Skip to main content
The Library

Guide to Referencing

Referencing shows the reader of your work where the information you have used comes from. This is important because it protects you from plagiarism, shows you have carried out thorough research and allows your reader to find the sources you have read.

To reference your work successfully use the A to Z example list below.

Note: to download this information as a PDF use Print (Ctrl+P) and change the printer to Adobe PDF/Save as PDF.

Refworks

RefWorks is software which allows you to create an online record for the resources you have used. You can then use those records to create references in the Harper style. You can now login to RefWorks via the institutional login using your Harper ID and password.

View the RefWorks YouTube channel for expert videos on how to get the best out of Refworks.

Please also take a look at the Refworks End User Training session.

Contact us for more information.

Table of contents

Loading table of contents...

Introduction

At Harper Adams we use the Harvard system of referencing, but there is no definitive version of Harvard. This guide introduces the version used at Harper Adams. Other approaches to referencing systems exist. The guide does not aim to cover every eventuality. If you follow the guidance here, you will be able to create references to sources not covered in this guide. Additional guidance is available on the library website which also includes examples of references for less common resources. If you need any help with referencing please ask your tutor, or come and see us in the library.

Definitions

  • BIBLIOGRAPHY - an alphabetical list of sources, which you have read but have not cited within the text.
  • CITATION - an acknowledgement in the text that you are referring to another person’s work.
  • PLAGIARISM - the act of passing off as your own, the words, opinions or ideas of another.
  • QUOTATION - the exact words used by another person.
  • REFERENCE - a standardised description of the source you have cited within your text. The information included in the reference enables the reader to locate the source. References appear in an alphabetical list at the end of your work.
  • SOURCE - any resource used or quoted in your work, including text books, journals, TV and radio programmes, the internet and other people.

Why bother to include citations and references?

Referencing shows the reader where your information has come from. This is important because:

  • it gives other authors credit for their work.
  • it protects you from challenges of plagiarism (for which you could fail your assignment).
  • it enables your reader to find the sources you have used.
  • it allows you to show that you have researched your topic thoroughly (thus getting you more marks).
  • it gives your arguments weight - your work has more credibility if you show that it is supported by evidence from other academics and their research.

When do I need to cite a source?

Whenever you use information from someone else you must cite it, even if you have used your own words. This includes images, figures and tables as well as text. Citations should be placed in your assignment at the point at which you refer to another person’s ideas or opinions.

You don’t need to include a citation if you are stating something that is common knowledge. This is a grey area so be careful. Pears and Shields (2008 p.12) define common knowledge as “facts, dates, events and information that are expected to be known by someone studying or working in a particular field”. As a general rule, if it is possible to attribute information to a particular person, source or organisation, include a citation.

Appendices – include references to any citations appearing in the appendices in the main list of references.

If in doubt... cite it!

Secondary referencing

This is the practice of referring to a publication you have not actually read yourself – but which has been cited in a publication you have seen. You should make every effort to read the original source. If this is not possible, it is important that you make it clear exactly what you have read. You need to do this in the text by stating X (year) cited Y (year) ... where X is the source you have read and Y is the secondary reference. For example, Sainsbury (1999) cited Thorp and Maxwell (1993) ... You should only list the source you have read in your reference list.

Sainsbury (1999) cited Thorp and Maxwell (1993)
Only reference the source you have read.

Evaluate your sources

Think carefully about the quality of all the information you use. Make sure your sources are authoritative. Be aware of any bias on the part of the author or the publisher. The publication date tells you if the information is up to date. If the source is historic consider whether it is still valid to cite in your work. If you do not know the author or publication date of a piece of information, think carefully before using it.

Wikipedia

Students should not cite Wikipedia or similar websites. Students should use these as a starting point only. They are not acceptable citations in themselves, even though they may point to an original citable source.

Lecture notes

Please only use lecture notes if you have asked your lecturer if it is permissible.

Examples of citations

Citations usually include only two elements – the surname of the author (or equivalent), and the year of the publication. These two elements must be the same as the first two elements of the reference at the end of the text. (Where the citation follows a direct quote, the page number is also included).

Citations always appear next to the statements they support.

