It is important for you to be able to read and interpret a reference, and to know how to write one. There are no absolute rules for setting out references, but certain information must be given. The information given here shows referencing in the Harvard style but different styles of referencing are used in different disciplines, so that the accepted conventions in, say, the biological sciences may be different from those in electronic engineering. Ask your supervisor or your liaison librarian for guidance if you are not sure what style your department prefers - and above all please use the style advised by your department.

Further examples to support the information given below can be found in the following text, stocked in the Bookshop and the Library as a print copy, and available as an eBook online via the Library.

Pears, R. A and Shields, G. (2013) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 9th ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cite Them Right Harvard referencing online: on and off campus access 

What to Reference
The Reference List
Sample Reference List / Bibliography

 What to Reference

You must always give a reference in the text during, or directly after, each sentence or short section in which you draw upon or summarise someone's work or ideas.

Initially, when referring to a particular source, you simply give:

  • the author's surname (either in the text or in brackets)
  • the date of publication (in brackets)
  • page number if quoting directly or referring to a point clearly located on a particular page

Full details are listed alphabetically in the bibliography/references at the end.

a) If you are using a book with a single author you simply give the author's surname and date of publication in the text. Include the page number if appropriate.

e.g. Those involved in club culture tend to differentiate themselves from a constructed notion of 'mainstream culture' (Thornton, 2009)

e.g. According to Thornton (2009, p.99), those involved in club culture tend to differentiate themselves from a constructed notion of 'mainstream culture'.

b) If you are citing several works by an author from the same year, distinguish them by adding "a, b, c,....." to the year

e.g. Two recent studies by Smith (2006a, 2006b) have raised interesting questions …

c) If you are summarising several pieces of work, list them in chronological order with the earliest first.

e.g. Smith's (1992) work has been criticised by a number of writers (Douglas, 2009; Peake, 2010; Brown, 2013).

d) If there are more than three authors, cite the first author's surname followed by ‘et al.' (meaning ‘and all the rest'). Put 'et al.' in italics and ensure there is a full stop after al. You must list all the authors in your reference list.

e.g. Barnevik et al. (2000) argue that the EU enlargement process may have lost its way.

e) If you are using a secondary source (i.e. you use a quote that you read in the work of another author).

It is always preferable for you to find, read and reference from the original source, especially if you make repeated references to it. However, occasionally it will be necessary to rely upon someone else's summary. Give the author of the point you wish to reference, followed by 'cited in' and the normal reference for the book or article in which you saw the work cited. Your text must make it clear that you have not read the original work. In your list of references you should only include the reference where you read about the original work.

e.g. Stan Cohen argues that, prior to the moral panics about mods and rockers in the mass media, there was very little violence or rivalry between the two groups (Cohen, cited in Thornton, 2005, p.120).

 The Reference List

Books, including ebooks

• author's surname (comma, initials, full stop)

• year of publication (in brackets)

• title of book (in italics )

• edition

• place of publication (colon: )

• name of publisher


Hodkinson, P. (2002) Goth: identity, style and subculture. Oxford: Berg.

Bender, D.A. and Bender, A.E. (1999) Bender's dictionary of nutrition and food technology. 7th edn. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing.

N.B. Where more than one edition of a book exists, it is essential to cite the edition you have used.

Edited Books

• editor's surname (comma, initials, full stop)

• ed. (in brackets)

• year of publication (in brackets)

• title of book (in italics )

• edition

• place of publication (colon: )

• name of publisher

e.g. Wrigley, N. and Lowe, M.S. (eds.) (1996) Retailing, consumption and capital: towards the new retail geography. Harlow: Longman.

Chapters in Edited Books

• Chapter author's surname (comma, initials, full stop)

• year of publication (in brackets)

• title of chapter (between single quotation marks),

• in:

• editor(s) of book: surname, initials, followed by (ed.) or (eds.)

• title of book (italics)

• place of publication:

• name of publisher

• page numbers

e.g. Franklin, A.W. (2012) 'Management of the problem', in Smith, S.M. (ed.) The maltreatment of children. Lancaster: MTP, pp.83-95.

Government departmental publications

• name of government department - no need for country.

