Improving Observation Skills


Some people confuse the bibliography with the references.
Please click the buttons to check you understand the difference.

Research and background reading is essential for writing observations to help focus the aims of the observation and to give information for the evaluation.
You can demonstrate your knowledge by quoting from the information sources you researched.

You should include a list of all the books, articles from journals, newspapers, CD-Rom, Internet Sites and leaflets that you refer to, or quote from, in your written work.
All sources of information should be included.

Writing the References

The convention used to write the reference list is the Harvard System
The information sources are listed alphabetically by author's surname.

The Harvard System

The Harvard System includes information so that sources of research can be traced easily and checked by the reader.

  1. Author's surname and initials
  2. Date of publication
  3. Title of the book
  4. Place published
  5. Publisher's name
  6. Page number of the reference.

All of the information you need for the reference list is written on the first pages of the book just inside the cover.

For example:

A book

If you quoted a sentence from a page of Patricia Geraghty's book, Caring for Children A Textbook for Nursery Nurses, you would include this in the reference list with the page number where you found the quotation.

Geraghty (Author's surname)
P (Author's initial)
1988 (Date published)
Caring for Children A Textbook for Nursery Nurses (Title of the book)
London (Place published)
Bailliere Tindall (Publisher)
Page number (Page where the quotation was found)

If there are 2 authors then list both surnames and initials.
If there are more than 2 authors then list the first surname and initial followed by et al this means 'and the others'
If there is more than 1 edition of a book, it is helpful to say which edition is used.

An article in a journal or professional magazine

If you read an article by Dr Richard Woolfson in the Nursery World, you would include this in the bibliography giving all the information so that the reader can trace the article and read it for themselves.

Woolfson (Author's surname)
R (Author's initial)
18th April 1996 (Date published) you need to be precise because the Nursery World Journal is published each week
A co-ordinated Approach (Title of the article) published in Nursery World pages 12-13 (Name of Journal and page numbers)
London (Place published)
Nursery World Publications (Publisher)

An internet address

An internet address is different. It is given as the World Wide Web internet site address.
If you consulted the Child Development Institute of America and found a developmental sequence for children, you would include it in the bibliography to give the reader all the information they need to visit the site.

www. (World Wide Web) (Child Development Institute)
/devsequence (Child Development Sequence)

The Reference list only includes the information sources referred to or quoted from.

All the sources must also be included in the Bibliography because that is a list of books consulted.

The Reference List includes where to find the quotes and references.

The Bibliography includes ALL the sources of information consulted, quoted and referred to.

This is the way to include references in your work:

  1. Use quotation marks " " to show the exact words you quoted.
  2. Use brackets ( ) to include the reference for the author's surname, date and page no.
  3. If you quote part of a sentence make sure it makes sense with what you have written.
  4. If you are quoting a developmental milestone include the age range in your work.
    Example - Geraghty says a child of 4 to 5 years "catches a large ball". (Geraghty 1998, page 88)
  5. List the source of all your references at the end of your work.
    Example - Geraghty 1998 Caring for Young Children London: Bailliere Tindall page 88.
  6. Use the Harvard System:
    • Author
    • Date
    • Title
    • Place
    • Publisher
    • Page number
  7. Arrange the reference list alphabetically by author's surname.
  8. Remember to include the references in the bibliography.

Click to demonstrate the reference list

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