Whenever we get together with our old academic colleagues, there's one thing that consistently comes up in the conversation: students just don't know how to reference their sources. But the skill of referencing isn't only something you need for your academic projects, you'll also find it useful in business life. With the explosion of information sources now available through the Internet, it's vitally important that you keep a clear record of where you find your data, in case you need to update it, or refer to it again at a future date. Additionally, if you're writing a business report, proposal, or research document for your client, you'll need to show where your data has come from.

On this page, we've provided links to a few tools, and some help in learning how to write citations, references and bibliographies. If you really can't manage, then please contact us. We can create, proofread and edit your bibliography or list of references. Alternatively, we're able to arrange seminars or tutoring in referencing and research skills.

FAQ (frequently asked questions)

Q. My advisor suggested I organise my list of references by having interviews in one section, books in another, websites in another etc. Is this right?

A. No, this is not right. You should have one list, arranged alphabetically by author/interviewee (or title if no author). The person reading your report will see your in-text citation, which would be an author's name. If the reader was interested in finding the original citation, they would turn to your list of references to find the author's name and hence the full reference. However, from the author's name, the reader has no idea if the original is a book, article, interview, webpage, email, or any other of the many ways in which information or knowledge is made available. So, if you listed your references in this way, the reader would have to check every list you had, rather than one single list. It should be clear from how the reference is written, what sort of media the original is. The exception to this is if you really are writing a bibliography, or a complete listing of material about a subject. If this is the case, the list doesn't refer to citations you make in a text, and the purpose is to give the reader an exhaustive list of material that they can consult. In this case, it's very useful to collate the references by type.

Q. Which style should I use? MLA or Harvard?

A. It really depends on what you're writing and who you're writing it for. For undergraduates, you'll probably have been taught a specific style in your first year, and you should use that. Graduates, on the other hand, may be asked to use different styles depending on their professor, or the policy of the institution. If you're writing an article or paper for publication, then your publisher will have instructions for which style to use. The best solution is to check with whoever has asked you to write your assignment.

Here are some links to documents and pages that may help.

Online Bibliography Builders


A good tool to start building your bibliography. You can either search the database for references that already exist, or add your own. By registering, you can build and save your own bibliographies in either MLA, APA, or Chicago format. At the moment, it's free.


Similar to BibMe above, but only MLA format is available.

MLA Citation Generator

From the Adapted Computer Training Center of the Palomar Community College in San Marcos, California. A simple tool for generating MLA references.

Guides on Referencing and Citation

Leeds Metropolitan University

A guide to Harvard referencing, with specific pages for journals and newspapers.

Bradford University

A pdf document called "References and Bibliographies" written by the University of Bradford School of Management.

A Research Guide for Students

A website containing all the tools you need to carry out and write up your research.

Guides on Avoiding Plagiarism

The Plagiarism Advisory Service