Making Oxford Referencing Correctly

Bear in mind that the borrowed concepts, theories and ideas have to be cited properly in your academic paper.

When formatting papers in the Oxford style, you need to enter a superscript number when referring to the works of other authors. Additionally, you need to mention the very number at the bottom of the page and then provide detailed information about the source including the number of a page where the citation is taken from. You should start numbering footnotes with the number 1 and continue logical numeration throughout your piece of writing. Remember there should be a line at the bottom of the page separating the text from the footnotes.

Example of a Footnote:

…were definitely the first who have taken such decisive steps. According to Armstrong, Clarkson was motivated by the social policy of Rome in the tenth century BC.1 Some time later, it was stated that there was a breach of discipline in the troop. A lot of soldiers were lost.2 During the period of time between the described events, public viewpoint was unsteady. Some people took a “pro democratic” position till the 1940s,3 while others were influenced by the anti-war movements during the 1960s and 1970s.4


J. Armstrong, 'Gaining Freedom: Dean Clarkson, the Ancient Romans, and Military Ceremony in Italy', Italian Journal of Social and Political Aspects of History, vol. 47, no. 3, 2012, p. 127.
T. Coleman and O. Norman, Why do Democrats Hold such a Position? A Complicated Period of  Italian History, Rome, Roma Tre University Press, 2009, p. 5.
3Armstrong, 'Gaining Freedom', p. 274.
Coleman and Norman, Why do Democrats Hold such a Position? p. 21.

Attention: Today, it is uncommon to use such Latin abbreviations as op., ibid. and cit. when dealing with the Oxford style. In case you often refer to a specific source in your paper, you need to provide its all details in the first footnote. The following footnotes concerning the very source should be presented in a shortened format, i.e. author’s surname, abbreviated source title (no subtitle), and the number of a page. Check the third and fourth footnote to see how a shortened version should look like. Do not forget to indicate all data about a specific work on the Reference Page. Please note that you can find useful information on using Latin abbreviations (if demanded by your professor) on the Internet.

Reference Page

Remember that the list of the used sources should be created on a separate page at the end of your paper. Title it as “Reference List.” This page should contain detailed information regarding the footnotes. It should be organized in the alphabetical order according to the author’s surname. It is necessary to admit that some students often use the terms “Reference List” and “Bibliography” interchangeably. Nevertheless, the former presents the entries you have referred to in your work, while the latter contains the entries which you have used for producing the paper. Before writing your academic paper, you should turn to your professor and clarify the issue. In addition, draw your attention to the following points:

  • In the footnotes, the author’s name should go before the surname, e.g., L. Price. As to the Reference List, everything is vice versa, e.g., Price, L.,
  • If the source does not contain the author, use the first word of the title (here, it does not go about the articles, i.e. “a,” “the”) to continue the logical range.
  • Give all details about book chapters and journal articles on the Reference Page. For example, pp. 141-321. Entire books do not require page numbers on the Reference Page.
  • If you have referred to more than one publication of the same author, present them according to the date starting with the earliest. In case dates are the same, put a lowercase letter after each of the dates to distinguish between the sources, e.g., 2003a, 2003b.

Attention: Some professors ask students to divide the Reference List into two sections, i.e. those indicating the Primary and Secondary sources. Before writing the paper, ask your professor whether it is necessary to make such a division.

Using Quotations in the Oxford Style

Direct quotations containing less than 30 words should be put in the single inverted commas and included in the essay body. They should also be followed by the superscript number referring to the footnote given at the bottom of the page. For instance,

…recently the fact has become obvious. According to Smith, ‘Italian style is considered magnificent’.1

A direct quotation including 30+ words is called a block quote. When dealing with block quotes, the quotation marks should be omitted and the very block should be started as a new paragraph. Additionally, the block quote should be 1 cm indented at the left-hand margin. Note that the quotation should be presented with a colon. It should be stated that there should not be a lot of block quotes in your paper. If a quote is short, a superscript number should follow it immediately. Check the following example:

There were considerable changes in the cultural life of Australia after the war. However, the discussion about whether the very changes have influenced the rest of the world is still open:

The notion “fashion” being a peculiar feature of Australian culture is often considered illogical. The point is that “fashion” is usually associated with some metropolitan regions. However, Australia is like a deserted place which is cut off from the civilization. Moreover, for a long period of time, Australia has been considered cut off from the so-called “wonderful things” such as fashion, cultural and aesthetic taste, etc. One can firmly state that Australian style can be described as casual and practical. Here, it goes about such clothes as T-shirts, jeans, comfortable footwear, etc. Such sets of clothes cannot be called elegant.1

Citing Quotes Referenced by another Person

A secondary source (it is also called a secondary citation) is a book or journal that contains a quotation taken from another work, which you intend to cite. When dealing with the quotes taken from secondary sources, it is necessary to provide the details of both resources in the footnotes. Take a look at the following example:

11 D. Bird, Greek Architecture, Athens, TYO, Patakis, 2003, cited in G. Smith, Ancient Greece, Edinburgh, Sunny Books, 2005, p.64.

Note that your reference list should contain the entry where you have come across the data. For example:

Reference List

Smith, G., Ancient Greece, Edinburgh, Sunny Books, 2005.

Please keep in mind that this approach to citing secondary sources should be used attentively. The best way is to present the original resource that is cited in a publication which you have scrutinized. Nevertheless, it is sometimes impossible because original sources may be out of print or unavailable in English.