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Citation Guide

Cite It Right!


A Guide to Citing References


What does "citing references" mean?

When writing a paper or report, you may need to quote or incorporate ideas, information, diagrams or statistics from other sources (e.g. books, reports, articles, websites). When this is done, proper acknowledgement to the source should be provided.

Why do I need to do this?

There are 3 important reasons:

  • To give credit to the person who originated the idea or information.
  • To allow your readers to trace your sources easily if they are interested to learn more about your subject.
  • To show how well and thoroughly you have done your research.

How do I cite references?

You may cite references using one of several standard styles, e.g. APA, MLA, Chicago Style, Harvard Style, etc. that have been developed by various organisations. Once you choose a style, use it consistently throughout your report.

This guide will show you how to cite your references using the author-date, or Harvard Style, which is one of the simplest and is widely used in many educational institutions.

The Harvard Style is made up of two components:

  1. Citing within the text - This provides brief details of the author and date of publication.
  2. Citing at the end of the text - You must include a list of references at the end of your text. This is a list of all the books, journal articles and other sources of information you have referred to in your paper or report. Full bibliographic information must be provided.

Tips for making your task easier

  • Plan your information search strategy in advance, rather than do searches randomly.
  • Keep a record of all the searches you have done, and jot down the source for each article or piece of information. This will save you from having to repeat your searches or locate the information source again when you write your report.

Citing references is not difficult. The key is to be consistent!


Citing Within the Text (Harvard Style)

When referring to a source or document in the body of your report/paper, indicate the author's surname and year of publication.


One author
Examples Gates (1996) said that the Internet was not always the top priority in Microsoft's strategy.


The Internet was not always the top priority in Microsoft's strategy (Gates 1996).
Multiple authors / sources
2 or 3 authors Yablonski and Mancuso (2002) advised against controlling microbial contamination in cosmetics by adding more preservatives.


It has been advised that microbial contamination in cosmetics should not be controlled by adding more preservatives (Yablonski & Mancuso 2002).

[Note: '&' is used to link the authors' names within the brackets, but not when they appear as part of the sentence]

4 or more authors Cohen, et al. (1999) described how the DNA encoding these tumor-cell proteins can be injected into cells that might help people mount an immune response against the cancers.

[Note: "et al." represents the rest of the authors]

