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Citing references

Guidance on citing references for students at the University of Reading

Styles of referencing

Particular referencing styles are preferred by particular academic disciplines because they work better with the kind of texts that are most commonly used in that discipline. At Reading, for instance, English Literature and Film, Theatre and Television both prefer the MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association) style because it is good at dealing with repeated references to a literary text, but while English Literature use the classic version of MHRA, Film, Theatre and Television prefer the Author-Date version. The School of Law prefers OSCOLA because it has rules for citing legal texts.

Other styles that are used at Reading include Harvard, Oxford, APA, Chicago and Vancouver (numeric).

This page includes brief details of each style of referencing used by different departments at Reading. You should always check your course handbook to see which is their preferred style.

Remember that if you are studying modules in different departments or schools, they may each prefer a different referencing style.

Watch this brief video tutorial on Which referencing style should I use? (link will open an external website):

American Meteorological Society (AMS) style

The Department of Meteorology recommend using the AMS style for citations. See your student handbook for more detailed guidance.  More examples can be found in the AMS author/reference citation guide (PDF) - be aware this is an earlier edition, so check carefully against the latest version.  Note that AMS style requires that journal names are abbreviated.  A list of suitable abbreviations can be found here, or look at the CAS Source Index (CASSI) Search Tool.

APA referencing

APA referencing is a variant on Harvard style. Most of the conventions are the same, with brief author-date citations in brackets in the body of the text and full citations in the reference list. It is usual to include a reference list only rather than a bibliography in APA style. Citations for websites are also slightly different, with no need to include a date accessed.

Example for website:

In-text: The National Autistic Society (2014)

In bibliography: The National Autistic Society (2014). Recognising autism spectrum disorder. Retrieved from http://www.autism.org.uk/working-with/health/information-for-general-practitioners/recognising-autism-spectrum-disorder.aspx.


For more information (but always check your course handbook first):

Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) - in Library at 808.066-AME

Chicago style

Chicago style referencing offers two options for citations: either to list brief citations in the body of the text as in Harvard referencing, or to list them in footnotes as in Oxford referencing. So if you are asked to use Chicago style referencing, it is especially important to check which format your department wants you to use. You should be able to find more information in your course or module handbook. If you cannot find anything there, do ask your course tutor.


For more information (but always check your course handbook first):

Harvard referencing

Also known as 'author-date' style. In Harvard style the in-text citation can be in brackets in the body of the text or in footnotes, and uses the author's surname and the date of publication, with the page number if it is a reference to a particular page. Full details are only listed in the bibliography or reference list.

Note that because Harvard is a 'style' rather than a system or set of rules, the preferred punctuation and formatting of the text may differ. Check for any examples in your course handbook, and if they are not available, be consistent.

Example for book:

In-text: (Shriver and Atkins, 1999)

In bibliography: Shriver, D.F. and Atkins, P.W. (1999). Inorganic chemistry. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Example for website:

In-text: (National Autistic Society, 2014)

In bibliography: National Autistic Society (2014) Recognising autism spectrum disorder, online at http://www.autism.org.uk/working-with/health/information-for-general-practitioners/recognising-autism-spectrum-disorder.aspx, accessed 23/07/14.


For more information (but always check your course handbook first):

MHRA referencing for English Literature

MHRA referencing distinguishes between citations for primary texts (e.g. novels, poems etc) and secondary texts (e.g. critical works, additional information).

Most in-text citations are in footnotes. Full details (including editions and translation details if appropriate) should be included in the footnotes for the first mention of a text for both primary and secondary texts. After this, a shortened version can be used, either in brackets in the body of the text, or in footnotes. Whichever method you choose, be consistent.

Examples for primary and secondary texts:

In-text, first mention, primary text: (in footnote) Emily Dickinson, The Complete Poems, ed. by Thomas H. Johnson (London: Faber, 1970) p. 172. All further references to this text are from this edition and are given parenthetically in the essay.

