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Pharmacy for Healthcare Library: Managing your references

Why is referencing important?


When writing a piece of work, it's essential to give accurate references to all the sources you have used, so that:

  • readers will be able to find the originals easily
  • the breadth of your research will be evident
  • you will avoid the serious academic offence of plagiarism

There are many different referencing styles to choose from, but 2 major styles are Harvard (or Author-Date System) and Vancouver (or Numeric System). 

Books on managing references

Free reference management packages

The easiest way to manage references is to use a reference management tool that will automatically format citations and bibliographies. The Healthcare Library does not subscribe to a reference management package however there are various free ones available which you can sign up for yourself:-


Vancouver (Numeric System)

In Vancouver, numerals are used in the text (usually in parentheses) to refer to cited documents:

Adhesion to dentin is often promoted by acid pre-treatment [1]. The maintenance of conformation is important for facilitating the penetration of bonding materials [2].

References are listed at the end of the text in numerical order:

  1. D.H. Pashley, B. Ciucchi, H. Sano and J.A. Horner, Permeability of dentin to adhesive agents. Quint Int 24 (1993), pp. 618 - 631.
  2. N. Nakabayashi, Dentin bonding mechanisms. Quint Int 22 (1991), pp. 73 - 74.

Harvard (Author-Date System)

In Harvard, the originator's name and year of publication of the cited document are given after each citation:

Predictability has been defined as the knowledge the person has about when and under what circumstances an event will occur (Miller, 1981).

References are arranged at the end of the text in alphabetical order, and also by year and letter if necessary:

MILLER, S.M. (1981) Predictability and human stress: toward a clarification of evidency and theory. In: L. Berkowitz ed., Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 14, Academic Press, New York, pp.203-255.