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King's Guide to Referencing: Home

This guide will help you identify and then use the appropriate referencing style for your subject or faculty.

Useful books on referencing you can find at King's

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Photograph of books and a cat bookend on a bookshelfThis guide is designed to assist you in citing and referencing sources in your work throughout your time at King's. In any piece of research or written work you need to acknowledge, or cite your sources of information. A list of references usually appears at the end of a piece of work. Each reference describes an item, usually published (for example a book, report or thesis) or part of an item (a chapter, journal article or electronic document). The reference will also provide essential details which enable the reader to locate the cited publications with ease. 

Referencing your work correctly enables you to avoid plagiarism. The term plagiarism describes the act of taking and using another person’s thoughts, words, judgments or ideas as your own, without any indication that they are those of another person. It is a serious academic offence and can result in severe disciplinary action. King's University's statement on Academic Honesty and Integrity can be found on the Policy zone.

Find the right referencing style for your subject

Different subjects and departments have different preferred styles, you can find them in the table below:

If you're studying: Then you should use: 
Biosciences (including CYO) Biological Sciences: Harvard or Biological Sciences: Numbered
Classics Classics Department Guidance
Comparative Literature MHRA
Culture, Media & Creative Industries King's Harvard V1
Dentistry King's Harvard V1
Digital Humanities King's Harvard V1
English MHRA
European & International Studies King's Harvard V1 or Chicago
Film Studies Chicago
French MHRA
Geography King's Harvard V1
German (PGs) MHRA
German (UGs) Chicago
Hellenic Studies
Informatics and Mathematics Check with your department
Law OSCOLA 4th Edition
Medicine King's Harvard V1 or Biological Sciences: Numbered
Music Chicago
Natural Sciences including Chemistry and Physics Check with your department
Nursing & Midwifery J Advanced Nursing Style
Nutrition & Dietetics Biological Sciences: Harvard or Biological Sciences: Numbered
Pharmacology British Journal of Pharmacology
Philosophy Chicago
Political Economy Political Economy Style
Psychiatry King's Harvard V1 or Biological Sciences: Numbered
Psychology APA 6th Ed.
Public Health Biological Sciences: Harvard
Global Health and Social Medicine King's Harvard V1
Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies MHRA
Theology & Religious Studies MHRA
War Studies King's Harvard V1 or Chicago
Defence Studies Chicago


Remember! No matter which style you choose, consistency in its use is the key to success. Always check with your tutor to ensure you're using the correct style.

Citation Conventions

There are recognised conventions for citing the work of others when writing essays and journal articles etc. In-text citations are placed at the point within the text at which reference is made to another’s work, and these refer the reader to the reference list (sometimes called a bibliography) which is usually placed at the end of the essay/article.

Reference list or bibliography

The terms reference list and bibliography are sometimes used interchangeably, but here we define bibliography as a list of consulted readings - for example a list of sources that you have studied, but have not specifically cited in the text. A bibliography is not required for essays. By contrast, the reference list is defined as a list of cited sources. The sources listed in a reference list must match against the in-text citations and similarly, the in-text citations must have a matching entry in the reference list.


In scientific writing the use of direct quotations is inappropriate, whereas in some subject areas in the Humanities or Social Sciences it is a recognised practice. To make it clear when you are directly quoting from a source, use double quotation marks for short quotations or indentations for longer extracts, and include the page number in the citation.


Paraphrasing the words of others does not make them your own. It must always be clear that the ideas being expressed are those of the original author. Read the passage until you thoroughly understand it, and then write your own version without looking back too often to the original. A citation must still be given to acknowledge the source of the ideas.

Secondary referencing

The use of secondary referencing in scientific writing is strongly discouraged. You should never cite an article you have not seen in full. If it is impossible to read the original article, but you wish to include the findings of that research as reported in a review or textbook, then you must cite the article or book which refers to the original work, for example: Brown’s results cited by Jones (1999, p. 563) indicated that…

Diagrams and illustrations

Scanned or electronic images included in written work should always be acknowledged by citation. If the work is to be published, permission must be sought from the original creator before inclusion of any graphic material.