Skip to Main Content
London Metropolitan University

Referencing: Referencing: the basics


Which Referencing Style do I use?

 There are several different styles of referencing and it is important to check with your tutors to make sure you know which style you need to use.

Failure to follow the instructions of tutors regarding referencing style could lead to students losing marks in assessments.

The University supports four main referencing styles, Harvard, MHRA, APA and OSCOLA. Read the referencing styles page for more information on each of these.


School/Department/Course Referencing Style used
Most of the courses at London Met use Harvard, with a few notable exceptions Harvard                                                 

Courses in the School of Art, Architecture and Design, as well as music courses in the School of Computing and Digital Media




Psychology APA
Courses in the School of Human Sciences



Vancouver (optional style)

Courses in the School of Computing and Digital Media



IEEE (optional style)



Referencing - What is it all about?

What is Referencing?

Referencing is a way of acknowledging that you have used the ideas and written material belonging to another author. It shows that you have undertaken an appropriate literature search and that you have carried out appropriate reading in order to show your knowledge, understanding and analysis of your topic.

Sources include anything you take information from eg books, journals, magazines, newspapers, websites, lectures, legislation, maps, television and radio programmes, works of art, dramatic performances, etc.

By referencing your sources you are demonstrating to your tutors the breadth of your research and reinforcing your own arguments. Using a wide range of sources is excellent academic practice and can improve your marks.

Why reference?

All information, ideas and quotations from anything you have consulted in order to write an assignment at University must be correctly referenced as referencing enables your tutors and anyone else reading your work to check your sources and follow up information for themselves.

Research involves finding out what has been investigated already on a subject area. This means that you are providing background or history on your topic which helps your reader understand the context and also the stance you are taking. You may quote specific terms or the author's specific words in your text. If you don't specify the source or refer to any material you have used from textbooks, articles or from a variety of publications you might be accused of plagiarism.  Plagiarism means taking someone else's ideas and passing them off as your own, even if unintentionally. 

Referencing links directly to Copyright, which gives moral and economic rights to the creators of works. This is not just for authors but for musicians, artists and original creators of products or inventions.  By referencing correctly you are acknowledging these legal and moral rights.

Your reader needs to be able to identity and follow the research you have used. You need to reference all the sources you use in your coursework, including:

  • Books and ebooks
  • Journal articles: printed and electronic
  • Web pages
  • Blogs
  • Visual images and designs , including art, pictures,  photographs, tables and diagrams and images generated by Artificial Intelligence (AI) sites
  • Audio visual resources, including videos, films, podcasts and streaming services 
  • Newspapers: printed and electronic 
  • Conference papers
  • Pamphlets
  • Personal communications, such as emails, conversations, text messages, internet voice and videos calls
  • Interviews (if this is a personal interview, you must always ask permission of the interviewee before using such material)
  • text generated by Artificial Intelligence (AI) sites