Skip to main content

Referencing Toolkit

Oxford : Sample Reference List Separating Primary and Secondary Sources

Some lecturers or tutors prefer your Reference List to be divided into Primary and Secondary Sources:

A Primary Source is an original work or document, i.e. the raw material or first-hand information used in research. Primary sources include historical and legal documents, archival material, eyewitness accounts, autobiographies, diaries, letters, photographs, novels, poems, plays, films, newsreels, statistical data and original research published in a journal article or book, or produced as a thesis.

A Secondary Source is something written about a primary source. Secondary sources include comments on, interpretations of, evaluations or discussions about the original material. Secondary source materials can be articles in newspapers or scholarly journals, documentaries, or books or chapters written about events or about original research.

Check with your lecturer or tutor as to which style of Reference List they require. An example of the Primary/Secondary Sources Reference List style is below:

Oxford Sample Reference List

Printable example

Reference List

Primary Sources

Alexander, S., 'Peace March in Melbourne' [letter to W.R. Gibson], 1 November 1911, Professor W.R. Gibson Collection, University of Melbourne Archives, Melbourne, VIC, Box 2/1/1.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Queensland Office, The Economic Status of Migrants in Australia, Canberra, ACT, Australian Govt. Pub. Service, 1990.

Australian State of the Environment Committee, Australia State of the Environment 2001: Independent Report to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Collingwood, VIC, CSIRO Publishing, 2001.

Chaucer, G., The Canterbury Tales, ed. F.N. Robinson, 2nd edn., London, UK, Oxford University Press, 1957.

Clancy, D., 'Week 3: Education in Australia' [lecture notes], Foundations of Teaching AEB1010, Melbourne, Victoria University, delivered 2 September 2010,, (accessed 16 October 2010).

Davison, R.M., 'Re: Removal of Union Signage' [email to H.S. Gardin], 1 August 2008,, (accessed 3 March 2011).

Dewell, G., 'Theft, Simple Larceny' [proceedings of the Old Bailey], 16 February 1832, Ref. No. t18320216-60,, (accessed 20 February 2010).

James Hardie Industries NV v Australian Securities and Investments Commission (2010) 274 ALR 85.

Maloney, J.E., 'Recollections of Canberra' [interviewed by John Ferrell], 12 August 1991, John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library, Curtin University, Perth, WA, JCMPL00897/3.

The Red Badge of Courage [dvd], Director J. Huston, Burbank, CA, MGM, 1951.

Ryan, R., 'Week 4: Nurse patient relationships & professional boundaries', [lecture recording], Frameworks for Nursing Practice HNB1101, Melbourne, Victoria University, delivered 23 March 2010,, (accessed 24 March 2010).>

Schultz, J.E., This Birth Place of Souls: The Civil War Nursing Diary of Harriet Eaton, Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press, 2010.

Suwetwattanakul, C., Developing a Knowledge Sharing Model for the Implementation of the Learning Organization in Thailand, Ph.D. diss., Melbourne, Victoria University, 2010.

Secondary Sources

Addo, P., and Besnier, N., 'When Gifts Become Commodities: Pawnshops, Valuables, and Shame in Tonga and the Tongan Diaspora', Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 14, no. 1, 2008, pp. 35-40.

Beever, E.A. (ed.), Ecological Consequences of Climate Change, Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, 2012.

Booth, B.D., Murphy, S.D., and Swanton, C.J., Invasive Plant Ecology in Natural and Agricultural Systems, 2nd edn., Cambridge, MA., CABI, 2011.

Bredow, S., 'Powder to the People', Sydney Morning Herald,  7 June 2008,, (accessed 3 July 2008).

Collins English Dictionary: Complete and Unabridged, 6th edn., Glasgow, UK, HarperCollins, 2003.

Death Debate: Should Euthanasia be Legalised? [online video], Presenter B. Dutt, Mumbai, India, NDTV, 2007,, (accessed 12 January 2012).

Flannery, T., Now or Never: A Sustainable Future for Australia?, Melbourne, VIC, Black Inc., 2008a.

Flannery, T., The Ethics of Climate Change: Is the Future Green?, Melbourne, VIC , Scholarly Press., 2008b.

Moore, K.R., 'Was Pythagoras Ever Really in Sparta?', Rosetta, no. 6, Spring 2009, pp. 1-14,, (accessed 10 September 2010).

Pearman, G.I., 'Climate Change', in Goldie, J., Douglas, B., and Furnass, B. (eds.), In Search of Sustainability, Collingwood, VIC, CSIRO Publishing, 2004, pp. 93-108.

Spencer, M. et al., 'Analyzing the Order of Items in Manuscripts of "The Canterbury Tales"', Computers and the Humanities, vol. 37, no. 1, 2003, pp. 97-109.

Toffoletti, K., 'How is Gender-based Violence Covered in the Sporting News?: An Account of the Australian Football League Sex Scandal', Women's Studies International Forum, vol. 30, no. 5, 2007, pp. 420-44.

Wilson, J., 'In Defence of the Superficial', The Age, 26 September 2009, A2, p. 23.