Citations include the surname of the author and the year of publication.

Citations of multiple authors

If there are two authors (or editors) include both their names in the citation.

(Hubrecht and Kirkwood, 2010)

If there are three or more authors write the first surname in the citation followed by et al. – meaning “and others”, where et al. is in italics and al. has a full stop.

(Holmes et al., 2007)

NB: In the reference list you must include surnames and initials of all authors. Authors should be listed in the order they appear within the source.

Citations for more than one work by the same author in the same year

This is common when referencing internet sites. Differentiate between sources by using lower case alphabetical lettering.

The UK currently imports 50% of fresh fruit (DEFRA, 2009a) ...
... is described by DEFRA (2009b) as ....

If you are citing undated sources, include a space after the phrase “not dated” e.g. (MDC, not dated a).
NB: make sure you repeat the same lettering in your reference.

Differentiating between works by authors with the same surname, published in the same year

In this case include the author’s initial/s in the citation.

(Evans, L., 2010)

Citing information from multiple sources

If your information comes from more than one source, citations are in date order with the oldest source first, separated with a semi-colon, for example:

(Brown, 2004; Adams, 2007; Evans, 2007; Carter, 2013)

Citing anonymous sources

Information in sources like popular journals, newspapers, websites and pamphlets is often anonymous. For journals and newspapers use the name of the publication in place of the author’s name. For websites and pamphlets if you can identify the company or organisation responsible for the information, cite it as the author. Otherwise use Anon. (for anonymous) in place of the author.

(The Times, 2007)
(Food Ethics Council, 2007)
(Anon., 2010)

Citing undated sources (e.g. internet pages)

Some sources do not display a publication date. This is common with websites. If there is a “last updated” date on an internet page, use that as the publication date. If no date at all is shown on the source, use the phrase “not dated” instead of the year of publication.

(FSA, not dated)

Citing unpublished material (including personal communication)

Procedures differ depending on whether the information is likely to be published in the future. Sources which are likely to be published in the future include in press articles or conference papers. For sources such as these include the phrase “in press” or “unpublished” (as appropriate) in place of the year of publication.

(Clarke and Alibardi, in press)
(Fenner, unpublished)

Information that is never going to be published should not be included in your list of references (as the reader will not be able to locate it). It is still important to identify in the text that this information is not your own. Such information might be personal communication (conversations/email/letters) or information seen on a trade stand.

When referring to information that is not going to be published include details both of where you obtained the information and why the source is valid and reliable. For personal communication include the abbreviation “Pers. Comm.”.

(Smith, 2009. Pers. Comm. Mr C. Smith is the Technical Manager of Midlands Grain Ltd).
(EDF Energy, 2010. Information taken from the EDF Energy trade stand at Energy Now Expo 2010. EDF Energy is a large UK electricity producer.)

Only enter the full source description (shown above) the first time you mention the source. For any subsequent mentions, brief information such as (Smith, 2009. Pers. Comm.) or (EDF Energy, 2010. Trade stand) is sufficient.

Citing a table, figure or image

Cite the author and year of publication of the source beneath the image. Include any page numbers – preceded by p. - and precede the citation with the word “Source”.

Silhouette of a person's head"I keep all my lecture notes and articles in binders, with file dividers, according to what topic they're on. That way everything is in the right place for when I come to revise for exams or write the assignments."
(Source: Open University, not dated, p.5)

Citing information which you have adapted

If you take an image from another source and change it in any way; or change the way in which information is displayed (e.g. create a chart from a table or annotate an image), include the words “adapted from” before the citation.

Reference example

(Source: adapted from Skills for Learning, Leeds Metropolitan University, 2009, p.6)

Author’s own

Citations and references are not required for tables and figures that have been entirely created by yourself and which do not contain information from other sources. Author’s own photographs do require a citation but should not be referenced (see Reference Examples).

Acronyms

It is acceptable to use known acronyms in citations and references. If you are concerned about word count, acronyms can be used without explanation in citations. However a full explanation of what the acronym stands for must be included in the author field of every reference. (Acronyms can however be used without explanation in the publisher field of the reference).

