Citation and Plagiarism


Plagiarism is the use of other people's work as your own without proper acknowledgment. Examples include :

  • Copying homework from other students.
  • Copying passages from books, articles or web pages without citation.
We take plagiarism very seriously in the Philosophy Department. Students who plagiarize might be referred to the University's disciplinary committee, and might be expelled from the University as a result. HKU has published a booklet on plagiarism setting out the official policy. Please read it. There is an online copy at


To avoid plagiarism when writing your essays, it is important that you provide proper referencing. Here is how:

I. Parenthetical citations with list of works cited/bibliography (a.k.a. author-date system):

This format is popular with publishers and scholars, as it requires less typing, and involves fewer changes when revisions are necessary. We highly recommend this system. You MUST include a list of works cited if you choose this option.

Format of parenthetical reference placed at the end of the sentence IN your essay:

  • (Rousseau 1987, 40).

Format of works cited entry (placed at the END of your essay):


  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. 1987. The Basic Political Writings. Trans. D.A. Cress. Indianapolis: Hackett.

Article in a journal:

  • Haraway, D. 1988. Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies 14 (3): 575-599.

Note: you place the year of publication immediately after the author's name and omit quotation marks around the article title.

II. Footnotes/endnotes:

Format of foot/endnotes:


The Basic Political Writings

Article in a journal:

Feminist Studies

Note: best practice requires a bibliography or list of works cited in addition to the foot/endnotes.


Provide URL (web address) and date of downloading. Please note: You must reference ALL internet sources that you have used in your work.


Provide teacher's name, course title and date of lecture (no set format). Or see the APA guidelines:


  • Ibid. or Op. cit.


  • Revised editions of books, e.g. 2nd, 3rd; this information must be indicated, where it applies;
  • Translators/editors: this information must be indicated;
  • Newspapers: please see a good referencing guide for advice. Some guides are available online, e.g.


  • Collect and retain ALL relevant bibliographical information as you proceed; this will save you extra, repetitive work later on.
  • Failure to acknowledge your sources constitutes plagiarism, which is a serious academic offence. Therefore, when in doubt: provide a reference!

Further information

Dr. Alexandra Cook and Dr. Joe Lau
Department of Philosophy
The University of Hong Kong
Feb 2005. Updated Oct 2012.