Leeds University Library


Referencing tutorial

Referencing is the acknowledgement of the sources you used when producing your piece of work. The resources on this page will help you to cite and reference your academic work accurately.

Referencing icon

Referencing correctly is important to demonstrate how widely you have researched your subject, to show the basis of your arguments and conclusions, and to avoid plagiarism.

Each school in the University requires students to use a specific style of referencing. Check the referencing style used in your school before you begin. 

References and citations explained

You need to give the person reading your assignment enough information to find the sources you have consulted. This is done by including citations in your work and providing a list of references.

Whenever you use someone else's ideas, either by putting them into your own words (paraphrasing) or by quoting directly, you must show this within the body of your work. This is known as a citation. The format will vary depending on the referencing style you use.

At the end of your assignment you will need to provide a list of references - full details of the sources you used when writing your assignment. Your references may take the form of either a reference list or a bibliography.

A reference list is normally considered to be a list of the citations that have appeared in the body of your work. How it is arranged will depend on the referencing style you are using. 

A bibliography lists all the sources that you have consulted in your research and, because it includes sources you may not have cited in your work, is usually arranged alphabetically by surname.

Many people use these terms interchangeably so, if you are unsure about which one to include, ask your tutor.

If you are new to referencing, take a look at our introduction to referencing tutorial.

Harvard style

There is no definitive version of the Harvard style. You should use the Leeds version of Harvard when referencing sources in your work, and your work should also be marked using this guidance.

Numeric style

You should use the Leeds version of Numeric when referencing sources in your work, and your work should also be marked using this guidance.

MHRA style

The MHRA style is produced by the Modern Humanities Research Association.

APA, IEEE, OSCOLA and Vancouver styles


This style is usually used within Psychology and related disciplines. It is produced by the American Psychological Association.


The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) style is used by the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.


This style is used by Law Qualifying Programmes in the School of Law. It is produced by the Oxford Law Faculty at the University of Oxford.


This style is used in the School of Medicine. The guidelines for this style are set by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

EndNote and other referencing tools

Referencing software (such as EndNote) not only helps you to store and manage your references, it also works with word-processing applications (like Microsoft Word) to automatically insert citations and create your bibliography or reference list for you.

Further help