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A guide to referencing styles at GSM London

What is a reference list and why is it important?


A reference list is a list of sources that you have cited in your assignment. So, for example, if you've paraphrased or quoted from a particular book, you will have written an in-text citation at the point you've made a reference in your assignment to which you then need to write a corresponding reference in your reference list.

The difference between an in-text citation and a reference is that the reference contains all the necessary publication details the reader needs to precisely identify the source. Different types of publications or sources require that different types of information be included but the common elements are:


Author | Year of publication | Title  Publication Details


The reason in-text citations are used is that it wouldn't be practical to add a full reference into the body of your assignment each time you cite a source. Think of the in-text citation as a shorthand and an anchor to your full reference.

anchor point image

In-text citation example:

(Cole and Kelly, 2015)

Corresponding reference in reference list:

Cole, G. and Kelly, P. (2015) Management Theory and Practice. Andover: Cengage Learning EMEA.


It's really important to be accurate, as adhering to this convention ensures the reader can identify the exact source you're using. If you're not accurate when you reference you will lose marks and, in a worst-case scenario, you could be flagged as displaying poor academic practice.


Writing references

Your reference list always appears at the end of your assignment. It's good practice to add your reference list to the last page of your assignment as soon as you start writing. This way you can write the corresponding reference to each in-text citation as you're writing and lessen the chances of losing your references or writing them incorrectly.


thinking icon

Remember, incorrect citations cost marks!

You also need to list your references in alphabetical order, by surname. For example:



Johnsen, A. (2015) ‘Strategic Management Thinking and Practice in the Public Sector: A Strategic Planning for All Seasons?’, Financial Accountability & Management. 31(3), pp. 243-268.

Johnson, G. et al. (2014) Exploring Strategy: Text and Cases. 10th edn. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Meithe, J. and Pothier, D. (2016) ‘Brexit: What’s at stake for the financial sector?’, DIW Economic Bulletin. 6 (31), pp. 364-372.


You can easily sort your reference list in alphabetical order using the 'Sort' option in Word, as below:

1. Select your references

2.Select the 'Sort' A-Z icon

sorting referencing alphabetically in word

3. Select to sort by Paragraphs and Text in Ascending order (these should be the defaults)

4. Click OK to sort

sort options by alphabet ascending


sort by a-z video gif

To create a reference for a book, you must include the following:

  • Author(s) or editor(s) surname(s) and initial(s)
  • Year of publication - in brackets (   )
  • Title in italics
  • Edition, if applicable 
  • Place of publication, followed by a colon :
  • Publisher - followed by full stop.


Bratton, J. and Gold, J. (2012) Human Resource Management: Theory and Practice.  5th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

To create a reference for a journal article, you must include the following:

  • Author(s) of the article
  • Year of publication - in brackets (   )
  • Title of article - in single quote marks, followed by a comma
  • Title of journal - in italics followed by a comma
  • Volume (if applicable)
  • Issue or part number, or month/season of year, in brackets followed by a comma
  • Page numbers of the article followed by a full stop


Johnsen, A. (2015) 'Strategic Management Thinking and Practice in the Public Sector: A Strategic Planning for All Seasons?', Financial Accountability & Management, 31(3), pp. 243-268.

To create a reference for a website, you must include the following:

  • Author or organisation
  • Year published to website, or last updated
  • Title in italics
  • URL (Available at: http://www...)
  • Date accessed (Accessed: 15 December 2017)


OPEC (2017) World Oil Outlook 2040. Available at: (Accessed: 15 December 2017).

There could be many different types of sources that you wish to reference in your assignments. An excellent guide is Cite Them Right and there are multiple copies available in the library both for loan and reference. This guide is very useful and includes an index for sources you might need to cite using the Harvard referencing style.


book source  Journal source  eJournal source     video source     webpage sourceline graph camera iimage


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