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Referencing styles

This information gives you an overview of referencing styles commonly used at the University of Warwick, including for each:

  • a description of the style
  • a Library quick guide to formatting references
  • useful resources for further guidance

The drop-down boxes below can help you find out which style your department is likely to use. Links to departmental guidance are also provided where available (last updated September 2017).

For more in-depth guidance, see our Plagiarism and Referencing tutorials on Moodle.

Please note: you should always check with your department or course tutors to ensure you are using their preferred style.


APA

APA is an author-date style commonly used in the Social Sciences. The reference list will be alphabetical by author surname.

APS

APS is a numbered referencing style commonly used in Physics.

Chicago

Chicago gives two options: 1) Notes and Bibliography (most common in the arts and humanities); 2) Author-Date (most common in the sciences and social sciences).

Harvard

Harvard is a commonly used author-date style. There are lots of different Harvard styles, so please make sure that you are using a version that your department recognises. The differences between the different styles relates to which parts of the reference are put into capitals, brackets, bold and italics. The order in which you cite the different parts of the reference remains the same.

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Harvard (Warwick WMS) Quick Guide (PDF Document)

Good referencing protects you from plagiarism.

Reference type

Reference in your bibliography

Citation in your text

Notes

Book

Surname, First Name (year of publication) Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher.

e.g., Annas, Julia (1981) An Introduction to Plato’s Republic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[‘quotation’ or your own words] (Annas 1981: 50)

Annas (1981: 50) argues that [‘quotation’ or your own words]

You can reference both print books and their electronic equivalents this way, but note that the normal expectation is that you give a page reference to the page where the relevant text appears in the printed book. You can usually find out about this from the pdf version of the text, or the publisher will insert the page numbers in the electronic text.

Journal article

Surname, First Name (year of publication) ‘Title of Article.’ Title of Journalvolume number (issue number): page range.

e.g., Chappell, Sophie-Grace (1993) ‘The Virtues of Thrasymachus.’ Phronesis 38 (1): 1–17.

[‘quotation’ or your own words] (Chappell 1993: 12)

Chappell (1993: 12) concludes that [‘quotation’ or your own words]

You can reference both print articles and their electronic equivalents this way. Typically, you can find out about page numbers from the pdf version of the text. If the article only exists in an electronic format, volume, issue and /or page numbers may not be available. In that case, follow the advice under ‘Web page’ below.

Book chapter

Author Surname, Author First Name (year of publication) ‘Title of Chapter.’ In: Editor Name ed. Title of edited book. Place of publication: Publisher.

e.g., Barney, Rachel (2006) ‘Socrates’ Refutation of Thrasymachus.’ In: G. Santas ed. Blackwell Guide to Plato’s Republic. Oxford: Blackwell.

[‘quotation’ or your own words] (Barney 2006: 45)

Barney (2006: 45) objects that [‘quotation’ or your own words]

Give the chapter details followed by the book details. The page numbers of the chapter go at the end.

Edited collection

Surname, First Name ed. (year of publication) Title of Edited Collection. Place of publication: Publisher.

e.g., Fine, Gail ed. (1999) Plato 2: Ethics, Politics, Religion, and the Soul. >Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[your own words] (Fine 1999)

Fine (1999) contains a number of contributions to recent debates about x.

If you are quoting from or drawing on a chapter from an edited book, use the directions under ‘Book chapter’ above, as it should always be clear to your reader who the particular author of the piece you are discussing is. Use the advice in this row only when trying to direct your reader to a resource containing a number of relevant papers.

Web page

Author Surname, Author Name (year of publication) ‘Title of Article’ Title of Publication. [online] Available from: web address (date accessed)

e.g., Burnyeat, M. F. (1997) ‘Culture and Society in Plato’s Republic.’Tanner Lectures on Human Values. [online] Available from: https://tavaana.org/sites/default/files/Burnyeat99.pdf (Accessed 05 January 2021).

[‘quotation’ or your own words] (Burnyeat 1997: 217)

Burnyeat (1997: 217) claims that [‘quotation’ or your own words]

If there are no page numbers, indicate the section or paragraph.

Some websites have their own guidance for how to cite their articles, e.g., the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.

Example bibliography

Annas, Julia (1981) An Introduction to Plato’s Republic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Barney, Rachel (2006) ‘Socrates’ Refutation of Thrasymachus.’ In: G. Santas ed. Blackwell Guide to Plato’s Republic. Oxford: Blackwell.

Burnyeat, M. F. (1997) ‘Culture and Society in Plato’s Republic.’ Tanner Lectures on Human Values. [online] Available from: https://tavaana.org/sites/default/files/Burnyeat99.pdf (Accessed 05 January 2021).

Chappell, Sophie-Grace (1993) ‘The Virtues of Thrasymachus.’ Phronesis38 (1): 1–17.

Fine, Gail ed. (1999) Plato 2: Ethics, Politics, Religion, and the Soul. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Note: The bibliography is presented in ascending alphabetical order by author surname. The bibliography is not included in the wordcount. Everything else is included in the wordcount, including citations (whether they are in-text, footnotes, or endnotes). The Library offers more information about referencing.

Useful resources

MHRA

MHRA is a footnote style commonly used in the Humanities. Superscript numbers are placed in the body of the text, and corresponding notes are placed at the end of each page to cite the resources used.

MLA

MLA is an author-date style commonly used in literature or language studies. In-text citations consist of the author surname in brackets.

Oscola

Oscola stands for Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities. It is designed to facilitate accurate citation of authorities, legislation, and other legal materials.

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Useful resources

RSC/ACS

RSC and ACS are referencing styles commonly used in Chemistry.

Vancouver

Vancouver is a numbered referencing style. There are variations of the Vancouver style, for example the numbers may be in superscript or brackets and repeated references may be given a new number or use the number previously allocated to the source.