There are several different styles of referencing:
Each style has its own rules for properly citing sources.
- Author-date styles (e.g., APA, MLA, and Harvard) put the author's name inside the text of the assignment
- Documentary-note styles (e.g., Chicago and Oxford) put the author's name in a footnote at the bottom of each page, or in an endnote at the end of the assignment
All of the most common styles list every source used in a document at the end, in a reference list or bibliography (see reference list vs. bibliography for the difference between these).
The styles differ in format. For example, an APA in-text citation incorporates the author's name, the year of publication, and sometimes the page number, separated by commas:
(Lazar, 2006, p. 52)
An MLA in-text citation, on the other hand, does not include the year or commas:
Likewise, an APA reference list entry puts the year in brackets after the author's name:
Lazar, J. (2006). Web usability: A user-centered design approach. Pearson Addison Wesley.
The earlier (6th) edition of APA formats this differently. See 6th vs. 7th for details.
An MLA works cited entry puts the year nearer the end of the entry:
Lazar, Jonathan. Web Usability: A User-Centered Design Approach. Pearson Addison Wesley, 2006.
There are other differences between these two styles. For instance, APA includes first initials whereas MLA uses full first names. When formatting a reference, follow the style you have been set closely.
At Massey University
Massey University uses a range of different referencing styles. APA style is the most common referencing style, but different schools, departments, and lecturers may have their own requirements.
- APA style is commonly used in Education, Business, and some Social Sciences and Humanities disciplines.
- MLA style is often used in English and Media Studies.
- Oxford style is often used in History, Philosophy, and Classics.
- Harvard and Chicago styles are used by some individual disciplines.
If you are unsure what referencing style you are required to use, check your introductory course materials. If a style is not specifically mentioned, ask your course coordinator.
There are several styles that are not covered on OWLL. These are rarely used, but some assignments will require you to follow styles such as the Australian Guide to Legal Citation or styles specific to a print journal.
Vancouver style is sometimes used in science journals, for example. This style uses a number to represent each source, and lists the sources in the reference list in the order they were used.
For further information on these styles, consult style guides in print or on the journal's website (for example the AAA style guide).