Your tutors will be expecting to see in-text citations and full references in your assignments. Don’t forget, every in-text citation must also be fully referenced in your reference list at the end of your assignment.
In-text citations usually have 3 parts:
Put in-text citations into round brackets, with each part separated by a comma:
This was also found to be the case in an earlier study (Guina, 2016, p.239).
If you refer to an author directly in your assignment, only the year and the page number need to be inside the brackets. However, all 3 parts of the in-text citation must be next to each other in the text.
This was also commented on in a study by Guina (2016, p.239).
Sometimes you don’t need to put in the page numbers, for example, if you’re summarising the whole of a source.
Similar phenomena have been observed in other studies (Guina, 2016).
Put in-text citations right next to the point in your writing that the source is referred to, whether it’s a quotation, paraphrase or a summary. The author's name, date and page numbers (if relevant) should always be together in the text, even if not all of this information is inside the brackets.
Guina notes how the subject's defence mechanisms for low-self esteem have become problematic in adulthood (2016, p.239).
This is incorrect because the author's name, Guina, has been separated from the year of publication and page number of the source the student has paraphrased.
Instead, you should write either:
Guina (2016, p.239) notes how the subject's defence mechanisms for low-self esteem have become problematic in adulthood.
Guina notes how the subject's defence mechanisms for low-self esteem have become problematic in adulthood (Guina, 2016, p.239) .
In both of these examples, the citation text has been kept together.
It is a matter of personal style which you should use. Some people prefer the second example because they feel that the citation in the first example interrupts their sentence and makes it harder to read. In reality, you will probably use both types of citation at different points in your work.
In the following examples, an article by Spink and Jansen, published in 2004, is being cited:
The amount of research about information-seeking behaviour on the Internet that is coming from non-English-speaking countries is increasing (Spink and Jansen, 2004, p.28).
Spink and Jansen (2004, p.28) note that the amount of research about information-seeking behaviour…
When you’re using in-text citations, proof-read your work carefully: it’s important that your work makes sense in terms of punctuation and grammar when you ignore the information in the brackets of your in-text citations.
In a study (Spink and Jansen, 2004, p.28) note that the amount of research…
This doesn’t make sense if you take out the bracketed in-text citation. Instead you could write:
In a study, Spink and Jansen (2004, p.28) note that the amount of research…
When you’re summarising, you may refer to the same idea from more than one source. When you do this, you can list those sources together in your in-text citation.
List the sources in order of the dates that they were published, starting with the earliest. Separate each citation with a semi-colon (;).
(Smith, 1999; Jackson and Williams, 2004; Singh, 2015)
If there is more than one source published in the same year, then list the sources from that year alphabetically by the first author’s last name.
(Smith, 1999; Andrews and Mellors, 2004; Jackson and Williams, 2004; Singh, 2015)
If an author or organisation you’re referring to has published two or more things in the same year, add a letter after the year to distinguish the two sources from each other.
Sharing information is ‘essential for effective safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people’ (Department for Education, 2018a, p. 3) and everyone has a role to play in identifying any concerns and taking action to report them (Department for Education, 2018b, p. 10).
When you do this, you must also put the letter after the year in your reference list. This way, the reader of your work knows which source your citation is referring to.
Department for Education (2018a) Information sharing. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/721581/Information_sharing_advice_practitioners_safeguarding_services.pdf (Accessed: 24 May 2019)
Department for Education (2018b) Working together to safeguard children. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/779401/Working_Together_to_Safeguard-Children.pdf (Accessed: 24 May 2019)
To cite two or more sources that were published in the same year, but by authors who have the same surname, put the initials of the author in your in-text citation as well.
Historically, there has been a “lack of consensus” about these issues (Smith, A., 1999), but this has not necessarily prevented research from taking place (Smith, M., 1999).
You do not need to use initials if the years that the documents were published are different, or if one or both of the authors is part of a larger group.
