Skip to Main Content
PolyU Library


Library Online Courses

Library offers the following online courses which is available via Learn@PolyU. Click to register NOW!


Useful Links on Citation Styles

PolyU ELC Reference Guides

Note that there can be slight variations in the reference styles offered by different universities. Always check with your supervisor or journal editor on the requirement before you adopt any reference style. 

APA Style

Copyright Disclaimer

Creative Commons License

Except where otherwise noted, the content of this guide is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

Citation & Citation Style

What is a citation? What is a citation style and which one should I use?

citation is a way of identifying and giving credits to others' published works that you used to support your own research. Citations can also be used to locate sources of works, as well as 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.

An example of citation << An example of in-text citations and references in APA citation style

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 discipline. If you're not sure, check with your instructor. In PolyU, citation styles commonly used by various disciplines are listed below:

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

APA style for Health Sciences

Two parts of a citation:

1. In-text citation

  • Mainly include Author name and publication year
  • e.g., Houston (2015) points out...
  • e.g., Boyne & Green (2016) argue that...

2. References list

A Reference list should be provided by the end of an article, showing the citation details of all references related to the article contents. And the list should be

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


APA Style (7th edition)

Example 1 (Print Book)

APA Style (7th edition)

Example 2 (Journal article)

Book - with author(s)

Hereford, J. M. (2014). Sleep and rehabilitation : a guide for health professionals. SLACK Incorporated.

Print article

Findik, U. Y., Unsar, S., & Sut, N. (2010). Patient satisfaction with nursing care and its relationship with patient characteristics. Nursing & Health Sciences12(2), 162–169.

Book chapter - in an edited ebook (with DOI)

Richardson, M., & Allison, K. (2019). Affect and the Unsaid: Silences, Impasses, and Testimonies to Trauma. In A. Murray & K. Durrheim (Eds.), Qualitative Studies of Silence (pp.236-253). Cambridge University Press.

Online article - without DOI

Kwok, S. T., Capra, S., & Leveritt, M. (2016). Factors Influencing Changes in Eating Patterns Among Hong Kong Young Adults Transitioning to Tertiary Education. Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health28(4), 347–355.

Online article - with DOI

Byrne, M, Root, S. & Culbertson, L. (2016). Integrating perioperative content in nursing curricula: A case study approach. AORN Journal103 (6), 597-604.


To learn more about details in applying APA Style on Reference List, please visit the American Psychological Association (APA) website at More reference examples are provided.

Or, see the "APA Referencing Guide" in the PolyU English Learning Centre website at


How to Avoid Plagiarism

2 Ways to avoid plagiarism

Citation is the key to avoid plagiarism, but that doesn't mean you can simply copy-paste from others' works as long as you cite the source. To avoid plagiarism, here are two ways:


Paraphrase + Cite

Paraphrasing means to rewrite the sentence from a source in your own words without changing the meaning of the sentence. You still need to cite the source properly.


Direct Quote + Cite

Quoting, or direct quoting, means to copy the exact words of a sentence from a source. You need to put the copied words in quotation marks " " and cite the source properly.


Watch the videos below to learn more about plagiarism, paraphrasing and quoting. Refer to Citation Guides by Subject to learn how to cite in your research discipline.

Source: ProQuest Research Companion

Good practices to avoid plagiarism:

  1. When in doubt, always cite!
  2. ​Keep a list of all the reference materials you consulted and of course make notes (e.g. which are quotes and which are your own words)
  3. Use a reference management tool (e.g. EndNote) to help you organize references and make citations
  4. Have better time management, i.e. plan your work earlier
  5. Check with your supervisor or instructor the referencing guidelines for your assignment or essay

If you want to learn more about how to avoid plagiarism, please visit the full Library guide: Library Support for Academic Integrity.

Export citations to EndNote (from commonly used databases)

Apart from manually entry of citations, a number of databases subscribed by the Library support direct export of citations to EndNote (or other reference management tools such as Mendeley, Zotero, & JabRef). This means, when you choose the appropriate export option, the citation of the items you have selected will automatically be imported into the EndNote (or other reference management tools of your choice) installed on your computer.

Here below are some examples of commonly used databases that offer citation direct export. The steps are quite similar, and the main difference is the name of the button to export.

Note that: 
If you are using EndNote, export "RIS format".
If you are using Mendeley, export "RIS format" or use Web Importer to capture citation.
If you are using Zotero, export "RIS format" or use Web Translators to capture citation.
If you are using JabRef or other LaTeX tools, export "BibTeX".

The exporting process varies by database and by the database-provider's platform. See the various operations in a few commonly used databases (see other tabs in this section).

Step 1. Click into the article you wish to cite. Then click on "EndNote RIS" button.

Step 2. Choose Encoding as "UTF-8".

Step 3. Click "Download".

If needed, you can batch-export to Endnote from OneSearch as well.

Step 1: On the results list or on detail record page, click on thepin icon to add results to your Favorite list.

Step 2: Go to the Favorite list from thepin icon at the top right corner of the main screen.

Step 3: 1/ Check the items you need, 2/ click on the 3-dots icon on the menu bar, and 3./select action "Endnote(RIS)".


batch export

Step 1. Select the article(s) you wish to cite by clicking on the envelope icon.

Step 2. Click "Folder View".

Step 3. Select the items to export. 

Step 4. Click "Export".

Step 5. Choose to export to EndNote or BibTeX format (for LaTeX).

Step 6. Click "Save".

Step 1. Click into the article, or select multiple articles on the result page you wish to cite.

Step 2. Click "Send to".

Step 3. Select "Citation manager".

Step 4. Click "Create File". The downloaded file can be opened in both EndNote and LaTeX reference tools.

Step 1. Click into the article, or select multiple articles on the result page you wish to cite. 

Step 2. Click "Export".

Step 3. In the pop-up window, select "RIS Format (EndNote, Reference Manager)". To export BibTeX, select "BibTeX".

Step 4. Click "Export".

Step 1. Click into the article, or select multiple articles on the page you wish to cite. 

Step 2. Click "Save to EndNote desktop". ​To export BibTeX, click on "Save to Other File Formats" and then select "BibTeX".

Step 3. Click "Send".