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The guides have been written by the ELC to help you to become familiar with academic referencing conventions and to reference correctly in your work. Most departments at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University use one of four referencing styles. Choose the appropriate referencing style on the left as advised by your programme leader.

Vancouver Referencing Guide

The Vancouver referencing system FH_17

Referencing is a standard practice for acknowledging information sources in academic writing at university. Whenever you write an assignment that requires you to find and use information, you are expected to reference all the sources of information and ideas included in your writing.

This webpage provides guidelines for using the Vancouver referencing system. There are two components to a Vancouver reference:

  1. an in-text reference in the body of your assignment:
    Chan [1] explores a range of themes and ideas ...
  2. full reference details in your reference list:
    [1] Chan DP. Business in China. Hong Kong: Dragon Press; 2011.
Part 1 Basic rules

Why do we reference?

Most academic assignments require wide reading so that previous and current thinking about a particular topic can be identified. It is important to show your reader that you have sought out expert, reliable sources to help support and develop your thinking on your topic. The referencing in your assignment should:

  • demonstrate good research practice
  • show the range of ideas and approaches you have found and thought about
  • acknowledge where those ideas came from
  • tell your reader where they can locate the sources you have used

Referencing also helps you to avoid plagiarism. If you present someone else's ideas, and/or the way they express their ideas, as if they are your own work, you are committing plagiarism. Plagiarism can be unintentional due to poor referencing, but the consequences are always serious. Accurate referencing helps you to avoid this.

i. When to reference

Every time you include someone else's words, ideas or information in your assignment, an in-text reference must be provided. Insert an in-text reference whenever you:

  • paraphrase someone else's ideas in your own words
  • summarise someone else's ideas in your own words
  • quote someone else's ideas in their exact words
  • copy or adapt a diagram, table or any other visual material

ii. How to reference

An in-text reference is provided each time you refer to ideas or information from another source, and includes the following details:

the author's family name (do not include given names) + reference number in square brackets

There are two main ways to present an in-text reference:

a) Integral referencing
The reference is in the body of your sentence, with the author's family name integrated into the sentence structure, and the reference number is given in square brackets. This type of reference is often used when you want to give prominence to the author.

Lam [2] argues that Hong Kong needs to further assimilate into the Pearl River Delta economy if its long term growth is to be assured.
vancouver_integral

b) Non-integral referencing
The reference number is enclosed in the sentence in square brackets. This type of reference is often used when you want to give prominence to the information.

The Hong Kong economy expanded by 2.3% in the third quarter of 2011 [3].

[3] Census and Statistics Department, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative
Region. Hong Kong economic trends. Hong Kong: Census and Statistics Department; 2012 Apr.

iii. Including page numbers

Page numbers should be included in your in-text reference and reference list when you:

  • use a direct quote from a particular source
  • copy tables or figures, or present specific information like dates/statistics
Cheung [4:296] notes that "universities in Hong Kong need to strengthen their academic credentials" if they are to compete in the world economy.

[4] Chung H. Chinese universities and the future. J. of Asian Educational Research. 2012;84(8):296.

You can also include a page number when you take an idea from a particular page. However, it would not be appropriate academic style to include a page number in all or most of your in-text citations if you are only taking ideas from a source.

iv. Use of "et al."

Where there are two or more authors, only the first author should be used followed by "et al." (which is Latin for et alia) meaning and others:

Wong et al. [5] found that the majority ...

The following chart shows how to format in-text citations for Vancouver referencing style:

Type of citation → Integral
Number of authors ↓ First citation in text Subsequent citations in text
One author Chan [1] argues ... Chan [1] argues ...
Two or more Authors Chan et al. [2] suggest ... Chan et al. [2] suggest ...
Groups (easily identified by abbreviation) as authors The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HKHA) [3] states ... The HKHA [3] states ...
Groups (no abbreviation) as authors Animals Asia [4] defines ... Animals Asia [4] defines ...

v. Ellipsis and Square brackets

Ellipsis refers to dots in the middle of a sentence. Their purpose is to let the reader know that some part of a quotation has been left out. If it is necessary to interrupt a quotation you are citing in order to clarify something, you should enclose your remarks in square brackets.