Multiple sources These techniques have been used for determining total fluorine in environmental and biological samples (Sweetser 1965; Kissa 1986).
Anonymous / No author
Anonymous A recent article (Anon 2001) stated that the Service & Support Professionals Association (SSPA) is the world's largest technical support industry association.
No author Business Week Online's (2004) interview with Apple's CEO Steve Jobs revealed that one of his strategies is "saying no to 1,000 things" so as to concentrate on the "really important" innovations.
Asian authors
Chinese names Authors: Sunny T.H. Goh and Khoo Kheng-Hor
The main purpose of an advertisement is to win sales, not awards (Goh & Khoo 2003).
Malay names Author: Rindra Mohktar bin Ramli
Rindra Mohktar (2002) found that the most common and popular electronic information resource was the Internet.
Indian names Author: Hiru Bijlani
Hiru (1999) recommends providing training programmes for managers who do not have experience in the global marketplace.
Author: G. Sivalingam
There are many competing and conflicting theories of what determines the price or value of a stock (Sivalingam 1990).
Sikh names Author: Ranjit Singh
Singh (1990) also describes group strategies as a set of individual strategies. However, the joint plans discussed in this paper include actions and plans performed by other agents or teams with appropriate synchronization.
Material published by an organisation or company
Examples According to the World Health Organisation (1985), the safe level of protein intake for an adult is 0.75g/kg body weight per day.
Survey results showed that simple home pleasures such as reading a book or watching television are the most popular pastimes for Singaporeans (Visa International 1996).
A short quotation should be included in the body of the text in quotation marks, and the page number given.
Example He observed that "humor is by far the most significant behavior of the human brain" (De Bono 1992, p. 8).
If it is longer than a line, the whole quotation should be indented.
Example The following is an observation from a famous author:
Creativity is not a mystical talent that some people have and others can only envy. Lateral thinking is the type of creative thinking that can be learned, practiced, and used by everyone. Some people will be better at it than others, as with any skill. (De Bono 1992, p. 310)
Web documents usually do not have fixed page numbers. For documents without pagination, alternatives such as number of lines, paragraphs or screens etc. may be used e.g. (l. 65), (para. 2) or (screen 4).
Illustrations / Tables / Charts / Pictures
When referring to data from a table or chart, include the author and page number to enable the reader to verify the data.
Example The survey found that 6.9% of Singapore residents aged 18 to 69 years were obese (Singapore Ministry of Health 2004, p. 25).
If the source of data is not the author's own, but from another source, it is cited as a second hand reference.
Example Historical figures show that only sixty percent of households had televisions in Britain by the 1970s (National Statistics Office 1985 cited in Amazon 2005, p. 310).
If the entire illustration, table, chart or picture is to be reproduced in your report, you can place the citation as a footnote.
Table 1: Weight Status (%) of Singapore residents aged 18-69 years, by gender, 2004
Weight Status Males Females Total
Underweight 6.2 12.2 9.2
Normal weight 58.8 57.9 58.3
Overweight (Pre-obese) 28.6 22.6 25.6
Overweight (Obese) 6.4 7.3 6.9
(Singapore Ministry of Health 2004, p.25).
Figure 1: Resident Population of Singapore (Government of Singapore 2008).
Figure 1: Aerial View of Marina Barrage (PUB 2008).
Include the name of the author or organisation responsible for the website and the date of website's creation or last revision.
Example Food companies are required to comply with stipulated food regulations and standards (Spring Singapore, 12 Oct 2006).
You can also include web addresses directly in your text. Be careful not to create any misinterpretation of any sentence punctuation taken as part of the punctuation in the website addresses. To avoid that, enclose the web addresses with arrow brackets.
Example Health Sciences Authority's web site ‹http://www.hsa.gov.sg/› provides information on health products regulation.
Interviews / Transcripts
Indicate the interviewee's surname and year of interview in brackets. If you are using exact words spoken by the interviewee, you must use quotation marks.
Example In an interview conducted by our project group, John Tan, Manager of XYZ Pte. Ltd., stated that he was "confident that the product will be a success" (Tan 2007).
Student practical or laboratory manual
Example For phenolphthalein, the endpoint is the first permanent pale pink (School of Chemical and Life Sciences 2009).


Compiling a List of References (Harvard Style)

At the end of your report, compile a list of publications that you have made reference to, and arrange the publications alphabetically by author. This list will provide your reader with details of the information sources that were cited in the body of the text. The following show what details to provide for each type of information source.


Details to provide
  • Author/Editor(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Book title (in italics)
  • Edition (if not the first)
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher
Examples One or more authors
Gates, B. and Hemingway, C., 1999. Business @ the speed of thought: using a digital nervous system. New York: Warner Books.

Burrows, T.D., et al., 2001. Video production: disciplines and techniques. 8th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Watts, M., ed., 2003. Technology: taking the distance out of learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Anonymous author
Anon., 2002. Maximum Windows 2000 security. Indianapolis, Indiana: Sams.
No author
Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary, 2003. 11th ed. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster.

Note: For a book without an author, the title is used in the reference list. Titles beginning with any articles (a, an, or, the, etc.) are disregarded from the alphabetical arrangement, e.g.

