Writing a list of references – Vancouver
At the end of all pieces of academic writing, you need a list of materials that you have used or referred to. This usually has a heading: references but may be bibliography or works cited depending on the conventions of the system you use.
The object of your writing is for you to say something for yourself using the ideas of the subject, for you to present ideas you have learned in your own way. The emphasis should be on working with other people’s ideas, rather than reproducing their words. The ideas and people that you refer to need to be made explicit by a system of referencing. This consists of a list of materials that you have used at the end of the piece of writing and references to this list at various points throughout the text. The purpose of this is to supply the information needed to allow a user to find a source.
Therefore, at the end of your assignment you need a list of the materials you have used – a references list.
There are many ways of writing this list – check with your department for specific information.
- The most common system is the author-date system, usually called the Harvard system. There is no definitive version of the Harvard system and most universities and publishers have their own. One common style – the American Psychological Association style – is well known and often used (American Psychological Association, 1983, 1994, 1999, 2001, 2010). Click here if that is the style you have been advised to use.
- Another common system – used in the humanities – is the MLA style. See: Gibaldi (2003) and Modern Languages Association (1998, 2009). Click here if you want to use the MLA style.
- The Vancouver system – as shown here – is often used in medicine and science. Click here, see International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (1991), US National Library of Medicine or Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (2nd edition) for more details.
- Another common system is that defined in the Chicago Manual of Style. In fact the Chicago Manual of Style presents two basic systems: (1) a numerical system and (2) an author-date system. Choosing between the two depends on your subject and institution. See here or University of Chicago Press (2010) or Chicago Manual of Style.
A good – although idiosyncratic – overview can be found in Pears & Shields (2013).
1. Barr P, Clegg J, Wallace C. Advanced reading skills. London: Longman; 1983.
2. Abercrombie D. Paralanguage. British Journal of Disorders of Communication 1968, 3:55-59.
3. Kinsella V, editor. Language teaching and linguistics: surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1978.
4. Oller JW, Richards JC, editors. Focus on the learner. Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House; 1973.
5. Chomsky N. Aspects of the theory of syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 1965.
6. Chomsky N. Linguistic theory. In: Oller JW, Richards JC, editors. Focus on the Learner. Rowley (MA): Newbury House; 1973: p. 29-35.
7. Guiora A, Paluszny M, Beit-Hallahmi B, Catford JC, Cooley RE, Dull CY. Language and person: studies in language behaviour. Language Learning 1975; 25: p. 43-61.
8. Fromkin V. Rodman R. An introduction to language. London: Holt-Saunders; 1983.
Use heading: Reference List.
Page numbers should be included for all articles in journals and in collections.
Use numerical order according to the order in which they are first used in the text.
List up to 5 co-authors. Use et al. for more than 6.
If the author of a document is not given, begin the reference with the title of the document.
a. One author:
Smith F. Reading. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1978.
b. Two authors:
Fromkin V, Rodman R. An introduction to language. London: Holt-Saunders; 1983.
c. More than two authors:
Barr P, Clegg J, Wallace C. Advanced reading skills. London: Longman; 1983.
d. Edited collections:
Kinsella V, editor. Language teaching and linguistics: surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978 .
Oller JW, Richards JC, editors. Focus on the learner. Rowley (MA): Newbury House; 1973.
e. Book, corporate author:
British Council Teaching Information Centre. Pre-sessional courses for overseas students. London: British Council; 1978.
f. Book, no author, or editor:
Longman dictionary of contemporary English. London: Longman; 1978.
The Times atlas of the world. 5th ed. New York: New York Times; 1975.
g. Book, third edition:
Fromkin V, Rodman R. An introduction to language. 3rd ed. London: Holt-Saunders; 1983.
h. Book, revised edition:
Cohen J. Statistical power analysis for the behavioural sciences. rev ed. New York: Plenum Press; 1977.
i. Non-English book:
Piaget J, Inhelder B. La genése de l’idée de hasard chez l’enfant [The origin of the idea of danger in the child]. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France; 1951.
Huang G, Liu H. Xinbian Yingyongxiezuo Jiaocheng [A new course on practical writing]. Beijing: Higher Education Press, 2008.