In-text, following mentions, primary text: (in body of text) (Dickinson, p.174) or (p.174)

In-text, first mention, secondary text: (in footnote) Brian Vickers, Francis Bacon and Renaissance Prose (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968) p. 49.

In-text, following mentions, secondary text: (in footnote) Vickers, p. 85.

In bibliography, primary and secondary texts: Emily Dickinson, The Complete Poems, ed. by Thomas H. Johnson (London: Faber, 1970).


For more information (but always check your course handbook first):

MHRA referencing for Film, Theatre and Television

Film, Theatre and Television prefers the Author-Date version of MHRA referencing.

In-text citations are brief (including author, date and page number where appropriate) and placed in brackets in the body of the text NOT in footnotes. Full details (including editions and translation details if appropriate) are listed in the Bibliography.

Book:

In-text: (Nieland 2012: 32)

In bibliography: Nieland, Justus. 2012. David Lynch (Urbana: University of Illinois Press)

Journal article:

In-text: (Rushing 2008: 162)

In bibliography: Rushing, Robert A. 2008. 'Gentlemen prefer Hercules: desire, identification, beefcake.' Camera Obscura, 69: 158-191 

Chapter in edited collection:

In-text: (Hark 1992: 158)

In bibliography: Hark, Ina Rae. 1992. 'Animals or Romans: Looking at masculinity in Spartacus' in Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark (eds). Screening the Male: Exploring Masculinities in Hollywood Cinema (London: Routledge)

Website:

In-text: (Beard 2011)

In bibliography: Beard, Mary. 2011. The Fall of the Roman Republic, <http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/fallofromanrepublic_article_01.shtml> [accessed 20 June 2012].


For more information (but always check your course handbook first):

OSCOLA referencing

OSCOLA stands for Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities. It is preferred by the School of Law at Reading, as it has rules for dealing with the kind of sources that law students will frequently use, including cases, statutes and command papers. In-text citations are placed in footnotes, with a formal set of abbreviations for key sources, e.g. AC for Appeal Cases. Punctuation is kept at a minimum, and there are specific rules for dealing with subsequent mentions.

If you are studying Law, you will be given guidelines on how the School expects you to use OSCOLA, and it is important to follow these.

Example for book:

In-text: (in footnote) HLA Hart, The Concept of Law (2nd edn, Clarendon Press 1994) 135.

In bibliography: Hart HLA, The Concept of Law (2nd edn, Clarendon Press 1994).


For more information (but always check your course handbook first):

How to cite legal authorities
In the Library at 340.035-FRE

Manual of legal citations 2 vols
In the Library at 340.035-LON

Oxford referencing

In Oxford referencing, in-text citations are in footnotes. Full details should be included in the footnotes for the first mention of a text. After this, a shortened version can be used.

Example for book:

In-text, first mention: (in footnote) Jonathan Bell, The Liberal State on Trial: The Cold War and American Politics in the Truman Years (New York, 2004) p.3.

In-text, following mentions: (in footnote) Bell, The Liberal State on Trial, p. 36.

In bibliography: Jonathan Bell, The Liberal State on Trial: The Cold War and American Politics in the Truman Years (New York, 2004).


For more information (but always check your course handbook first):

Vancouver (numeric) referencing

In Vancouver referencing, which is a numeric referencing style, each source is given a number which corresponds to the order in which it appears in the text. If the same source is referred to again in the text, the same number is used. The reference list comprises a single numbered list of citations with full details. You may also include a separate bibliography, alphabetically ordered by author, which lists works that you have used as part of your research for your assignment but not cited in the text.

Example for journal article:

In-text: It has been noted that performance does not always match expectations. (5)

In bibliography: 5. Chhibber PK, Majumdar SK. Foreign ownership and profitability: Property rights, control, and the performance of firms in Indian industry. Journal of Law & Economics 1999;42(1): 209-238.


For more information (but always check your course handbook first):