1.  Angelides, M.C. and Agius, H.W., 2000. ...
2.  The digital crime network. ...
3.  Fogey, B., 2001. ...
Chinese names
Authors: Sunny T.H. Goh and Khoo Kheng-Hor
Goh, S. T. H. and Khoo, K. H., 2003. Marketing wise: an unconventional approach to strategic marketing for Asia. Selangor, Malaysia; London: Prentice Hall.
Malay names
Authors: Muhamad bin Zakaria and Mustafa Ali Mohd
Muhamad bin Zakaria and Mustafa Ali Mohd, 1994. Traditional Malay medicinal plants. Kuala Lumpur : Fajar Bakti.
Indian names
Authors: Krishna Sankar, et al.
Krishna, S., et al., 2004. Cisco wireless LAN security. Indianapolis, Indiana: Cisco.
Author: G. Sivalingam
Sivalingam, G., 2005. Competition policy in the ASEAN countries. Singapore: Thomson Learning.
Sikh names
Author: Amit Singh
Singh, A., 2007. Mac OS X internals: a systems approach. New Jersey: Addison-Wesley.
Article within a book
Details to provide
  • Author(s) of the article/chapter
  • Year of publication
  • Article/chapter title
  • Editor(s) of book
  • Book title (in italics)
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher
  • Article/chapter pages
Example Moregu, A., 2001. Principles of heat transfer. In: D.B. Marghitu, ed., Mechanical Engineer's Handbook. San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 446-559.
Illustration from a book (including table, chart, graph, figure, etc.)
Details to provide
  • Author/Editor(s) of book
  • Year of publication
  • Book title (in italics)
  • Edition (if not the first)
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher
  • Page(s)
  • Illus. / table / chart / graph / fig. etc.
Example Stopford, M., 2009. Maritime economics. 3rd ed. Oxon: Routledge, p. 97, fig.
Publication from a government or private organisation
Details to provide
  • Name of organisation
  • Year of publication
  • Title of publication (in italics)
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher
Example Euromonitor, 2002. Consumer Asia. London: Euromonitor.

Singapore Department of Statistics, 2007. Yearbook of Statistics Singapore. Singapore: Ministry of Trade & Industry.
Journal articles
Details to provide
  • Author(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Article title
  • Journal title (in italics)
  • Volume
  • Issue (if available)
  • Pages
Example Angelides, M.C. and Agius, H.W., 2000. Eight scenarios of the national information superhighway development. Journal of Information Technology, 15(1), pp. 53-67.
Newspaper / Magazine articles
Details to provide
  • Author(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Article title
  • Newspaper/magazine title (in italics)
  • Date of publication
  • Pages/Section
Example Moreau, R., 2001. Saving the coral reefs. Newsweek, 12 Nov, p. 60.
Details to provide
  • Author(s) of paper
  • Year of publication
  • Title of paper
  • Editor(s) of conference proceedings
  • Conference title (in italics)
  • Location (if available)
  • Date of conference
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher
  • Pages
Example Olivella, J., 2000. The need to control the ship's stability in port operations. In: F. Piniella , ed. New maritime impulses in the presence of a new century: 2nd international congress on maritime technological innovations and research proceedings, 8-11 November 2000. Cadiz, Spain: Servicio De Publications, Universidad de Cadiz, pp. 117-122.
Theses / Dissertations
Details to provide
  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Thesis/dissertation title (in italics)
  • Type of document (e.g. Ph.D. thesis, degree dissertation)
  • Awarding institution
Example Teh, Y.C., 1990. The organisation of Singapore Polytechnic. Thesis (M. Ed.), University of Manchester.
Details to provide
  • Organisation
  • Year of publication
  • Standard number and year
  • Title of standard (in italics)
  • Place of publication (if known)
  • Publisher
Example British Standards Institution, 2001. BS5950-1:2000. Structural use of steelwork in building. Part 1, Code of practice for design: rolled and welded sections. London: BSI.
Details to provide
  • Originator/Applicant
  • Year of publication
  • Patent title (in italics)
  • Series designation
Example Aziz, A., 1997. Method and apparatus for a key management scheme for Internet protocols. United States Patent Application 68-438. 27 May.