Original: "Students in the university should study outside class, in all credit bearing subjects, for at least 6 hours a week."

With text omitted and clarification: "Students in the university [The Hong Kong Polytechnic University] should study outside class ... for at least 6 hours a week."

Sample text with in-text referencing and reference list

Vancouver in-text referencing uses the author's surname and the reference number in square brackets for integral citations, and the reference number in square brackets for non-integral citations. Include a page number (or paragraph number for online sources) in the reference list for direct quotations. The reference list is in numerical order.

Until recently, development in the textile and clothing industry has focused on "technological and cost aspects" [1:5]. According to Chen et al. [2:249], emphasis has been placed on keeping the price of the “final product low and increasing efficiency in production”. Tukker et al. [3] further point out that designers, manufacturers and retailers have paid less attention to other factors such as ownership and related business models, as well as consumer wishes and values. Hence, the products are designed and produced according to regularly changing trends that enable a quick profit [4], rather than radically rethinking the ways of designing and manufacturing the offering that is based on consumer needs and sustainability as proposed by Park et al. [5].

 

References
vancouver_references

1. What it does

The reference list provides full bibliographic details for all the sources referenced in your essay so that readers can easily locate the sources. Each different source referenced in your essay must have a matching entry in your reference list.

It is important to note that the reference list is not a bibliography. A bibliography lists everything you may have read, while a reference list is deliberately limited to those sources for which you have provided in-text references. A bibliography is not needed unless specifically requested by your lecturer.

 

2. How it looks

The reference list is titled "References" and must be:

  • ordered as they appear in the in-text references (in order of citation, not in alphabetical order).
  • a single list where books, journal articles and electronic sources are listed together. Do not divide into separate lists.

The main elements required for all references are the author's name(s), year, title and publication information. The basic reference formats are shown in the following examples. These should be followed exactly, paying special attention to details of capitalisation, punctuation and order of information.

 

3. Journal article format

[Reference number] First author's surname Initials,Second author's surname Initials,Third
author's surname Initials.Title of article.Name of journal.Year;Volume
number(Issue number):Page range of article.

vancouver_journalArticle

 

4. Book format

[Reference number] First author's surname Initials,Second author's surname Initials,Third
author's surname Initials.Title of book.City of publication:Publisher;Year.

vancouver_bookformat

 

5. Internet source format

[Reference number] Name of organisation.Title of article[type of medium].Year[citedYear Month Day].
Available from:URL

vancouver_internetSource

1. How do I cite two or more authors?

When there are two or more authors for a reference, you should only use the first author's family name in the in-text reference followed by the abbreviation "et al.". For a non-integral reference, only include the reference number in square brackets. For example:

  • According to Choi et al. [1], students in Asia are more studious than their North American counterparts.
  • Wong et al. [2] strongly support the use of technology in the classroom.
  • Asian students devoted on average 16 hours per week to out-of-class study compared to 10 hours for North American students [3].

2. In the reference list what should I do when there is many authors?

If there are more than two authors:
List by last names and initials. Separate names by a comma after the initials.

[4] Chow RK, Ping SM. Mood management in university students. J. of
Asian Psychology. 2004;45(3):1034-1048.


[5] Luk WK, Chan YK, Sing AN, Burton H, Heart L, Burns HU. The Chinese student: A study. J. of East Asian Psychology. 2009;32(5):1190-1204.

If there are many authors:
Give all authors, regardless of the number.

[6] Tukker A, Emmert S, Charter M, Vezzoli C, Stive E, Andersen MM, Chan ER. Fostering
change to sustainable consumption and production: An evidence based view. J. of
Cleaner Production. 2011;16:1218-1225.

3. How do I cite when there is no author and/or no date?

When no person is mentioned, include the title of the source or the authoring/sponsoring organisation in place of the author.

For example:

  • The English Language Centre [7] aims to improve students' communication skills to enable them to attain excellent results in their academic and professional lives.

