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PolyU Library

Citation & Avoiding Plagiarism

A quick guide to reach library resources and tools for academic integrity

What is a Citation & What is Citation Style?

Citation: A (Very) Brief Introduction - NC State University Libraries [1:54]

A citation is a way of identifying and giving credit to others' published works that you used to support your own research. Other than facilitating researchers to locate sources of works, including citations in a paper also helps avoid plagiarism.

A citation consists of two parts: in-text citation and reference list. In-text citations are brief references of sources within the text of the paper, while reference list is a complete list of references at the end of the paper.

A citation style defines the necessary information for a citation, how the information is ordered, and what format citations should follow. 

Generally, the citation style you use depends on your research area. Check with your instructor or supervisor if you are not sure which style you should use for your assignment. Some commonly used styles for different faculties are listed in the table below.

How to Cite Properly in Different Subject Areas?

Faculty (Subject) Commonly Used Citation Style Citation Guide by Subject
Business (FB) APA / Harvard Guides for Business
Construction & Environment (FCE) IEEE / Harvard Guides for Construction & Environment
Engineering (FENG) IEEE / APA Guides for Engineering
Health Sciences & Social Sciences (FHSS) APA

Guides for Health Sciences
Guides for Social Sciences

Humanities (FH) APA / MLA Guides for Humanities
Science (FS) APA / Harvard Guides for Science
School of Design (SD) APA Guide for Design
School of Fashion & Textiles  (SFT) APA / Harvard Guides for Fashion & Textiles
School of Hotel & Tourism Management (SHTM) APA Guide for Hotel & Tourism Management

For information on how to cite GenAI content, please refer to this page here.

Citing Chinese Language Sources

This section instructs you with suggested resources on how to cite Chinese Language sources when you are writing English and Chinese papers. In general, citing Chinese Language sources follows the same principles as citing English Language sources in that consistency in the citing format has to be maintained in the writing. The major difference lies in that Chinese Language sources are written in a non-Latin script.


1) Citing Chinese Language Sources in English papers

You should still follow the conventions of the citation styles required for your paper (e.g.: MLA or APA styles). However it would help if you took note of some common practices when citing Chinese Language Sources in English papers.

A common practice is to give the original title in the reference and give the English translation in square brackets. For journal articles, only the article title has to be translated, not the journal title.

If the source is in a non-Latin script (e.g. Chinese), transliterate the original title into the English alphabet. Generally, the best way to do the transliteration is using pinyin romanization. No tone marks have to be included.

Example - Book in Chinese

The bibliographic details of the source material are: 

Author: 郝春文

Book title: 唐後期五代宋初敦煌儈尼的社會生活

Publisher: 北京:中國社會科學出版社

Year of publication: 1998

An APA Style reference would be constructed as follows:

Hao, C. (1998). Tang houqi wudai Songchu Dunhuang sengni de shehui shenghuo [The social life of monks and nuns at Dunhuang in the late Tang, Five Dynasties period and early Song]. Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe. 


Example - Journal article in Chinese

The bibliographic details of the source material are:

Author: 華林甫

Article title: 清代以來三峽地區水旱災害的初步研究

Journal title: 中國社會科學

Volume and issue number: 1999(1)

Pages: 168-76

An APA Style reference would be constructed as follows: 

Hua, L.F. (1999). Qingdai yilai Sanxia diqu shuihan zaihai de chubu yanjiu [A preliminary study of floods and droughts in the Three Gorges region since the Qing dynasty]. Zhongguo shehui kexue, 1, 168–76.


2) Citing Chinese Language Sources in Chinese papers

While there are no standardized Chinese citation styles, you should use the citation style required for your assignments and/or journals. Check with your professor or journal editor if you are not sure which style you should use.

The key is to be consistent in the citing format in the paper. For example, if you use a particular punctuation mark for a certain resource type (e.g.《》for book title and〈〉for journal article title), do it consistently in your writing. Or if you italicize the book title and journal title, do it consistently in your writing.