Harvard Referencing

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


APA 7th 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.


Referencing help

The five basic principles of referencing

The basic principles of referencing are:

  1. Clearly identify the material being cited: include sufficient information.
  2. 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.
  3. Take the information from the resource being cited.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 are always happy to offer general advice with using this guide. Writing, checking, or proof-reading references is not part of our service.

The Centre for Academic Success, based in the Curzon building, offer workshopsstudy guides and tutorials to help you with referencing. The Academic Development Department, based at City South, also offer referencing support.

Why Reference?

Referencing is an essential part of academic scholarship and ethical values demand that authors identify the sources used in their work. 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).

Plagiarism is considered as unethical in the UK and is treated as misconduct by the University. Read more about how to avoid plagiarism. You are referencing in order to:

  • Show anyone who reads your work your ability to select and refer to the most appropriate external sources which support your work.
  • Support specific facts or claims which you make in your work.
  • Enable the reader to locate where you obtained each quote or idea.

The benefits of referencing to you are that:

  • It shows the range of reading that you have done. This is likely to gain you marks.
  • It can make your own arguments more convincing by supporting them with the ideas of acknowledged experts and data from credible sources.
  • It is a basic academic requirement and doing so means you cannot be accused of plagiarism.

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