Referencing stylesYour reference list (publications cited in a particular piece of writing) should be formatted to follow a particular style, so it helps to get this right at the beginning of your research process – you don’t want to finish a literature review and then have to spend days re-formatting hundreds of references. The format, or style, of your referencing is determined by your discipline or publishing context, so find out now what style of referencing you should be using, and record all your reading in that style. There are too many different styles in use around the world for us to illustrate and name them here – what matters is that YOU know which style you’re using, and that you maintain all your references in the SAME style.Referencing styles vary in the ordering of elements, not in the type of information they include. The style guide I follow is based on the Australian Government Publishing Service’s version of Harvard (author-date) style. Whichever style you follow, the basic information to be included is the same, even if the ordering varies:
- the author’s family name and personal name (or initial letter, depending on the style);
- the year of publication (perhaps in brackets, depending on the style);
- the name of the academic journal (in italics or underlined, depending on the style);
- the volume number and the issue number (if there is one) and
- the page range
- Do you recognise the difference between a bibliography and a reference list?
- Do you think the reference list at the end of a journal article represents everything that author has ever read on the topic?
- Have you read a journal article that seems to be citing lots of sources for the sake of making it look like they are well informed, but doesn’t seem to show good understanding of the sources?
Research Writing: How to Do a Literature Review
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