Referencing systems

There are two main referencing systems in use in universities. One of these uses a numbering system in the text with notes at the end of the chapter or article; this system often also uses extensive footnoting, and a bibliography is included of works that have been used during the writing of the text. The alternative system that we illustrate below is called the Harvard system; its use is widespread across many different academic fields of study. In this system, the author's name and the date of publication are given in parentheses in the text and refer to a section at the end of the publication, headed ' References', which in turn contains details of all the published works that have been referenced. We use this system in this book. The Harvard system looks like this:


Fairclough, N. (1992) Discourse and Social Change. London: Polity Press.

Heath, S.B. (1982) What no bedtime story means: narrative skills at home and at school, Language in Society, 11(1): 49-76.

Lea, M. and West, L. (1995) Motives, mature students, the self and narrative, in J. Swindells (ed.) The Uses of Autobiography. London: Taylor & Francis, pp. 128-146.

As you will see, it is always the name of the published volume which is italicized (or sometimes underlined or emboldened), whether it is a single author book, an edited volume or a journal. References include the names of the authors in the order in which they appear on the title page; the date of publication; the title of the book, article or journal (as appropriate); the place of publication and the publisher. If you are quoting from a chapter in an edited volume or an article in a journal you also need to record the page numbers. Although there may be some slight variations in punctuation conventions, these key details are always present in the final list of references. What is most important in referencing is consistency: all your references must have a similar format. Look at the references in published works that you are reading to get a feel for how to do it.

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