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References are scholarly acknowledgements of work referred to or quoted. Failure to reference works used or quoted is plagiarism. To avoid this it is vital that you read the section on plagiarism.

Proper citation of sources is an essential part of the presentation of academic work as it will:

  • back up, support and guide your statements
  • demonstrate knowledge
  • show you have done some reading and know and understand what leaders in the area have said
  • show you can integrate and analyse various points of view
  • show you can synthesise a wide range of material from the area
  • acknowledge the work and ideas of another.

How to Reference

There are a number of ways to provide the references to your bibliography in the text of your essay, but our preferred way is as outlined here.

Put references in parentheses within the text of your essay, e.g.:

Cosset and Suret (1995, p. 303) noted that ‘the considerable increase in the volume of world trade and foreign investment in recent decades has resulted in a need by foreigners for more information on the operating environment of those countries where they have made investments or exported’.


Recently it has been argued (Cosset and Suret 1995, p. 314) that investment in politically risky countries can give several benefits.

The name, year and page number should appear whether you are quoting directly or paraphrasing, and this reference should refer unambiguously to a source listed in your bibliography. If you were using two different papers written by Cosset and Suret in 1995, you should list them in your bibliography and in the text as Cosset and Suret 1995a and Cosset and Suret 1995b.

You will need to write a reference list. This is a list of references or works consulted, in alphabetical order by author’s last name, and should be included at the end of each essay or dissertation. Students should make certain that there is a complete reference, including page numbers for every citation in the text and that the cited dates and spelling of author names in both text and bibliography are in agreement.

There are several different styles for listing references in a bibliography, and it doesn’t matter too much which one is used as long as it is consistently used throughout. One recommended convention is that provided below:

Journal Articles
Cosset, Jean-Claude & Jean-Marc Suret (1995) Political risk and the benefits of international portfolio diversification. Journal of International Business Studies, 26(2): 301–18.

Donahue, John D (1989) The privatisation decision. New York: Basic Books.

Ashton, Robert H. & Alison H. Ashton, editors. Forthcoming. Judgement and decision-making research in accounting and auditing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chapters in Edited Books
Teece, David J (1987) Capturing value from technological innovation: Integration, strategic partnering, and licensing decisions, In R. B. Guile & H. Brooks, editors, Technology and global industry: Companies and nations in the world economy. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Referencing Rules

The following rules should always be followed:

  • Always acknowledge source material in full.
  • Always use quotation marks when you copy a sentence from another source. Longer quotations should be indented from the margins and single-spaced. The source must be acknowledged and cited in full in your reference list.
  • Acknowledge in full any ideas you have obtained from your readings or from other people. This is done on a sentence-by-sentence basis. Ideas from the literature should be cited in the text and full references, including page number(s), to the source you have read given in the reference list. Ideas communicated orally should also be cited and referenced as “personal communication”.
  • Do not reference any work you have not actually read. Rather you should cite the original author and the source actually read, e.g. “Westerbeek and Smith (2003, cited in Trenberth, 2003) found that…” In the reference list, list the Trenberth reference as the source actually read, but do not include the Westerbeek and Smith reference.

When referencing, you should use conservative or softening words such as "suggests" or" shows", rather than "proves".

Research doesn’t prove things once and for all; rather it shows that certain patterns of relationships appear to exist, awaiting further confirmation or refinement. It is important therefore to use conservative phrases such as "Kelly (2004) suggests..." and "Blyton and Turnbull (2004) indicate..."

Reference Materials

An essential part of preparation for coursework and essays is to collect the necessary reading materials, and data if you are including any empirical evidence. Start by using the reference list contained in the coursework specification of the detailed module outline. Follow this up with your own literature search using (i) references to other journals and books cited in the initial books and journal articles that you read; and (ii) the Social Sciences Citation Index. Make sure that you keep a complete list of all the references you have used to include in your bibliography.