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Footnoting (Oxford) Referencing Style Guide  

Last Updated: May 19, 2015 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts

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Why do you need to cite references?

It is important to always provide references for any information that you have used in your essays or assignments. Acknowledging your sources helps you to avoid plagiarism and also allows readers to examine these ideas in their original context. 

To present your references in a clear and concise way you are required to be consistent and use a recommended style guide. 

This guide looks at the Oxford referencing style, also known as the Footnoting or Traditional system. The Footnoting style can vary in minor features such as punctuation, capitalisation, abbreviations, and the use of italics so if in doubt, please check with your lecturers.

On the right hand side of this page you will find information on how to set out your citations.

Click on the tabs across the top of this page to find detailed examples on how to reference specific sources of information.


What style should you use?

The Footnoting style is also referred to as the Documentary-note, Oxford or Traditional system. It is used in a number of Humanities and Social Sciences subjects. Before using this guide be sure to check with your lecturer or supervisor to make sure that this is the correct guide for your area.


Requirements for Turnitin

Please note: we have recently changed part of this style to suit the requirements of Turnitin. Single quotation marks have now been replaced with double quotes e.g.

Slavin, M , "The French Revolution in Russian intellectual life: 1854-1905". Europe-Asia Studies vol. 49, no. 8, 1997, pp 1565-1568.

When using Turnitin is is also important that your assignments have no stray quotation marks and that every sentence or reference that features quotations marks must end with a full stop.


Footnotes and Bibliography

The Footnote Referencing Style has two main features, in-text reference numbers with accompanying footnotes which appear within the text of your assignment and are used to acknowledge each source you use and the bibliography which appears at the end of your assignment and is a complete list of everything you have cited.

Intext references with footnotes

With the footnote system you indicate each reference used by entering a number directly following the information cited. This number is referred to as a note identifier. Your notes should begin with number one and should be in superscript - a small font that sits slightly above the line of text. These numbers are used to identify any information that has been referenced.

Each number or note identifier should also appear at the bottom of of each page together with the bibliographic details of the source used. These entries are called footnotes.



The bibliography is a complete list of all references used and it appears at the end of your assignment. It includes the references you cited as well as other sources you may have read but not quoted from.

The format is similar to that used in the footnotes but with two main exceptions.

  • In footnotes, the author’s given name or initial precedes the surname i.e. P. Grimshaw, while in the bibliography the surname comes first i.e. Grimshaw, P.
  • Bibliographic entries for books do not contain page numbers.




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