When you produce a piece of academic writing such as an assignment, a dissertation, thesis, or journal article, you draw information from a wide range of sources. These sources must be acknowledged by citing them in the text and listing them in a list of references at the end of your work.

Referencing styles can vary depending on the discipline and the department here at Lancaster. You will find the appropriate referencing style for your module in your module handbook.

Referencing Styles: Lancaster Answers

These Lancaster Answers will show you how to reference regularly-used resources including books, eBooks, journal articles and more in some of the different referencing styles used at Lancaster. They will show you how to cite each resource in the text of your work and in the reference list.

Please be aware that your department may be using a modified version of one of these referencing styles. Always consult your module handbook for any departmental-specific referencing requirements. 

APA (6th)

APA is the referencing style of the American Psychological Association. APA is an Author-Date referencing system and is commonly used in Psychology.

Chicago (16th)

Chicago is a running notes referencing system. It is commonly used in the Humanities and Social Sciences.


Harvard is an Author-Date referencing system and is commonly used in the Sciences and Business and Management.


Vancouver is a Numeric referencing system and is commonly used in Medicine and the Sciences.

Further Guidance

There are a range of more comprehensive referencing guides available.

The full publication manual of the American Psychological Association is available from the Library. For those new to APA style, the following online tutorial from the American Psychological Association may be of interest: The Basics of APA Style.

The Library subscribes to the comprehensive guide Chicago Manual of Style Online (available on-campus only). The complete Chicago Manual of Style is also available online.

Vancouver is a name often given to author-number systems. The author-number style most commonly used in Medicine is published by the US National Library of Medicine: see their comprehensive guide to the style Citing Medicine (the NLM author-number style is the citation style used by both MEDLINE and PubMed). 

OSCOLA is a guide to legal citation published by Oxford University.

MHRA is another style commonly used in the Humanities. The most recent version of the MHRA style guide is available from the Modern Humanities Research Association website

There is no one definitive guide to Parenthetical author-date styles that are commonly referred to as "Harvard style". There are a range of useful Harvard guides available online but it's best to consult your Lancaster module handbook for guidance on departmental-specific referencing requirements.

Library Resources on Study and Research Skills

The Library holds a range of material on good academic practice including referencing. This Subject Guide on Study and Research Skills will provide a good starting point as to some of the titles available. Alternatively search OneSearch to explore our full collection of resources.