Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Library Guides

Referencing: Home

This guide provides resources to support your citation and referencing practice in line with academic requirements


This guide provides information to support an important element of your academic and research practices: citing and referencing. You will also find brief outlines of the reference management software that is recommended by the University of Westminster: RefWorksZotero and Mendeley, as well as Zoterobib for generating a quick reference list.

Perhaps it needs to be stated clearly at the outset that the information given on these webpages is by way of guidance. It is essential that you check with your course or module leader as to the precise citation and referencing style they are using and whether they have any preferences within the Harvard style itself that do not conform to the examples given herein.

At the University of Westminster, unless otherwise specified by your module or course leader, we use the Westminster Harvard author-date style of citing and referencing. A comprehensive set of examples of citations and references can be found in this guide. Download a PDF version of the Referencing Your Work guide here.

Some schools use a different system. Remember to check your course handbook so that you are familiar with exactly what referencing system your school or course requires.

Other styles in use at the University are:

Architecture – Oxford
Computing and Engineering – IEEE
History – Oxford
Psychology - APA

By following the guidance set out in these web pages, you will minimise the risk of being accused of plagiarism.

If you have further questions, please contact your Academic Engagement Librarian. Other ways of getting in touch with library staff can be found on our contact page

Through citing and referencing you will gradually learn to enjoy academic writing as a creative practice!

Westminster Harvard Citation and Referencing Style


A key principle of citing and referencing is being consistent. To achieve consistency, many courses at Westminster University specify Harvard-style author-date referencing. However, do check with your lecturers to make sure that you know which citation and referencing style they have specified for a particular course or module.

Westminster Harvard citation and referencing style uses author-date in-text citations. What this means is that the author's surname and date of publication are provided, inside round brackets, to mark the in-text citations, along with a page number if a direct quotation is used or if a paraphrase follows closely the author's sense.

Examples of in-text citations look like this: 

(Derrida, 2005)


(Derrida, 2005, p232)

The in-text author-date citation is paired with the item to which it refers in the list of references provides at the end of the text. For example, the in-text citation (Derrida, 2005, p232) is accompanied in the reference list by the following entry:

Derrida, J. (2005). The Politics of friendship. London: Verso.

The list of references, which is presented in alphabetical order, provides descriptions of the texts or other resources from which the citation is taken, starting from the author and the date and going on to include title, place of publication and publisher, in the case of a book, or, in the case of a journal article, article title, journal title, volume number, issue number and page numbers. If several items are cited from the same author, they are listed in date order of publication, earliest date first.

By way of example, a list of references will look like this: 

Agamben, G. (1993). The Coming community. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota University Press.

Blanchot, M. (1988). The Unavowable community. Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press.

Blanchot, M. (1997). Friendship. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.‚Äč

Dallmayr, F. (1999). Derrida and friendship. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 2 (4), 105–130.

Derrida, J. (1969). The Ends of Man. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 30 (1), 31–57. 

Derrida, J. (1978). Violence and metaphysics: an essay on the thought of Emmanuel Levinas. In Writing and difference. London: Routledge, 97-192.

Derrida, J. (1993). Politics of friendship. American Imago, 50 (3), 353–391.

Derrida, J. (2005). The Politics of Friendship. London, UK: Verso.

Sometimes a bibliography will also be provided, which will look very like the list of references but which will also include all of the sources that you consulted in the course of your research but did not cite.

YouTube referencing playlist

A playlist of short videos to help you understand referencing and do it correctly.

Citing and Referencing


Academic writing can be recognised as a mixture of the author’s own words and expressions and phrases taken from books, articles and other texts that the author has read and interpreted.  It will become clear which words are from the author and which words are taken from elsewhere because, as noted in the previous box, a system of 'citing' and ‘referencing’ is used. Citing may be defined as 'mentioning' an author and 'using' their expressions in the text; while referencing may be defined as 'describing' the item cited, following the conventions of a particular referencing style, sufficiently for it to be findable by the reader.

As an academic author, using the Westminster Harvard style of citing and referencing, you will follow these academic precedents and provide citations tied to a list of references which gives the full details of every book, journal article or other source used.  

In addition to the details given in the previous box, items which are electronic in form will also require the addition of an online address, whether in the form of a URL (uniform resource locator) or a DOI (digital object identifier), such as in the following examples.

Online address in the form of a URL*:

Scwartzenbach, S.A. (1996). On civic friendship. Ethics, 107 (1), 97–128. Available from [Accessed 6 November 2018].

Online address in the form of a DOI:

Rekret, P. (2016). A critique of new materialism: ethics and ontology. Subjectivity, 9 (3), 225-245. Available from 

Referencing should be used both when you are paraphrasing a source or when quoting directly from it.  Direct quotations should only be used if you are unable to paraphrase something more clearly or economically or where it is important to use the exact words, for example, to show how a particular author is defining a specific concept or topic or you need to cite the exact words of a reported speech from a significant figure. 

As a rule of thumb, try to keep direct quotation to under 5 percent of the total word count.  Paraphrasing is preferable because it is more economical, less distracting for the reader and helps you to demonstrate that you have understood the text in question.

*Life Science students do not need to add urls or DOIs to journal references.