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Developing good academic practice
Developing good academic practice

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5.2 Alphabetical referencing

One suggested convention for citing references is alphabetical; e.g. the Harvard referencing style. The name of the author appears in brackets in the text, together with the year of publication; for example (Smith, 1986). Where there are only two authors, both names should be given in the text; if there are more than two authors only the first name should appear followed by ‘et al.’(short for ‘et alia’, meaning ‘and others’).

Books should be referenced as follows:

Name(s) of author(s), initials of author(s), year of publication (in brackets), book title (in italic), edition number (if appropriate), serial editor (if appropriate), publisher, place of publication, chapter number (if appropriate), page number.

References to articles in journals should be written as follows:

Name(s) of author(s), initials of author(s), year of publication (in brackets), title of the article (in quotation marks), abbreviated journal name (in italic), volume and part number (in bold), page number of the first page in the article.

When two or more references are cited to a work by one author or a group of authors for the same year, they should be identified by including ‘a’, ‘b’, etc. after the date; for example (Smith, 1986a). If several references to different pages of the same article occur, the appropriate page number may be given; for example (Smith, 1986, p. 39).

The reference list in this convention should be placed at the end of your assignment under the heading ‘References’. It should consist of an alphabetical listing by authors’ names and be in date order for each author or group of identical authors (see the examples below). Notice that, in order to allow listing by surname, initials appear after the author’s surname. Note also that the publication year (in brackets) immediately follows the author name(s).


Amincharge, I., Thoughtofit, I., Didthework, I. and Cobley, U.T. (2002) ‘Predicting the completely obvious’, Somethingacology, 135:1, pp. 151–3.

Author, A.N. (2009) ‘My Fascinating Research’ in Booker, J. (ed.) Interesting Topics, Publisher, London, ch. 2, pp. 21–30.

Booker, J. (ed.) (2009) Interesting Topics, Publisher, London.

Einstein, A. and Newton, I. (1993) ‘Complex equations that nobody else understands’, Proc. Perplexed Soc., 18:2, pp. 247–51.

Scientist, I.B. (1991) ‘Some research that was funded’, J. Fairyland Sci., 251, pp. 1586–91.

Smith, T. (1986a) ‘My research this year’, J. Fairyland Sci., 251:4, pp. 1570–85.

Smith, T. (1986b) My Memoirs, Publisher, London.

Remember to check your course material for guidance specific to your course.