Borg Warner Inc., 2005. Control devices for clutches and / or gear actuators of an automated gearbox or an automatic transmission. European Patent EP1519081 - 2005-03-30.
Research reports
Details to provide
  • Author(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Report title (in italics)
  • Research Report No. (if available)
  • Place of publication (if known)
  • Publisher
Example Edwards, A., 1995. Asia-Pacific travel forecasts to 2005. Research Report R460. London: Economist Intelligence Unit.
Statutes and subsidiary legislation
Details to provide
  • Country/state name
  • Title (in italics)
  • Year of publication
  • Chapter number
  • Regulation number, if available
Example Singapore. Companies Act 2006 (c. 50).

Singapore. Merchant Shipping (Training, Certification and Manning) Regulations 2001 (c. 179, r. 1).
Law reports
Details to provide
  • Case title (in italics)
  • Year of report
  • Volume number
  • Abbreviation of the law report series
  • Pages
Example Lee Hin Realty Pte Ltd v Lee Tah Wee David [1995] 3 SLR 521-530.
Films / Videos / DVDs / VCDs
Details to provide
  • Series title and number (if any)
  • Programme title (in italics)
  • Medium/format
  • Year of publication
  • Director (for films)
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher
Examples Flags of our fathers [Film], 2006. Directed by Clint Eastwood. USA: DreamWorks Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures.

Manufacturing Engineering Magazine Video series. Manufacturing insights: Flexible material handling [VHS video], 1998. Dearborn, Michigan: Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

Computer animation extravaganza [DVD], 2000. Chatsworth, California: Odyssey Productions.
TV programmes
Details to provide
  • Programme title (in italics)
  • Episode number and title (if any)
  • Medium [TV]
  • Year of broadcast
  • Broadcast organisation and channel
  • Date and time of broadcast
Example That's IT Series 8. Episode 7, The draw of blogs [TV], 2008. Channel NewsAsia. 6 Feb. 2030 hrs.
Details to provide
  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Title (in italics)
  • Format [CD-ROM]
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher
Examples World Bank, 2007. World Development Indicators [CD-ROM]. Washington, D.C., World Bank.

Nichols, C., 2006. Global illumination: Interiors [CD-ROM]. Hollywood, California: Gnomon Workshop.
Music / Sound recordings
Details to provide
  • Artist/Speaker(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Song title (for music recording)
  • Album/Record title (in italics)
  • Format [CD or Cassette]
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher
Examples Shocked, M., 1992. Over the waterfall. In: Arkansas traveler [CD]. New York: PolyGram Music.

Dubner, S., 2005. Freakonomics: A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything [CD]. New York: HarperAudio.
Details to provide
  • Author(s)
  • Year of publication
  • E-book title (in italics)
  • Edition (if not the first)
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher
  • URL or database title (if e-book is located in a database)
  • Accessed date
Examples Linoff, G., 2008. Data analysis using SQL and Excel [online]. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing. Available from: Books24x7.com [Accessed 5 January 2007].

Potter, H., 2005. An introduction to human anatomy [online]. 4th ed. London: Adam Arnold. Available from: http://anatomy/introduction/human.htm [Accessed 7 March 2006].
Articles from e-journals / databases
Details to provide
  • Author(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Article title
  • Journal/magazine/newspaper title (in italics)
  • [Online] or [CD-ROM]
  • Date of publication
  • Volume
  • Issue (if available)
  • Pages (if available)
  • URL or database title
  • Accessed date
Examples Iovine, J., 2001. Hexapos walker robot. Poptronics [online], December 2001, 2(12), 42-46. Available from: ProQuest [Accessed 28 September 2001].

Fogey, B., 2001. The skyscraper age is far from over. The Straits Times [online], 23 August 2001. Available from: Factiva.com [Accessed 27 June 2002].

