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What style should I use?

Cite Them Right Online will help you reference just about any source and help you avoid plagiarism: log in here or watch a short introductory video.

Question about referencing? Try our referencing FAQ section! If we are asked a lot, you'll find the answer here.

Subject Style Guidance*

English Literature


Creative Writing



Short guide (2017 2nd edition)

Full guidance



Short guide (2018 3rd edition)

Full guidance

Physician's Associate MSc

Urgent and Acute Adult Care PGCert

FdSc Dental Technician


Short guide (2017 2nd edition)

Full guidance (Cite Them Right Online)



Short guide (2018 3rd edition)

Full guidance (latest edition)

All other courses

Harvard (Cite Them Right) 10th edition

Short guide (2018 3rd edition)

Full guidance (Cite Them Right Online)

* If there are any discrepancies between the University’s short guide and the latest edition of the full guidance for your style, please refer to the full guidance as preference.

Are you a continuing student (started your course before Sep 2016) who needs to use the old Harvard style? Find it here: University’s guide for the older, bespoke Harvard style . As at Dec 2017, we would only expect final year undergraduate students to still be using the older style. 

University referencing policy states that you can choose to continue using this style throughout the remainder of your course, or you can choose to switch to the Cite Them Right Harvard style. Your tutors may offer advice to help you decide. We have also put together a table highlighting the key differences between the two Harvard styles, which you can download here. These differences include: the use of page numbers when paraphrasing as well as directly quoting; and using et al for four or more authors (rather than three).


What do I need to know about referencing?

Using a specific referencing style to refer to the work of others is an important element of your academic writing. Consistent and accurate citing and referencing also helps you to avoid plagiarism. The key principles underlying referencing are:

  1. Be consistent: you should use the same formatting throughout your piece of work, whatever style you use
  2. Include all the relevant information your reader needs to trace that reference themselves
  3. Understand when to cite and why, i.e. to acknowledge the work of others

The University referencing policy sets out the referencing requirements that all taught students and their tutors are expected to follow. The box above details each of the five styles available, and which courses should use them. Unless otherwise indicated, all taught students at the University of Worcester should use the Cite Them Right version of Harvard. Continuing students who enrolled on their course prior to 2016/17 may choose to use the Cite Them Right style, or follow the University’s guide for the older, bespoke Harvard style

Joint Honours students studying subjects that use different styles will need to use the referencing style suitable for each subject.  The University recognises that this may result in some stylistic inaccuracies as you learn the two.  Marking (particularly at levels 4 and 5) should focus on the principles of referencing as outlined above, not on stylistic accuracy. 

Academic Liaison Librarians are able to support students and staff in relation to referencing principles and the basic application of a specific style. Further support for academic writing is available elsewhere in the University (see Academic writing, below). 

The university has a subscription to Cite Them Right Online, available to University of Worcester students and staff. This provides full guidance for Harvard and Vancouver styles, as well as support for other styles, and covers the 'how and why' of referencing and offers advice on avoiding plagiarism.  


Academic writing

Whether you are using an author-date referencing style (like Harvard or APA) or a numerical/footnote style (like MHRA, Vancouver or OSCOLA), accurate referencing of quality sources is an integral part of academic writing. You should take any opportunities available to you to develop your academic writing, particularly during the start of your course, in preparation for later modules. 

  • The University's Language Centre

    The Language Centre works with home (i.e. native) and non-native speakers. They offer a one semester, 15-credit module that introduces students to the mechanics of academic writing - style, structure, and usage. The Centre also offers 1-2-1 tutorials Monday-Friday. Students need to sign up for them in advance at The Centre specialises in looking at writing on a linguistic level and can tell students quite specifically how their writing can be improved. They can also go through paraphrasing and ways you might want to set out sentences that include citations. Some students have an appointment on a regular basis. It’s important to note they aren’t a proofreading service. Special classes are also available for Master’s students and 3rd year top ups as well.

  • The RLF (Royal Literary Fund) Writers-in-Residence​: the writers-in-residence offer appointments for students to discuss their academic writing.
  • Institute of Health and Society Study Skills site: includes a referencing page, with videos of librarians, tutors and students sharing their top tips and experiences of academic referencing.
  • Quoting, paraphrasing and summarising: what's the difference? The Cite Them Right website covers this in the Basics section, and we also like this website (Purdue OWL) which explains in more detail.
  • Academic Phrasebank from the University of Manchester: Refer to this when writing your assignments. It gives you lots of examples of phrases and sentence structures to help you write in an academic style (criticality, comparing, contrasting, describing and signposting).
  • Understand your essay question: what are you being asked to do? This webpage from the University of Leicester will help. Whether you are being asked to examine, critically evaluate, compare or discuss an issue, you will be expected to read and reference the work of others to support your writing.
  • All about referencing YouTube playlist: on our YouTube channel, we share some videos we like, which tell you about literature reviews, referencing and reference management software.


What is a reference management tool?

Reference management tools can help you to collect and manage the references you find for your assignments and independent study. You don’t have to use them, but you may find it useful for organising and annotating references for particular modules, topics and assignments. It can also produce lists of references in a selected referencing style.

There are a range of options, many of which are free (with the option to pay for more features). If you want to know more about reference management tools, see our researcher guide. Some popular ones to try out (which, at the time of writing, offer some level of free access) include Mendeley and Zotero. They should include the styles required by University of Worcester students, including MHRA ('3rd edition fullnote' in Mendeley), OSCOLA, Vancouver, APA (6th edition) and Harvard ('Cite Them Right' 10th edition). Our own short guide for Mendeley is available here. See our YouTube referencing playlist for related videos, including some 'how to' videos for Mendeley and Zotero. 

Remember that no reference management tool will format every reference perfectly, especially if you use an in-browser tool to extract reference information from a webpage. You may need to add, amend or remove elements of the reference, either manually within the reference management tool, or once your list is exported to Word. University of Worcester students may wish to use the Cite Them Right Online website to check their referencing. It provides examples of in-text citations as well as full references for a whole range of document types, both in print and online. We've also included some common reference examples on our FAQ pages.

Always proof-read your work and check your reference list for accuracy before submission.