Oxford Style of Citation

The Oxford style of citation is based on a note referencing system, also known as a documentary-note system. This system has two primary elements:  

In-Text Citations

The Oxford style of in-text citations has two main parts as follows:

  • Superscript numbers placed within a paper’s text (i.e. numbers that are slightly smaller and raised above normal text).
  • Notes or footnotes placed at the bottom of any pages where a note appears. All notes and footnotes of this type should be sequentially numbered with superscripted numbers, beginning with the superscript ‘1’ and continuing through the paragraphs and chapters of an essay, article, or paper.
  • The author’s initial or first name is placed before their surname e.g. Brian Jones. This is followed by the title or name of the work being cited, its place of publication, publisher’s name, publication date, and the page number the source is taken from. If a writer refers to the same source again in a corresponding footnote, they need only list the author’s surname and the page number or page numbers. Where more than one creation or work by the same creator or author needs to be referred to, all that is needed is the author’s surname followed by a shortened version of the work’s title and page number or page numbers.
  • Where a reference is reused, ‘ibid’ is used to indicate the fact.
  • Direct quotations should be placed in quotation marks of the single variety.

Creating Reference Pages/Lists

The correct way to list references is to do so alphabetically by author surname. In cases where more than one creation or work by the same author is used or cited, those works should be listed according to their creation date. Where there is no known author for a particular reference, these can be listed alphabetically under the first most important word in the work’s title.      

Only the first name initials of an author need to be provided with full stops or periods between them but no spaces. The surname of the author is listed first.

The example given below is fictional and shows how a citation based on a book authored by one person should be written in the Oxford style.    

Creating a Citation within a Text

1 L. Jackson, A Writer’s Guide to Referencing and Citation, 3rd edn., Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 40. 

Creating a Citation for a References List

Jackson, L., A Writer’s Guide to Referencing and Citation, 3rd edn., Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005. 

General Rules

The rules described below apply to the Oxford citation style:     

  • The use of footnotes in this style serve to provide all the information about a source required to create a bibliography entry. These are placed at the bottom of any page where a source is mentioned. When they appear at the end of a section or chapter, footnotes are referred to as endnotes. Notes of this type are given consecutive numbers throughout a section or chapter. 

Essentially, bibliographies are comprehensive lists of every source cited in a paper, every source used in the preparation of a paper, and any source the reader might find interesting. The sources in a bibliography are listed alphabetically according to the author’s surname or the first-named author’s surname where a work has more than a single author.

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