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Referencing

General rules

The only information you will usually need when citing within the text is the author’s surname and the year of publication. See examples below

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

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

One author:

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

Examples


It is clearly stated by Cottrell (2005) that…

…as this research shows (Association of Illustrators, 2011)

According to the Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (no date)….

Two authors:

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

Example


Lightbown and Spada (1993) believe that…

Three or more authors:

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

Example


It has been found by Burrows et al. (2009)…

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 a Cottrell published in 2012

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

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)