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Referencing: Reference lists

Reference lists

You must always provide a reference list at the end of your assignment, before any appendices. This is a list of sources you have used, in alphabetical order, organised by the family name of the author, and providing the publication details so that readers can see and find the sources you have used in your work.

You should only include sources you cited in your work. You may also be asked to provide a bibliography, which is a list of both the sources you have cited in your work, and the sources you have consulted but not cited. You should only provide a bibliography if you have been specifically asked to.

Your reference list should be consistent in style, using QMU’s version of Harvard, and only using another style if you have been specifically asked to in the assignment brief.

If you need further help, contact your Liaison Librarian or the Effective Learning Service.

Key points for reference lists

  • Correct and consistent punctuation is very important. Pay close attention to the examples in the A-Z of reference examples that follows this section
  • Authors’ family names and initials should be in all capital letters. Only use the initials of the authors’ first (given) name(s)
  • For sources with more than one author, all of the authors should be listed in the order they are listed in the source
  • The titles of sources (except journal and newspaper articles) should be in sentence case (that is, the first word starts with a capital letter and the rest are in lower case), except for the names of places and people, including publishers’ names and places, which should start with a capital letter
  • If sources have multiple authors, you should include them all, regardless of how many there are
  • If you have more than one source from the same author, these should be listed in chronological order, with the earliest first
  • If you have more than one source from the same author in the same year, these should be listed in the order they appear in the body of your work, using a lower case a, b, c, and so on after the date, in both the citations and the reference list • Use a colon between the place of publication and the publisher


  • References always start with the author name.
  • In the QMU style, names are always written with the surnames of authors or creators, whether individuals or organisations, in capitals, as follows: SURNAME, Initial(s). For example: TAYLOR, J. or SCOTTISH SOCIAL SERVICES COUNCIL
  • Then the date of publication or creation (in brackets).
  • The title comes next, and if it is a book, is in italics.
  • You can always add details about the format of the item in [square brackets] after the title. PDF is not a format, it will be a PDF of something else, an article or a report. Use that reference type instead
  • Other than that, think which information about the item would help someone find it Always describe items as fully and clearly as possible, and in a consistent format.

Formula for referencing

If you cannot find the type of source you wish to reference in this guide, there is a general order you can follow for the elements of a reference. Where possible you should include the following elements, in this order, to make a reference as thorough and findable as possible: