UCL Philosophy


Guide to Referencing for Coursework

Many different ways of giving references are used in academic publications. All systems are acceptable, provided they are applied consistently.

For your guidance, we suggest the following, which is a simplified version of the Harvard system:

1. References may be given either in the main text of your essay, or in a footnote or endnote. References are in brackets and take the form of the author's surname, followed by date of publication, followed (if appropriate) by page number(s), e.g. (Wiggins 1997, 251). Note that all quotations must be supplied with page references, but if you are referring to an author's text in general terms, then of course page numbers are not required. 

2. Full details of all the works to which you refer must be supplied in a list of references or bibliography at the end of your essay. (See below regarding what form these should take.)

Some finer points regarding references given in the main text or in footnotes/endnotes:

  • Authors' names are given without initials, e.g. (Dennett 1996). Initials need to be given only when two authors with the same surname are referred to, e.g. (Smith, A. 1996; Smith, W. 1994).
  • When referring to more than one article published in the same year by the same author, use lower-case letters to differentiate them, e.g. (Henrich 1981a) and (Henrich 1981b).
  • If you refer to republished historical works, it is good practice to give the date of original publication in square brackets, e.g. (Kant 1997, 26 [1786] ).
  • If the name of the author is already given in the text, then the date alone should be added in brackets, e.g. '... work by Fodor (1981) shows the importance of understanding ...'
  • References to two or more works should be in alphabetical order, separated by a semi-colon, e.g. (Budd 1991; Goodman 1970; Wollheim 1986a; Wollheim 1986b).

Full bibliographical references:

References should be listed in alphabetical order according to author surname, regardless of whether the work is a whole book, an edited collection, a chapter/article in an edited collection, a journal paper, or an online publication.

A book reference should contain the following information: author/editor(s) surname; author/editor(s) first name or initial(s); date; title (in italics); special edition (e.g. 2nd or revised); place of publication (city); name of publisher. E.g.:

Allison, Henry (2004), Kant's Transcendental Idealism: An Interpretation and Defense, revised edition (New Haven, NJ: Yale University Press).

Ariew, Roger, and Eric Watkins (eds) (2009), Modern Philosophy: An Anthology of Primary Sources, 2nd edn. (Indianapolis: Hackett).

References to chapters/articles in an edited collection should contain the following information: author surname; author first name or initial(s); date of edited collection; title of chapter/article (in inverted commas); full name of editor(s); title of edited collection (in italics); place of publication (city); name of publisher. E.g.:

Davidson, Donald (1982), 'Paradoxes of Irrationality', in Richard Wollheim and James Hopkins (eds), Philosophical Essays on Freud (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Halbig, C. (2008), 'Varieties of Nature in Hegel and McDowell', in Jakob Lindgaard (ed.), John McDowell: Experience, Norm, and Nature (Oxford: Blackwell).

References to papers/articles in journals should contain the following information: author surname; author first name or initial(s); date of issue of journal; title of article (in inverted commas); name of journal (in italics); volume number; article pages. E.g.:

McDowell, John (1995), 'Knowledge and the Internal', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 55, 877-893

All internet publications should be treated as if they were hard copy, i.e. cited by author's name and date in the main text and full citation in the bibliography. In the bibliography you should give the web address and also indicate the date on which you retrieved the information, as web-based information is prone to change. E.g.:

Parfit, Derek (1998), 'Why Anything? Why This?', https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v20/n02/derek-parfit/why-anything-why-this (retrieved 26/7/2022).

Rohlf, M. (2010), 'Immanuel Kant', Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant/ (retrieved 15/8/2012)

Regarding lectures/handouts: It is seldom good practice to cite something that was said during the course of a lecture, or text from a course handout. You should normally aim to cite published references, and should not cite a lecture or handout simply to avoid searching the literature for yourself. If you do need to cite a lecturer or a handout, because the information in question is not in the published literature, then you should just put a reference in the text of your coursework, without putting any further entry in your list of references, e.g. 'It can be objected to Locke that ... (Paul Snowdon, lecture 15/03/2012)' or 'It can be objected to Locke that ... (Paul Snowdon, lecture handout)'.