Guidance on citing and referencing

The last part of the RAP is where you list all the sources you have used during the preparation of the RAP, like links to all the websites used, the names of the books and their authors, list the newspapers or journals and titles of the used articles and the names of their authors.

The citing and using references is an important part in any academic work, as it acknowledges the ideas from other authors, helps avoid plagiarism and shows the depth and broadness of your research.

The citing is listing all the work from other authors that you have used in your own work; the names of the authors are gathered and listed in a suitable manner at the end of your report – the list is known as a reference list. The names can be listed alphabetically, according to the author’s name, or numerically, per the order of mentioning in your work.

There are many citing and referencing systems. OBU advises you to use Harvard Referencing System. This referencing system consists of two sections: (i) In text citing, and (ii) Reference list.

  1. Section one – Citing in the text
  2. Citing

When preparing a piece of written work, you will inevitably come across other peoples’ ideas, theories or data, and you will want to mention or refer to these in your own work. In referring to these authors, you will also need to create a list of who they are and where their published work is to be found.

This is placed at the end of your written work so that your readers can identify what is your work and what is that of other people, and so that they can get hold of those pieces of published work to read, should they wish to do so.

Making reference to other authors in your own written work is called citing. The names of the authors who are cited in your text are gathered together, and supplied as an alphabetical list at the end of your written work.  This is a reference list.

There is no one-best-way to lay out the reference list, and much of it is a matter of tradition or preference. Broadly speaking, the process of citing authors (and the associated reference list) can be done in one of two main styles – the Numeric, where the list of authors is numbered in the order of mention in the text, or the Alphabetical, where the authors’ names are listed in alphabetical order.

One of the ways, in which alphabetical referencing is done, has been given the name of  the

Name and Date System or the Harvard Referencing System.   There are a number of ways in which the Harvard Referencing System can be presented, and all of these are therefore ‘correct’. The Business Faculty has chosen one of these as the method that we recommend you to use. The reason for this is that if you do take this advice:

  • The problem of choosing an appropriate referencing system has been solved for you,
  • Your referencing layout will be consistent and always ‘correct’, and
  • It will conform to the way referencing is done by most business and management researchers and journals.

(Another convention that we urge you to comply with is that the University has chosen Arial as the font that it wishes all documents to be written in – as this one is.)

  1. The difference between the reference list and the bibliography

Within your piece of written work, you will have cited a number of books, journals, newspaper articles (or whatever), using the author’s name and the date of publication.  At the end of the piece, you provide a list of all those authors, giving full details of what their work is called, and where it was published. This list is headed References, and provides all the information about the published works you have mentioned in your text, ALPHABETICALLY by the names of the authors (or originators). This list can be subdivided by year and letter if necessary. (More about this later)

Also, during the course of your preparatory reading, you may use material that has been helpful for reading around the subject, but which you do not make specific reference to in your own work. It is important to acknowledge this material. Under the heading Bibliography, list all these items, again alphabetically by author, regardless of whether it  is a book or journal, and include this list separately after the reference list.

The Bibliography indicates to your reader or examiner that you have read more widely that was strictly necessary to produce the piece of written work, and that you therefore have a better grasp of the area or the topic than if you had only used the works cited in your text and your reference list. Everything you cite (i.e. mention) in your piece of written work will be listed once alphabetically by author and subdivided by year and letter, if necessary, in your References.

The Bibliography would look the same as the reference list does. See Section 2: Formats for conventions that apply to all the different types of media – books, journals, newspapers, conferences etc.

Some people mix the list of references from within the text (References) and the references to wider reading (Bibliography) together in one list, which they then call the Bibliography. This is not recommended, because it creates difficulties for your examiner, who has to sort out which is which, in order to be clear about the accuracy of your referencing.

(Please note that when you are writing a (business) report, then all that is required is a list of references. When it comes to dissertations or theses, however, then both a reference list and a bibliography are required

Note: In the examples given below, pay attention to the punctuation, and in your own work, copy it exactly as it is set out – put the full stop in where it is placed in the example, and leave it out, if it isn’t in the example.


  • Citing in your text

Why is it important to cite references?

  • It is accepted practice in the academic world to acknowledge the words, ideas or work of others and not simply to use them as if they were your Failure to do this could be regarded as plagiarism – see http://www.brookes.ac.uk/library/skill/plagiarism.html
  • to enable other people to identify and trace your sources quickly and easily
  • to support facts and claims you have made in your text There are 2 parts to a referencing system:
  • an in-text citation
  • an entry in the reference list/bibliography at the end of the assignment/work



In-text citations (within Research Report) Reference list/bibliography (List of Reference document)

The in-text citation is placed at the exact point in your document where you refer to someone else’s work, whether it is a book, journal, online document, website or any other source.


