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English at Oxford: Referencing

Cite Them Right

The best way to check your references for a range of materials is to use Cite Them Right. If you're away from the university network you will need to sign on with your SSO via SOLO.

Cite Them Right  is an online referencing tools which gives examples and generates citations from a choice of 7 referencing systems for print and electronic formats. The citations can be copied into your work or emailed.

The referencing systems are Harvard (author-date), APA, MLA, MHRA, OSCOLA, Vancouver and Chicago.

Citations can be created for a very diverse range of sources, including books, journals, digital resources and websites, audiovisual material, unpublished material (theses, manuscripts, etc.), financial & scientific reports, genealogical sources (wills, censuses, etc.), legal material, government and other official publications, and other forms of communication sources (email, Twitter, graffiti, etc.).


As with referencing, the format of your bibliography may vary according to the system you employ. Again, the most important thing is to maintain consistency in the way you present your sources in your bibliography. Here are some tips:

  • If you have been using the MHRA referencing system, each item in your bibliography can be presented in much the same way as for the first full reference.
  • Page numbers are not required in a bibliography unless you are listing an article or chapter that appears within another publication.
  • Your bibliography should be ordered alphabetically and thereafter by date of publication.
  • Do not include full stops after each item in the list.
  • It is common to divide your sources into primary and secondary works.

Reference Management Software

Reference management software, also known as citation management software, allows you to:

  • collect references
  • store references in a web account or on your desktop
  • organise references
  • add notes to your references
  • link to full text, web pages and documents
  • cite your references and create bibliographies

Some also have additional features such as:

  • sharing your references and collaboration tools
  • PDF highlighting
  • social networking

Find out more about using Reference Management software, and book onto training sessions offered by the Bodleian Libraries:

Recommended print books at the Bodleian Libraries

The books below are available in print at a number of the Bodleian Libraries. The links will take you through to SOLO, the University's resource discovery tool, where you can find out which libraries hold these books.

Referencing in the English Faculty

The English Faculty does not impose a mandatory referencing system, though your tutors may communicate their own preferences to you in the matter of style. It is compulsory, however, to present your work in a form that complies with academic standards of precision, clarity, and fullness of reference.

Whatever system you employ, please remember these three essentials:

i) Consistency
Ensure that you are using the same style and format for your references throughout your work.

ii) Clarity
Remember that references are included primarily as a guide for the reader. The more explicit you make your citations, the easier it is for anyone reading your work to find your sources.

iii) Common sense
You will at some stage have to deal with a citation or a reference from a source which does not easily fit into a prescribed system. On these occasions, employing your own judgement will probably enable you to generate a reference in line with the others in your document.


The MHRA style guide is available online ( as well as to download (  It can also be found on SOLO and is available in the EFL Reference Works section at A10.1[Sty]

There are two styles of MHRA referencing:

1. MHRA (general)

2. The author-date system

Both of the systems have two points of reference. Firstly, each time you use a quotation, or any other information taken directly from your source, you must place a reference within the text (in parentheses) or in a footnote. Secondly, at the end of your work you will need to include a full bibliography detailing all sources. This is the case even for a system like the first which also provides full bibliographic detail within the text.

Your bibliography will not count towards any word limits for assessed work, but references in the text and in footnotes will count, so you might like to consider a system (like the author-date system) which reduces the number of words contained in the reference.

In-Text Citation (Author-Date System)

In-text citation should give the author name, publication date, and page number or page range)


Gallagher states that English Faculty students can use any referencing style (2019: 235)


Students in the English Faculty can use any referencing style (Gallagher, 2019:235)



In the author–date system all references must be included in a bibliography at the end. The bibliography should be in alphabetical order by names of author(s) or editor(s), followed by date of publication, as in the following examples:

Author/editor. Date. Title (Place of Publication: Publisher)

English, Jocelyn. 2018. Referencing at Oxford (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)

Gallagher, Jen. 2001. Referencing in the English Faculty (Oxford: Oxford University Press)


A quick guide to using MLA is available online ( it is also available on SOLO and can be found on the shelves in the EFL at: LB2369 MLA 2016


In-Text Citation
Citations in-text contain the authors surname and page number or page range.


In their 2019 book Gallagher states that English Faculty students can use any referencing style (235)


Students in the English Faculty can use any referencing style (Gallagher 235)


MLA uses a works-cited list at the end of the document. This should contain all the references cited in your work. The information needed will depend on the type of source (book, webpage, film etc). For full guidance you should consult the MLA Style Guide (links at the top of this box). Some examples are below:

Author/editor. Title. Edition. Place of publication: publisher, Year of publication.

Gallagher, Jen. Referencing in the English Faculty. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019

Referencing Training Session