Historically, there has been a “lack of consensus” about these issues (Smith, 1999), and some research has shown a huge divergence in results (Smith and Patel, 1999).
The key thing to remember is that it must be easy for someone reading your research to correctly match every in-text citation to the right source in your reference list.
Many students worry about citing sources that have more than one author because the names use up words from their limited word-count.
If a source has one to three authors, all of them must be written in the in-text citation.
...differences between static and dynamic balance are often more pronounced in adolescence (Hosseini, Norasteh and Nemati, 2019, p.54).
However, if there are more than three authors, you can instead write out only the first author’s name and then use et al. Et al. is a Latin phrase that means ‘and others’. Because it’s not English, you should always write it in italics (slanted text). Always put a full stop after al. as it’s an abbreviation of a longer word.
In this example, a student is using a source written by Tod, Bond, Leonard, Gilsenan and Palfreyman.
Some research suggests that many critical clinical questions get lost or forgotten in the time between practice and reflection (Tod et al., 2006, p.626).
Only use et al. in in-text citations: in your full reference list, you must list all of the authors. Remember that your reference list is not included in your word count, though!
Some books, such as anthologies or 'edited collections' have different authors for each section or chapter. The authors of each of these sections may or may not be named as editors or contributors on the title page of the whole book.
Whenever an author or authors are named for a specific section or chapter in a book, you must use these names in your in-text citations.
You are using chapter 3 of the book, Biomechanical movement in sport and exercise science, 2nd edition, edited by Payton and Burton and published in 2018.
Chapter 3 of this book, 'Assessing movement coordination' was written by Peter Lamb and Roger Bartlett. You will use Lamb and Bartlett in the in-text citation:
Understanding coordination patterns can help us to improve performance in exercise (Lamb and Bartlett, 2018, p.23).
When you make your reference list entries for these sources, follow the guidance for 'Chapter or section of an edited book' in the reference lists: guide and examples.
In the anthology Common people, edited by Kit de Waal, published in 2019, you're quoting a part of Daljit Nagra's reflection 'Steve'. You use Nagra's name in your in-text citation:
"perhaps he was held back by the narratives of entitlement for blue-collar workers constructed by the powers that be..?" (Nagra, 2019, p.79).
Note that it doesn't matter when the section of the anthology you're using was originally written: you always use the year of publication of the anthology in your in-text citation.
"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever; / Its loveliness increases; it will never / Pass into nothingness" (Keats, 2012, p.1398).
To make your reference list entry for sources in anthologies, use the guidance for 'Anthologies (collections) of texts' in the reference lists: guide and examples
Please note: this guidance should be followed by students studying our Law (LL.B.) programme at Birmingham Newman. It is not the same as the style in Cite them right. If you are studying a different programme, your tutors may expect your references to law reports to be presented differently. If you need guidance, please check with your module leader.
Your in-text citations must be set out as follows:
If you are just summarising a case or referencing it in passing, you may not need to put a page or paragraph reference to it.
(R v Ghosh, 1982, at 1055)
(Chalcot Training Ltd v Ralph, 2020, )
Be careful when using paragraph references that the number you give is from the case you are reading. On LexisNexis, where quotations are made by the judge from other cases, they often have the paragraph number from the quoted case embedded in them.
Case names can quickly become expensive when it comes to your word count. You can save words by using abbreviated case names, but you must follow these rules:
The first time you cite the case, you should write out the citation in full, e.g:
When you cite the case again, you can just use the first party to the case's name on its own (e.g. (Donoghue, 1932)), unless:
Make sure that the abbreviated name is in italics to signal it is a case, rather than the author of another source's name.
If there are no individually named authors, but an organisation or corporation is clearly responsible for the resource, you can use their name instead.
Always write out the organisation's name in full the first time that you use it. If you want to save words after this by referring to it by its initials instead, add the initials in brackets after this first use.
A report by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) (2017) stated...
