A guide to referencing styles

A guide to referencing styles

Text Version

A guide to referencing styles

What is a 'referencing' style?

Referencing styles are established systems of referencing with consistent rules. Referencing style requirements cover the two elements of a referencing system:

a. in-text citations such as author-date citations or footnotes

b. reference lists or bibliographies.

What do I need to know about referencing styles?

There is a wide range of referencing styles, each with different origins and features. Some disciplines have developed their own style. For example, the American Psychological Association (APA style) was developed specifically for Psychology. Some disciplines have adopted a particular referencing style, while other disciplines may use a range of referencing styles. It is up to students to familiarise themselves with the referencing style requirements for each subject.

Consistency is most important. Do not mix referencing styles within one piece of writing.

Which referencing style should I use?

To find out which style to use:

  • check your assignment instructions or Unit Guide
  • ask your lecturer
  • consult your faculty handbook and/or style guide (such as the Q Manual for BusEco)
  • look at samples of work from your department
  • look at the table on the next  page for general guidance.

How do I find out more about referencing styles?

There is a wide range of resources available on referencing styles. However, you should consult the Monash University Library website, which contains tutorials on referencing styles with examples. Access these at http://monash.edu.au/library/skills/resources/tutorials/

What if I still have problems?

If you still have problems with referencing styles, consult:

  • faculty staff
  • Library staff: learning skills advisers and librarians
  • style manuals and writing guides

A quick guide to referencing styles

Style name

Style features

Author organisation

General application



American Chemical Society




American Institute of Physics



Author and date in text

American Psychological Association

Psychology, Education, Anthropology, and other Social and Behavioural Sciences


Author-date and/or note system

University of Chicago Press

Humanities, Social, Biological and Physical Sciences


Author and date in text

Harvard University

Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Education, Business



Institute for Electronics & Electrical Engineers

Electronics, Electrical Engineering


Author and page number in text

Modern Languages Association of America

Humanities: Modern Languages, Literature, and other fields

Oxford or footnoting system

Number in text, details in notes for each entry


Arts, History, English, Literature


Number in text for each source

Developed at a meeting in Vancouver, 1988.

Medicine, Humanities

Online tutorials and guides are available at: monash.edu.au/library/skills/resources/tutorials/