Swaine, R., 2000. Flavor chemistry and innovation. Perfumer & Flavorist [CD-ROM], Nov/Dec, 25, pp. 1-6. Available from: Perfumer & flavorist: 25 years, 1976-2000 [Accessed 3 June 2002].

Monroe, L.K., 2002. Anatomy of a building. Buildings [online], 96(4), 24-27. Available from: http://www.buildings.com [Accessed 6 May 2002].
Internet resources (Websites, online media, etc.)
Details to provide
  • Author/Editor(s)
  • Year (if available)
  • Title (in italics)
  • [Online]
  • Place of publication (if available)
  • Publisher (if available)
  • URL
  • Accessed date
Examples One author
Holland, M., 1999. Guide to citing Internet sources [online]. Poole: Bournemouth University. Available from: http://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/using_the_library/html/harvard_system.html [Accessed 17 September 2001].
Material published by an organization or company
Nokia, 2005. Nokia Singapore [online]. Available from: http://www.nokia.com.sg [Accessed 10 August 2005].
No author
GVU's 10th user survey, 1998 [online]. Available from: http://www.gvu.gatech.edu/user_surveys/survey-1998-10/ [Accessed 10 August 2005].
Gallup, S., 2008. Memorial church needs repair [photograph]. Europe: Getty Images. Available from: http://www.gettyimages.com/ [Accessed 1 August 2008].
Online videos/podcasts
Daughter turns Dad in, 2008 [online video]. CNN.com. Available from: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/crime/2008/04/02/dnt.oh.drunk.driver.dad.wnwo [Accessed 4 April 2008].

Mondello, B., 2008. Charlton Heston, Old-School Gentleman, Dies at 84, [podcast]. National Public Radio. 10 April 2008. Available from: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89421208 [Accessed 8 May 2008].
Details to provide
  • Author(s)
  • Date of blog post
  • Title of blog post
  • Blog name (in italics)
  • URL
  • Accessed date
Example Schofield, J., 20 May 2006. Yahoo is winning in the portal wars. GU technologyblog. Available from: http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/technology/ [Accessed 22 May 2006].
Details to provide
  • Sender
  • Sender's email address
  • Date the email was sent
  • Subject of message (in italics)
  • Recipient
  • Recipient's email address
Example Tan, M. (margrettan@yahoo.com.sg), 20 March 2006. Re:How to cite an email. Email to W.P. Sng (wpsng@abc.com.sg).
Interviews / Transcripts
Details to provide
  • Interviewee(s)
  • Year of interview
  • Title of interview (in italics)
  • Interviewer(s)
  • Date of interview
Example Lee, J., 2007. Success of XYZ product [Interview by X.Y. Lee and R.S. Wong], 27 June 2007.
Details to provide
  • Lecturer
  • Year of lecture
  • Title of lecture (in italics)
  • Module/Occasion of lecture
  • Date of lecture
  • Place of lecture
Example Bhargava, S., 2006. Engineering since 1945. Lecture for module 102ENG, 2 May 2006, Coventry University.
Presentation slides
Details to provide
  • Author(s)
  • Year (if available)
  • Title (in italics)
  • Type of document (e.g. PowerPoint presentation)
  • URL
  • Accessed date
Example Aguilar, F., 2001. Polyethylene biodigesters: production of biogas and organic fertilizer from animal manure [PowerPoint presentation]. Available from: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/biogas/poly_digester/aguilar/index.htm [Accessed 4 June 2005].
Student practical or laboratory manual
Details to provide
  • School
  • Year of publication
  • Student practical or laboratory manual title (in italics)
  • Type of document (e.g. practical & tutorial manual)
  • Educational institution
Example School of Chemical and Life Sciences, 2009. CP 1011 Cell biology and function, practical & tutorial manual, Singapore Polytechnic.


