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Guide to referencing using the Numeric style

General principles of referencing

When you refer to another piece of work you must always acknowledge the source of that information. This enables you to-

  • avoid plagiarism;
  • give appropriate credit to the person who did the work you are using;
  • enable a reader to trace your sources and follow up your work;
  • enable a reader to distinguish your ideas from someone else's and show the range of your reading; and to
  • demonstrate the evidence supporting your arguments; this supports your ideas and theories and adds credibility.

The rules for how to reference are all there to support these principles, and to make sure that your references are clear and consistent so that it is easy for someone reading your work to follow them. It is more important to get the spirit of giving credit for other peoples' work right than to make sure all your commas are in the right places.


When you refer to another document you must acknowledge this within the text of your work with a citation. The citation is a number in superscript123. The first item you cite is numbered 1 and the second numbered 2 and so on.

Sometimes you may need to refer to two documents at the same point in the text. Separate the citations with a comma 2,3

Multiple citations are treated as a range2-4

If you need to cite an item more than once in your document, use the same number every time. You should use the smallest number - the one used when the item is first cited in the document.

Do not include the page numbers in the citation, even for a table or image.


Format of author's names

Authors' names should be formatted as family names (surnames) followed by the initials of the personal names.

Smith ASG, Khan M, Einstein A.


  • Do not use the full personal name (also known as given name or forename).
  • There is no limit on the number of initials, they should be recorded as on the original source.
  • Authors are listed in the order in which they appear on the original source.

Number of authors named

  • In general, all of the authors of the work should be listed, regardless of how many there are.
  • In some areas it may be acceptable to list only the first five authors then add et al. Consult your programme handbook and lecturers for more guidance.

Format of titles

You should use the full title of the source, including any subtitle.

Titles are written in "sentence case"- that is, you only use a capital letter for the first word in the title (except words that usually have capital letters in English, like people's names, placenames, and the names of organisations.)

Titles are in italics.

For example:

Textbook on civil liberties and human rights

A dictionary of chemical engineering

New scientist

Journal of peace, conflict and development

Millennium: journal of international studies

Referencing different types of material

The following section gives guidelines for referencing different types of information. Some parts of the templates are optional: you can provide the information if you think it helps your reader to find your source but you will not be penalised for missing out the information if it is difficult to find.

This guide shows you how to reference the types of material you are likely to use most frequently. There is a full guide on referencing other types of materials at

Reference list

reference list contains the details of the material referred to in your assignment, listed in numeric order - the order in which the references appear in your document. It is required.

It should be formatted like this:

British Pharmacopoeia. BP Commission, 1989.

2 Beaney AM, NHS Pharmaceutical Quality Assurance Committee. Quality assurance of aseptic preparation services 4th edition. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 2006.

3 Carrington PARC, Ramsbotham O. Choices : nuclear and non-nuclear defence options. London: Brassey's, 1987.

4 Raballo M, Trevisan M, Trinetta AF, Charrier L, Cavallo F, Porta M, et al. A study of patients' perceptions of diabetes care delivery and diabetes: propositional analysis in people with type 1 and 2 diabetes managed by group or usual care. Diabetes Care 2012;35:242-7.

5 Ashton K, Deen D. Diabetes care and pharmacists. In Hark L, Ashton K, Deen D, editors. The nurse practitioner's guide to nutrition 2nd edition. John Wiley & Sons, 2012:114-78.

6 Costigan A, Al-Shammari A. EndNote. In Quirk J, Rowland J, editors. Managing drug supply. London: Kumarian, 2012:123-24.

7 Bee D, Howard P. The carotid body: a review of its anatomy, physiology and clinical importance. Monaldi Arch Chest Dis 2001;48:65789.

8 Holzgrabe U, Wawer I, Diehl B. NMR spectroscopy in pharmaceutical analysis. Amsterdam; Boston: Elsevier, 2008.

9 Bernhardt T. Antitheft system with digitally coded signal. Patent US 4559529, 1985.

10 British Standards Institution. Information and documentation - guidelines for bibliographic references and citations to information resources. BS ISO 690:2010. BSI, 2010.

11 ANSI. Determination of Occupational Noise Exposure and Estimation of Noise Induced Hearing Impairment;. American National Standard S3.44-1996 (R 2006). Acoustical Society of America, 2006.

12 NHS Diabetes. NHS Diabetes - supporting, improving, caring NHS Diabetes, 2012. 26/03/2020.

13 Ramsbotham O. An analysis of defence policies : nuclear and non-nuclear options reviewed [PhD]. University of Bradford, 1987.

14 Health and Safety at Work Act. 2011.

15 Bevilacqua VLH, Rice JS, Madren-Whalley JS, Reilly LM, Rogers TJ, Schenning AM, et al. Ricin and staphylococcal enterotoxin B fate in water matrices. ECBC-TR-702. Edgewood: ECBC, 2009.