RLO: Referencing your work using Harvard


Secondary references

If you are reading a source by one author (in our example McKechnie (1998)) and they cite or quote work by another author (in our example Wing, Lee and Chen (1994)) you may in turn cite or quote the original work (e.g. that of Wing et al. (1994)) as a SECONDARY REFERENCE.

It is always best practice to try and locate the original reference and secondary references should only be used if it is difficult to access the original work. You must remember that in a secondary reference you are seeing the original author's work from someone else's perspective.

This panel shows you how to reference a secondary or indirect reference type. It should be used in conjunction with the guidelines demonstrated in the referencing tool for the appropriate referencing types used.

In  Text Example:

A study by Wing, Lee and Chen (1994 cited by McKechnie, 1998) discussed sleep paralysis in the Chinese
McKechnie (1998) cites the work of Wing, Lee and Chen (1994) which looks at sleep paralysis in the Chinese population.

NOTE 1: If you do not have an author, you can use the abbreviation 'Anon.' to mean 'anonymous'.

Reference List Example
McKechnie, J. (1998) Incidence and diagnosis of sleep paralysis. Nursing Times 94(22): pp.50-51.

NOTE 2: Most referencing guidelines are quite clear that the original reference should not be included in the list of references only the details of the source it is cited in.

NOTE 3: When citing more than one secondary reference from a single source, each should be treated separately within the in-text citation, but the primary reference need only be included once in the reference list.
e.g. In discussions of health it is useful to look at Dubos' theory (1959 cited by Tones and Tilford, 2001) and also Maslow's model (1967 cited by Tones and Tilford, 2001).

Reference List Example
Tones, K. and Tilford, S. (2001) Health promotion: effectiveness, efficiency and equity. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes.