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Oxford - references in text

The Oxford style is a referencing system in which a text's citations are written in footnotes. Here are explanations and examples of using footnotes and structuring references according to the Oxford style.

The examples on this page are based on Umeå University Library's version of the Oxford style.

References with footnotes

When you mention other people's texts or theories in an academic text, you need to make a clear reference to the sources you used. According to the Oxford style, references in the body of the text work like this:

  • Put a note (a raised number) immediately after the sentence or paragraph in which you refer to a source. Use the footnote function in Word or another word processing program. In some cases, you can also place the note elsewhere in the sentence.
  • At the bottom of the same page, the corresponding number appears in a footnote. This is where you write the information about the source you have used.
  • The first citation gets the number 1, and the next gets the number 2, and so on. Each citation receives a new number, regardless of whether you have already cited the same source.

At the end of your document, you collect all the sources you have used in an alphabetical reference list.

Full information the first time

The information about the source is written in a specific way in the footnote. The first time you refer to a source, you must include full information about the source's author, title and publication.

First name first in the footnote

According to the Oxford style, the citations in the footnotes look almost the same as in the reference list. However, there is one difference: in the footnotes, the first name of the author is placed before the surname, but in the reference list, the surname should come first.

Examples of different types of sources


Salman Rushdie. The ground beneath her feet. New York: Henry Holt, 1999, 168.


Linda Lundmark. Economic Restructuring into Tourism in the Swedish Mountain Range. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism. Vol. 5, nr. 1, 2005: 23–45.

More examples of different types of sources

All different types of sources must be cited in specific ways. On the page "Oxford - writing reference list", you can see more examples of how to write the full information for different sources. Just remember to place the first name first in the footnotes.

Oxford – writing reference list

Shortened footnote the second time

You only need to make a full citation the first time you use a source. If you refer to the same source again, you can instead make a shortened footnote and only include

  • the author's surname
  • the title of the source
  • page number.

Example of a shortened footnote:

Rushdie, The ground beneath her feet, 169.

Learn more

Questions about writing references?

Do you have questions about how to write a reference list or cite sources? Visit our drop-in sessions or schedule a tutoring appointment if you need help from a librarian. You can also submit short questions via chat and the contact form or ask the staff at the information desk.

Latest update: 2022-10-19