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.
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?
Generally, the citation style you use depends on your discipline. If you're not sure, check with your instructor. In PolyU, citation styles commonly used by various disciplines are listed below:
Commonly used citation style
Applied Science & Textiles (FAST)
APA / Harvard
APA / Harvard
Construction & Environment (FCE)
IEEE / Harvard
IEEE / APA
Health Sciences & Social Sciences (FHSS)
APA / MLA
School of Design (SD)
School of Hotel & Tourism Management (SHTM)
APA style for Faculty of Business
APA style follows an author-year format in referencing. A citation contains two parts:
1. In-text citation
Format: generally, author surname and publication year enclosed in parentheses
Chan (2016) studied that... Chan (2016, p. 15) claimed that "..."
Couple of studies reported similar results (Chan, 2016; Smith & Booth, 2018; Gorman, Reese, & Smith, 2019).
... as stated in its annual report (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 2017).
Format: different type of sources uses different format of reference entry. See examples below.
Order: all references are sorted by the author surname in alphabetical order.
1) Print Book:
Mankiw, N. G. (2015). Essentials of economics (7th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
2) Journal article:
Bolton, P., & Oehmke, M. (2015). Should derivatives be privileged in bankruptcy? Journal of Finance,70(6), 2353-2394.
3) Country Report from Economist Intelligence Unit:
Economist Intelligence Unit. (April 2016). Country report: China. Retrieved from Economist Intelligence Unit database.
4) Market Research Report from Passport:
Euromonitor International. (March 2016). Apparel and footwear in China. Retrieved from Passport database.
5) Annual Report from Company Website:
China Mobile Ltd. (2015). Annual report. Retrieved from http://www.chinamobileltd.com/en/ir/reports.php
6) News Article from Factiva:
Osawa, J., & Schechner, S. (6 April 2016). Huawei aims high with new phone. The Wall Street Journal. p. B1. Retrieved from Factiva database.
7) Price Chart from Bloomberg:
Bloomberg L.P. (2016). Historical price line chart for China Mobile Ltd. 1/1/2000 to 31/12/2015. Retrieved from Bloomberg database.
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: