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A Referencing Style Guide

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Citing your sources while writing an essay or article is a must if you have drawn inspiration from other people’s work. However, it is not an easy task. There are literally hundreds of referencing styles to choose from. Publishing houses have different set of rules regarding citation of sources, while every university has its own style guide that needs to be followed. Selection of referencing style should be based upon the subsequent reader of the academic paper.


Here a few referencing styles explained for your benefit:

1. Harvard referencing style: The Harvard referencing style contains the order and content of reference information. It varies in minor features like punctuation, capitalization, abbreviations and layout. It follows this order — Surname, Initial(s). Date. Title. Edition. Place of Publication: Publisher (Series)

Comfort, A. 1997. A good age. 2nd Edition. London: Mitchell Beazley

2. APA referencing style: APA benchmark is mainly in standardized scientific writing in many formats such as term papers, research papers, literature reviews.

Gore, A. (2006). An inconvenient truth: The planetary emergency of global warming and what we can do about it. Emmaus, PA: Rodale
In-text reference – (Gore, 2006)

3. MLA referencing style: This style is the most popular form among students in writing papers, citing resources within liberal arts and humanities. MLA style follows a system of referencing their sources through parenthetical citation in their essays. Its format is — Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication.

Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita. New York: Putnam, 1955. Print.

4. Footnotes: Here the reference is used in the form of numbers under the citation in the body of the text. The citations details are mentioned at the bottom of the relevant page.

Frank Feather, Canada's Best Careers Guide 2000 (Toronto: Warwick, 2000) 152-3.

5. Bibliography: Bibliography is in alphabetical order and is stated at the final page of the content. Bibliography contains details like author’s name (surname first, then the name or initials), year of publication (in brackets), title of books in italics or underline, publisher and place of publication.

Smith, Kate (1998), Life in Asia, Collins, Melbourne

6. AGLC referencing style : AGLC (Australian Guide to Legal Citation) is another popular footnoting style.

Short Title of the Act year (jurisdiction) pinpoint.
Example, Income Tax assessment Act 1997 (Cth)s 20.
Reported Judgment
Case mane (year) Volume Report Series Abbreviation starting page, pinpoint.
CarlillVs Carbolic Smoke Ball Co (1893) 1 QB 256.

7. MHRA referencing style: Here you insert a footnote number when you refer to another’s work and give full bibliographic details in a footnote.

i Nicholas S.R. Walliman, Your Research Project: A Step-by-step Guide for the First-time Researcher (London: SAGE, 2001), p. 301.

8. Oxford referencing style: Footnote citation and reference list are two basic components that signify an Oxford referencing style.

For Footnote:  1 J.M. Foley (ed.), A Companion To Ancient Epic, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, pp. 25-30.
For referencing: Foley, J.M. (ed.), A Companion To Ancient Epic, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

9. OSCOLA referencing style: OSCOLA (Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities) is aimed to provide accuracy in citation of authorities, legislation and other legal materials. The order of referencing would be the case number, then the party in italics, the law report series, and finally the page number.

Case C - 212 / 03 Commission of the European Communities v France [2005] ECR 1-4213 Case T - 180 / 98 Cotrim v CEDEFOP [1999] ECR 11-1077.

10. Vancouver referencing style: Vancouver referencing style is mainly used in the medical field and follows a number system to each reference as it is cited.

Smith (10).

11. Turabian referencing style: Turabian referencing style has two basic documentation systems — notes-bibliography style and author-date style.


i. For Bibliography style: Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Boston: Little, Brown, 2000), 64–65.

ii. Reference list: Gladwell, Tipping Point, 71.


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