Referencing for Business Students

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Referencing for Business Students


It is vital that you acknowledge all the sources (print and electronic) that you refer to in your reports, essays and dissertations. There are several extremely important reasons for doing this:

  • To avoid being accused of plagiarism – deliberately using people’s work (words, ideas, data, images etc.) as your own – this is cheating and regarded as an extremely serious academic offence.
  • To allow your markers to locate and check the evidence presented in your work quickly and easily.
  • To show your depth of reading and understanding of the subject.
  • To establish credibility and authority for your ideas and arguments.
  • To strengthen your writing and help you attain a better mark when used appropriately.

You must acknowledge the sources referred to in your work in two places:

  • A short citation within the main text (providing details of author and date of publication).
  • Full bibliographic details for each source in a reference list at the end of your written piece of work.

The Business School uses the Harvard (also known as Author/Date) system of referencing and a specially adapted style has been added to our reference management software, RefWorks, for you to use. Examples are shown in the tables below.

You can lose marks for poorly cited or incomplete references.

Citing within the text (in-text citations) 

You must provide a short citation to someone’s ideas or exact words in your text by putting the author’s surname and year of publication in round brackets immediately after the reference. You can also include page numbers if you wish.

For example: 

Goddard (1999) has argued that…

“My father, at the death of his father, was but six years of age, and grew up literally without any education.” (Szasz 2008, p. 49) 

Conflicting evidence suggests…. (Renton 1999; Jackson 2002)

MacKay first argued (2000a)……and developed her argument (2000b)……

Multiple authors: when a publication has 4 or more authors, the in-text citation is abbreviated to the first-named author followed by et al. For example:

Goddard et al. (1999) has argued that…

Conflicting evidence suggests…. (Renton et al. 1999; Jackson 2002)

Referencing at the end of your written work (reference list)

You must create a reference list at the end of your written piece of work giving complete details of every reference to work belonging to other people you have cited in your text. The Business School requires you to list only those items you’ve referred to in your text - not everything you have read but not referred to. References are arranged in alphabetical order by the authors’ family names.

The details required in a reference vary according to the type of document you are citing, e.g. whole books, chapters in books, journal articles, conference proceedings, theses, newspaper articles, web pages etc.
See the following tables for examples of how to cite references in the Business School’s Harvard style.


Books (whole)

Print only + print/electronic format
Quiry, P. and Vernimmen, P. (2011) Corporate finance theory and practice. 2nd edn. Chichester: Wiley.

NOTE: if a book is available in both print and electronic format, cite it as you would a print book.

Electronic only format
Tomak, K. (ed.) (2004) Advances in the economics of information systems. Hershey: Idea Group [Online]. Available at:  (Accessed: 20 April 2015).

Books (section or chapter within)

Print only + print/electronic format
Bacon, R. (2000) ‘Public expenditure and the British Economy 1996’, in: Etis, W. (ed.) Britain, Europe and EMU. London: Macmillan, pp. 3-28.

Electronic only format
Petschel-Held, G. and Reusswig, F. (1999) ‘Climate change and global change: The Syndrome Concept’, in: Hacker, J. and Pelchen, A. (eds.) Goals and Economic Instruments for the Achievement of Global Warming Mitigation in Europe. SpringerLink [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 20 April 2016).

Journal articles

Print format
Usmen, N. (2012) ‘Transfer prices: A financial perspective’, Journal of International Financial Management & Accounting, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 1-22.

Electronic (cite as for print format)
Ghosh, S. (2010) ‘Is the Credit Crunch a supply side phenomenon? A theoretical appraisal’, Academy of Banking Studies Journal, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 39-61.


Conference papers

Print format
De Vincentiis, P. (2012) ‘Banking risk perception: what is going on after 2007 in Europe?’, International Conference on Qualitative and Quantitative Economics Research (QQE) Proceedings. Hotel Fort Canning, Singapore, 21-22 May. Singapore: Global Science and Technology Forum, pp. 34-38.

Published on the Internet
Lord, J. (2009) ‘What do consumers say?’ Changing attitudes, changing strategies: Reaching China’s dynamic consumer markets. American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai Conference, Shanghai, 15 October. Shanghai: ANCHAM. Available at: (Accessed: 20 April 2016).

Reports/Working Papers

Print format
Di Giulio, D. (2010) Bank lending to the production sector: Credit crunch or extra - credit? Temi di Economia e Finanza Working Paper No. 1. Rochester: Social Science Research Network.

