Referencing Styles

Many students who come for writing appointments say that they are unsure of how to reference or that they have been pulled up for their referencing on an assignment and so they ask us “How do I do it?”

This can be a quite scary question as the majority of us are only familiar with one or at the most two different systems and even then we probably still have to check occasionally. However, there are a lot of resources out there that we can make use of and recommend to other students.

Online sources:

  • Harvard –, I use this site a lot, it’s simple and easy to use with everything under clear subheadings so you can find what you are looking for
  • APA –, this site again has clear subheadings and uses lots of examples as well as giving advice on style, PowerPoint and statistics
  • MHRA -, this is a really useful excerpt from the full MHRA Style Guide which gives you the basics on referencing. The fully style guide can be downloaded for free and for referencing you need Chapter 11
  • MLA –, this document produced by the University of Dublin gives information on how to reference a number of different sources as well as why referencing is used and useful links for generating reference lists
  • OSCOLA –, this gives a brief overview of how to cite different sources (primary or secondary)
  • Vancouver –, simple and easy to use with everything under clear subheadings so you can find what you are looking for

You can also talk to or refer students on to the library staff responsible for their college, contact details for these staff members can be found here:

And of course there are a number of books which we have access to which can be useful as well. I found Cite Them Right: The essential referencing guide (2013 edition) a particularly useful resource. It provides a comprehensive guide on what to cite, how to cite and when to cite. Then it has chapters dedicated to several different styles so that you can see how referencing works in your particular style. There is a copy of this book in the Peer Mentors room and Bangor University Main, Law and Normal Site libraries all have at least one copy.

Finally, something that can help make referencing a little easier: RefWorks. All students are able to access this if they log in through their university account. To use it students simply create a list, which includes the books they have used in their assignment and want to reference, on unicat and then they export this list to RefWorks. On RefWorks they can then choose their preferred referencing style and then generate their final reference list or bibliography depending on the system.

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of options and there might be other more useful websites or books out there but these are some of the resources I have used and found helpful when mentoring. If you have any suggestions please let me know!