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English Faculty Library Services: Referencing Guide

24 Hour Exams

This resource is designed for students writing dissertations and portfolios, as well as those looking for tips on best practice for their weekly essays. For all information relating to the 24-hr exams being used in ET 2022 (which have different referencing and presentation requirements), please see the Faculty’s FAQ document for Tripos 2022.

Important Links

  • Recorded lecture and PowerPoint slides on 'Referencing for your Dissertation' Feb 2022 - available on Moodle

Second References

The majority of items listed on this guide give examples of what you might do for the first reference of a source in your writing. The first time you reference a source in your footnote you give all of the bibliographic information for it. In subsequent references to the source you can use a shortened form, as long as it clearly points to the source you are referencing. 

Generally acceptable is some form of:

Author Surname, Shortened Title of Work, page number.

 

Introduction to MHRA Referencing

So you’ve chosen to reference in MHRA Style, eh? Splendid choice! The first thing to remember is: 

DON’T PANIC. 

The following guide addresses some of the most common questions and approaches for any material you may want to reference. The point is to clearly convey the information of the item you are referencing so that you both acknowledge the work of others and make it as easy as possible for other academics to find the work themselves. 
 
Most references are laid out in about the same way, answering the following questions: 
 

  • Who did it? 

  • What did they do? 

  • Is it part of a larger work? 

  • Who else significantly contributed to it? 

  • What are the Where/Who/When of its production? 

  • Is there a specific part to which you are referring? 

  • What format did you find it in? 

Something to remember is that MHRA is a guide. It can not cover all of the wibbly-wobbly strangeness of every type of resource you may want to use on your epic academic journey. What it does offer is a fairly consistent pattern of how you can accurately describe every reference, but many things will need to be tweaked, adapted, or jumbled around a little to fit the most accurate pattern.

The two most important things to focus on are consistency and clarity. Reference the same type of material consistently throughout your document and remember that at the end of the day it is someone else who is reading your work, so make things clear for them. If you do both of those then you will be well on your way to being right. 

Presenting your Essays

There is no official formatting convention for undergraduate work to be presented in. As a general rule, it is good to make things as consistent and easy-to-read for your markers as you can. Essays presented using double line-spacing, 12 pt letter sizing, and a clear font like Times New Roman or Arial would follow this idea. 

 

Contact the Library

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

Contact the Library with your Referencing questions at english@lib.cam.ac.uk

Bibliography

A bibliography is a compilation of all of the works which have contributed ideas to or which you have consulted in writing your academic work. Generally speaking the works listed in your bibliography will need to be separated in 3 separate sections:

  • Primary Sources - Novels, poetry, works of art, or anything which you are writing directly about. If you are writing your paper on Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, then you would put that novel in your primary texts section. 
     
  • Secondary Sources - Critical works which comment on or are also writing about other works. If in your paper you read The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, then you would put that in the secondary sources section. 
     
  • Works of Reference - Works which give broad or general information, such as a dictionary or encyclopedia. 

 

Bibliographic entries are mostly like your full first reference. The main difference is that the order is reversed for the author's name, so that it is surname, then first name. The bibliography is presented in alphabetical order, so this will group all of the works by the same author together by their surname. If there are multiple authors, only the first one is reversed. Bibliography entries also don't contain citation pages, or a full stop at the end of the entry. 

For example:

Russ, Joanna, How to suppress women's writing (Austin: University of Texas, 2018), de Gruyter eBooks
Russ, Joanna, ‘Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me and I Think it’s my Husband’, Journal of Popular Culture, 6.4 (March 1973),  666-691 
Russ, Joanna, To write like a woman: Essays in feminism and science fiction (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995)
 

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