Citation (in the text): (CLA, 2005)
Reference: CLA (Country Land & Business Association). 2005. Renewable energy – more than wind? [Online]. CLA. Available from…

Integrating citations into your text

Examples of citations

  • … (Smith, 1999).
  • Smith (1999) found that …
  • Smith (1999) stated that …
  • Smith (1999) showed that …
  • Smith (1999) investigated the …
  • Smith (1999) studied the effects of …
  • Smith (1999) carried out a number of investigations in the …
  • In 1999, Smith et al. published a paper in which they described … (if three or more authors)
  • A recent study by Smith (1999) involved …
  • A small scale study by Smith (1999) reaches different conclusions …
  • To determine the effects of x, Smith (1999) compared …
  • Smith (1999) identified …
  • Smith (1999) listed three reasons why …
  • Smith (1999) provided in-depth analysis of work …
  • Smith (1999) discussed the challenges and strategies for …
  • Smith (1999) questioned whether …

(Source: adapted from The University of Manchester, 2005)

A direct quotation – including quoting from legislation

If you are quoting directly use quotation marks, either integrated into the paragraph for a short quotation, or separate and indented for three or more quoted lines. Include the surname, year of publication and page number(s), preceded by p. for a single page or pp. for multiple pages, immediately after the quotation. (NB. If you are quoting from legislation use section numbers rather than page numbers – e.g. Environment Act 1995, s61 (1) ). When the quotation is integrated into a sentence, “the full stop is placed outside the quotation marks and immediately following the citation” (Bloggs, 2010, p.6). However, when quoting entire sentences, the full stop goes before the end quotation marks, followed by the citation, as in the following example:

“Quotations should be relevant to your argument and used judiciously in your text. Excessive use of quotations can disrupt the flow of your writing and prevent the reader from following the logic of your reasoning.” (Pears and Shields, 2008, p 16).

References – what details do you need?

A reference list provides descriptions of the sources you have cited within your text. The reference list allows the person marking your work to consider the strength and depth of the evidence you have used and so give an indication of the quality of your work. The information included in each reference enables the reader to locate the works you have cited. The reference list must include references for every citation in the text. References are listed in alphabetical order (by author/editor) at the end of your work. (NB. The Word A to Z tool can quickly sort lists into alphabetical order).

When researching a topic record details of all the sources you consult. You will need details of the following information:

Author(s)/editor(s)

The surname and initials of every author/editor or organisation connected with the work - if there isn’t one listed use Anon or for journal and newspaper articles use the name of the publication. For websites and pamphlets you may use the name of the organisation responsible. Multiple authors should be listed in the order in which they appear on the source.

Title of publication

The title of the source that you have used (remember with journals and some edited books you will also need the title of the article or chapter).

Edition

For book references include the edition – unless it is the 1st.

Year of publication

This is the year the source was published (remember if there is no date use the phrase not dated).

Place of publication

References include the place in which a work was published. (You do not need this for references to journals). If there are several places listed, choose the one in the UK.

Publisher

Your reference should also include the publisher of the source – although you don’t need this for references to journals. NB: with websites it is common for this to be the same as the author. If there are multiple publishers, only include the first.

Volume & issue numbers

If your source has volume and issue numbers (e.g. journals and multi-volume texts), you will need to include them in your reference.

Page numbers

If you have consulted a journal, chapter in an edited book or conference paper, include the relevant page numbers.

URLs

For electronic sources (e.g. websites) you will need the URL of the source. NB. If you have accessed a number of different pages within a site, and each page has a different URL, you will need a separate reference for each page.

Date you accessed the material

This is only necessary for electronic sources – as electronic information changes on a regular basis, your source may differ by the time the reader accesses the page – it is therefore important to list the date you accessed the information.

Compiling References

References follow a regular, logical pattern made up of set elements. Elements appear in a set order. There are typographical rules for the different elements of the reference which must be followed. Once you understand these rules you should be able to compile references for all the sources you need.

