Dictionary, encyclopedia or handbook (reference work)

Description: A book to be consulted for definitions of words and terms, or for information about specific people, places and concepts, rather than to be read from beginning to end


  • Types include dictionaries, encyclopedias, manuals and handbooks.
  • For a standard dictionary with no core author(s) or editor(s), do not include an entry in the reference list. Only cite in-text, e.g.
    • The Hutchinson encyclopedia (2007, p. 233) defines...
    • According to the Longman dictionary of contemporary English (2009, p. 152)...
  • Cite specialist dictionaries or encyclopedias with core author(s) or editor(s) as you would for traditional books.

In-text citation

Format and layout:

Author's family name OR Authoring body (year, page number if applicable)
(Author's family name OR Authoring body year, page number if applicable)


Blackburn (2016, p. 66) describes...

...is calculated (Lerman 2014, p. 20).

Denzin (2011) advises...

...is advised (Denzin 2011)

Reference List / Bibliography

Format and layout:

Author's family name, Initial(s) OR Authoring body year, Title, edition if necessary, Publisher, Place of publication.


Blackburn, S 2016, The Oxford dictionary of philosophy, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Lerman, S 2014, Encyclopedia of mathematics education, Springer, Dordrecht.

Denzin, NK 2011, The SAGE handbook of qualitative research, 4th edn, SAGE, Thousand Oaks.