The basic principles of referencing stay the same no matter what discipline you are writing within -- you must acknowledge your sources. What can and does change is the style of the references (or citations), that is, the way that your sources are presented.
Click the tab that corresponds to the referencing style that you are using or want to find out more about. Different disciplines use different citation styles and most Schools have a preferred style. Check with your School or consult your course handbook if you aren’t sure which style to use.
Harvard is a very popular style, used in cases across the sciences, social sciences and business. Harvard formatting can actually vary, which can be confusing. Check with your instructor for specific requirements, and remember to be consistent with your formatting throughout your document.
Below are some links to some useful Harvard referencing resources.
ACS style is often used by Chemistry researchers. Chapter 14 of their style guide is about referencing.
IEEE is used widely by researchers in Engineering.
Used in the humanities, social sciences and elsewhere.
Used in the languages and humanities.
Used in psychology, as well as widely across the social sciences, including sociology and economics.
Published by the Faculty of Law at Oxford University, now on its 4th edition.
The MHRA style guide is used in the humanities.
Citation guidelines for Current Opinion in Cell Biology can be found in the journal's Author information pack (linked as a pdf), see page 10 for citation guidelines.
Some schools or disciplines on campus will use their own house style for their referencing and citation. You'll find some of those here, we will try for as complete a collection as possible!
For guidelines on citation format in the discipline of History, see their Stylesheet and Guidelines for Written Assignments. Scroll to the section beginning page 6 on Formatting your Footnotes and Bibliography.
You must refer to all sources you quote or paraphrase within your document, and this is known as citing. You should always briefly cite the sources you use in your work within the text of your paper as this will refer your reader to your reference list or bibliography where you will provide the extended details of the source.
If you use the words of another author, you must always use quotation marks to indicate that these words are not your own and you must acknowledge the source, including the page number in your brief in-text citation.
If you express another author’s ideas in your own words, this is called paraphrasing and you must still acknowledge the source of the idea.
The Reference list is usually placed at the end of a text (essay or chapter). It contains the list of citations for sources that you have cited within your text.
The Bibliography is placed at the end of your work and comprises the complete list of all references you consulted in preparing the document, whether you cited them in your text or not. It can also include titles useful as background reading.
The content of a reference depends on the format of the source being cited. Here are a couple of key examples of reference list entries from our Harvard style guide. Spot the differences; why do you think these are important?
One of the key challenges of managing your references, is keeping track of them all in an orderly way. Thankfully, there are software tools available to assist with collating and managing references effectively. Many of these products will also help to format your references as you are writing.
Click on the appropriate tab to find out more about the software that is of interest to you.