At the end of your assignment/work you need to provide a complete list of all sources used.

Please note that some Schools may expect 2 lists – (1) a reference list of all sources cited in your text and (2) a general bibliography of sources used but not specifically cited as in-text citation.

The entries in the list(s) are arranged in one alphabetical sequence by author’s name, title if there is no author, URL if no author or title – whatever has been used in the in- text citation, so that your reader can go easily from an in-text citation to the correct point in your list.

All entries/references, including those for online resources, must contain author, year of publication and title (if known) in that order. Further additional details are also required, varying according to the type of source, as follows:

Books and Chapter in book

It consists of author (or editor/compiler/translator) and publication year, in brackets:

e.g. Agriculture still employs half a million people in rural Britain (Shucksmith, 2000). An author can be an organisation or Government Department (common with websites):

e.g.  (English Heritage, 2010)

If there are 2 or 3 authors, all names should be given:

e.g. (Lines, Smith and Walker, 2007)

If there are more than 3 authors, cite the first author, followed by ‘et al’ (in italics)

e.g. (Morgan et al., 1998)

For several documents by the same author published in the same year, use (a, b, c):

e.g. (Watson, 2009a)

If the author’s name occurs naturally in the sentence, only the year of publication is given:

e.g. This concept is discussed by Jones (1998) … If there is no author, use a brief title instead:

e.g. (Burden of anonymity, 1948)


e.g. (Ridley, A., Peckham, M. and Clark, P. (eds.), 2003)

e.g. (Smith, H, 1990)


Page numbers should be included when there is a need to be more specific, for example when making a direct quotation. Use the abbreviation p. (for a single page) or pp. (more than one page):

e.g. As Kelvin stated (1968, p.100) ‘the value of…’


e.g. Annual Report of ABC, 2017, pp. 89-93


1)      Author/Editor: Surname first, followed by first name(s) or initials (be consistent). Include all names if there are 2 or 3 authors; if more than 3, use the first name and then et al. For editors, compilers or translators use ed/eds, comp/comps or trans after the name(s). Remember that an author can be an organisation or Government Department.

2)      Year of publication: If date not known, use n.d.

3)      Title: Include title as given on the title page of a book; include any sub-title, separating it from the title by a colon. Capitalise the first letter of the first word and any proper nouns. Use italics, bold or underline (the most common practice is to use italics) (be consistent)

4)      Edition: Only include if not the first edition.

5)      Place of publication and publisher: Use a colon to separate these elements. If not given use: s.l. (no place) and s.n. (no publisher).

6)      Series: Include if relevant.

e.g. Gombrich, E. H. (1977). Art and illusion. 5th ed. London: Phaidon.

e.g. Ridley, A., Peckham, M. and Clark, P. (eds.) (2003). Cell motility: from molecules to organisms. Chichester: Wiley.

Examples of organisation/Government Department as author:

e.g. Department of Health (2001). National service framework for diabetes. London: Department of Health. Royal Society (2001). The future of sites of special scientific interest London: Royal Society

Example of book with no author:

e.g. Whitaker’s almanac (2010). London: J Whitaker and Sons.

Chapter in book

1)      Author of chapter

2)      Year of publication

3)      Title of chapter (not italics)

4)      In: and then author, title of complete book (in italics), place of publication, publisher, page numbers of chapter.

e.g. Smith, H. (1990). Innovation at large. In: James, S., (ed.) Science and innovation. Manchester: Novon, pp. 46-50.

E-books, Printed Journal article, Electronic/online journal article and Annual reports


e.g. (Holliday, A., Hyde, M. and Kullman, J ,2011)












Printed Journal article

(Williams, J., 2000)








Electronic/online journal article

(Jones, P. and Evans, J. ,2006)








For websites, if there is no author or title, use the URL:

e.g. (https://oilprice.com, 2020)

If the date cannot be identified, use the abbreviation n.d.:

e.g. (https://oilprice.com, n.d)

Annual reports

Page numbers should be included when there is a need to be more specific, for example when making a direct quotation. Use the abbreviation p. (for a single page) or pp. (more than one page):

e.g. Annual Report of ABC, 2017, pp. 89-93

e.g. Annual report of ABC for FY 2016 (pg. xx, xx) and FY 2015 (pg. xx, xx)

page number means from where you actually get data (i.e. Statement of comprehensive income and Statement of Financial Position)


1)    Author/editor

2)      Year of publication (use the date for the e-book version rather than any print version)3)      Title

4)      Edition

5)      Place of publication and publisher (if available)

6)      [Online] in square brackets

7)      Available at: URL (this should be the URL of the e-book collection if it is from a collection).

