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Citing references

Guidance on citing references for students at the University of Reading

Writing citations: the principles

To produce a citation for any kind of material in any style, you will need four pieces of information:

  • author/s and/or editor/s
     
  • date of publication
     
  • title
     
  • publication details (e.g. edition, where published, who by, number of volumes)

Here are some examples of how those details might work for different kinds of source material.

Material

Author

Date

Title

Publication details

Book

Cottrell, S.

2005

Critical thinking skills

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Journal article Weingart, S.N., Zhang, L., Sweeney, M, & Hassett, M. 2018 Chemotherapy medication errors The Lancet Oncology, 19(4), pp. e191-e199

Computer software

IBM

2020

SPSS (Version 27.0) [Computer program]

IBM. Available at: https://www.ibm.com/uk-en/analytics/spss-statistics-software. (Accessed: 27 May 2021)

TV programme

Panorama

2008

The Challenge of the Sixties

BBC4. 15th May. 17:45.

Map

Ordnance Survey

1956

Map of Roman Britain, Scale sixteen miles to one inch

Southampton: Ordnance Survey

Work of art

Cedar, M.

1938

Mars at Night. [Sculpture]

Manor Art Gallery, Manchester

Watch our video on Finding bibliographic details

In this short video we offer some tips for finding all the details you need for a complete reference.

Putting the reference details into the correct style

Provided you have these details and know which referencing style to use, you should be able to correctly write a citation for any source you need to use. The style of referencing you need to use will affect: how and where you place brief citations (in the body of the text, in footnotes, or replaced by a number that acts as a signpost to the reference list); the order details should be arranged in; what punctuation you use. Getting it right shows that you are being thoughtful about your studies and can work with accuracy and academic rigour.

There are many different styles of referencing, and it is important to make sure that you are using the preferred style for your School/Department. Remember that if you are taking modules in different departments, they may require a different style.
Which style should I use?

We have compiled a list of styles used in Schools and Departments across the University, but please check your Course handbook carefully for any changes.

We also have some general guidance about some some of the different styles:

Need help citing specific types of publication?

We have compiled a list of examples in the Harvard style which will help you when citing different types of publication:

Example of adapting a reference for different citation styles

A journal article in the Harvard referencing style:

Gulddal, J. (2020) 'That deep underground savage instinct: narratives of sacrifice and retribution in Agatha Christie's Appointment with Death', Textual Practice, 34(11), pp. 1803-1821.

A journal article in the Chicago referencing style:

Gulddal, Jesper. "That deep underground savage instinct: narratives of sacrifice and retribution in Agatha Christie's Appointment with Death." Textual Practice 34, no. 11 (2020): 1803-1821.