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Citing within the text of written work

When you refer to another document you must acknowledge this within the text of your work, by citing the author’s surname and the year of publication (in round brackets).

This allows whoever is reading your work to identify the source of your information by following up the authors name in your reference list.

You must cite in your text every time you refer to a source. For example, if you quote from your textbook on the first page of your assignment and then again on the second page, you must cite it in both places.

Web documents and electronic journal articles should be cited in the text in the same way as books and journal articles.

For example

Health care research is becoming ever more interprofessional and multi-disciplinary (Holloway 2005).

Although the observer’s presence can also affect the validity of the data (Parahoo 2006) the effect can be reduced when…

Parfitt (2007: 100) stated that "nursing practice is constantly changing to accommodate the needs of individual societies".

Practical points

If the author's name appears naturally in the text, the year follows in brackets. As long as the author's name is acknowledged in the text you do not have to cite it again within the brackets.

For example

Morgan (2003) suggests that informed consent should include a discussion of…

Do I include page numbers in the citation?

If you quote the exact words of your source, or copy an image, table or illustration, you need to include the page number where you found your quotation. You put the page number in after the year in your citation, separated by a colon .

If you paraphrase (put the information from the source into your own words) you do not need to include the page number.

If you are directly quoting from a web page you may not be able to include a page number (however, if the Web page is a PDF it will usually have page numbering so the page number should be given in the citation for direct quotes).

If you use EndNote to do your citations and references, you will need to edit the citation so it includes the page number. See Manually editing EndNote citations or references for how to do this.

NOTE: In certain subjects, such as archaeological sciences, you should add the page number to the citation to all book references unless it is an edited book or if you are using a very general piece of information covered by the whole book.

For example

A direct quotation example:

'The engineer is the driver of engineering design. To achieve engineering success, an engineer needs to understand and avoid potential failures that may occur down the road' (Wang and Roush 2000: 1).

A paraphrased example:

An engineer may have to overcome failure to achieve success (Wang and Roush 2000).

Multiple authors

If there are two or fewer authors all of their names must be cited in the text.

For example:

Bristow and Berek (2006) conclude that…


… this conclusion has been drawn before (Bristow and Berek 2006).


et al.

If there are three or more authors then only the first author (the author who appears first on the title page of the book, or is listed first at the beginning of a journal article) is cited, followed by et al. You will need to list ALL the authors in the reference list.

For example:

Jones et al. (2007) looked at nurse prescribing in mental health care and found…


Mental health care may be a good field for nurse prescribing, Jones et al. (2007) suggest.


Unknown author

If you cannot identify an author for the source you want to cite, you can cite and reference it using the title in place of the author’s name, or use Anonymous to stand in for the name. Some anonymous sources, such as editorials in journals, are acceptable to use in academic work, so using the title in place of the author’s name adds credibility to your reference.

For example:

A report on the environment’s impact on health (Anonymous 2007: 2052) says "these deaths are due to just 2 factors: lack of clean water and the effects of indoor air pollution".


Online sources may provide useful information (Basic sciences: anatomy 2014)

If a source is entirely anonymous, for example a website with no author, you need to judge whether it’s worth including in your academic work-  how do you know it’s accurate?

There are some exceptions to the general rules on dealing with unknown authors, for example, for laws or sacred texts. You will see rules for how to deal with these later in the document.

Note for EndNote users: If there is no author, Endnote will automatically give the author as Anonymous. If you do not want this you will have to edit the reference (see Manually editing EndNote citations or references) so that the title of the publication appears in the Author field as well as in the Title field.

Corporate authors

The names of organisations, institutions, government departments etc. may also be cited in the text as authors. These are known as corporate authors.

For example:

Feedback from patients is vital for improvements in quality of care (Healthcare Commission 2005).

Abbreviations can be used for Corporate Authors, for example BACCH for British Association for Community Child Health.

The first time you refer to that corporate author by initials in the text you need to spell out the full name in your sentence. Having spelled out the name in full the first time, you can use the abbreviation in further citations of the same document. (The reference in the Reference List needs to match your citations.)

For example:

The British Association for Community Child Health (BACCH 2005) states that Community paediatricians have a number of statutory duties.

This also applies to abbreviated titles such as the BNF.

For example:

It is noted in the British National Formulary (BNF) that mefloquine can cause tachycardia (BNF 71 2016)

You could also start your document with a glossary of the full meaning of all the abbreviations used in your document and then refer to them by the abbreviations throughout.

Note for EndNote users: EndNote is confused by corporate authors. To make them display properly, you need to edit the record in your EndNote library (see Manually editing EndNote citations or references ) to add a comma at the end of the organisation's name. This fools EndNote into thinking the whole name is an author’s surname, and it then appears properly in your citation and reference. For example: for the Healthcare Commission, the author field in EndNote should read "Healthcare Commission.

Unknown date

If you cannot find the date that an item was created, you should use (no date) in place of the year. If you can make a guess at the approximate date, you could use this, for example (1875?).

For example:

Josephus (no date) is a contemporary source on Roman Judea.

The dates of some of Shakespeare’s plays are uncertain, such as Love’s Labours Lost (Shakespeare 1598?)

Citing things that you created

Your own photographs or other images

If you are using photographs you took or images you have created, include wording in the image caption that makes it clear that this is your own work (such as "Source: Author"). There is no need to put anything in the reference list. Your lecturers might ask you to include a list of images after the contents page or as an appendix to the document.

Your own research or other unpublished work of yours

You may need to do this if you want to draw on work you did in another module or at another university. If you have some experimental results or ideas that you used before, you should cite them. Mention them as briefly as possible as a background for the work you did on this assignment, because resubmitting work is plagiarism. You should cite yourself as an author in exactly the same way as you would do any other creator with your surname and the date you created the work. See the Theses, dissertations or unpublished research section of Referencing other types of source on how to write the reference.

Citing more than one source in the same sentence

Where you cite more than one reference at the same point in the text, cite them in chronological order.

For example:

Voss (2004), McArdle (2006) and Moret (2007) all show….


This can cause distress (Voss 2004; McArdle 2006; Moret 2007)

If you want to do this and some of your sources were published in the same year, list those ones alphabetically.

For example:

Adams (2004), Voss (2004), and Moret (2007) all show….


This can cause distress (Adams 2004; Voss 2004; Moret 2007)


Citing multiple works by the same author from the same year

If you cite more than one work by the same author with the same publication year, the first to appear in your reference list will have a lower case a after the date, the second will have a b and so on.

This also applies if you have used articles with two or more authors, so you will be citing them with the first author’s name and "et al". The first author is the same in both articles so you need to distinguish  which article you are citing, so use a and b.

For example:

Medical technology may cause patients physical and emotional distress (Johns 2005a). Johns (2005b) also considers monitoring to be….

Janaway et al. (2009b) argue that…

It has been shown that (Janaway et al. 2009 a and b)

Citing secondary sources

Whenever possible, you should track down the original source and read it yourself. However, if this is not possible, you can cite secondary sources like this:

Give the names of the original author(s), then indicate that you have taken your information from a source that quoted them, not directly. The words "cited in" are usually used to do this. Then cite the authors of the book you have actually read, and the page number where they used the original creators’ work.

For example:

Brechin (2000, cited in McCabe and Timmins 2006: 57) argues that professional development …

Handy and Spangler (2007: 793) use a table that has been modified from the data of Robertson and Campanella (1983) to illustrate the friction angle of sand related to cone bearing value.

(See the section on Secondary references for how to write the reference).

EndNote cannot create a correct citation for a secondary reference; you will have to edit your sentence manually after you use EndNote to put in the citation for the source that you have read.