Answered By: Trudi Pledger
Last Updated: Dec 22, 2016     Views: 85

You may come across a summary of another author's work in the source you are reading which you would like to make reference to in your own work. When you do so this is called secondary citing.

Below is an example of an in-text citation: 

Ennis (1996, cited in Robinson, 2011) identifies three key critical thinking dispositions:

Ennis is the work to which you wish to refer but you have not read directly. Robinson is the secondary source where you found the summary of Ennis's work. It is important to realise that Robinson may have taken Ennis's ideas forward, and altered their original meaning.

It is recommended that, where possible, you read the original source for yourself rather than rely on someone else's interpretation of a work. For this reason it is best to avoid using secondary citing.

The reference list at the end of your document should only contain works that you have read. Only Robinson (2011) would appear in the reference list.

For further information about Referencing check out our guidelines on iCity.


The free referencing app RefME now contains the BCU Harvard Referencing style. It attempts to generate fields based on general searches, URLs, DOIs and ISBNs, but these should always be checked. The RefMe app can also be downloaded onto mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones from which you can create references by scanning bar codes.

The University purchased a subscription to the premium version called RefMe Plus wich allows you to create different folders and to sign in via your University account (click on "Log in via your institution" on the sign in page). You are also able to import and export reference lists from other referencing software using the .RIS format.

The BCU Harvard style in RefME is not perfect and does not contain all the formats (or it uses different names for formats or fields), but it is considerably better than any other available system. Currently, the main issue is that URLs are not live links so these need to be added manually. You should always check the references RefME generates against the BCU Harvard standard.

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