Many of you might be wondering what the point is to this post.  After all, a book’s a book, isn’t it?  A chapter is just part of a book, so you just reference the book, don’t you?  Simple.  Maybe not so simple.

First of all, you need to check the book details to see if the book has authors or editors.  If only authors are mentioned, then yes,  it’s simple, just reference the book; but if it has editors, things are a little different. Read on…

So how do edited books differ from authored books?

Well, a book with authors was written by those authors.  They planned out the content and they wrote the text.  An edited book however is different.  Within an edited book, each individual chapter has its own author(s) who actually produced the text.  The role of the editor(s) is to choose or commission the content and to arrange it into book form.

Have a look at this book below.  The people named on the cover are clearly marked as editors, not authors.  Then, when you reach the contents page, you can see that each chapter has its own author(s).


When you cite a chapter within an edited book, your reference needs to reflect this.  You need to include not only the book details but also the chapter details – so two sets of names will appear.

What should your reference include?

Your book chapter reference should include:

  • Author(s) of the chapter (Surname, Initials)
  • (Year of publication)
  • ‘Title of chapter – inside single inverted commas’
  • ‘in,’ plus editor(s) of book (Surname, Initials) (ed. or eds.)
  • Title of book – in italics.
  • Place of publication: Publisher,
  • Page range.
  • (Series, volume number if appropriate).

And how should it look?

So, if we were to reference one of the chapters above, it would look like this. The text in black is the original book reference, and the surrounding blue text gives the chapter details…

French, R. (2008) ‘Sharing thoughts on leadership and friendship‘, in, James, K. and Collins, J. (eds.) Leadership Perspectives: Knowledge into Action. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 43-57.

If your chapter has no author details, follow the example below using the publisher in place of the author:

ASM International (1998) ‘Corrosion characteristics of carbon and alloy steels’, in, Davis, J. R. (ed.) Metals handbook: desk edition. 2nd edn. Cleveland: ASM International, pp. 301-306.

As always if you have any questions about referencing, please contact us.

Feature image from Pixabay. Available at: 

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