The University primarily uses Harvard for referencing. You’ll find more information about Harvard below, plus a link to the full downloadable guide. If your School uses a different referencing style, you’ll find links to these guides further down.
Other referencing styles
OSCOLA - Law
APA 6th edn. - Psychology
MHRA – Conservatoire postgraduate students
Chicago – English
Optional formats for Computing and Engineering Ph.D. students
All Computing and some Engineering Ph.D. students have been given permission to use alternative referencing standards, such as IEEE, for their thesis and other documents which may lead to academic publications (such as end of year reports) if it will help them in their publication process. Please consult your supervisor(s) for specific guidance.
The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE, previously the Vancouver Group) first published their Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts in 1978. This has been renamed as Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals. These recommendations advise authors to follow the standards detailed in the National Library of Medicine’s Citing Medicine, 2nd edn.
Five basic principles of referencing
The basic principles of referencing are:
- Clearly identify the material being cited: include sufficient information.
- How specific do you need to be?: do you need to refer to the entire document or to a specific part of a document? This will depend on the purposes of the citation and the use that you make of the material being cited.
- Take the information from the resource being cited.
- Make sure the information in the reference reflects the specific copy or instance of the document that was used. For online documents that are subject to change, such data includes the uniform resource locator (URL) of the particular version that was used and the date on which the document was accessed.
- Be consistent: use a uniform style, format and punctuation scheme for all references in a document, regardless of the particular style guide being used. If you are inconsistent, vary styles in the same assignment or you do not provide sufficient information to identify the resource, you are likely to lose marks.
When you proof read your assignment, check for errors in punctuation, check that all elements of the reference are included and check that all the cited works appear in your references list.
The data you use should be taken from the resource itself. The preferred source of data for the reference is the title page or equivalent, such as the title screen, home page, disc label or map face. Any information that does not appear in the cited information resource, but is supplied by the citer, should be enclosed in square brackets
These guidelines are taken from the international standard BS ISO 690: 2010.
Who can help me with referencing?
Library staff can help you check a few of your references, or guide you on specific examples. You can get in touch online via email and 24/7 chat. Alternatively, drop into Curzon or Mary Seacole Libraries during staffed hours to speak to a librarian, or book a tutorial with the Learning, Teaching and Research librarians.
Advice on developing your own strategies for proofreading/editing (including referencing) is available here.
Referencing is an essential part of academic writing. You should show the reader that you have used a range of sources in your work, which they could then find themselves. To do this, you will:
- Mention sources, paraphrase ideas, or directly quote sources within your work (in-text citation)
- Create a full list of sources at the end of your work (reference list)
By listing these, you are showing that you are able to find and evaluate appropriate sources and support your arguments with facts and ideas from credible sources. Referencing adds weight to your argument and helps you avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is considered as unethical in the UK and is treated as misconduct by the university. Read more about how to avoid plagiarism here.
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