Referencing styles

A referencing style is a set of rules telling you how to acknowledge the thoughts, ideas and works of others in a particular way.

Referencing is a crucial part of successful academic writing, avoiding plagiarism and is key to your assignments and research.

Watch Introduction to referencing (YouTube, 3m35s)

Which referencing style should I use?

  • There is no standard style used at UQ
  • In some cases there is a standard style used by a particular school or discipline, but even in those cases it is still possible that a particular lecturer may require a different style
  • Students should check their course profile or ask their lecturer
  • Researchers submitting a paper for publication in a journal should check the journal's Instructions for Authors, which will normally be available on the journal's website

Additional referencing information

Guides to referencing styles

Abbreviation Full Name
ACS American Chemical Society
AGLC Australian Guide to Legal Citation
AMA American Medical Association
AMJ Academy of Management style
APA American Psychological Association
Chicago Chicago Manual of Style
CSE (CBE) Council of Science Editors/Council of Biology Editors
IEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
MLA Modern Language Association of America

Referencing guides of UQ Schools and Disciplines

The following schools have their own official referencing guides.

Caution: Even if you are a student in one of these schools, you should still check which referencing style your lecturer prefers.

ACS (American Chemical Society)

The style manual of the American Chemical Society is now in its third edition. It is widely used in chemistry and related disciplines. The ACS manual gives instructions for numbered referencing and also for in-text (Harvard style) referencing.

The ACS style guide: effective communication of scientific information, 3rd ed is available in the Library.

Online resources:

AGLC (Australian Guide to Legal Citation)

This is now the standard Australian guide for referencing in Law. It is a footnote style and includes detailed provisions for referencing statutes, case reports and other legal materials.

Australian guide to legal citation, 4th ed is available in the Library.

Online resources for the Australian Guide to Legal Citation referencing style include:

AMA (American Medical Association)

This style is numbered footnote style widely used in medicine, especially in journals published by the American Medical Association.

AMA manual of style: a guide for authors and editors, 10th ed is available in the Library.

Online resources:

AMJ (Academy of Management style)

The “Academy of Management style” is an author-date style for citing and referencing information in assignments and publications.

Our AMJ Library Guide is based on the Style Guide for the Academy of Management Journal.

APA (American Psychological Association)

This is the standard style used in Psychology, but it is also widely used in other disciplines, especially in the Social Sciences. It is an author-date style; one of the many variants of the Harvard style.

Online resources for the APA 6th ed. referencing style:

Concise rules of APA style, 6th ed is available in the Library.

Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style is the most widely consulted of all style manuals. It includes provisions for footnote referencing and author-date referencing.

The Chicago Manual's footnote referencing system is widely used in the arts and humanities.

Chicago Manual of Style 17th edition resources:

Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition resources:

The Chicago manual of style, 16th ed is available in the Library.

CSE (Council of Science Editors)

The manual of the Council of Science Editors (CSE) is now in its seventh edition. It was first issued in 1960 by the Council of Biology Editors and is still sometimes referred to as the CBE manual. It is widely used in the life sciences, and its provisions are applicable to other scientific disciplines also.

The CSE manual recommends a numbered referencing system, where the reference list is arranged alphabetically by author and numbered accordingly.

Scientific style and format: the CSE manual for authors, editors, and publishers, 7th ed is available in the Library.

Online resource:


Harvard is a generic term for any style which contains author-date references in the text of the document, such as (Smith 1999). There will also be a list of references at the end of the document, arranged by authors' names and year of publication. There is no official manual of the Harvard style: it is just a generic term for the many styles which follow that format.

The UQ Harvard Style is based on the AGPS/AGIMO style manual. The latest edition of that manual is the 6th edition (2002).

Library guides for the referencing style:

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is the major professional body and publisher in the fields of electrical engineering and computer science. Their style manual is widely used in those disciplines. It uses a numbered reference list.

The IEEE Computer Society has its own style manual, which is based on the IEEE manual but differs in some respects.

See the IEEE site for the comprehensive editorial style manual and other guides.

MLA (Modern Language Association of America)

The MLA style is widely used in the fields of modern literature and linguistics. The MLA style was updated in 2016 by the Modern Language Association. Works are cited in the text with brief parenthetical citations keyed to the list of works cited.

The MLA Handbook 8th edition supersedes:

  • MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd ed.
  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.

We still hold these superseded editions of the MLA 3rd ed. (Manual) and 7th ed. (Handbook) in the Library for clients who have not yet changed to the updated style:

Please check with your course coordinator, lecturer or tutor regarding which style you are required to use in your assessment.


Vancouver is a generic term for a style of referencing widely used in the health sciences, using a numbered reference list.

There is no official manual of the Vancouver style, but the US National Library of Medicine's style guide is now considered the most authoritative manual on this type of referencing.

Griffith University Referencing Tool

This is an Online Referencing Tool. There is a text-only version for Mobile viewing. The Griffith University Referencing Tool covers 4 major styles. (With permission from Griffith University)