Referencing and avoiding plagiarism: OSCOLA Books Video

Video titled: Referencing and avoiding plagiarism: OSCOLA Books Video

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In this example we are going to show you how to build up the OSCOLA reference for a book, specifically this book, Legal Skills.

So, we start the first part of the references that we need to know, the names of the authors in the same form as they are in the publication. So here we have used the authors’ full names, Emily Finch and Stefan Fafinski, so that's the first part of our citation. So we take them exactly as written there: Emily Finch and well, me, Stefan Fafinski.

The next part of the citation is the title of the book, which is Legal Skills. That comes next in italic font. There's a comma after the names of the authors to separate them.

The next bits of the reference that we need to know are the publisher, the date of publication, and the edition number. And we can get those from looking around the book. You may remember that this one had the edition number on the cover. It's also on the inside page as well. So in this example, it's the sixth edition. So that's the first part that goes into the reference. So you see we've got the names of the authors, Legal Skills, we have open round brackets for this last bit of information, so we know it's the sixth edition.

Last two things we need to know again are the publisher and the date, which we can get from the front of the book, in the small print that just about everyone skips over.

Here it is from our book. So we know that the publisher is Oxford University Press, which is always abbreviated to OUP in OSCOLA. And we can also see here that the date of publication of this particular edition was 2017. You can see below it that earlier editions were in earlier years. So we put those into the reference like this: we start with the name of the publisher, OUP, again, with a comma between the edition number and the publisher, but then, oddly, no comma between the publisher and the date, which is the last bit of information. Close off the bracket. So there we are, that's the full OSCOLA citation for the sixth edition of our book.

If you wanted to reference a particular page number, you simply put the page number at the very end of the reference after the closing bracket. If you wanted to make a reference to a first edition of a book (we use our book here by way of example, but any first edition) you don't bother putting in “first edn.”, you skip that bit out and simply just put the publisher and the date. Not every book goes into subsequent editions, so if there's not an edition number there, OSCOLA assumes that it's the first of those. So that's the reference to the first edition of Legal Skills, which was from 2007. I've absolutely no idea where the time’s gone in between in the last 12 years.

The final point to note in referencing books is that authors’ names are treated differently depending on whether you're referring to the book in a footnote or in your bibliography at the end of your piece of work. The difference there is that - we've already seen how the footnote reference builds up - in the bibliography we lead by the surname of the first author followed by their initials, only, with commas between them as shown: so here Emily Finch turns into “Finch, E.” and I turn into “Fafinski, S.” It actually makes good sense to do it that way around in a bibliography because you can then sort in Word or Pages, or whatever you're using, your bibliography in order of surname. Why it's not like this in the footnote as well, I have no idea. But that's just the way it is, unfortunately. Slightly clunky to have to do it like that but that's what OSCOLA requires, at least at the time of making this video. So that is how to reference books in OSCOLA.