authorship ones first, followed by two authors, etc. e.g.:

  • Richards, K.S.
  • Richards, K.S. and Lane, S.N.
  • Richards, K.S., Lane, S.N. and Brasington, J.

They go in alphabetical then chronological order, i.e. something published by Richards and Brasington in 2000 will come before something published by Richards and Lane in 1997. I'm not sure what the rule is for three or more authors. It might be easiest to do them in chronological order as they would be referenced in the text as e.g., 'Richards et al., 2002'.

4 References within the text

  • i - put the surname and date of publication in the text, in brackets, when referring to a particular work:
    • 'Scientists engage in claims-making in at least two ways (Aronson, 1984)'
  • ii - if the surname is part of the sentence just use the date:
    • 'As Eden (1998) observes, recent work on ...'
  • iii - when referring to something specific or quoting directly, add the page numbers, preceded by a colon, to the date:
    • 'We employ what Williams (1998: 493) calls a "revised constructionist" perspective ...' or 'To be Creole one needed to be native and French in culture (Dominguez, 1977: 592-3)'
  • iv - if citing more than one work as an example, list them in chronological order, alphabetically if more than one for as particular year, dividing them with semi-colons:
    • ' ... and biodiversity impacts of landscape change (Skole et al., 1994; Lambin et al., 1999).'
  • v - if an individual or group is cited more than once for the same year distinguish the citations with letters:
    • 'Howell (1999b: 284) stated that ...'

5 When referring in the text to an item by more than two authors, put down the first one followed by et al. and the date. It might be necessary to note two authors if just one will lead to confusion. In the bibliography you will be expected to list all the authors, even though books by more than three people are only ever catalogued under the first author or editor.

6 When taking down details from a library catalogue always record the title of the item as well as the author and classmark. Things get moved in libraries and the classmark might contain more than one item by the same author.