Referencing or citation styles

Referencing styles or citation styles are the various standard methods used to cite the original source of work. Refer to the below list to know some widely used citation styles:

  • Harvard
  • Vancouver
  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • Chicago/ Turabian
  • American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC)
  • American Medical Association (AMA)
  • Council of Science Editors/Council of Biology Editors (CSE/ CBE)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

The last five referencing styles are rarely used but still required in some places. These styles depend on the terms of formatting, punctuation, and order of information. You will find the difference in both the level of citations (in-text citation and reference list). The use of citations reflects the discipline for which you are writing your documents. Furthermore,  you need to follow the referencing style as per your academic institutions or publishers.

The numerous referencing styles follow two types of systems named as the documentary-note system and parenthetical system.

  • Documentary-note system: In this system, chronological numbers are used as in-text markers to either footnotes or endnotes or both in which a numeric digit usually placed after the full stop. The use of numeric digit in the reference list is not necessary as it totally depends on the specific referencing style.
  • Parenthetical system: In this system, the brief information of author and date (or page number as in MLA format) is used in in-text citation enclosed by parenthesis (round brackets). At the end of the papers, you will find the detailed reference list.

Let’s discuss some referencing styles in details to understand its usage

Harvard referencing style

Harvard is a commonly used citation style based on author-date and mainly used in the U.K. and Australia. There is no specific manual for this style. The use of punctuation and other formatting varies from institution to institution. We are using Charles Darwin University’s (CDU) Harvard Referencing Style guide 2016 version to explain the details of this style.

  • The parenthetical system of referencing is used in this style.
  • The name of author and year of publication is used in “in-text reference” and mentioned in round brackets. For example, (<author name><publication year>, <page number/s>). Use only the surname of the author and do not need to place a comma (,) between the author’s name and year of publication like (Dickinson 2002). If the page number is included, then write in the following format (Dickinson 2002, p 30). This referencing style is used in different subjects of humanities.
  • For the reference list, use a separate page to mention the detailed references at the end of the document and arrange all authors’ names in alphabetical order.

When you need to include more than one author, refer to the below format for both methods

For in-text citation: Only mention the surnames of the authors and use “&” to separate them.  (<author #1 surname> & <author #2 surname> <Publication Year>) 

Example: (Christie & Dickens 2009) 

For the reference list: Use “&” to separate the late name and initials of the two authors. <Author#1 last name>, <author#1 first name/s initials> & <author#2 last name>, <author#2 first name/s initials> <Publication Year>, <title>, …

Example: Christie, Agatha & Dickens, Charles 2009, <title>, …

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