When no date of publication is given but the publication contains a date of copyright, use the date of copyright preceded by the letter "c"; for example c2012. If neither a date of publication nor a date of copyright can be found, but a date can be estimated, insert a question mark after the estimated date and place date information in square brackets. If the date of publication cannot be estimated, use [date unknown].

[8] Amano Y. Final fantasy: 20th anniversary artbook. Macau: ACG Studio; [date unknown].

[9] Equal Opportunities Commission. Equal treatment for native speakers.
Hong Kong: Equal Opportunities Commission; [2001?].

However, be cautious about using sources without dates. A source with no date might not be reliable.

4. How do I present exact quotations?

Short quotations of fewer than thirty words should be enclosed in double quotation marks (" ... ") and be accompanied by an in-text reference. Remember to include the page or paragraph number after the reference number in square brackets and in the reference list so that the reader can find the quotation.

For example:

  • Research by Leung [10:15] indicates that "students in Hong Kong devote on average 5 hours a week to their English studies from the age of four".

Longer quotations of more than thirty words should be presented without quotation marks and indented (using Tab key) at the left. Include the page or paragraph number in the complete reference list.

For example:

According to Obama [11:45], America:
should be more modest in our belief that we can impose democracy on a country through military force. In the past, it has been movements for freedom from within tyrannical regimes that have led to flourishing democracies; movements that continue today. This does not mean abandoning our values and ideals; wherever we can, it’s in our interest to help foster democracy through the diplomatic and economic resources at our disposal.

5. Where exactly do I put the full stop when quoting and/or citing?

Full stops must always be placed at the very end of a sentence, after the quotation and/or in-text reference. For example:

  • According to Mooney [12:34], "exam pressure in Hong Kong has lessened slightly in the past decade".
  • Research indicates that students in Hong Kong have had four mobile devices before their 18th birthday [13].

6. Can I cite two or more sources at the same time?

Yes you can. Study the following examples.

Example 1: ... as shown by Chan [4], [5];
Example 2: ... as mentioned earlier [2], [4]–[7], [9];
Example 3: ... Wong [4] and Brown and Jones [5];

In example 1, Chan has at least two articles in the reference list. In example 2, there are six references mentioned. In example 3, there are two integral references.

7. Can I paste the URL of a webpage into my essay as an in-text citation?

No. Follow the Vancouver referencing conventions for all sources. If you are unsure how to reference a website because there is no author or date information, follow the guidelines provided below for referencing sources without authors or dates.

8. How do I cite information from one author (Author 1) which I have found in a book or journal article by another author (Author 2)?

This is secondary citation. Vancouver style does not allow for the use of secondary sources in in-text citations. You should try to locate the original source of information which is cited in a work which you have read. If an original source cannot be located, you should cite it as following in the reference list.

[14] Cooper M. Relapse and craving: A commentary. Alcohol Alert. 1989;6:3. Cited by Hull BT, Kline C, Tulper KE. Alcohol and degeneration. J. East Asian Medicine. 2008;6(3):761-7.
Part 2 Referencing guide

Type of source In-text references Reference list
Books Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets (+ page number for direct quotations)

Example:
Wong [1:56] points out that "...".
[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitleCity of PublicationPublisherYear of publication. p.Page number for direct quotations.


[1]  Wong BKFostering creativityOxfordBlackwell; 2002p.56.
Chapters in an edited book Cite the author(s) of the chapter in the text of your paper, not the author(s) of the book + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Carter et al. [2] argue that ...

(use et al. when citing 2 or more authors)
[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitle of chapter. In: Surname and Initials of editor, editor. Title of bookCity of publicationPublisherYear of publication. p.Page range of chapter.


[2]  Carter RHughes RMcCarthy M.Telling tails: Grammarthe spoken language and materials developmentInTomlinson BeditorMaterials development in language teachingCambridgeCUP; 1998.p.67-86.
Books with different editions Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
This is described by Hill [3] ...
[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitleEdition number. City of publicationPublisherYear of publication. p.Page number for direct quotations.


[3]  Hill VThe structure of metals.3rd edOxford: Pergamon Press;2012.p.98.
Books with no date Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Griffith [4] points out that ...
[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitleCity of publicationPublisher; [date unknown].


