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Referencing: Reference List and Referencing Styles for Different Subjects


Styles of referencing

Particular referencing styles are preferred by particular academic disciplines because they work better with the kind of texts that are most commonly used in that discipline. This page includes brief details of each style of referencing used by different departments at London Met. You should always check your module handbook to see which is their preferred style. Remember that if you are studying modules in different departments or schools, they may each prefer a different referencing style

London Met Referencing styles

School/Department Style(s) used Further information
Most of the courses at London Met including Business, Early Years, Education, Science, Social Sciences, Social Work, Health  Harvard

London Met Library Services Harvard Guide (based on Cite Them Right).

Harvard Referencing Quick Guides

Psychology APA APA referencing guide
School of Art, Architecture and Design as well as the music courses in the School of Computing and Digital Media. MHRA or Harvard

MHRA quick referencing guide.

The full MHRA referencing guide can be downloaded for free here.

MHRA tutorial from the University of Leeds

English Literature and Creative Writing


MLA guide from Purdue University

OSCOLA guides:  Quick Guide  

Full Guide

A numeric referencing style used in the sciences. Note: School of Human Sciences mostly use Harvard (see above). Vancouver Imperial College guide to the Vancouver Citing and Referencing Style.

Referencing Styles Guides

In-text citation

The author and date of publication appear in brackets immediately after the idea, information or quote you are referencing, eg, Political reform is needed (Kruger, 2007).

In-text citations are usually included in your word count for all your assignments.


  • You need to include the page number in your text when you quote directly from a source, eg, For some, ‘going green’ is driven by the prospect of “pocketing substantial government subsidies” (Lawson, 2009, p. 118).
  • You also need to include the page number if you re-write an author’s specific idea or sentence using your own words, eg, Swetnam (2004, p. 95) has argued that consistency is of the utmost importance in referencing.
  • Where the author’s name appears in your essay, you do not need to put the name in brackets, eg, Luke (2008) highlights the importance of business to business pressure.

A reference list

This appears at the end of your assignment giving full publication details for all of the sources you referred to eg Kruger, D. (2007) On fraternity: politics beyond liberty and equality. London: Institute for the Study of Civil Society.

Your sources should be listed in alphabetical order by author surname in your reference list.

Your reference list is not included in your word count.

Harvard referencing varies in format. The guidance provided by London Met Library Service is based on the style in the book:

Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2019) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide, 11th edn. London: Macmillan Higher Education.

Remember: Always check with your tutors to make sure you know which referencing style they expect you to use.

APA (American Psychological Association) Style is the standard writing style (including referencing) used in psychology. Purdue University's Online Writing Lab has a useful guide to using APA Style.

MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association) referencing style is the referencing method recommended by the School of Art, Architecture and Design for School of Art, Architecture and Design students.

The Modern Languages Association of America (MLA) style used for acknowledging source materials in humanities subjects. 

In-text citations

Information from sources in the text is shown with in-text citations that include the author's surname and the page number(s), or line number for poetry.

Citations can appear after the information, or integrated into the sentence:

The conversation between a patient and their doctor can be an awkward interaction (Hall 7-10).

The awkwardness of conversations between a patient and doctor has been presented in Hall (7-10).

Hall’s The Coroner (7-10) describes an awkward consultation between a patient and doctor.

Where no page number can be given for a source (eg, webpage), include just the name of the author/ organisation in, or add ‘n.pag.’ for ‘no pagination’ to indicate a lack of page numbering.

Reference list

A list of works cited/bibliography at the end of the document includes the full details of each source so the reader can find them themselves. The list is organised alphabetically by author surname. 

The information to include depends on the types of source.

OSCOLA (Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities) is the standard referencing style used in Law.

The current OSCOLA guide was published before this so does not include instructions on how to use it, but their recommendation is to treat it in the same way as a Neutral Citation, adding it after the case name and before the report citation:


Case C-176/03 Commission v Council EU:C:2005:542, [2005] ECR I-7879. 
For unreported cases, cite the ECLI rather than the OJ notice or the court and date (as advised in OSCOLA 2.6.2). For example:

Case C-542/09 Commission v the Netherlands EU:C:2012:346.

Vancouver style is a numeric referencing style commonly used in the sciences. There are two parts to this style:

  • Citing in the text - when, in your work, you use an idea from a book, journal article, etc., you must acknowledge this in your text. For each citation (that is each piece of work cited in your text) assign a number. Starting with number 1, assign the numbers in the order of citation. If you cite same piece of work again, use the same citation number. Write the number in brackets or as superscript.
  • The reference list – this is a list of all the sources cited in the text of your work. In Vancouver style this is sequentially numbered list at the end of your work. Each number on the reference list should match and refer to the one in the text.

Imperial College has a useful guide to using the Vancouver style.

IEEE Style is used in some courses in the School of Computing and Digital Media. See the IEEE Referencing Guide from IEEE for instructions on how to reference using this style. Alternatively, see the guide produced by the University of York.