Vancouver Referencing – Citing a Book

Vancouver is a Canadian city known for having the world’s longest wooden suspension bridge (and for being really rainy).

Vancouver weather.
(Photo: Doug Murray/flickr)

But it’s also the name of a referencing system, which is more relevant to our academic blog.

To be specific, it’s a number-based citation system common in the sciences and medicine. In this post, we look at how to use it to cite a print book in your work.

In-Text Citations

In-text citations in Vancouver referencing use bracketed numbers. Usually, you give these in parentheses after the final punctuation in a sentence:

In her book, Maconie reviews the history of radio technology. (1)

This points the reader to an entry in the reference list.

To cite multiple sources in one place, you need to indicate a range of entries in the reference list with a hyphen or separate the numbers with commas:

This result is supported by other research. (4-6) However, some authors have disputed the methods used to gather the data. (1, 7-8)

You can also cite page numbers when quoting a source:

Afterwards, participants reported feeling ‘exhausted’. (3 p23)

In all cases, make sure that citations clearly indicate an entry in the reference list.

Reference List

Every cited source should also be added to a reference list at the end of the document. You should list sources numerically with full publication information in the order they’re cited. For a print book, this means giving:

n. Surname Initial. Title, Edition (if applicable). Place of publication: Publisher; Year.

In practice, this would look something like the following:

1. Maconie S. The history and future of radio. Sydney: PI Publications; 2016.

If the book has a series and volume number, these go after the year of publication.

A Note on Vancouver Referencing

Finally, there are several variations of Vancouver referencing. They all use a similar system, but they also differ in certain ways (e.g. on where to position in-text citations).

As a result, it’s vital to check your style guide when citing sources with Vancouver referencing, as your university may use a different format to the one explained here.



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