Academic writing depends on the research and ideas of others; therefore, it is important to show which sources the student-writer has used in their work. At the end of the essay or report, there must appear a list of ALL sources cited in text. This section usually has a heading: References or Bibliography. The student-writer needs to make sure that they cross-check all the references within the text against the references listed at the end of the essay or report. It is important to be very careful with referencing by using italics, bold and spaces accurately. There are computer reference managers such as Endnote and Mendeley that make the job of referencing easier.
There are different systems of referencing in the academic world, each of which follows its own conventions. The four most widely used systems of referencing are briefly described below.
1. The Harvard system of referencing is also known as author-date style of referencing. In Harvard style, the in-text citation can be in brackets in the body of the text or in footnotes, and uses the author’s surname and the date of publication, with the page number if it is a reference to a particular page, e.g., Knapper and Cropley (1991: 44) believe that the willingness of adults to learn is affected by their attitudes, values and self-image and that their capacity to learn depends greatly on their study skills.
**Important** Full details of the source are only listed in the bibliography or reference list.
An example of a book reference in the Harvard style:
Bailey, S., 2014. Academic writing: A handbook for international students. Abingdon:
An example of a journal article reference in the Harvard style:
Hyland, K. and Jiang, F.K., 2017. Is academic writing becoming more informal? English for Specific Purposes, 45, pp.40-51.
2. American Psychological Association (APA) referencing is a parenthetical style of referencing, in which partial citations are enclosed within parentheses and embedded in the text either within or after a sentence. APA is used in psychology and other social sciences. APA is a variant of Harvard style, which generally follows the same conventions as the Harvard referencing with brief author-date citations in brackets in the body of the text and full citations in the reference list. Websites are referenced slightly different in APA style, with no need to include a date accessed.
An example of a book reference in the APA style:
Bailey, S. (2014). Academic writing: A handbook for international students. Abingdon:
An example of a journal article reference in the APA style:
Hyland, K., & Jiang, F. K. (2017). Is academic writing becoming more informal? English for Specific Purposes, 45, 40-51.
3. Modern Language Association (MLA) referencing is a parenthetical style of referencing, which is used in liberal arts and humanities. The MLA system uses in-text citations rather than footnotes or endnotes. The citations in-text are very brief, usually just the author’s family name and a relevant page number. These citations correspond to the full references in the list of works cited at the end of the essay or report.
An example of a book reference in the MLA style:
Bailey, Stephen. Academic writing: A handbook for international students. Abingdon: Routledge, 2011.
An example of a journal article reference in the MLA style:
Hyland, Ken, and Feng Kevin Jiang. “Is academic writing becoming more informal?” English for Specific Purposes 45 (2017): 40-51.
4. Vancouver referencing is also known as numeric style of referencing. In Vancouver referencing, each source is given a number which corresponds to the order in which it appears in the text. If the same source is referred to again in the text, the same number is used. The writer might also include a separate alphabetically ordered (by author) bibliography, which lists works the writer has referred to as part of their assignment but not cited in the text.
An example of a book reference in the Vancouver style:
Bailey S. Academic writing: A handbook for international students. Abingdon: Routledge; 2014.
An example of a journal article reference in the Vancouver style:
Hyland K, Jiang FK. Is academic writing becoming more informal? English for Specific Purposes. 2017 Jan 31; 45:40-51.
For more information on referencing, please refer to the following sources:
- https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/ (Purdue Online Writing Lab OWL)
- https://ilrb.cf.ac.uk/citingreferences/tutorial/when.html (Harvard Referencing Tutorial: Cardiff University)
- http://www.waikato.ac.nz/library/study/referencing/styles/apa (The University of WAIKATO)