• year of publication (in round brackets)

• title of publication (in italics )

• place of publication: publisher

• series (in brackets) - if applicable.

If referencing an online version replace Place of publication: publisher with: 

• Available at: URL

• (Accessed: date)

e.g. Department of Health (2008) Health inequalities: progress and next steps. Available at: (Accessed: 18 June 2010)

Publications written by corporate bodies or organisations

• corporate author

• year of publication (in brackets)

• title (in italics)

• place of publication: publisher

e.g. Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2008) The code: standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives. London: Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Conference Proceedings

• author's surname (comma, initials, full stop)

• year of publication (in brackets)

• title of conference pape: subtitle (in italics)

• location and date of conference

• place of publication: publisher

e.g. Institute for Small Business Affairs (2000) Small firms: adding the spark: the 23rd ISBA national small firms policy and research conference. Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, 15-17 November. Leeds: Institute for Small Business Affairs.

Journal Articles

• author's surname (comma, initials, full stop)

• year of publication (in brackets)

• title of article (between single quotation marks '  ' )

• title of journal (in italics )

• volume number and issue/ part number e.g. 28(5)

• page numbers of the article

• doi - only if available

e.g. Lievrouw, L. (2001) ‘New media and the pluralization of live-worlds: a role for information in social differentiation', New Media and Society, 3(1), pp. 7-28.

E-Journals are referenced in the same way.

e.g. Shirazi, T. (2010) 'Successful teaching placements in secondary schools: Achieving QTS practical handbooks', European Journal of Teacher Education, 33(3), pp.323-326. doi: 10.1080/02619761003602246.

Web Sites

• author/editor's surname (comma, initials, full stop) or name of organisation

• year that the site was published/last updated (in brackets)

• title of internet site (italics)

• Available at: URL

• (Accessed: date)

e.g. BBC (2009) Young resent ‘negative images'. Available at: (Accessed: 10 July 2009).


Many authors give first names or aliases. Use the name they have used in your reference

• author of message 

• year of publication or last update (in brackets)

• title of message (in single quotation marks)

• title of internet site (italics)

• day/month of posted message

• Available at: URL

• (Accessed: date)

e.g. Peston, R. (2009) ‘Why banks must be allowed to die', Peston's Picks, 26 June. Available at: (Accessed: 10 July 2009)


• Name of person posting video

• Year video posted (in brackets)

• title of item (italics)

• Available at: URL

• (Accessed: date)

e.g. MoonWalkerJackson (2009) Michael Jackson you are not alone. Available at: (Accessed: 14 July 2009) 

Musical Scores

• Composer

• Year of publication (in brackets)

• Title of score (italics)

• Notes

• Place of publication: publisher

e.g. Schubert, F. (1970) Shorter works for pianoforte solo. Edited by Julius Epstein. New York: Dover

Music recordings on CD


• Distribution year (in brackets)

• Title of recording (italics)

• [CD]

• Place of distribution: distribution company

e.g.Bernstein, L. (2008) West Side Story [CD] Orpington: Delta


In-text citation: include the medium e.g. figure and the title of the figure followed by, in the next line, From: Author (of the article) and Title (of the article)




Figure 1. Operationalizing the concept of ecologically sustainable development: theory, experts’ opinions and policy.
Mavrommati, G., Bithas, K and Panayiotidis, P. (2013) Operationalizing sustainability in urban coastal systems: a system dynamics analysis

In the reference list: provide the full reference of where the medium was found e.g. book, journal article or website.

Mavrommati, G., Bithas, K and Panayiotidis, P. (2013) ‘Operationalizing sustainability in urban coastal systems: a system dynamics analysis’,  Water Research, 47 (20) pp. 7235-7250

Note about copyright:  There is an exception in UK law which allows you to copy for the purpose of answering examination questions and this includes assessed work that will count towards a final examination mark.  So you can copy material for incorporation in an essay or assignment.  However, if you are contemplating making your work publicly available e.g. by publishing on the web, you will need to exclude copyright material or obtain written permission from the copyright owner for its inclusion.  For further information and examples of permission-seeking letters see Including third party copyright material in your thesis

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