Study Tips & Tricks

Tricky Referencing #1

Author quoted in another work (Secondary Source):

Ever come across a really great quote or piece of information while you’re reading a journal article for your latest assignment, only to find out that the author(s) got it from somewhere else? Want to reference it but not sure how?

The first thing you should do is try and locate the original article or book – find the full reference in the reference list at the end of the article and try searching on the Library Catalogue or Quick Find. If it is a reputable, scholarly, reliable source that is relatively recent, you should be able to locate it. You would generally only want to use a secondary source if the item is out of print, written in a foreign language, or unavailable through usual avenues.

If this is the case, and you really can’t find the information anywhere else, you will need to reference it as a “secondary source”. Essentially, you name the primary author AND cite the secondary author in-text, but only the secondary author in your reference list.

Examples for referencing a secondary source can be located on CiteWrite under the Authors tab.

For example:
In-text: Primary author (as cited in Secondary Author, Year, p. _);                   Reference List: Secondary Author. (Year). Title of Secondary Work. Place of publication: Publisher.

In-text: (primary author quoted in secondary author, date, pg no.);                  Reference List: Secondary author. Year. Title of secondary source. Place of publication: Publisher.

Top Tips for referencing a Secondary Source:

  1. Always see if the original source is available first and read it – it is possible that the information or quote has been taken out of context or re-worded to suit the secondary author’s argument;
  2. Don’t reference the original source if you haven’t actually read it – putting a source in your reference list when you haven’t actually used it in your assignment can constitute plagiarism and can result in losing valuable marks;
  3. Use secondary source references sparingly – for example, if the resource is out of print, or written in a foreign language, and if the information is unavailable anywhere else.

Don’t forget! CiteWrite should be your first stop for any referencing queries. If you’re still in doubt, come and ask at the Learning & Research Desk @ the Library.

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