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References style

References usually come at the end of a text (essay or research report) and should contain only those works cited within the text. Whereas referencing is a system used in the academic community to indicate where ideas, theories, quotes,facts and any other evidence and information used to undertake an assignment, can be found.Referencing is a crucial part of successful academic writing and is key to your assignments and research.

Reference style
A reference style is a set of guidelines for writers. The overall aim of reference styles is to increase readability and clarity of the text, thereby avoiding misunderstandings. Although different reference styles give more or less the same information to the reader, this information is provided in different ways. For instance, in some styles source information is given in the running text, whereas other reference styles rely on a note system. Most reference styles have some kind of reference list containing all sources referred to. Depending on the way in which they record sources, reference styles can be divided into three main categories: documentary notes styles, parenthetical or author-date styles, and numbered styles.

Reference style manual
Most reference style manuals are comprehensive works, offering guidance on a multitude of reference types and situations. Guidelines for reference styles are published in book form and some styles also publish their manuals online. As reference manuals are updated on a regular basis, writers should use the latest edition available. Changes will usually not affect basic style conventions, but will provide guidance on how to refer to new types of sources, for instance.

Aspects of writing of reference styles
Reference styles primarily formalize three aspects of writing:

  • How to structure the text and how to present its contents
  • How to refer to sources within the text
  • How to compose a list of the sources that have been used

Need for references in research work

  • To avoid plagiarism, a form of academic theft.
  • Referencing your work correctly ensures that you give appropriate credit to the sources and authors that you have used to complete your assignment.
  • Referencing the sources that you have used for your assignment demonstrates that you have undertaken wide-ranging research in order to create your work.
  • Referencing your work enables the reader to consult for themselves the same materials that you used.

Adequacy of referencing style

  • There is no standard style to be used in research work.
  • In some cases there is a standard style used by a particular school or discipline, but even in those cases it is still possible that a particular lecturer may require a different style
  • Students should check their course profile or ask their lecturer
  • Researchers submitting a paper for publication in a journal should check the journal’s Instructions for Authors, which will normally be available on the journal’s website

Common referencing styles

A few of the common referencing styles are explained below:

  • APA stands for “American Psychological Association” and comes from the association of the same name. Although originally drawn up for use in psychological journals, the APA style is now widely used in the social sciences, in education, in business, and numerous other disciplines.
  • MLA comes from the “Modern Language Association of America” and is used mainly in English and the Humanities.
  • Chicago is sometimes referred to as Turabian or Chicago/Turabian. It comes from the “Chicago Manual of Style” and the simplified version of it, “A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations”, that Kate Turabian wrote [Source: The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill]. Chicago is used mainly in the social sciences, including history, political studies, and theology.
  • Vancouver originally came from The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors which produced the “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals” following a meeting that was held in Vancouver in 1978 [Source: Jönköping University Library]. The Vancouver style is used mainly in the medical sciences.
  • Harvard came originally from “The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation” published by the Harvard Law Review Association. The Harvard style and its many variations are used in law, natural sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and medicine.
  • ACS means American Chemical Society.The style manual of the American Chemical Society is now in its third edition. It is widely used in chemistry and related disciplines. The ACS manual gives instructions for numbered referencing and also for in-text (Harvard style) referencing.
  • AGLC stands for Australian Guide to Legal Citation. This is now the standard Australian guide for referencing in Law. It is a footnote style and includes detailed provisions for referencing statutes, case reports and other legal materials.
  • AMA denotes American Medical Association. This style is widely used in medicine, especially in journals published by the American Medical Association.
  • CSE expresses as Council of Science Editors. The manual of the Council of Science Editors (CSE) is now in its seventh edition. It was first issued in 1960 by the Council of Biology Editors and is still sometimes referred to as the CBE manual. It is widely used in the life sciences, and its provisions are applicable to other scientific disciplines also. The CSE manual recommends a numbered referencing system, where the reference list is arranged alphabetically by author and numbered accordingly.
  • IEEE means Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The IEEE is the major professional body and publisher in the fields of electrical engineering and computer science. Their style manual is widely used in those disciplines. It uses a numbered reference list.The IEEE Computer Society has its own style manual, which is based on the IEEE manual but differs in some respects.

Example: Journal article (APA)

Van Praet, E. (2009). Staging a team performance: A linguistic ethnographic analysis of weekly meetings at a British embassy.The Journal of Business Communication, 46, 80-99.

Bailey, N., Madden, C., & Krashen, S. (1974). Is there a “natural sequence” in adult second language learning? Language Learning, 24(2), 235–243.
Smith, A., & Brown, B. (2056). Dining out: A history of restaurant eating in New Zealand. Journal of New Zealand Historical Research, 3(5), 110-123. doi:10.1108/13522750710740855
Smith, A., & Brown, B. (2056). Glamorizing domesticity: Narratives of marriage and motherhood in Desperate Housewives. Journal of Media Studies, 25(4), 110-123. Retrieved from

Example: Journal article (MLA)
Smith, Alex, and Beryl Brown. “Glamorizing Domesticity: Narratives of Marriage and Motherhood in Desperate Housewives.” Media Studies 46.3 (Mar. 2056): 110-23. Expanded Academic. Web. 23 Oct. 2057.
Example: Journal article (Chicago).
Upton, Aroha, and Bridget Brown. “Dining Out: A History of Restaurant Eating in New Zealand.” Journal of New Zealand Historical Research10, no. 2 (2056): 154-65. Accessed January 7, 2057.

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