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Why do I need to reference?

You need to reference to:

  1. acknowledge the work of other writers.
  2. demonstrate the body of knowledge upon which your research is based.
  3. show you have widely researched the topic and on what authority you based your arguments and conclusions.
  4. enable all those who have read your work to locate your sources easily.
  5. avoid being accused of plagiarism - that is passing off someone else's work as your own.


There are two parts to referencing:

  1. Citation (in Footnote):  the acknowledgement in your text, giving details of the work. The reader should be able to identify or locate the work from these details in your bibliography.
  2. Bibliography: the list of references at the end of your work. These should include the full information for your citations so that readers can easily identify and locate each piece of work that you have used. It is important that these are consistent, correct and complete.

General Referencing Principles for History

Referencing Style for Footnotes

  • If you cite the same source in consecutive footnotes/endnotes, then use ibid (from the Latin ibidem, meaning ‘in the same place’) for the second and subsequent footnotes/endnotes. 
  • After the first, extensive reference, subsequent, non-consecutive footnotes/endnotes should give the minimum necessary information (e.g. Green, p.355; Martel, p.119). 
  • If you cite two items by the same author, then, to avoid confusion, give a short title as well (e.g. Green, Fatherlands, p.355; Green, ‘German Federalism’, pp.129-33).



  • Always put a list of all books, articles and other sources used at the end of your coursework. 
  • In most cases you will have used only books and articles, but in some cases your bibliography will be more extensive. In such circumstances, it should be subdivided into two categories: primary sources (e.g. private papers, official publications, newspapers) and secondary sources (books, articles and theses). 
  • The layout and referencing of primary sources will depend on the nature of the sources that you have used. Consult your module tutor for further guidance.
  • Secondary sources should be arranged in alphabetical order according to the authors’ surnames (or titles where there is no cited author) and set out according to the conventions described in the ‘Referencing Style’ above.
  • With edited collections, note that the article and author should be cited and not simply the book and editor.


Example Bibliography:

S. Berger & N. LaPorte, ‘In Search of Antifascism: The British Left’s Response to the German Democratic Republic’, German History 26:4 (2008), pp.536-52.

A. Green, Fatherlands: State-Building and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Cambridge, 2001).

B. Vick, ‘Language and Nation’, in T. Baycroft & M. Hewitson (eds.), What is a Nation? Europe 1789-1914 (Oxford, 2006), pp. 155-70.

Referencing examples

Referencing Style for Footnotes 

The referencing of primary sources will depend on the nature of the sources that you have used. You should therefore consult your module tutor for further guidance.

Secondary sources should be referenced according to the following style: 
pile of books

Books (single author)

A. Green, Fatherlands: State-Building and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Cambridge, 2001).


Books (two authors)

O. Figes & B. Kolonitskii, Interpreting the Russian Revolution: The Language and Symbols of 1917 (New Haven, 1999).


Books (subsequent editions)

I.F.W. Beckett, The Great War (second edition, Harlow, 2007).

J.M. Roberts, Europe 1880-1945 (third edition, Harlow, 2001).


Edited Book

T. Buchanan & M. Conway (eds.), Political Catholicism in Europe 1918-1965 (Oxford, 1996). 


Edited Collections

A. Green, ‘How did German Federalism Shape Unification?’, in R. Speirs & J. Breuilly (eds.), Germany’s Two Unifications: Anticipations, Experiences, Responses (Basingstoke, 2005), pp.122-38.

B. Vick, ‘Language and Nation’, in T. Baycroft & M. Hewitson (eds.), What is a Nation? Europe 1789-1914 (Oxford, 2006), pp.155-70. 

How to reference a journal journal covers

Journal Articles
G. Martel, ‘Decolonisation after Suez: Retreat or Rationalisation?’, Australian Journal of Politics and History 46:3 (2000), pp.403-417.


Journal Articles (two authors)
S. Berger & N. LaPorte, ‘In Search of Antifascism: The British Left’s Response to the German Democratic Republic’, German History 26:4 (2008), pp.536-52.


Journal Articles (more than three authors)
J. Palmowski et al., ‘The Long Nineteenth Century’, German History 26:1 (2008), pp.72-91. 

How to reference a website 

social media logos

‘An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown’, The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy [], accessed 22 April 2009.

‘Constitutional Implications of the Campaign against Nuclear Power (November 3, 1976)’, German History in Documents and Images [], accessed 22 April 2009.


Other resources

Conference Proceedings

C. Albrecht, ‘Economic Nationalism in the Sudetenland, 1918-1938’, Proceedings of the British Academy. Volume 140: Czechoslovakia in a Nationalist and Fascist Europe (Oxford, 2007), pp.89-108.



C. Burke, ‘Working Class Politics in Sheffield, 1900-1920: A Regional Study in the Origins and Early Growth of the Labour Party’(PhD Thesis: Sheffield City Polytechnic, 1983).

P.E. Lynn, ‘The Shaping of Political Allegiance: Class, Gender, Nation and Locality in County Durham 1918-1945’ (PhD Thesis: University of Teesside, 1999).

Newspaper Articles

‘“Nazi” Gains Expected in Bavaria’, The Times, 11 September 1930.

Useful Links

Click on the link below to access the referencing guidelines for your School.


RefWorks allows you to create and manage your own personal database of useful references. You can then use these to quickly compile a reference list or bibliography for your assignments.

Click on the RefWorks logo above for more information, and details of Library workshops on how to use Refworks.