Oxford Basics to Citations - A Student Guide

Oxford citation referencing is one of those unique styles that are somewhat different from the more mainstream and popular ones like APA, MLA, and Harvard. While it may not be rocket science, it does take some getting used to. Practice breeds familiarity and familiarity can be your best friend whenever you need to refer and cite in a particular style.

The first thing that an essay writer should know about Oxford is that there are two different ways of presenting references while there is one common way to present in-text citations.

In-text Citations…

For the sake of simplicity, let’s start with in-text citations. These are assigned some specific superscript numbers and digits. As you go along, you keep inserting a 1, 2, and a three respectively in superscript. Now, here is the interesting part. Instead of some endnotes that you would expect, there have to be footnotes tallying to each superscript citation plus a list of all the references at the end.

If you have already referred to a source before but need to do so again at some other point of your writing, you may make another entry in the footnotes. But this time, use the surname of the author followed by the abbreviated title of the paper or book and the page numbers. You can add as many entries as you need to for every time that you make an in-text citation.

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Footnotes…

The particular style of the footnotes needs to be the same as most of the other detailed reference entries. There are initials of first and middle names which are followed by the last name of the author(s). You can also use the full first name instead of just initials.

Next comes the title of the source that you are referring to, after which you have to enter the place in which the article has been published. This would be succeeded by the name of the publishing company. Unlike many others, the date of publication does not follow the authors’ names in the Oxford format.

After the date, mention the page numbers (if applicable). Each category is separated by a comma instead of a period.

The Reference List…

This does away with the basic structure of in-text citations and their footnotes. In addition to these footnotes at the end of every page, there is a list of references. In this list, no entry needs to be repeated no matter how many times it has been used in the text and mentioned in the footnotes.

The style of this reference list is a bit different from that of footnotes. In the case of reference entries, the list has to be alphabetized and each entry must start off with the last name instead of first names. The last names will be succeeded by initials of first and middle names. This category has itself followed by an abbreviated title and page numbers.

For different works by the same author, enlist the one which comes first as far as the date of publication is concerned before the others. If they belong to the same year, you can add a lower-case alphabet to distinguish between the two.

Sometimes, you may be required to divide the reference list into two parts based on two broad categories i.e. primary and secondary sources. Take care to not ignore any such instructions so that you leave no stone unturned in making the task as perfect as possible.

References have to start with the surnames followed by initials of the first name. After a comma, the title of your source has to be added. The month and year of publication precede the Journal’s name, volume, issue, and doi of the article (if applicable).

Unlike APA, MLA, and Harvard, adding a year of publication only will not survive. Also, you must not make any mistakes like including a reference that has not been cited as an in-text citation or missing any that has not been cited before.

After you are done, you need to tally the in-text citations, footnotes, and references so that you don’t miss anything or add some additional information that was not needed.

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If there is no listed author for any work that you feel like could make a really strong reference, you can add the first word besides articles or helping verbs from the title of this paper, article, college essay, or book that you are using. The rules notwithstanding, try not to include articles with any missing pieces of information. Only include them if you feel like the quality of your work will be compromised if you do not include this particular source.

The references and citations are not hard to understand or to get into the practice if you are exposed to them repeatedly. For that matter, don’t shy away from the writing or rewriting of essays in different formats and styles so that you can get it perfect the fourth or fifth time that you do it.

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