Other Major Style Guides

These are some other frequently used citation styles:


AMA (American Medical Association) Style
Used in medical, health, and biological sciences publications.
References AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors (10th ed.)
- Available at Main Lending

AMA Manual of Style
- Provides excerpts, downloadable index and FAQs for the latest edition of the manual
APA (American Psychological Association) Style
Often used in writings in psychology, education, and other social sciences.
References Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.)
- Available at Main Lending

Writing With Style: APA Style Made Easy (5th ed.)
- Available at Main Lending

APA Style.org
- Provides tips, FAQs and guidelines for citing electronic resources
Chicago Style
Often used with all subjects in books, magazines, newspapers, and other non-scholarly publications.
References The Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.)
- Available at Main Reference

The Chicago Manual of Style Online
Features tools, Q&A section and a citation quick guide
IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Style
Used in IEEE Transactions, Journals, and Letters.
References IEEE Editorial Style Manual
- Provides editorial guidelines for authors to submit an article to IEEE
MLA (Modern Language Association of America) Style
Frequently used in literature, arts, and humanities publications.
References MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (2nd ed.)
- Available at Main Reference

What is MLA Style?
- Provides brief information about the MLA style and links to FAQs about the MLA Handbook and MLA Style Manual
Oxford Referencing Style
Uses footnotes to place references at the end of each page.
References Oxford: A Brief Guide
- A quick guide to the Oxford referencing style, provided by Victoria University Library.

Referencing Using the Documentary-note (Oxford) Style
- Explains some of the common applications of the Oxford style of referencing. Provided by Deakin University.

The Footnote/ Bibliography or 'Oxford' Referencing System
- Presents an introduction to the Footnote/ Bibliography system, also known as the Oxford system or the Documentary/ Note system. Provided by The Learning Centre, University of New South Wales.
Turabian Style
Similar to the Chicago style, but modified for the needs of student writers.
References A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (7th ed.)
- Available at Main Lending

Turabian Quick Guide
- Provides examples of materials commonly cited




British Standards Institution, 1989. BS1629:1989. Recommendations for references to published materials. London: BSI.
British Standards Institution, 1990. BS5605:1990. Recommendations for citing and referencing published material. Milton Keynes: BSI.
BU guide to citation in the Harvard style, 2008 [online]. Bournemouth: Academic Services, Bournemouth University. Available from: http://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/library/citing_references/docs/Citing_Refs.pdf [Accessed 19 August 2008].
Citing references: A guide for users 6th edition [online]. Nottingham: Libraries and Learning Resources, Nottingham Trent University. Available from: http://www.ntu.ac.uk/LLR/help_support/guides/instructional/53709.pdf [Accessed 19 August 2008].
Deane, M., 2008. Coventry University Harvard Reference Style Guide [online]. Coventry University. Available from: http://home.ched.coventry.ac.uk/caw/harvard/downloads.htm [Accessed 19 August 2008].
Delaney, R. Citation styles for research papers [online]. B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library, Long Island University. Available from: http://www.liu.edu/cwis/cwp/library/workshop/citation.htm [Accessed 19 August 2008].
Harvard referencing guide, 2012 [online]. Adelaide: Writing Centre, The University of Adelaide. Available from: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/writingcentre/referencing_guides/harvardStyleGuide.pdf [Accessed 15 May 2013].
International Organisation for Standardization, 2002. Excerpts from International Standard ISO 690-2 [online]. Ottawa, Canada: Library and Archives Canada. Available from: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/iso/tc46sc9/standard/690-2e.htm [Accessed 19 August 2008].
Multimedia University. Citation style for reference list [online]. Malaysia: Multimedia University. Available from: http://www.mmu.edu.my/~crpp/content/appendix(I)_citation1.doc [Accessed 2 November 2004].
Pears, R. & Shields, G., 2008. Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. Rev. ed. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Pear Tree Books.
Snooks & Co., 2002. Style manual for authors, editors and printers. 6th ed. Canberra: John Wiley & Sons Australia.

Last Modified: 06-05-2014