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

Law: 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:

Commonly used citation style
Applied Science & Textiles (FAST) APA / Harvard
Business (FB) 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 Faculty of Business

Two parts of a citation:

1. In-text citation

  • Mainly include Author name and publication year

2. References

Reference list should be

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

Example 1 (Print Book)

Mankiw, N. G. (2015). Essentials of economics (7th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Example 2 (Journal article)

Bolton, P., & Oehmke, M. (2015). Should derivatives be privileged in bankruptcy? Journal of Finance, 70(6), 2353-2394.

Example 3 (Country Report from Economist Intelligence Unit)

Economist Intelligence Unit. (April 2016). Country report: China. Retrieved from Economist Intelligence Unit database.

Example 4 (Market Research Report from Passport)

Euromonitor International. (March 2016). Apparel and footwear in China. Retrieved from Passport database.

Example 5 (Annual Report from Company Website)

China Mobile Ltd. (2015). Annual report. Retrieved from

Example 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.

Example 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:

1. OneSearch  

2. ProQuest