...libraries are "eager to work more collaboratively and develop partnerships." (IFLA, 2017).
In your reference list, you should write out the organisation's name in full.
In most cases, you should pinpoint the location in a document that you are quoting or paraphrasing with a page number or reference point. However, there are exceptions to this. You will not need a page number or reference point if:
If neither of these is true, but there are no page numbers, you can use the following:
These are often found in books downloaded to e-readers (such as Amazon Kindles) and in some online e-book readers. They can be used in place of page numbers in in-text citation as long as you use the appropritate reference list guidance to indicate that this is the type of e-book you have used.*
(Austen, 2008, loc 2433)
(Sanghera, 2015, 64%)
(Douglas, 2016, s.5 p.3)
Use these when you are referencing a long online document, such as an online journal article or an e-book, where there are no other page numbers or reference points available. You may need to use both a heading and a paragraph number if the section your quote or paraphrase is from has more than 3 or 4 paragraphs.
(Patel and Amin, 2020, 'Introduction')
(Webster, 2014, para.23)
(Sweeney, 2001, 'Interventions', para.16)
* See the reference lists: guide and examples for "E-book downloaded to an e-reader" or "Book read or downloaded in an accessible format from RNIB Bookshare" for help creating these reference list entries.
Evaluating sources and then choosing the best ones to help you make your arguments is part of good academic practice.
If a source does not reveal who made it or when it was made, you should carefully think about why this is the case, and decide whether the source is really suitable for use in an academic assignment. If you still decide to include it then use the following guidelines:
Authors and editors can be people or organisations. If neither is given, you can use the source title or URL in your in-text citation instead. You should not use 'Anon' in either your in-text citations or your reference list in Birmingham Newman Harvard.
A broadside proclaimed it "the greatest number of spectators ever assembled for such an occasion" (Execution of the Mannings, 1849).
Execution of the Mannings (1849) Available at: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:jjohnson:&rft_dat=xri:jjohnson:image:20080125170200kg:1 (Accessed 11 March 2021).
Note how the name of the source has 'jumped' over the date to take the place of the author's name, and matches the in-text citation.
Look carefully for anything that shows when the source was made. On websites, this can be at the very bottom of the page, and on PDFs, you can sometimes find it on the back cover. If there is a copyright statement for the source (e.g. ‘© 2016’), you may use this as the date if no other date is present.
If you still cannot find a date, use the phrase ‘no date’ (without single quotations marks) in both your in-text citation and reference list.
...the remains of a Victorian funicular railway (National Trust, no date).
National Trust (no date) Chasm explorer. Available at: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/devils-dyke/trails/devils-dyke-histories-and-mysteries-walk (Accessed: 5 September 2019).
For courses involving placements or professional experiences, or if you carry out research in these areas, it’s unethical to name people or organisations directly. You should change the names of people and organisations to code names.
In your research, you used Midtown High School’s Behaviour management policy and Uptown Grammar School’s Pupil code of conduct. In your assignment you might change the name ‘Midtown High School’ to ‘Secondary School A’ and ‘Uptown Grammar School’ to ‘Secondary School B’.
An in-text reference may look like this:
Strategies include working with pupils to create "personalised positive behaviour plans" (Secondary school A, 2015a)...
In an interview, a teacher from Midtown High School says something of interest. You might change the name of the teacher to ‘Teacher A1’ to show that they were from Midtown High School. A teacher from Uptown Grammar School might therefore become ‘Teacher B1’.
Use the code names in all your in-text citations and in your full reference list.
In your reference list entry, you must also remove anything from the publication details that might identify organisations or people – even if this means that you have to leave out parts of the full reference that you would normally include (for example, the URL of the source).
Secondary school A (2017) Behaviour management policy.
Secondary school A (2017) Behaviour management policy. Available at http://www.uptown.sch.uk/upload/docs/behaviour-management.pdf (Accessed: 23 May 2019).
