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Insiders Guide To Referencing Your Dissertation Or Other Academic Work

From the very beginning of your further academic study, you will have had the importance of referencing drummed into you! That, coupled with the fear of 'death by plagiarism' can be quite an unnerving prospect. So, how do you reference correctly?

There are four primary styles of referencing, thesis dissertation all of which display different types of inserts in the text. For the purpose of this article, I will use Peter Levin's (1) referencing names when describing each referencing style.

1- The Author / Date Style

Otherwise known as the Harvard Style, and looks a little like this... 'Pearce (2008) states that red really is red'. You may also want to include the page number in the insert, to make it easier for the reader to locate the reference. If this is the case, your insert would read, 'Pearce (2008, P.3) states that red really is red'.

At the end of your dissertation, in your bibliography or list of references, you would then list (in alphabetical order) the full details of your referenced work:-


Author's surname/ Author's initials or first name/ Year of publication/ Title (in italics or underlined)/ Number of edition (if not the first)/ Place of publication (followed by a colon)/ Publisher (1)

2- The Author / Page Style

Looks a little like this... 'Pearce (3) states that red really is red'.

At the end of your essay, in your bibliography or list of references, you would then list (in alphabetical order) the full details of your referenced work:-

Author's surname/ Author's initials or first name/ Year of publication/ Title (in italics or underlined)/ Number of edition (if not the first)/ Place of publication (followed by a colon)/ Publisher (1)

3- The Numbered-Note Style

Otherwise known as the Oxford or Cambridge style, and looks a little like this... 'Pearce states that red really is red'.

The full details of your referenced work would then be listed (in numerical order) in either a footnote or an end note:-

Author's surname/ Author's initials or first name/ Title/ Number of edition (if not the first)/ Place of publication (followed by a colon)/ Publisher/ Year of publication/ Page number(s) (1)

4- The Vancouver-Numeric Style

Looks a little like this... 'Pearce(1) states that red really is red'.

This is very similar to the Numbered-Note referencing style, except here the number is in brackets, and if the same source is cited more than one, you can use the same number.

As with the numbered-note style, the full details of your referenced work would then be listed (in numerical order) in either a footnote or an end note:-

Author's surname/ Author's initials or first name/ Title (in italics or underlined)/ Number of edition (if not the first)/ Place of publication (followed by a colon)/ Publisher/ Year of Publication

Examples of referencing styles in practice:

1 - The Author / Date Style - Qualitative Research in Nursing by H. Streubert and D. Carpenter (0-7817-1628)

2 - The Author / Page Style - Doing your research project by J. Bell (0-335-19094-4)

3 - The Numbered-Note Style - Ted Hughes, the life of a poet by E. Feinstein (0-393-04967-1)

4 - Look no further than this article! All the references to Levin's work take the form of the Vancouver-Numeric

When it comes to referencing, the most important thing is consistency of style. University style guides will usually tell you which form of referencing to follow, but if no guidance is offered, choose a referencing style and stick to it throughout your work'.

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