How to Reference


Referencing is used to demonstrate that you have researched appropriate literature sources thoroughly, while also giving credit to other authors whose ideas you may have used in your own work. To all referencing styles, there are two parts: citing, and the reference list, this list is adopting using the Harvard style of referencing which is  a guide to assist your writing of practical reports and project dissertation. Bear in mind practices may vary according to institution and therefore your reports may have strict guidelines and marking criteria. As styles of referencing can differ, it is suggested that you check with the board or staff member who will be marking your work.

How to write citations:

  •  Citing one author

The recent trend of higher-protein, higher-fat, and lower-carbohydrate diets is believed to have serious implications for athletic performance (Benardot, 2000).


Benardot (2000) believes that the recent popularity of higher-protein, higher-fat, and lower-carbohydrate diets can have serious effects on athletic performance.

  •  Citing two authors

Creatine ranks with dietary carbohydrate fats, proteins and other compounds as vital parts of the metabolic system involved in providing energy for exercise performance. (Conway & Clark, 1996).

  •  Citing three or more authors

Foxes killed after being hunted contained significantly more creatine than those killed unexpectedly (Stout et al, 2008).

  •  Citing works by the same author written in the same year

When citing a new work, which was written in the same year and by the same author as an earlier referenced work, you must use a lower case letter after the date so as to differentiate between them.

Your body experiences changes in fitness during rest periods of low-intensity exercise, it is therefore important to take a day off each week to ensure maximum recovery. (Friel 2006a, Friel 2006b)

  •  Citing from chapters of the same book written by different authors

Some books contain chapters written by different authors. When citing from such books you should acknowledge the author of the chapter and not the editor of the book.

  •  Secondary referencing

Secondary references cite an author’s reference to another author when the primary source is not available to you. In citing such works, both the author of the primary source and the author of the secondary source should be cited.

McKechnie (1998) cites the work of Wing, Lee and Chen (1994) which looks at sleep paralysis.

 It is advisable to avoid secondary referencing wherever possible and attempt to find the original work.

  •  Citing a direct quotation

If you use a direct quote from a book, article, etc., you must:

  •  Use single quotation marks, as double quotation marks are generally used when quoting direct speech.
  • State the page number

Brown and Miller state that there is a ‘continually increasing need to promote athletic ability’ (2005:P.1)

Moreover, the incorporation of diagrams, charts etc., should be treated as direct quotes from an author, and thus the name of the author and page number on which you found it should be referenced; both when you introduce the diagram, as well as in any caption you write for it.

  •  Citing from works with no obvious author/Corporate citations

Many online publications will not have specifically named authors. In these instances it is acceptable to use a ‘corporate’ author.

Cyclists given jelly beans over a distance of 10km went on average 38 seconds faster, and produced the highest overall power output (UC Davis Sports Medicine 2006)

If you cannot find a named author or corporate author, then you can use ‘Anon’ as the author name. However, if you are unable to find an author for online work the veracity of such research may be put into question.

  •  Citing from multi-media works

If using a CD-ROM and there is no obvious author, then use the title of the CD-ROM in citation. For DVD/Video, the series title should be used as the author.

  •  Citing from an interview or personal communication

Use the surname of the interviewee/practitioner as the author

  • Tips on good quotation practice

Quotations that are longer than two lines should be inserted as a separate paragraph.

Lee E. Brown and Vance A. Ferrigno comment on the complexity of exercise programs, stating that:

 ‘When writing an exercise program for any athlete, you need to take many parameters into consideration. First, consider years of training, level of fitness, and how often the athlete will be performing speed, agility and quickness training.’ (p.3)

 However, if you want to use a quotation but do not want to include all of the text, you can remove unnecessary text and replace it with ‘…’.

 ‘When writing an exercise program…you need to take many parameters into consideration. First, consider years of training, level of fitness, and how often the athlete will be performing speed, agility and quickness training.’ (p.3) (You should only do this when you use a quotation taken from a single paragraph)

When putting quotations into a text, sometimes it is necessary to add one or two words to make the sentence grammatically correct; to do this simply put square brackets around the [word].

  •  Writing references

To write references it is necessary to have certain pieces of information about each item you have read or incorporated. Such information is called ‘bibliographic’.

All types of references require:

  1. Author or editor – the primary person who produced, or predominantly produced the item you’ve used, ‘Corporate authors’ included.
  2. Date of publication/broadcast/recording – For books this date will ordinarily be a year, however, if you are using a newspaper/magazine article, an email, or a transcript you will ordinarily need to include a full date (day/month/year).
  3. Title of the item – While this is generally very obvious, common sense may need to be applied when discerning the title of a web page.

Other information that may be required for writing references, dependent of the type of material being referenced includes:

  •  Name of publisher
  • Place of publication
  • Volume number
  • Issue number
  • Page numbers
  • Website address
  • DOI (link for journal articles)
  • Report number
  • Title of conference proceedings
  • [Date of access] (for online material only)


  • Writing a Reference List

 This list ought to include all books, journals, etc., as opposed to separate lists according to source type.

  •  The list should be in alphabetical order by author/editor
  • All books, paper, electronic journal articles, etc., are written in a specific format that should be followed
  • All the items you have cited or quoted from should be in the reference list
  • If you have included more than one piece of work by the same author/editor, the works should be listed chronologically, beginning with the most recent.

Þ    Book: print

Þ    Author/Editor (if editor put (ed.) after name)

Þ    (Year of Publication) (in brackets)

Þ    Title (in italics)

Þ    Series title and number (if part of a series)

Þ    Edition (if not the first)

Þ    Place of publication (if there is more than one place, use the first)

Þ    Publisher

 Book: online/electronic

Þ     Author/Editor

Þ     (Year of Publication)

Þ      Title

Þ     Edition

Þ     [online]

Þ     Place of publication

Þ     Publisher

Þ     Available from: URL

Þ     [Date of access]

Chapter in an edited book 

Þ     Author of the chapter

Þ     (Year of publication)

Þ     Title of Chapter followed by In:

Þ     Editor

Þ     Title

Þ     Series title and number

Þ     Edition

Þ     Place of publication

Þ     Publisher

Þ     Page numbers (use ‘p.’ before a single page number and ‘pp.’ where there are multiple)

 Journal article: print

Þ     Author

Þ     (Year of publication)

Þ     Title of journal article

Þ     Title of journal

Þ     Volume number

Þ     Issue number

Þ     Page numbers of the article (no need to use ‘p.’)

Web page/website  

Þ     Author/editor (use corporate author if no individual is named)

Þ     (Year of publication) (if unavailable use the abbreviation n.d.)

Þ     Title

Þ     [online]

Þ     Available from: URL

Þ     [Date of access]

  •  Bibliographies

Bibliographies should include items that you have consulted for your work but did not specifically cite. These items should again be listed in alphabetical order and set out in the same style as the reference list.