3. Periodical articles
a. One author:
Abercrombie D. Paralanguage. British Journal of Disorders of Communication 1968; 3:55-59
b. Two authors:
Lipinsky E, Bender R. Critical voices on the economy. Survey 1980; 25:38-42
c. More than two authors:
Guiora A, Paluszny M, Beit-Hallahmi B, Catford JC, Cooley RE, Dull CY. Language and person: Studies in language behaviour. Language Learning 1975; 25:43-61
d. Non-English journal article
Hua, L Qingdai yilai Sanxia diqu shuihan zaihai de chubu yanjiu [A preliminary study of floods and droughts in the Three Gorges region since the Qing dynasty]. Zhongguo shehui kexue 1999; 1:168–79.
e. Magazine article:
Gardner H. Do babies sing a universal song?” Psychology Today. 1981 Dec; 70-76
f. Newspaper article:
James R. Obesity affects economic social status. The Guardian. 1991 Dec 15; 18
4. Selections from edited collections
a. One author:
Chomsky N. Linguistic theory. In: Oller JW, Richards JC, editors. Focus on the learner. Rowley (MA): Newbury House; 1973: p. 29-35.
b. Two authors:
Stern HH, Weinrib A. Foreign languages for younger children: trends and assessment. In: Kinsella V, editor. Language teaching and linguistics: surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1978: p. 152-172.
5. CD ROMs etc
a. Publication on CD ROM
Anderson SC, Poulsen KB. Anderson’s electronic atlas of haematology [CD-ROM]. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2002
b. Newspaper or magazine on CD-ROM:
Gardner H. Do babies sing a universal song? Psychology Today [CD-ROM]. 1981 December; 70-76.
c. Abstract on CD-ROM:
Meyer AS, Bock K. The tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon: blocking or partial activation? [CD-ROM]. Memory Cognition 1992, 20: p. 715-726. Abstract from: SilverPlatter File: PsycLIT Item: 80-16351
d. Article from CD-ROM Encyclopedia:
Crime. Microsoft Encarta 1996 Encyclopedia [CD-ROM]. Redmond (WA): Microsoft Corporation; 1996
e. Dictionary on CD-ROM:
Oxford English dictionary computer file: on compact disc. 2nd ed. [CD-ROM]. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1992.
6. Documents obtained from the Internet
All references begin with the same information that would be provided for a printed source (or as much of that information as possible). The WWW information is then placed at the end of the reference in the same way as publishing information is given for books. It is important to give the date of the latest update and the date of retrieval because documents on the Web may change in content, move, or be removed from a site altogether. This comes directly before the <URL>. The object of this is the same as all referencing – to supply the information needed to allow a user to find a source. If you do not know the author or the date and it does not have a clear title, think carefully before using it. See Evaluating Sources.
a. An article in a journal:
Denning PJ. Business designs for the new university. Educom Review [Internet]. 1996 [cited 2009 Jun 14] 31(2): 63-73. Available from: http://educom.edu/web/pubs/review/reviewArticles/31620.html.
b. A newspaper article:
Markoff J. The voice on the phone is not human, but it’s helpful. New York Times on the Web [Internet]. 1985 June 21 [cited 2009 Jun 25]. Available from: http://nytimes.com/library/tech/98/06/biztech/articles/21voices.html.
c. Article in a Magazine
Levy S. Great minds, great ideas. Newsweek [Internet]. 2002 May 27 [cited 2002 May 20]. Available from: http://www.msnbc.com/news/754336.asp.
d. WWW Document
Li X, Crane N. Bibliographic formats for citing electronic information [Internet]. Burlington (VT): University of Vermont, 1997 [cited 2009 May 2]. Available from:, http://www.uvm.edu/~xli/reference/estyles.html.
e. A website
Gillett, A. Using English for academic purposes [Internet] 2017 [cited 2009 May 2]. Available from: https://www.uefap.org.
f. A page from a website
Gillett, A. Academic writing: Writing a list of references. Using English for Academic Purposes. [Internet]. [cited 2017 May 5]. Available from: https://www.uefap.org/writing/writing-references/writing-references-introduction.
g. A blog post
Gillett, A. EAP and student motivation. 2015 Feb 23 [cited 2017 May 20]/ In: Using English for Academic Purposes. [Internet]. Available from: https://www.uefap.org/blog/?p=176.
Weir A. Knowledge in English medical practice [Internet]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2000 [cited 2017 June 12]. Available from: http:// site.ebrary.com/lib/bham/detail.action?docID=5004608.
a. Unpublished dissertation or thesis:
Sakala C. Maternity care policy in the United States: toward a more rational and effective system. [dissertation]. Boston (MA): University of Boston; 1993.
Cuaron A, director, Abraham M, producer. Children of men [DVD]. University City (CA): Universal; 2006.