Oxford Style Guide for College and University Students

Considered one of the best universities world over, the University of Oxford stands tall among its peers. Studying there predetermines a very prestigious career in the future — ten to one. The acceptance rates are rather low, so once you get on board, you should be proud of yourself. However, there is no room for complacency. You should perfect one thing at a time: there is plenty of different rules and writing standards you've likely never heard of. One of the requirements is to write in Oxford style in adherence to the corresponding manual. The University of Oxford is rather strict in this regard so that formatting is an integral element of the grading rubric that has a great impact on your final project’s score.

The main idea is to use superscript numbers and footnotes. This article shares the basic principles of formatting along with the examples that you may find useful.

Use Oxford Writing Style Properly

The University of Oxford Style Guide was published to introduce the documentary-note citation system. That aims to help students and local researchers organize their scientific work properly. It is very likely that you will be asked to format the papers using this style if you do subjects in:

  1. History
  2. Anthropology
  3. Philosophy
  4. Political science
  5. Sociology

Oxford men prefer citing in their papers in the style of Oxford as they’ve grown accustomed to it throughout the study. Further still, it keeps the document well-structured and logical. The law departments in the local schools may also ask to use Oxford style referencing in their works. McGill format is closely related to Oxford format, and that is why it happens so.

So, what are the essential elements of this format? Let’s find out:

  • Header — A student or scientist can insert the page numbers at personal direction.
  • Font and size — It is recommended to choose Times New Roman 12 or 14-point in size.
  • Margins — Make sure you have 1-inch margins everywhere except for the top of the page as well as a couple of inches at the top. Double-spacing is preferred. That does not apply to bibliography list.
  • Cover page (or Title page) — This is an opening section, and it looks different against other formats. Put the work’s title at the top of your first page skipping several lines to mention the specific type of your assignment. It could be a thesis proposal, critical analysis, dissertation, etc. Insert the full date enclosed by the total amount of words in your project, your name, and title of your school. We recommend downloading some templates or examples of the cover page to make it easier for you.

The History of the Civil War and Its Consequences for the Modern US Population

Term Paper

August 21, 2014

2500 words

Lindsay Harris

University of Oxford

  • Requirements — Add a full reference each time you insert another in-text quotation, direct or indirect. Acknowledge the credible, up-to-date sources like books and journals.
  • References — List the cited sources or sources that contributed to your project somehow. Oxford references and footnotes are what constitute this type of essay format.
  • In-text citation — According to the official manual, writers have to involve citations throughout the text to prove their words with examples. It is being done with the help of the “Insert” tab in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Thus, there is nothing complicated about the process. The citation should show up in both the footnote and references page (your bibliography).

Oxford citation style is a method used to cite a passage from or to name as the authority for a statement or an opinion in a paper. You will get specific techniques for that: by inserting footnotes during the writing, for example. These footnotes should lead your readership to a full list of references where cited sources are to find. This list appears at the bottom of the page to acknowledge the studies and findings of other scientists working on the same research question. Confusing at the first thought, this format seems to be reminiscent of MLA or APA. It is possible to get acquainted with it in no time all. Our guide is the capsule version of the entire manual which is rather a long read.

Examples of Oxford Footnotes

In the heart of this format, we have footnote referencing. You can easily come up with footnotes in your Word. It has all the necessary instruments to make your life easier. An “Insert tab” function was developed specifically for the formats that apply footnotes and endnotes just like in Chicago or Oxford style. Pick “Footer” out of all the available options ( either in Word or Google Docs) when you’re so far.

The full citations will show up akin to what you find below:

  • Journal/print article with the writer: 1 B. Bells. Coming up with a Tasty Salmon Dish. Journal of Cooking, vol. 37, no. 7, 2008: pp. 145-171.
  • Journal/print article written by unknown: 1 Things You Can Get from the Common Beans. Journal of Cooking, vol. 35, no. 4, 2007: pp. 264-269.
  • Book with a single author: 2 A. Wesley. Adding Peppers to Meat Dishes, New York: Great Books Press, 2011, p. 31.
  • Book with many writers: 2 J. Seifried, M. Bowling, and S. Fries. Introduction to Dishes Prepared in an Oven, New York: Great Books Press, 2012, p. 42.
  • Book without any authors: 2 Mastering the Art of Preparing Hamburgers, New York: Great Books Press, 2013, pp. 33-44.
  • Chapter alone: 3 M. Madyson. The Difference between Pork and Beef. In Cooking is Your Life, 33-52. New York: Great Books Press, 2012.
  • Online article/post: 4 H. Oxford. Cooking as a separate Type of Hobby. Fun Cooking. 11-12-09. Full URL address (Accessed full date).

In Oxford writing style, you can add the superscript numbers on the page you’re working on: the length of the footer is predetermined by the number of sources quoted in the particular part of your paper.

For instance, you have a superscript number in bold, and the rest of the reference is not in bold (the main title should be italicized then). Remember to add a space after the superscript number.

Types of Oxford Citation

There is nothing left to say in this regard. In Oxford citation except the superscript number should follow the words of another author. No need to provide any other details — leave them for the footnotes.

You can decide which type of citation to use:

  1. Direct in-text citation: Copy-paste the sentence(s) or phrases of another author (the words should appear exactly the way they were used by him or her). Add a superscript number to define the source in the footnotes and bibliography.
  2. Indirect in-text citation: Paraphrase the words when citing from another author. Add quote in your document where it makes sense. Add a superscript number to define the source in the footnotes and bibliography. The example of the in-text citation in Oxford style would be:

The rapid drop in literacy rates lead to increased unemployment in the region.1

After reading the section about footnotes, you can guess that a corresponding Oxford footnotes example will look this way:

1. Robin Cottrell, Causes and effects of the Recent Drop in Literacy Rates (Oxford: University Press, 2015).

Oxford Referencing List

How to “Oxford reference”? What is the main difference between a footnote and a reference? Let’s find out. For the bibliography page, add the names of the writers, title, and publication date as well as the publisher and location. It is critical to mention all the sources used in the footnotes in the proper numerical order (in the order of their appearance). Add the sources that were not cited but still contribute to your research. There is no need, of course, to quote or paraphrase absolutely everything.

Develop a separate blank page for your references. It is possible to copy-paste the entries from your footnotes to speed up the process; make sure to edit some nuances before submitting the paper. The names of the contributors should appear differently.

The title of the bibliography page should be “Reference List.” The main difference between a footnote entry and reference page entry is that the author’s last name goes first instead of the first one. You should list the sources in alphabetical order by surname. For the articles and separate chapters of the books or journals, make sure to insert specific page ranges for your citations. The professor should be able to find the quotes you used in the original sources to tell whether you have mastered a subject.

Finally, here is an example of the bibliography entry held in Oxford referencing style:
Cottrell, Robin, Causes, and effects of the Recent Drop in Literacy Rates (Oxford: University Press, 2015).

Applying Oxford style successfully involves a lot of moves to be made. As complicated as this first appears, the more understandable and clearer this task becomes when one looks closer — through the instrumentality of our instructions and effective recommendations. Approach the formatting stage diligently, and we hope you will deal with that easily!