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Referencing

General rules

For most sources, the only information you need when citing within the text of your work is the author’s surname and the year of publication. See examples below

Please note:

  • If there is no author but there is an organisation’s name you use this instead.
  • If there is no date state these words instead of the year e.g. (no date).

For sources where the format of the citation is more complex, examples are provided within the MMU Harvard section of this guide.

Presenting citations

If you do not use the author's name in your writing, the author and year are placed in brackets at the end of the statement, as follows. 

Recording personal achievements can be used a reflective tool and can help an individual identify their own skills and expertise (Cottrell, 2015).

 

If you are using the author's name in your writing, you would add the year in brackets following the surname, as follows:

Cottrell (2015) suggests that recording personal achievements can be used as a reflective tool and can help an individual identify their own skills and expertise.

Sources with one author

Surname or organisation’s name and the year of publication.

Examples


... (Cottrell, 2015).

... (Association of Illustrators, 2011).

... (Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, no date).

Sources with two authors:

Present both authors’ surnames or two organisations’ names and the year of publication.

Example


... (Lightbown and Spada, 1993).

Sources with three or more authors

Surname of the first author only followed by et al. and the year of publication.

Example


... (Burrows et al., 2009)

Citing multiple sources

If you are citing a number of sources that support your argument, you would cite these in chronological order, separated by a semi-colon e.g. (Beck, 2012; Shields, 2013; Inala, 2014)

For different authors who have published in the same year, cite these in alphabetical order e.g. (Beck, 2014; Inala, 2014)

An author who has published more than one piece of work in the same year:

To distinguish between different sources by the same author published in the same year, use a, b, c etc. after the year in both the citation and the reference. The letter you assign to the publication should be in order of its appearance in the main text of your work. Therefore, the first publication you cite should be assigned the letter ‘a’, the next citation will be ‘b’ etc., regardless of the month in which it was published.

Example


(Cottrell, 2012a) - for the first instance of a citation by Cottrell published in 2012

(Cottrell, 2012b) - for the second instance of a citation by Cottrell published in 2012

 

You should then also use the letter for the full details of the source in the reference list.

Example


Cottrell, S. (2012a) The exam skills handbook: achieving peak performance. 2nd ed., Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cottrell, S. (2012b) Study skills connected: using technology to support your studies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.