Sometimes, you may want to cite a source that you have not read, but has been summarised, paraphrased or quoted in a source that you’re using.
We call this ‘secondary referencing’.
We recommend that you try to avoid using secondary references: this is because you’re relying on someone else’s interpretation of another person’s idea. The original context of that idea, or the author’s interpretation of it, may not be correct or relevant for your own work. If possible, always read the original work.
In a textbook by Wilson written in 2015, you see a summary of a research project carried out by Khan in 2012. You want to refer to Khan’s work, but you have not read it yourself.
Your in-text citation must include both the name of the author whose ideas you’re using and the year they were published (Khan and 2012), as well as well as the author of the source you have read and its publication year (Wilson and 2015).
Use the phrase ‘cited in’ or ‘quoted in’ depending on how you’re presenting the idea in your work. You must include the dates of both the secondary source and the source you are reading it in.
Several key studies have demonstrated this effect (Khan, 2012, cited in Wilson, 2015).
This effect has been described as “prominent and sustained” over several studies (Khan, 2012, quoted in Wilson, 2015, p.24)
In your reference list, you must only put the full reference for the work you have read (in this example, Wilson). The person reading your assignment will be able to find a full reference to Khan in Wilson’s work.
Each separate quotation or paraphrase that you use should have its own citation. In your work, it is normal to have lots of in-text citations for the same source, each with a different page reference.
When you summarise a source, or a general idea that is discussed in the whole text of a source, you do not need to use page numbers at all. In these cases, the in-text citation will not have a page reference. (Remember that all sources will still need to have a reference list entry!)
Another article explores the theme of childhood in Coleridge's work (Wu, 2012).
There are two instances where you may need to put either a page range or several page numbers in your in-text citation.
When an idea you are paraphrasing is explained in more than one place in the text, or you are connecting two related ideas from the same text into one paraphrase, you can put all of the page numbers you have used and separate them with a semicolon (;).
Standard Romantic conceptions of free-spiritedness and innocence in childhood lie in stark contrast to the images of new life presented in 'London' (Davies and Patel, 2003, p.23; p.28).
Where an idea you are quoting or paraphrasing breaks across pages (i.e. at the bottom of one and the top of the next), you can use the page range in your in-text citation.
What counts as 'encouragement' and 'prompting' in user testing is a difficult matter to judge (Barnum, 2012, pp.221-222).
You should always use the full page numbers when giving a page range. In the example above, it would have been incorrect to use "pp.221-2".
We recommend that you check with your tutor before using any of your previous work as a source for a new assignment. Some programmes or modules have different rules about when it is or is not appropriate to self-reference.
If you want to refer to work that has been marked – whether from your current course or module or not – it is important that you cite this properly in both your in-text citations and in your full reference list.
This is to avoid the trap of ‘self-plagiarism’. When done deliberately, self-plagiarism is an attempt to get ‘double credit’ for submitted work.
To cite yourself, use the same method for in-text citations as for any other source: your own surname and the year.
I reflected on my use of qualitative research methods in my placement portfolio (Satchwell Giles, 2018).
For guidance on how to create your reference list entry, see the guidance on 'Students' own work' in the Reference list: guide and examples.
This guide and referencing examples show you how to reference most of the sources you’re likely to use in your work.
If there isn’t an example that fits what you’re trying to use, try 3 things:
Our referencing style is based on the principles in Cite them right by Richard Pears and Graham Shields. This book is available from the Library, and we have both print copies that you can borrow as well as an e-book.
CIte them right also contains examples for APA 7th Edition and OSCOLA referencing.
You may find yourself using this book enough over your time with us that it is worth buying your own copy. If you wish to do this, the details are:
Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2022) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 12th edn. London: Bloomsbury Study Skills. ISBN: 9781350933446.
You can ask Academic Service Librarians for advice on referencing by:
If a particular reference is causing you trouble, your Module Leader should be able to tell you how they would like you to present it.
Last reviewed: 26 October 2023