Magoosh GRE

How to use references in your dissertation

| November 9, 2011 | 0 Comments

Each university will give you a pack which contains notes on how you should write your essays and dissertation. It is essential to read this thoroughly and continually refer to it when doing your work.


Harvard Reference System

The usual way to reference a work is to give the authors name first, for example Smith, K, then the year of publication, followed by the title “How to reference your essays” then the publisher and the place, so perhaps Random House, New York. This is the Harvard reference system.

In the main body of your essay/dissertation many universities accept the Harvard system for references,  which means that you quote or paraphrase and in parenthesis(brackets) write the name of the author and the date of the publication (Thomas, J.: 2009) and then put this in the bibliography at the end of your work.


 Oxford Reference System

In this system you use footnotes at the bottom of the page so you have to number each reference after your quotation and give the full reference at the bottom of the page. In this system, the order for references is as follows: –

  • author(s) initial(s) and surname(s)
  • name of the article, book or journal in italics
  • editors (if applicable)
  • publisher name and location
  • year published


References for books

Using the Harvard system you should write references in the following way, and the title should be italicized, eg .Author, Initials., Year. Title of book. Edition (only include this if not the first edition). Place: Publisher.


Referencing Journals, Magazines and Newspapers

For a journal references should read like this: – Author, Initials., Year. Title of article. Full Title of Journal, Volume number (Issue/Part number), Page numbers. (Titles should be in italics.)

For a magazine the order is the same with the title of the magazine italicized in the same way as for a Journal’s title, while for an online magazine the reference will look like this: Authors, Initials., Year. Title of article, Full Title of Magazine, [online]. Available at: web address (quote the exact URL for the article) [Accessed date]


References for Newspapers and archive material

Original research often involves researching old newspapers and documents in archives. You should give references to such materials in these ways: –

Author, Initials., Year. Title of article. Full Title of Newspaper, Day and month before page numbers and column line. The title of the newspaper is italicized rather than the article’s title.

Author, Initials., Year. Title of document. [type of medium]. Collection, Document number. Geographical Town/Place: Name of Library/Archive/Repository. The title of the document is in italics.


This is painstaking work but worth it to avoid being accused of plagiarism.

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Category: Dissertation Writing Guide

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