Falmouth University Harvard Referencing
Why are references needed?
At university, you are required to write about what others have found and argued…and yet… your tutors will tell you that they want you to think for yourselves and come up with your own ideas and interpretations (Norton and Pitt 2009: 78).
Writing at university is all about developing your ideas based on what has been written and said about your subject. You need to do your research and bring what you have read (or heard or seen) into your writing.
Referencing is a system or tool that allows you to do this. It is important to get referencing right – if you make a mess of it or don’t bother you will lose marks and might be accused of plagiarism.
Lots of different ways of referencing have developed. This can be confusing but we aim to simplify where possible. The main purpose of any referencing system is to:
- Place a marker in the text which shows that you are quoting from or referring to someone else’s published work. The marker may be either:
- Surname and year in brackets – for instance in Harvard you may see something like (Smith 2010: 45) after a quotation.
- A small superscript number. This will be linked to either a footnote (at the bottom of the page) or a note at the end.
- (It’s best to stick to one style)
- Provide a link between the markers in the text and an alphabetical list of references at the end of your work.
The most used styles on campus are MHRA (which uses the superscript numbers method) and Harvard (which uses brackets). Harvard is a collection of styles and there are many variations in use at different institutions. Make sure you follow the guidelines approved by your course.