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  4. What if I cannot find the reference type I need in my referencing guide?

What if I cannot find the reference type I need in my referencing guide?

Student studying in the dark looking a little distressed

You may find the referencing style you are using does not include a resource type that exactly matches the item you wish to reference.  In this case you need to collect some information about your source and then construct a reference by looking at similar resource types in your referencing guide. You might even find two examples that would suit your reference if they were merged. 

For example, you need to reference some information taken from the back of a seed packet for your project. You decide to contact the library helpdesk for help. The librarian suggests checking the guide for something similar. In this case you are using Cite Them Right. There is referencing information on how to reference packaging in Cite Them Right which seems the closest. The guidance suggests a reference type for packaging includes the following elements:

Manufacturer (Year seen) Product name [Medium].

You then adapt the guidance to create a full reference for your seed packet.

The intext citation would be:

(Suttons, 2022)

The full reference would be: 

Suttons (2022) Marigold French Seeds - Red Brocade [Seed packet].

Elements which make up your reference:

  • Who: Who produced the source?
    • If this information is not available, then list the item by its title.
  • When: What year was the source produced or updated?
    • If you cannot find a date, then your referencing style may have a way of expressing that in your reference.
    • In Cite them right Harvard, if you cannot find a date you would include (no date) in the reference.
  • What: What is the title, e.g., the book chapter title, journal article title, TV Show, Podcast etc?
  • Where: Where is the source?
    • Is the source part of a series, such as a journal or a particular edition?
    • Is the source part of a larger publication, such as a newspaper and what is the title of that publication?
    • Is the source published and, if so, where is the place of publication and who published or produced the work?
  • If you are using a web source, then note the URL
  • If you accessed a source online, what date did you access it? This is particularly helpful.
  • Note the format of your source, e.g., eBook, podcast, speech or presentation.

Apply a method as close as possible to your referencing guide so your style is consistent. Identifying as much information as possible to construct your reference, and placing these elements in the right order and relevant format, will help others to locate the source you used.