8)      (Accessed: date you read it) (in brackets)

e.g. Holliday, A., Hyde, M. and Kullman, J. (2004). Intercultural communication: an advanced resource book. London: Routledge. [Online]. Available at: http://www.dawsonera.com/ (Accessed: 15 August 2011)

Printed Journal article

1)      Author

2)      Year of publication

3)      Title of article (not italics)

4)      Title of journal (in italics)

5)      Volume number, issue number and/or date

6)      Page numbers

e.g. Williams, J. (2000). Tools for achieving sustainable housing strategies in rural Gloucestershire. Planning Practice & Research 15 (3), pp.155-174.

Electronic/online journal article

Same as for printed journal article AND ALSO

7)      Name of online journal collection (if applicable)

8)      [Online] in square brackets

9)      Available at: URL (if 7 applies, this should be the URL of the online  journal collection).

10)   (Accessed: date you read it) (in brackets)

e.g. Jones, P. and Evans, J. (2006). Urban regeneration, governance and the state: exploring notions of distance and proximity. Urban Studies 43(9), pp.1491-1509. Academic Search Complete [Online]. Available at: http://web.ebscohost.com (Accessed 17 August 2010)


https://oilprice.com. 2020. Refiners Race To Reduce Rates As Fuel Demand Falls Off A Cliff. [ONLINE] Available at: https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Refiners-Race-To-Reduce-Rates-As-Fuel-Demand-Falls-Off-A-Cliff.html. [Accessed 20 March 2020].


Annual reports

e.g. ABC Plc (2016) Annual Report for FY 2016, pp.21-23. [Online]. Available at: http://www.abc.com/investor_relations.html  (Accessed 15 March 2017)

Web page: Labour Party (2010). Policy guide. Available at: http://www.labour.org.uk/policies/home  (Accessed: 13 August 2010)

Report from a database: Mintel (2010). Sports goods retailing – UK – May 2010. Mintel Leisure [Online]. Available at: http://reports.mintel.com (Accessed: 17 August 2010)

Newspaper article

e.g. (Daily Telegraph, 1999)

Newspaper article

Hunt, P. (1999). Time is running out. Daily Telegraph, 8 February, p. 10.

(NB: For internet edition there is no page number – instead give [Online], Available at: URL and Accessed: date; if citing newspaper article from a database e.g. Factiva, follow pattern above for online journal article)


e.g. (Saunders, L. ,2010)


Saunders, L. (2010). Email to Linda Hinton, 18 August.

Film on DVD

e.g. (Pride and prejudice (DVD), 2000).

Film on DVD

Pride and prejudice (2000). Directed by Simon Langton [DVD]. Based on the novel by Jane Austen. London: BBC Worldwide Ltd.


e.g. (Groschl, S. , 2001).


Groschl, S. (2001). An exploration of cultural differences between French and British managers within an international hotel company. PhD thesis. Oxford Brookes University.

Conference paper

e.g. (Sattler, M.A. , 2007)

Conference paper

Sattler, M.A. (2007). Education for a more sustainable architecture. In: Sun, wind and architecture: proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture. National University of Singapore,  22-24 November. Singapore: Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore, pp. 844-851.

For further examples see: Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2010). Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 8th ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Shelfmark: 808.02 PEA

e.g. (Smith, A.B. , 2002)

Personal communication

Please avoid using lecture notes as a source – try and go back to the original sources.

Meetings and interviews should be referenced if they are important. Do not use other people’s email addresses if this is personal (i.e. private) information. An example of a reference for a conversation would be:

Smith, A.B. (2002) Personal communication, Happy Restaurant, Oxford, 15 May.

EndNote: This service enables you to build up a database of your references and then automatically format both in-text citations and the references in the Brookes Harvard style (like this guide). 

Lindsay Sellar/Oxford Brookes University Library August 2011

Click here for detail about complete guidance of Research and Analysis Project

Important Links

Click here to access Registration Form.