What is Oxford referencing?

The Oxford referencing style is a note citation system developed by the prestigious University of Oxford. It is also sometimes referred to as the documentary-note style. It consists of two elements; footnote citations and a reference list at the end of the document.

If you’ve been asked to make citations in the Oxford referencing style then make sure you follow the guidelines exactly as it can directly impact on the grades you get. Good referencing is a basis for good marks.

How to Oxford reference

To create the footnotes, you need to indicate a reference by putting a superscript number directly following the source material – this number is called the note identifier. You follow this up with a footnote citation at the bottom of the page. The note identifier – often known as an in-text citation – and the footnote should have the same number, thus ensuring the reader knows which source the note identifier is referring to. The footnotes and note identifiers should be in numerical and chronological order. The same number should be attached to the beginning of the citation and should be listed in chronological order.

For the reference list, you need to include the names of the authors, title and date of publication, the name of the publisher and place of publication. Remember to list all the sources you’ve referenced in the footnotes, as well as any other sources that informed your work which you didn’t necessarily quote or paraphrase.

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Oxford referencing example

In-text example:

The sky is blue.1

Footnote example:

Stella Cottrell, The Study Skills Handbook (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

Reference list example:

Cottrell, Stella, The Study Skills Handbook (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)