Resources for Undergraduate Students

Reference and Citation Rules

If you are using someone else’s work – from a book, an article or a website – you must acknowledge the author and the publishing details. Providing references to a passage makes it possible for readers to follow up the sources of the ideas discussed in that piece of writing and, if necessary, place them in a wider context or check the interpretation of the sources used. All sources should be acknowledged, including those from which quotations are taken and those which are paraphrased. For Philosophy the preferred method of indicating the source used in a particular passage is to provide a reference in the text adjacent to the relevant information, idea or quotation, using the Harvard System, explained below.

There is useful information on the Library site at

References in the text

All references to books, articles, and other sources are to be identified at an appropriate point in the text by name of author, year of publication, and page number (within parentheses). Someexamples illustrating different situations are provided below.

  • Reference to an individual author’s general argument should be in the form of ‘Clark(1996) argues that …’.
  • Reference to more than one author should be in the form of ‘various authors have argued that … (Marcus 1987; Clarke 1996)’.
  • Reference to specific page number(s) should be in the form of ‘Clarke (1996:124) suggests that …’.

More specifically:

(a) Where the author’s name is in your text it should be followed immediately by the year of publication and page reference:

Landesman (2002:84) has argued that Descartes assumes an internalist view about knowledge.

(b) Where the author’s name is not in your text, insert in brackets, at an appropriate point immediately following the quotation, paraphrase or reference, the family name(s), year ofpublication, and the page number:

Many philosophers have argued that Descartes strategy is viciously circular (Landesman 2002:128-9).

(c) Where two authors are involved cite both family names. Where more than two authors are involved, cite the family name of the first author followed by et al.:

May et al.(1996:9).

(d) Separate multiple citations by semicolons:

Several recent writers have argued that identity is not what really matters (Parfit 1986; Sosa 1990).

(e) Where you are referring to more than one source published by an author in the same year , use letters (a, b, etc.) to distinguish between them:

Lewis (1984a, 1984b)

(f) When referring to an author quoted or referred to in another text, give date and page numbers from the text you have consulted, for example:

(Hume in Landesman 2002:127)

h) When referring to a paper from a collection of papers, use the author’s name to identifythe source, e.g. Stocker’s paper in the book edited by Jonathan Dancy should be written as shown below.

Stocker (1997) not Dancy (1997).

Sometimes when using a direct quote the exact author’s words will not ‘fit’ grammatically into your sentence , or else you may wish to omit some of their words. In this case you need to use three dots … to denote an omission of words or square brackets [ ] to denote the insertion of some of your own words into the sentence.

For example:

Johnston (1997:169) argues that ‘[t]he fictional device of teleportation can be used to make vivid the details of R-variant concern. … [In these imaginary cases] R holds between the person with the original body and the person with the newly made body’.


The bibliography (or reference list), located at the end of the essay, should list alphabetically, by author’s family name, all references cited in the text. Do not include references which you have read but not used. Generally speaking the following conventions should be followed:


Author’s surname, initial (year published), Title of Book. Place published, publishing company.

Book Chapter/Paper in Edited Collection

Author’s surname, initial (year published), ‘title of chapter/paper’, in editor’s surname, initial, edited Title of Book. Place published, publishing company. page(s).

Journal Article

Author’s surname, initial (year published), ‘title of article’. Title of Journal, volume number, month. pages(s).

Newspaper Article

Author’s surname, initial,’title of article’. Name of Newspaper, date and year, page(s).

Unit Guides, Unit Readers, Lecture Notes

Previously published papers:

When you refer to articles from the Unit Reader treat the Reader articles as if they were book or journal articles. In your citations refer to the page numbers from the Reader, not the original page numbers (unless you have independently consulted the original). In the reference list or bibliography use the bibliographical details as quoted in the Reader. For example:

Lewis, David. (1976) ‘The Paradoxes of Time Travel’,American Philosophical Quarterly, 13; reprinted in Time, Self and Freedom Study Guide, Monash, 2001:49-56.

Unpublished papers:

Lewis, David. (1976) ‘The Paradoxes of Time Travel’; printed in Time, Self and Freedom Study Guide, Monash, 2001:49-56.

Notes from Study Guides:

Townsend, A. (ed.), Life, Death and Morality Study Guide, Monash, 2005: 60-61.

Internet sources

You need to identify the source of material obtained from the internet as you would from a monograph or journal source. For in-text referencing you need to identify the author and date (if known) e.g. (Townsend, 1996). Note that we recommend you do not use websites which do not give the name/s of the author/s.

In your bibliography the full details of the author and the date should be provided followed by the title of the article and the URL , that is the internet address at which the sources can be located along with the date of publication and the date you accessed the information.

Format: Author’s last name, first name. (document date or date of last revision [if different from access date]) ‘Title of Document.’ Title of complete work [if applicable]. Version or file number [if applicable]. Protocol and address, access path or directories (date of access).

For example:

Burka, Lauren P. (1993) ‘A Hypertext History of Multi-User Dimensions’, MUD History. (accessed 2 Aug. 1996).Walker, Janice R. (April 1995)’COS-Humanities Style: MLA-Style Citations of Electronic Sources’, The ColumbiaGuide to On-line Style. (accessed 10 March 1996). This is a useful site to check referencing of web databases, computer games, and various other electronic sources). In your text a reference to the above should appear thus: (Walker,1995) with the full citation in the bibliography.

For example:

* For reference to a book in your final list of references use the following format:

Lewis, David (1986) On the Plurality of Worlds. Oxford: Blackwell.

* For reference to a chapter in a book:

Shoemaker, Sydney (1997) ‘Parfit on Identity’, in Jonathan Dancy (ed.)ReadingParfit . Oxford: Blackwell.

* For reference to a journal article:

Murdoch, Dugald (1999) ‘The Cartesian Circle’ in The Philosophical Review, 108:221-44.

(If you cannot use italics you should underline. The examples provided above show how to indicate the titles of books and journals by means of italics).

In the examples provided above there are several points you should note:

(a) Where you have make reference to several different pieces of work published by the same author they should be set out in chronological order of publication.

(b) Underline or italicise the names of journals and the titles of books, not the titles of articles or chapter headings.

(c) The titles of chapters or reprinted articles from edited books should be placed in quotation marks, as has been done for Shoemaker (1997) above.

(d) The titles of articles from journals should be placed in quotation marks, as has been done for Murdoch (1999) above.

(e) The place of publication is the town or city listed first on the relevant page of the book. It is not the place where the book was printed. (Some publishers are transnational companies and list their major offices throughout the world – the office from which the book was published is the one required).

(f) The date of publication is the date listed for the latest published edition. (Ignore reprint dates).

Observe and use the correct punctuation format.

Resources for Undergraduate Students of Philosophy and Bioethics

Philosophical Writing

Useful pages from James Pryor’s website

(James prepared these papers while at Princeton; he’s now at New York University.)

Philosophical Resources on the Web

Further information