[4]  Griffith C.Almonds in bakingHong KongBakewall; [date unknown].
ebooks and pdfs Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Tsang [5] ascertains ...
[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitle [type of medium]. City of publicationPublisherYear of publication [cited Year Month Day]. Available from: URL


[5]  Tsang S.A modern history of Hong Kong [ebook]. LondonI.BTauris2004 [cited 2014 May 14]Available from: http://books.google.com.hk/books
Journal articles (with author) Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets

Examples:
Poon et al. [6] argue that students should refer to sources properly …

Lam [7:20] mentions that "students need to be mindful of the importance of referencing" …
[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitle of article. Name of journalYear of publicationVolume number (Issue number): Page range of article.


[6]  Poon LSLee JCChan ABJones JESmith JFRe-evaluating the effects of computer games on young peopleJof Applied Social Psychology2003; 12(3)88-100.


[7]  Lam TRReferencingJof Applied Social Psychology200514(2)19-26.
Journal articles (no author) Number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Many organisations already use this method [8].

(non-integral citation recommended)
[Ref # Title of articleName of journalYear of publicationVolume number (Issue number): Page range of article.


[8]  Infrared spectroscopy and allied techniqueJ.Phys. SocJpn200912(3)28-29.
URLs and DOIs Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Anderson-Clark et al. [9] believe that students should ...
If the article has a DOI, use it in your reference. If there is no DOI, include the journal homepage URL in your reference.

[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitle of article. Name of journal [type of medium]. Year of publication [cited Year Month Day]; Volume number (Issue number): Page range of article. DOI:#


[9]  Anderson-Clark TGreen RHenley TThe relationship between first names and teacher expectations for achievement motivationJof Language & Social Psychology [e-journal]2008 [cited 2014 May 24]27:94-99. DOI10.1177/0261927X07309514
Electronic journals Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
... and this has been formulated by Halonen et al. [10] who ...
[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitle of article. Name of journal [type of medium]. Year (Month) of publication [cited Year Month Day]; Volume number (Issue number): Page range of article (if given). Available from: URL


[10]  Halonen SJSimpson RRJolly DGAu PRBagot FP, Chui JJComputer games and personal developmentFamily Forum[e-journal]2010 [cited 2014 May 7]2(3)Available from: http://www.ff.comgampdev.org
Internet sources (electronic only sources) Name of organisation + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HKHA) [11] maintains that ...
[Ref # Name of organisationTitle of article [type of medium]. Year of publication [cited Year Month Day]. Available from: URL


[11]  The Hong Kong Housing AuthorityHousing in figures [pdf]2011 [cited 2014 Mar 7]Available from: http://www.housingauthority.gov.hk/en/pdf/about-us/publications-and-statistics/HIF2011.pdf
Government reports Name of department + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
The Equal Opportunities Commission [12] has reported that ...
[Ref # Name of departmentTitle of article. City of publicationPublisherYear Month of publication (if available)(Number of document - if given).


[12]  Equal Opportunities CommissionPreventing and dealing with sexual harassmentHong KongEqual opportunities Commission2012 Sep.
DVDs or films For a film or DVD, use the surname of the director + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Law [13] captured the imagination of ...

If there is no director, it is suggested that a non-integral reference should be used.

Example:
... as was shown by numerous films in the 1980s [14].
For a film the suggested elements should include:

[Ref # Surname of producer Initials, Producer. Surname of director Initials, Director. Title of motion picture [type of medium]. Country of originStudio or distributorYear of release.


[13]  Law ADirectorEchoes of the rainbow [motion picture]Hong KongMei Ah Entertainment2010.


[Ref # Full title of DVD or video [type of medium]. Country of originFilm studio or makerYear of release(Other relevant details).


[14]  Great films from the 80sA selection of clips from Warner Brothers top films from the 1980s [DVD]. New York: Warner Brothers; 2005.
Youtube videos It is suggested that a non-integral reference should be used for youtube sources.

