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Qut Cite Write Reflective Writing Essays


Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition) requires author's given or first names to be spelt out in full in a reference list. This is the preference when using Harvard.

However, if you are unable to find an author's first name, copy the format for author's name on the item you are citing. This may mean that some author's given names will be spelt out and some will have initials.


No author

Use the title in place of the author. Put the title in italics.

Like this

In text

(Title Year)

(Stedman's medical dictionary for the health professions and nursing )

Reference List

Title. Year. edition. Place of publication: Publisher.

Stedman's medical dictionary for the health professions and nursing.


Corporate author

The names of groups that serve as authors (e.g. government bodies or organisations) are written in full in the reference list and the first time they are cited. The acronym for a name may be used in second and subsequent citations. Include jurisdictions if a government body, e.g. Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management.

If the unit name is not unique enough to be found without the jurisdiction and government department information, include the jurisdiction and department name. Where the department name is included, it comes before the unit name.

Like this

In text

First use:
(Jurisdiction. Government Department, Year)
(Name of Organisation, Year)

(Australian Bureau of Statistics )

Subsequent uses:

(ABS, )

Reference List

Jurisdiction Government Department. Year. Title of document. Place of publication: Publisher.

Department of Justice and Attorney-General, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

United States. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations.


Author and editor

Like this

In text

(Surname Year)

(Derrida )

Reference List

Author. Year. Title, edited by Editor name. Place of publication: Publisher.

Derrida, Jacques. , edited by Derek Attridge.


Author as editor

Like this

In text

(Surname Year)

(Woolever )

Reference List

Insert ed. after the author's name, in the reference list only.

Author, ed. Year. Title, Edition. Place of publication: Publisher.

Woolever, Karen Reese, ed.


Author quoted in another work (Secondary Source)

Like this

In text

Name the original author, and then cite the secondary author (i.e. the author you read).

(Original author surname quoted in Secondary author surname Year, page from secondary author's book)

(Zukofsky quoted in Costello

Reference List

Reference the secondary source only in the reference list.

Secondary author. Year. Title of secondary source. Place of publication: Publisher.

Costello, Bonnie.


Two(2) to three(3) authors

Like this

In text

List all authors in every citation.

(Surname 1, Surname 2 and Surname 3 Year, page)

(Layton, Robinson and Tucker

Reference List

List all authors. For authors, only the first-listed name is inverted. For the second and third author, the first given name and middle initial(s) - if available - are written in front of the family name.

Author 1, Author 2 and Author 3. Year. Title. Place of publication: Publisher.

Layton, Allan, Tim Robinson and Irvin B. Tucker.


Four(4) to ten(10) authors

Like this

In text

In the text, cite only the last name of the first-listed author, followed by 'et al.'.

(Surname et al. Year)

(Stoner et al. )

Reference List

List all authors. For authors, only the first listed name is inverted. For the remaining authors, the first given name and middle initial(s) - if available - are written in front of the family name.

Author 1, Author 2, Author 3, and Author 4. Year. Title. edition. Place of publication: Publisher.

Stoner, James A.F., Paul W. Yetton, John F. Craig, and Kevin D. Johnston.


Eleven(11) or more authors

Like this

In text

Name only the first author followed by 'et al.'.

(Surname et al. Year)

(Stoner et al. )

Reference List

For eleven or more authors, list the first seven followed by 'et al.'.

Author 1, Author 2, Author 3, Author 4, Author 5, Author 6, Author 7, et al. Year. Title. edition. Place of publication: Publisher.

Stoner, James A. F., P. W. Yettor, J. F. Craig, K. D. Johnston, R. L. Yeager, J. K. Smith, J. Pitta, et al.


Two or more items by the same author

Order entries chronologically in the reference list.

If the works are published in the same year, list alphabetically by title, then assign 'a', 'b', 'c', as needed. This may mean that (Hartley a) is not the first in-text citation.

Like this

In text

(Author Yeara)
(Author Yearb)

(Hartley a)

(Hartley b)

Reference List

Author. Yeara. "Title of chapter." In Title of book, edited by Editor, page-page. Place of publication: Publisher.

Author. Yearb. "Title of chapter." In Title of book, edited by Editor, page-page. Place of publication: Publisher.

Hartley, John. a.

Hartley, John. b.



DOIs provide publication details for electronic resources.

What is a DOI?

A Digital Object identifier (DOI) is a unique code, which provides a permanent link to an online resource. The most common resources to include a DOI are electronic journal articles.

How do I find a DOI for my reference list?

A DOI is usually printed on the first page of an online journal article or e-book. You can also check the database record. Alternatively, you can search for your article on the CrossRef database ( If a DOI exists for your article, it will be recorded in this database.

What if a resource doesn't have a DOI?

If it is a webpage, pdf, online document: provide the URL or the URL where you accessed the online document (whichever is easier). Refer to the example in electronic journal articles.

Publication details

No date of publication

Substitute (n.d.) for the year in the citation and reference list.

Like this

Author n.d. Title. Place of publication: Publisher.

Clipper, Lawrence J. n.d. Pride and pre

Resources not yet published

Substitute (in press) for the year in the citation and reference list.

Approximate date

Precede the year with the contraction for circa. (ca. )

No place of publication

This information is only required for printed materials that are not journals.

e.g. If a book does not have a city of publication, use n.p. to indicate no place in the reference list.

Like this

Author Year. Title. n.p.: Publisher.

Shakespeare's sonnets. n.p.: Bradshow.


Page, volume, issue

In text citations should include the number of the page where you found the information.

For works without pagination, include a chapter or paragraph number (if available), a section heading, or a descriptive phrase that follows the divisions of the work.

