skip to page contentskip to navigation menuWriting for University Courses - Punctuation
Advice Practice
Punctuation Menu | Main Menu | Help | Contents List | Definitions | Print Guide

Development Level menu

" '

( )

Punctuation in referencing

Development Level Checklist

Show Starter Level menu

Development Level Advice

Punctuation in referencing

You need to follow the accepted ways (i.e. the conventions) of punctuation when citing or referencing other people's work.

'Key Skills Online' has detailed guidance on referencing. Go to References and Resources in the Main Menu for how to access it. The Learning Centre at Sheffield Hallam University also has leaflets abut referencing, and the Learning Centre web site has guidance on references and bibliographies.

The following gives only a brief summary of what is required, by way of introducing the issue of punctuation.

'Citing' means referring to somebody else's work in your text. If, in your text, you describe what somebody else has said or written or if you give their exact words in quotation marks, You must give in brackets some information which links to your list of references (or bibliography) at the end of your work.The information needed in brackets is the name of the author(s) and the date of publication. The examples show you how to punctuate this.

'The Student Skills Guide' (Drew and Bingham 2001) is a book for students wishing to improve the skills they need on university courses.
In the above example the names of the authors and the date are placed in brackets.

'The Student Skills Guide' claims that "This book helps you to develop skills you will need not only on your course but also later at work." (Drew and Bingham 2001, p 3).
The above example gives an actual quotation, so the page on which it appears in the original is also needed. Note that the citation is given in brackets, there is a comma after the date, and the final full stop goes immediately after the brackets. This makes it clear that the citation refers to the words before it. Without such a final full stop the citation might refer to any words which follow it.

'The Student Skills Guide' claims that "This book helps you to develop skills you will need not only on your course but also later at work." (Drew and Bingham, 2001: 3).
The third example is almost the same as the second one, but it uses a different convention for showing the page number. In this example the 'p' is omitted and instead a colon (:) is placed between the date and the page number.

Check with your tutors which convention you should use.

List of references (bibliography)
'A reference' gives the details the reader needs to find a publication. You need a list of references at the end of your piece of work, giving all the works you have referred to. Punctuation is important in a reference because it makes clear where the elements in the reference start and end. These are some examples , and you may find that the conventions differ slightly between different subject areas and different journals and publishers.

DREW, S., THORPE,L. and BANNISTER, P.(2002). Key skills computerised assessments: guiding principles. Assessment and evaluation in higher education 27(3), 175-86.

CHALMERS, A. F. (1986). The Galileo that Feyerbrand missed: an improved case against method.
In SCHUSTER, J.A. and YEO, R.A. (eds.). The politics and rhetoric of scientific method. Reidel, 1-31.

Note that in the above example the title of the publication is given in italics (another convention is to underline the title), that in the second example the chapter title is given in single inverted commas.

© Learning & Teaching Institute, Sheffield Hallam University 2004