Electronic format
Brzoza-Brzezina, M. and Makarski, K. (2011) Credit crunch in a small open economy. National Bank of Poland Working Paper No. 75 [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 19 April 2016).

Theses and dissertations

Print only + print/electronic format
Wong, H.H.C. (2010) Hedge fund risks and their contextual vulnerabilities: The Asian financial crisis and after. Unpublished MA dissertation. Canada: University of Guelph.

Electronic format
Paul, M. (2004) Economic behaviour and fairness perceptions: a microeconomic analysis. PhD thesis. Warwick: University of Warwick [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 12 April 2016).

Company Annual Reports

Print format
General Motors (2005) 2004 Annual report. Detroit: General Motors.

Electronic format
General Motors (2005) 2004 Annual report [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 26 October 2011).

Financial reports (online databases)

Acquisdata (2017), Inc: Form 10-K (Annual Report), ABI/INFORM Complete [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 03 August 2018).

Market research reports (online databases)

BMI Research (2018) United Kingdom Consumer & Retail Report: Includes 5-year forecasts to 2022, ABI/INFORM Complete [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 03 August 2018).

Official (government) reports

Print format
Great Britain. HM Treasury (2013) Treasury Minutes: Government responses on the 24th and the 26th to the 35th Reports from the Committee of Public Accounts Session: 2012-13. London: The Stationery Office (Cm. 8613).

Electronic format
Great Britain. HM Treasury (2013) Memorandum of Understanding: Financial crisis management [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 20 April 2016).



Print format
International Accounting Standards Board (1992) IAS 7: Statement of Cash Flows. London: International Accounting Standards Board.

Electronic format
International Reporting Standards Board (2011) IFRS 12: Disclosure of interests in other entities [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 02 May 2016).


Office for National Statistics (2013) Age structure of United Kingdom for 2013. Available at:  (Accessed 17 May 2016).

Newspaper articles

Print format
Old, D. (2008) ‘House price gloom’, Evening Chronicle (Newcastle edn.), 26 June, p. 25.

Electronic format (online databases)
Koenig, P. (1998) ‘City & Business: Barclays' problem could be the City's’, The Independent (London edn.), Business, 29 November [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 19 March 2016).

NOTE: it is important to refer to the fact that you read an online edition because they often omit sections found in the printed version.


Ernst & Young (2013) Home-grown listings emerge to break London IPO drought. Available at: (Accessed: 20 March 2016).

Legal documents

UK statutes

Great Britain. Appropriation Act 2011: Elizabeth II. Chapter 2 (2011) London: The Stationery Office.

UK legal cases

NOTE: the titles of case reports are abbreviated, e.g. C App R (Criminal Appeal Reports). For details of the accepted abbreviations for legal documents refer to the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations online at

R v. Edwards (John) (1991) 93 Cr App R 48.
NOTE: the date is in round brackets because there is a volume number for the case reports, i.e. vol. 93 of the Criminal Appeals Reports, page 48 (first page of report).

R v. Dunlop [2006] EWCA Crim 1354.
NOTE: the date is in square brackets because there is no volume number, so the year is important in order to locate the case.

EU publications

European Commission (2003) Making globalisation work for everyone. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.

Secondary referencing

Only cite the work that you have actually read. If you read a source that refers to the work of someone else ideally you should find and read the work that has been referred to. However, if you are unable to locate the original work you must make it clear to your reader that you are citing work that you have not read. The work that you have read is ‘secondary’ as you are relying on someone else’s interpretation or opinion of the original work rather than your own. In your bibliography only reference the book you have read.

In the text

Greenspan (2007, cited in de Hahn 2016, p. 22) wrote that exuberance is “the basis of many of our economic responses …”  

In the bibliography/reference list

de Haan, P. (2016) From Keynes to Piketty. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Further help 

For help with searching the library catalogue and databases, and referencing/citing:
•    Subject & Enquiry Team: Floors 5 and 6, The Sir Duncan Rice Library
•    Janet MacKay, Information Consultant for the Business School

For further details on referencing and citing, refer to Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2019) Cite them right: The Essential Referencing guide. 11th edn. London: Red Globe. Check Primo for availability. Please note: the 9th and 10th editions are also suitable. 

For IT problems

IT Service Desk: Floor 1 of The Sir Duncan Rice Library
For opening hours see:
Login to the MyIT portal  to log calls with the Service Desk. 
Tel: +44 (0)1224 273636 (for Out of Hours Service call this number) 

Last revised by Janet MacKay, December 2023