Requirements for quotes and references

In essays or home exams, quotes and references must follow the style described below which is an adapted version of the Chicago style (14. edition 14). This style is in agreement with what is customary for academic texts in humanities in Norway, but it is also used internationally: for example in The Journal of the History of Philosophy.


When to give a reference

References are required whenever the text uses a quote, a view, an argument or a part of an argument, an analogy, illustration, a fact or an interpretation of views of another author. Exceptions are generally known/accepted facts. The fact that there was a philosopher whose name was Plato who lived in ancient Athens and wrote dialogues is such a generally known fact. The same is the case that Plato was Socrates’ student or that Hume was en empiricist. Be critical when you use references.

It is not allowed to use someone else’s way of presenting an idea or a topic even if it has a reference. This would be considered paraphrasing or retelling a text of another author. Nevertheless, you can use occasionally expressions like “The author claims / according to the author/…” or “Furthermore the author argues ….” and similar.


Short and long quotations

Short quotes should be placed in the essay text and marked with quotation marks. Quotes that are longer (a whole paragraph for example) should be separated from the main text by one line and should not have quotation marks. Quotes should not be in italics. The reference follows punctuation mark, usually a period, for the short quotes and after the quotation mark for long ones.



A reference that appears in the text should give the source and should be in parenthesis. The complete information about the source should be in the bibliography.

Examples for references for books, journals and newspaper articles in the text:

(Reeve 2001)
(Reeve 2001: 436)
(Reeve 2001: 436, 439)
This is the view held by Reeve (2001)
(Reeve 2001: 436-437)
(Berger and Kellner, 1982)
(Berger and Kellner 1982: 15)


You can also have footnotes at the bottom of the page or collected at the end of the essay.

Form: Author, title of quoted work, place of publication (or publisher), year, page: Hume, David: A Treatise of Human Nature, Harmondsworth (Penguin Books), 1969, p. 309.


References to books with several authors, or several contributors

This is the same as for books except that the reference is to the editors when the reference is to the entire book; this reference should be without a page number. Reference to specific articles within such a book is to the author of the article and then always with the page number.


References to an article in an edited book

Reference to an article in an edited book is to the name of the author of the article (not the editors of the book) together with the year of publication of the edited book. When you refer to a point in such article, you have to give the page number as well.

(De Beauvoir 2003: 5)


Reference to new editions of classical work

In this case, the reference should have the year of publication of the new edition (and the page number if applicable). For new editions of (often translations) collections of original work from one author, authors name should be in the reference. Publisher is the editor of the collection.

(Aristoteles 1966)
(Aristoteles 1966:52)


Reference to quotes used by another author:


(Hume as quoted in Jones 1970:340)


References to articles in encyclopaedias

If an article in the encyclopaedia has an author, the reference is to the author’s name, the year of publication and the page number. If this is not the case, the reference is to the encyclopaedia’s title, year of publication and the page number. Sometimes it is necessary to give the volume number as well (Example:  Vol. IV)


Reference to a web page

Be critical when you consider using a web page as a source. Use web pages that have an author with sufficient competence.

Let us say that you found an information on the web that Francis of  Assisi had a vision of Christ on the cross in 1224. The information was on the website of the Episcopal Missionary Church in USA where the author was not specified.

(Episcopal 1998 URL)


The year is when the text was placed on the web page, taken from the web page if there is one. »Episcopal» is the word one looks for in the bibliography to find the full reference. If the text on the web page has an author, the reference is to the author (as for the ordinary article) but with URL as page number.

(Smith 2003 URL)


Reference to a lecture or personal communication (conversation, letter or e-mail)

In such cases, the reference appears only in the text, not in the bibliography as well.     

(Reeve 2002, lecture 18.09.02)

(CDE Reeve 2002, pers. comm. 10.02.03)


Published June 22, 2016 12:51 PM - Last modified Aug. 9, 2017 11:04 AM