Example:
... celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2007 [15].
[Ref # Screen name of contributorVideo title, Series title [type of medium]. Year Month Day of publication [cited Year Month Day]. Available from: URL


[15]  HongKongPolyU. PolyU milestones [video file]. 2011 Nov 17 [cited 2012 Mar 7]. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XsfWmFyrNg
Newspaper articles (with author) Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Van der Kamp [16] believes that ...
[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitle of article. Name of newspaperYear Month Day of publicatonPage number(s) of article.


[16]  Van der Kamp JJust leasing more land won't open up the property marketSunday Morning Post. 2012 Apr 1:15.
Newspaper articles (no author) Name of newspaper + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Sunday Morning Post [17] states that ...
[Ref # Name of newspaperTitle of articleYear Month Day of publicatonPage number(s) of article.


[17]  Sunday Morning PostDemocratic Party new initiatives on pollution2012 Sep 12:8.
Online newspaper articles Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Cross [18] opines that ...
[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitle of article. Name of newspaper [type of medium]. Year Month Day of publication [cited Year Month Day]. Available from: URL


[18]  Cross GNews of a children's commission will bring good cheer to Hong KongSouth China Morning Post [Internet]2013 Dec 24 [cited 2013 Dec 26]. Available fromhttp://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1389081/news-childrens-commission-will-bring-good-cheer-hong-kong
Magazine articles Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Pringle [19] illustrates that ...
[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitle of article. Name of magazineYear Month of publicationVolume number (Issue number): Page number(s) of article.


[19]  Pringle HLofty ambitions of the IncaNational Geographic Magazine2011 Apr219(4)34.
Online magazine articles Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Toobin [20] comments that ...
[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitle of article. Name of magazine [type of medium]. Year Month Day of publication [cited Year Month Day]. Available from: URL


[20]  Toobin JSame-sex marriagethe legal delugeThe New Yorker [Internet]2013 Dec 24 [cited 2013 Dec 26]Available from: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/12/same-sex-marriage-the-legal-deluge.html
Translated work Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Freud [21] acknowledged ...
When quoting from a foreign language work in the main body of the text, the quote should be provided in English.

[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitle. Surname and initials of translator, translator. City of publicationPublisher; Year of publication. p.Page number for direct quotations.


[21]  Freud SThe psychopathology of everyday life. Brill AAtranslatorLondonT.Fisher Unwin; 1914p.109.
Chinese sources Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Xiao [22] shows that ...
Do a romanisation of the author's name and title of book/article. If readers cannot read Chinese, add a translation of the book/article’s title in square brackets.

When quoting from a foreign language work in the main body of the text, the quote should be provided in English.

[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitle [Translation of book/article's title]. City of publication: PublisherYear of publication.


[22]  Xiao L.Zhongguo su miao yi shu [The art of Chinese drawing]ShanghaiMei Shu Chu Ban She; 2008.
Lecture notes Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Jenkins [23] asserts that ...
You are advised not to cite university lecture notes - to do so is often deemed unacceptable. You ought to locate, read and cite the sources and references provided in the Reading List or References in the lecture notes.

However, the following guidelines may assist you should you need to cite lecture notes:

[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitle of lecture notes [unpublished lecture notes].Name of institutionYear Month Day of lecture.


[23]  Jenkins RDevelopments in computer-assisted learning [unpublished lecture notes]Hong Kong Polytechnic University2012 Oct 12.
Online dissertations and theses Surname of author + number of reference in square brackets

Example:
Yuen [24] points out that ...
[Ref # Surname of author InitialsTitle of dissertation/ thesis [dissertation/master's thesis].City: Name of institutionYear [cited Year Month Day]. Available from:URL


[24]  Yuen WLAn investigation of the politeness phenomena in hotel service encounters [dissertation]Hong KongHong Kong Polytechnic University2009 [cited 2013 Dec 26]. Available fromhttps://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/bitstream/200/5346/1/b23429835.pdf
References with missing details If no obvious publication date, aim to establish the earliest likely date, example,

2012? = probable year
ca. 2012 = approximately 2012
201- = decade certain but not year
201? = probable decade

If you cannot identify the name of an author, city or publisher, use the following terms:

anon. = author is anonymous or unidentifiable
s.l. = no city of publication (Latin:sine loco)
s.n. = no named publisher (Latin:sine nomine)

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