Most references to print sources include:

  • An author – or equivalent (e.g. editor). If no author is given use the company or organisation responsible, or Anon.
  • A publication date – If no date is given use “not dated”. If the item is likely to be published in the future use “in press” (for journal articles) or “unpublished”
  • A publication title. This should always appear in italics
  • A place of publication
  • A publisher

Author (surname, initials). Year. Publication title (in italics). Place of publication (followed by colon): Publisher.
Reynolds, J. 2010. E-business – a management perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Most references to online sources include:

  • An author – or equivalent (e.g. organisation responsible for the website)
  • A year of publication – online sources might show this as a copyright or “last updated” date
  • A title
  • [Online]
  • A “publisher” – i.e. Organisation responsible for the site
  • Available from: URL
  • Accessed date

Author. Year. Title (in italics). [Online]. Publisher. Available from: URL [Accessed date].
ADAS. 2007. An independent evidence baseline for farm health planning in England. [Online]. DEFRA. Available from: http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/policy/animalhealth/documents/fhp.pdf [Accessed 22 July 2010].

For print and online journals where the content is exactly the same these are referenced as print sources and therefore will not require a URL link. See Referencing Examplea. For e-books with full publication details (place of publication, publisher) follow print books example – no URL link is required.

Example reference list

References   Type

Allen, C. 2013. Information and uncertainty in meerkats and monkeys. In: Stegman, U.E.ed. Animal communication theory: information and influence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp.319-335.

- Chapter in an edited book

Belz, F. and Peattie, K.2013. Sustainability marketing: a global perspective. 2nd ed. Chichester: Wiley.

- Book with edition

Cadbury. 2009. Focused on performance: delivering against our plan annual report and accounts 2008. Uxbridge: Cadbury.

- Annual report

EBLEX (English Beef and Lamb Executive). Not dated. BRP controlling sheep lameness. [DVD]. Kenilworth: EBLEX.

- No year of publication

Farm Animal Voice. 2008. Proud to be a pig? Autumn, pp.8–10.

- No author – journal

Ferguson, N.S., Arnold, G.A., Lavers, G. and Gous, R.M.2000a. The response of growing pigs to amino acids as influenced by environmental temperature. 1. Threonine. Animal Science, 70 (2), pp.287-297.

Ferguson, N.S., Arnold, G.A., Lavers, G. and Gous, R.M.2000b. The response of growing pigs to amino acids as influenced by environmental temperature. 2. Lysine. Animal Science, 70(2), pp.299-306.

- References contain all authors (Use ‘a’ and ‘b’ to differentiate between items with same author and date)

Gallent, N. 1997. The alternative route to affordable housing provision: experiences in rural Wales. Journal of Rural Studies, 13 (1), pp.43-56.

Gallent, N. 2008. Rural housing – reaching the parts that other policies cannot reach. Town and Country Planning, 77 (3), pp.122-5.

- List items by the same author in date order

Henten, E.J. van, Goense, E. and Lokhorst, C.eds.2009. Precision agriculture ’09: papers presented at the 7th European Conference on Precision Agriculture Wageningen, the Netherlands 6-8 July 2009. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.

- Conference proceedings

Kakaire, S. 2012. Integrated management of cyst nematodes in oilseed rape: A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Harper Adams. Newport: Harper Adams University College.

- Thesis

Manning, L. and Soon, J.M. 2013. GAP framework for fresh produce supply. British Food Journal, 115 (6), pp.796-820.

- Print and online journal with same content

Shropshire Tourism. Not dated. Much Wenlock. [Online]. Shropshire Tourism. Available from: http://www.shropshiretourism.co.uk/much-wenlock/ [Accessed 28 July 2010].

- Internet page

Smith, R. G., Atwood, L. W. and Warren, N. D. 2014. Increased productivity of a cover crop mixture is not associated with enhanced agroecosystem services. Plos One, 9 (5), pp.796-820. [Online]. Plos One. Available from: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0097351[Accessed 12 August 2014].

- Online only journal or online journals which differ from the print

Verhaeghe, J. and Alsasri, R. 2008. Good hygiene practice on dairy farms.In: Lam, T.J.G.M. ed. Mastitis control from science to practice proceedings of international conference 30 September - 2 October 2008, the Hague, the Netherlands. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers. p.89.

- Conference pape

Download Referencing A to Z PDF

Referencing Examples A to Z

Cookies on the Harper Adams University website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time.