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Guides & Tutorial, Pao-yue Kong Library, The Polytechnic University of Hong Kong

Design: Citation and Avoid Plagiarism

Your Starting Point for Research and Study

What is a citation?

A reference providing information about where a particular quotation, text, etc., is to be found; a bibliographical reference.  [Oxford English Dictionary]

In general, citations help readers to locate your sources of information, as well as avoid plagiarism.

Understanding and avoiding plagiarism

You need to understand why and how to use citations to help you avoid plagiarism! The Online Tutorial on Academic Integrity has been developed to raise students’ awareness of academic integrity and the University’s expectations for honest academic behaviour. Use this interactive tutorial to understand the importance and mechanics of avoiding plagiarism through proper citing. 

Online Tutorial on Academic Integrity (access via Learn@PolyU) 

Citation and Journals

The following are the top 10 publishers which PolyU researchers have their works published across various subject areas in the recent 5 years. [Data from Scopus]

1.       Elsevier
2.       IEEE
3.       Springer
4.       Wiley
5.       Taylor & Francis
6.       Sage
7.       Royal Society of Chemistry
8.       Emerald
9.       American Institute of Physics
10.     American Chemical Society

If you are writing a paper for a journal, always check the citation style requirements from that specific journal, because different journal (or publisher) may use different citation styles.

You may refer to the following examples:

1. Elsevier

2. Springer

3. Wiley

4. Taylor and Francis

Reference management tool

The Library offers several reference management tools: EndNote, Mendeley, and Zotero (which are freeware). Understand the features of these tools from this page and choose a proper tool to organize your citations and references. Refer to this EndNote FAQ if you encounter any problems with EndNote.

Which citation style shall I use?

The citation style you use depends on your discipline. If you're not sure, check with your professor. Citation styles commonly used by various disciplines are listed below:

Subject Commonly used
citation style
Applied Science & Textiles (FAST) APA / Harvard
Construction & Environment (FCE) IEEEHarvard
Engineering (FENG) IEEE
Health Sciences (FHSS) APA
Social Sciences (FHSS) APA
Humanities (FH) APAMLA
School of Design (SD) APA
School of Hotel & Tourism
Management (SHTM)

APA style for School of Design

Two parts of a citation:

1. In-text citation

  • Mainly include Author name and publication year

e.g. (Hickman, 2008) or

        Hickman (2008) brought up the idea of …


2. References

Reference list should be

  • Sorted by the author name in alphabetical order
  • Consistent with the in-text citation

Print Book

APA Style (6th edition)

Hickman, R. (2008). Research in art & design education: issue and exemplars. Bristol: Intellect.

Journal article

Cartier, P. (2011). Most valuable aspects of educational expectations of the students in design education. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Science, 15(0), 2187-2191. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.04.077


Xing, N. (2013). Design for the public: public design in outdoor privately owned public space (POPS) in Hong Kong shopping centres (Doctoral dissertation). The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.

Magazine article

Goldman, M. (2011, July). Kombat Cinematography. American Cinematographer, 92 (7), 18-22.  Retrieved from

AV materials (Movie)

McCallum, R. (Producer) & Lucas, G. (Director). (2005). Star Wars. Episode III, Revenge of the Sith [Motion Picture]. Beverly Hills, CA: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. 


The Washington Post (2012, April 6). TechBits: Now Android users can share Instagram photos like their friends with iPhones TechBits: Now Android users can share Instagram photos like their friends with iPhones. The Washington Post. Retrieved from Newspaper Source

Game Review (Blog Post))

Mark of the Ninja [Video file]. Retrieved from

Online video

Worshipper, H. (2007, Nov 5) Autonomous hover in daylight [Video file]. Retrieved from

Movie Trailer

Walt Disney Pictures (2014). Big Hero 6 trailer [Video file]. Retrieved from 

Case Study (Online)

Sharp, Y., Rogers, H. & Preece, J. (2007). Using the “technology as experience" framework. In Interaction design: Beyond human-computer interaction (Case Study 5.1). Retrieved from  

Citation link on databases

Many databases provide quick link to citation style, you can simply "copy" the citation from your search result list and "paste" to your document. The following are a few examples of copying APA citation (6th edition) from online sources:

1. OneSearch  

2. ProQuest