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European Studies

About Citation Styles

There are thousands of citation styles in use. Your lecturer may tell you to use a particular one, or allow you to choose one on your own.

Guides for each style will tell you how to format the references:

  • Details on which order to present the bibliographic information.
  • Grammar instructions such as how to use punctuation and capitalisation - what is emboldened, underlined, italicised… where the full stops and commas go…
  • Different rules will apply to different formats of sources (journal articles, book with one author, books with several authors, edited books, chapters in edited books, webpages, reports, films, etc. etc…)

Many different styles are in use in Trinity College Dublin - for definitive answers you should use the full style manual for each system.

Example

We are going to see what a reference looks like using using different citation styles. Here's the information we want to reference:

  • Reference Type: Journal Article
  • Authors: Adrian Stagg, Lindy Kimmins, and Nicholas Pavlovski
  • Year: 2013
  • Article Title: Academic style with substance: A collaborative screencasting project to support referencing skills
  • Journal Title: The Electronic Library
  • Volume: 31
  • Issue: 4
  • Pages: 452-464
  • DOI: 10.1108/el-01-2012-0005

We demonstrate how this appears in a variety of different referencing systems, namely the APA 6th Edition, MLA 8th Edition, Vancouver; and Chicago 17th Edition.

About Inline Styles

Inline citations use a brief summary of the reference in the text (such as listing the author and date, or the author and title, or author and page) with the full reference stated at the end of the chapter or work.

This final list is called a reference list or bibliography.

Generally the full list of references will be in alphabetical order by the first author’s surname.

Inline styles are sometimes called the “Harvard” style as they were first used at Harvard in the 1880s. They are also called “Parenthetical” styles as they enclose the partial information in brackets.

Two of the most popular Harvard-type styles are the APA 6th Edition, and the MLA 8th Edition. Our example is used to show the similarities and differences below.

The Library has books on these (and other) styles available to guide students on how to reference correctly.

APA & MLA

In the text, first example:

"As the global information landscape increasingly facilitates the sharing, re-purposing and dissemination of information, the ways in which students are accustomed to interacting with information resources are also changing" (Stagg, Kimmins, & Pavlovski, 2013).

In the text, later example:

"Referencing, like research and other academic learning skills, has often not been taught explicitly, or within a discipline context prior to tertiary education" (Stagg et al., 2013).

The APA has very specific rules regarding numbers of authors and using "et al.", how that is formatted, and so on. For an article with three authors, for example, it lists all three the first time it is mentioned but uses "et al." for subsequent mentions. This is something that is often incorrect in essays and theses.

Reference list:

Stagg, A., Kimmins, L., & Pavlovski, N. (2013). Academic style with substance: A collaborative screencasting project to support referencing skills. The Electronic Library, 31(4), 452-464. doi:10.1108/el-01-2012-0005

In the text:

"As the global information landscape increasingly facilitates the sharing, re-purposing and dissemination of information, the ways in which students are accustomed to interacting with information resources are also changing" (Stagg et al.).

Reference list:

Stagg, Adrian et al. "Academic Style with Substance: A Collaborative Screencasting Project to Support Referencing Skills." The Electronic Library, vol. 31, no. 4, 2013, pp. 452-464, doi:10.1108/el-01-2012-0005.

APA 6th

"As the global information landscape increasingly facilitates the sharing, re-purposing and dissemination of information, the ways in which students are accustomed to interacting with information resources are also changing" (Stagg, Kimmins, & Pavlovski, 2013).

MLA 8th

"As the global information landscape increasingly facilitates the sharing, re-purposing and dissemination of information, the ways in which students are accustomed to interacting with information resources are also changing" (Stagg et al.).

APA 6th

"Referencing, like research and other academic learning skills, has often not been taught explicitly, or within a discipline context prior to tertiary education" (Stagg et al., 2013).

MLA 8th

"Referencing, like research and other academic learning skills, has often not been taught explicitly, or within a discipline context prior to tertiary education" (Stagg et al.).

APA 6th

Stagg, A., Kimmins, L., & Pavlovski, N. (2013). Academic style with substance. The Electronic Library, 31(4), 452-464. doi:10.1108/el-01-2012-0005

 

MLA 8th

Stagg, Adrian et al. "Academic Style with Substance." The Electronic Library, vol. 31, no. 4, 2013, pp. 452-464, doi:10.1108/el-01-2012-0005.

About Numbered Styles

Numbered styles list references in the order they are mentioned, using a digit in the text to refer to the fuller citation at the end.

The most common numbered style is Vancouver - while this style has its own particular rules, numbered styles in general are often referred to as Vancouver styles.

Vancouver

Here's our example in the Vancouver style, using the "official" rules given by the NLM/PubMed.

In the text:

"As the global information landscape increasingly facilitates the sharing, re-purposing and dissemination of information, the ways in which students are accustomed to interacting with information resources are also changing" (1).

Reference list:

1.            Stagg A, Kimmins L, Pavlovski N. Academic style with substance: A collaborative screencasting project to support referencing skills. The Electronic Library. 2013;31(4):452-64.

About Footnote Styles

Like numbered styles, footnote styles give the reference an ascending number in the text and the full references are listed in that order at the bottom of the page in a footnote. A full list at the end of the work or chapter may also be required - although unlike with numbered styles, this may be in alphabetical order by surname, rather than in order of mention.

The Chicago style is the most well-known footnote style. In Chicago and other footnote styles there are rules that apply if you use a work again in another footnote. Up until the Chicago 16th Edition, If you mention the citation again as the next footnote, then the term “ibid” (“in the same place”) is used instead of the reference. If it is used again after referring to a different citation, then a short form of the reference is used in the footnotes - the manual for the style will tell you what this should look like. However, this was changed in the Chicago 17th Edition, with the short form now favoured over ibid even if mentioned immediately afterwards.

Chicago 17th

In the text:

"As the global information landscape increasingly facilitates the sharing, re-purposing and dissemination of information, the ways in which students are accustomed to interacting with information resources are also changing"1.

As a footnote at the bottom of the page:

1 Adrian Stagg, Lindy Kimmins, and Nicholas Pavlovski, "Academic Style with Substance," The Electronic Library 31, no. 4 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1108/el-01-2012-0005.

(elements are separated by commas)

If used again, whether immediately or after other citations (note, this is a change from Chicago 16th):

2 Stagg, Kimmins, and Pavlovski, "Academic style with substance."

In the reference list, which is in alphabetical order:

Stagg, Adrian, Lindy Kimmins, and Nicholas Pavlovski. "Academic Style with Substance." The Electronic Library 31, no. 4 (2013): 452-64. https://doi.org/10.1108/el-01-2012-0005.

(first author’s name inverted, elements are separated by full stops)