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Library Guides

Referencing: Home

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

Introduction to referencing

This guide provides a quick introduction to referencing to those who are new to the practice.  It also explains the transition from Westminster Harvard to the version of Harvard provided by Cite Them Right in 2022/23. 

For a longer introduction and comprehensive guidance on referencing in general use the Cite Them Right Online Guide or refer to the book Cite them right available in all libraries.

Bloomsbury Cite them right - a student's must-have online referencing tool

Referencing basics

What is referencing?
Referencing is a standardised system of referring to sources of information or knowledge in your work.  It comprises a marker in the text, which refers the reader to a list of references (Harvard approach) or footnotes/endnotes (running notes approach).

Why reference?
Referencing is one of the things that distinguishes academic writing from most other types of writing.  There are three key reasons that we ask for references:

  1. Shows the reader the research undertaken to create a piece of writing
  2. Gives the reader the information to find the sources used
  3. Makes it clear what work is original to you and what you have sourced from research, so that the work can be assessed appropriately (i.e. you are not plagiarising others work)

What referencing style should I use?
Most courses recommend the Harvard approach, also known as the author-date approach.  However, some courses/modules specify or give the option of specific styles, which may or may not follow the Harvard approach.  These include:

Check with your course/module what specific style you should use.

Referencing examples

Harvard approach
In the Harvard approach the author surname, date of publication, and page numbers (if relevant) are included in the text of your work, as follows:

Agamben (1993, pp. 178-179) argued that "the milk should go in before the tea."

It has been argued that "the milk should go in before the tea." (Agamben, 1993, pp. 178-179)

These in-text references refer your reader to a list of references at the end of your work, which are organised alphabetically, and include the full reference:

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

Running notes approach
In the running notes approach a number is used in the text instead of the author/date:

It has been argued that the "milk should go in before the tea" (1)

This number refers the reader to a footnote (at the bottom of the page) or endnote (at the end of the text):

1. Giorgio Agamben, The coming community (Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota University Press), pp. 178-179

If you are using a running notes approach, you may be asked to also include a bibliography which lists the sources you have used alphabetically by surname, along with any other sources you have read but not referred to in the text.

Westminster Harvard

Up until 2022, the library maintained a specific style for the university called Westminster Harvard.  This is being phased out during the academic year 2022/23 in favour of the version of Harvard provided by Cite them right.  

For students still required to use Westminster Harvard, we have retained the guidance for it on this library guide and the Westminster Harvard PDF guide is still available. 


Cite Them Right Harvard
There is very little difference between Cite Them Right Harvard and Westminster Harvard. The key differences in Cite Them Right Harvard in comparison to Westminster Harvard are listed below.

In-text references

  • Page numbers should be included when referring to a specific section of a book or article, even if you don’t use a quotation.

List of references

  • There is no full stop after the date of publication.
  • For chapters or journal articles, include pp. before the page numbers.
  • For online sources, the date accessed should be in round brackets instead of square brackets.
  • When referencing an ebook which has the same pagination as the print version, refer to it as if you are referring to the print version. 
  • When using a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) instead of a URL for journal articles, do not include the date accessed.
  • For media from streaming services (Netflix, Box of Broadcasts, etc) include the name of the service, but not the URL.

NB: courses differ in the extent to which they attend to the finer details of referencing when it comes to marks.  Ask whoever is marking your work  if you are unsure whether to use Westminster Harvard or Cite Them Right Harvard.

Referencing tools

The following tools can help you automatically generate references. 

NB: References generated this way often need editing to make sure they are consistent with the referencing style you are using.

Library Search
Use the citation feature to generate a reference.

Google Scholar
Copy and paste references from the ‘cite’ tab on Google Scholar (does not include URLs).

Microsoft Word (365)
Import references into Microsoft Word using the Researcher feature under the References tab.

Generate references for hundreds of styles using a URL or ISBN number.

Reference managers
There are also a number of reference managers (e.g. Refworks) that can help you manage a large database of references if you are a more experienced researcher, or are keen on technology. There is more information about these here.