In citations of shorter electronic works, presented as a single searchable document, such locators may be unnecessary.

Summaries of information/sources do not require page numbers for the in-text citation if the information comes from many pages.

Building your own

QUT cite|write is not comprehensive. Sometimes building your own is needed.

Steps to build a reference

A reference list entry consists of:

  • Elements: the elements of information required to identify a source without confusion
  • Order: the placement of the elements in a consistent conventional order
  • Formatting: the separating punctuation, quotation marks, parentheses, italics, and spaces.

Steps to build a reference, or to proof your drafted references:

  1. Glean, collect and save all the information needed / Check that all required elements are there.
  2. Place them in the appropriate order, or check that they are.
  3. Apply / check the appropriate formatting and spacing.

Generally, the elements consist of information as it is copied from the source used, or the location of that source. However, the information when placed in a reference, should then be formatted according to Harvard style, rather than the style found in the source. This ensures consistency for the reader.

Elements in order, of a whole work

Who. When. What. Where.

Examples with formatting

Greer, Ingrid. The native flowers of Fiji. Sydney: Federation press.

Myer. Annual report.

Elements in order, of a section in a work

Who. When. "What." in What. Where in the work. Where.

Examples with formatting

de Janasz, Suzanne C. and Monica L. Forret. "Learning the art of networking: A critical skill for enhancing social capital and career success." Journal of Management Education 32 (5):

Khan, Zaid. "Simulation as vocational training." In Handbook of research on discrete event simulation environments, edited by Evon M. Abu-Taieh and Asim El-Sheikh, Hershey: Information Science Reference.


  • Whole works are italicised.
  • Sections of works, or informal titles, take double quotation marks.
  • The order of the first author is 'Familyname, Personal name', and authors following is 'Personal name Family name'.

Information for the elements

Who is responsible for creating the work?

Personal author name, Organisation name, Company name, Name of a government departments, Name of the creating artist

When was the work created?

Year, Date of revision, Date of posting

What is the work called?

Title, Article and Journal title, Chapter and book title, Webpage title, Document title

Where can the work be found?

Where it was published, Journal volume, issues, and pages, DOI, URL of report or article.

Further information

Chicago has two style options, the 'Notes and bibliography' style is described in chapter 14, and the 'Author-date' style is in chapter Harvard at QUT uses the author-date style. However, chapter 15 outlines only what is different from chapter 14, so chapter 14 is still a source to be referred to.

What is reflective writing?

Good reflective writing usually involves four key elements:

  1. reporting and responding to a critical issue or experience;
  2. relating this issue or experience to your own knowledge in this field;
  3. reasoning about causes and effects of this issue/experience according to relevant theories or literature and/or similarities or differences with other experiences you've had; and
  4. reconstructing your thinking to plan new ways to approach the issue or engage in similar experiences in the future

For more detail, see the 4Rs framework [KB].

Why do we write reflectively?

Reflecting on an experience involves drawing on current understandings to think deeply and purposefully about what can be learned from the experience. The purpose of academic or professional reflection is to transform practice in some way, whether it is the practice of learning or the practice of the discipline or the profession.

This form of writing is a process where you can learn from your experiences and connect theory with practice in your professional field or discipline. It can help you become more aware of assumptions and preconceived ideas, and it can help you to plan future actions.

How to write reflectively

Reflective writing can take many forms, depending on the discipline being studied and the assignment structure. More formal reflective essays or reports have a clear structure with an introduction, body and conclusion. Less formal reflective writing, such as blogs, discussion entries or ongoing journals, may not be organised in such a distinct way. Reflective constructions in some discipline areas may also involve multimedia elements or performances.

All reflective writing, however, has certain key features you need to include that relate to the 4Rs  of reflection:

1. Report (describe) an issue or experience and explain why it is important to your professional practice. Give your initial response to the experience or issue.

Recount the experience or issue on which you have chosen to reflect. Explain what happened and in what context. Your initial response to the experience or issue can show where you stood before you started to analyse the situation.

2. Relate the issue / experience to your own skills, professional experience or discipline knowledge.

Describe any similar or related experiences you've had and whether the conditions were the same or different. Make connections between this and your previous knowledge and experience of similar situations.

3. Reason about (discuss) the issue / incident to show an understanding of how things work in this discipline or professional field.

You should highlight significant factors in the experience showing why they are important for a new understanding. Relate these back to the academic literature including theoretical or research-based literature as appropriate. Use qualitative and/or quantitative evidence where appropriate. Discuss different perspectives involved, e.g. ethical, social, legal, organisational, professional.

4. Reconstruct your understanding or future practice

Outline the changes in your understanding and/or behaviour as a result of the experience and your reflection upon it. Explain the implications for this in your future professional practice. What actions will you take and why?

Please Note:

Some faculties use the STAR-L model in QUT ePortfolio as a guide to reflection on how one dealt with a situation or task. The 4Rs can be used alongside STAR-L [50KB] to guide deeper reflection on what you learnt from your experience and how this will change your future practice.

Checklist for reflective writing

Have I:

  • Reported (described) the issue or experience upon which I am reflecting?
  • Explained the relevance of the issue or experience to my future professional practice?
  • Described my own response to the experience?
  • Reasoned about the significant factors in the situation (using academic literature/theory)?
  • Outlined how the issue or experience changed my understanding and/or behaviour?
  • Explained how this new understanding will help to reconstruct my future professional practice?
  • Followed the required structure for this assignment?
  • Checked that my assignment makes sense?
  • Checked that my spelling and punctuation are  error free?

Further information

University of Portsmouth Academic Skills Unit: See 'Reflective writing: a basic introduction' on Academic writing support.