It is essential that students ensure all of their essays, assignments, projects, or dissertations are fully referenced. Failure to reference the ideas, research, or work of others could be regarded as plagiarism. References are also important as they allow readers to check the validity and accuracy of any claims made or facts cited, supporting the work presented. There are different styles which may be used to present references. Often, a university or other educational institution will specify a specific citation style; Oxford and Harvard are the two most common. If the student can choose their own referencing system, it is advisable either Harvard or Oxford referencing is used as they are both widely used and accepted within academia. Each referencing system will provide the same details for the reader; the differences are the way the information is presented.

Oxford Referencing

The Oxford referencing system uses footnotes. Using the Oxford referencing system requires the student to insert a foot note after the ideas or work of another author are cited. The footnote is formatted as a number in superscript at the end of the sentence where the work was cited. Many word processing programmes provide the functionality to insert footnotes. Once a footnote is added a corresponding number will appear at the bottom of the page. The footnote should then be completed with the reference details, for example

A Smith, How to Cite, London, Publisher, 1999, p.11

If a journal is used, the name of the journal would be in italics, not the article title, with full details provided for the volume, issue, and page numbers. When the same reference is used later in the text the details in the footnote may be shortened to just the authors’ name and the page number. The Oxford referencing system does not require an additional bibliography or reference list at the end of the work is not required.

Harvard Referencing

The Harvard style of referencing takes a very different approach. References in the text will be placed in brackets, with the author name(s) and the year at the end of the sentence where the authors’ work was cited. The page number may be inserted or may be omitted, as long as the student is consistent in their approach. If the citation style is specified by the university or educational establishment they may specify if page numbers are to be included. The references in the text will appear like this (Smith, 1999) or (Smith, 1999, p. 11). If a direct quote is used a page number must be provided. Alternatively, phrasing with direct reference to the author may also be used, as demonstrated below.

Smith (1999, p. 11) states or As Smith (1999, p. 11) indicates

As Harvard only provides limited details in the intext references, the work must also have a reference list at the end, which provides details of all sources cited, listed in alphabetical order. An example of a reference formatting for the Harvard style bibliography is shown below

Smith, A (1999), How to Cite, London, Publisher

If a journal is used, the name of the journal would be in italics, not the article title, with full details provided for the volume, issue, and page numbers.
Whichever referencing style is used, it must be implemented consistently.