Start main page content

How to reference your work



1. In the text of your essay, you acknowledge the facts and opinions taken from publications you have consulted.

2. In the text you reference ONLY the author(s) name(s), the year of publication and, if quoting directly, the appropriate page(s).

3. The complete reference appears on a list at the end of the essay.

N.B. ALL the sources to which you have referred in the text must be cited fully on this list. ONLY the sources to which you have specifically referred appear on this list. Do not list items you have read but to which you have not referred in the text. If you want to show that you have read them, find a way of referring to them in the text.

4. Be consistent.


Here you refer ONLY to the author(s), the year of publication, and, if necessary, the relevant page(s), between brackets as follows:

Fagan (1988) describes ....
Data are available (Fagan 1988:147) ....
Note that if the name of the author forms part of the sentence, it is not repeated between the brackets.

If you refer to two (or more) publications by the same author in a particular instance, separate them with a comma:

Huffman (1989, 1990) has demonstrated ....
Huffman (1989:74, 1990) has demonstrated ....
It has been demonstrated (Huffman 1990, 1991:109) ....

If you refer to two (or more) publications by the same author in a particular instance, AND the publications were published in the SAME YEAR, the suffixes a, b, c, etc. are placed directly after the date to distinguish between them:

Fagan (1978a) has written an excellent introductory archaeology text as well as an interesting book on exciting discoveries in archaeology (Fagan 1978b).

N.B. The first publication to which you refer is always a, the second one b, etc. If you refer to either of these publications again in your essay, make sure that you use the correct suffix so that your reader will know to which publication you are referring.


If a publication has two authors, use the ampersand (&) (not "and"):

Indian prehistory (Allchin & Allchin 1982) is ....

If a publication has MORE THAN TWO authors, use "et al":

Rather than referring to (Jones, Smith, Brown, Robinson, Hall & Stevenson 1991), simply refer to (Jones et al 1991). All the names of course appear in full on the list at the end of your essay. Sometimes the "et al" is italicized or underlined to indicate italics. Choose one format and be consistent.

In the case of a series of references, they are written in CHRONOLOGICAL (not alphabetic) order, e.g.:

Excavations at Driedonkiefontein (Van der Merwe 1937; Smith 1949; Mgomezulu 1990, 1991) ....

A common mistake in referencing in the text is that students forget that the reference is part of the sentence. If the reference is placed right at the end of a sentence, the full stop of that sentence is placed AFTER the reference, e.g.:

CORRECT: Excavations began in 1937 (Smith 1962).
WRONG: Excavations began in 1937. (Smith 1962)
WRONG: Excavations began in 1937. (Smith 1962).



Arrange the complete references in a list in alphabetical order according to the surnames of the authors, and in chronological order within each surname.

Reference to a book

This consists of the surname of the author, his initials, the year of publication, the title of the book, the place of publication, and the name of the publisher.


Barker, P. 1977. The techniques of archaeological excavation. London: John Baker.


1.The title of the book can be underlined (to indicate italics) or typed in italics. Choose one format and be consistent.

2. In the title use capitals only for the beginning of a sentence and proper nouns.

3. No page numbers appear in the complete reference to a book. If you need to refer to specific pages, do it in the text, e.g., (Barker 1977:39).


Reference to an article in a journal

This consists of the surname of the author, his initials, the year of publication, the title of the article, the name of the journal, the volume number, and the first and last page numbers of the article.


Friedman, I. & Trembour, F.W. 1978. Obsidian: the dating stone. American Scientist 66:44?51.


1. The title of the JOURNAL (not the article) can be underlined or typed in italics.

2. It is now customary to refer to the full title of a journal rather than abbreviations, e.g., South African Archaeological Bulletin, not S.afr.archaeol.Bull.

3. The page numbers refer to the first and last pages of the article. If you need to refer to a specific page, do it in the text, e.g., (Friedman & Trembour 1978:45).

4. Sometimes (for example in the case of the journal Scientific American) the separate issues or parts of a journal that make up a volume are paginated individually. In these cases you must refer to the part of the journal as well as the volume number, e.g.:Scientific American 236,5:35?45


Scientific American 236(5): 35?45

5. Don t use the prefix "p" or "pgs" to indicate the page numbers. Just put them after the colon.


Reference to a chapter/article in an edited volume

This consists of the surname of the author, his initials, the year of publication, the title of the chapter/article, the surname and initials of the editor(s), the title of the book, the first and last page numbers of the chapter/article, the place of publication and the publisher.


Fleischer, R.L. & Hart, H.R. 1972. Fission track dating: techniques and problems. In: Bishop, W.W. & Miller, J.A. (eds) Calibration of hominoid evolution: 135?170. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press.



Use one language only within a single reference. For example, if the work is written in Afrik ns, then the place of publication is given as K pstad and not Cape Town, even if your essay is written in English.

Title the list of references at the end of your essay "references" or "sources cited", etc. DO NOT DESCRIBE IT AS A BIBLIOGRAPHY. This is a comprehensive list of everything published on a particular subject, which your essay is not.



You are encouraged to use drawings, diagrams, sketches, maps, etc. in your essay, but remember to use them only to illustrate a point or explain something concisely. They are not there to decorate your essay.
All drawings, diagrams, sketches, maps, photographs, etc. are termed FIGURES.
Each gets a number and a title (with a reference to a source if necessary, e.g., if you use a photocopy from a publication).
You must refer to all your figures in the text, e.g.:

The ABC site is located on a ridge above a river (Fig. 1).
The figure is always placed in the first convenient place AFTER the first reference to it.
The first figure to which you refer is Fig. 1., the second is Fig. 2., etc., and you may of course refer back to previously cited figures.
The title of a figure is always placed UNDER the figure and is no wider than the width of the figure.


Refer to tables in the text as Table 1, Table 2, etc.
Use the same rules for numbering, referencing, etc. as for figures, but note that the title of a table is always placed ABOVE the table (not below as for a figure) and that there is no full stop in the title.


Leave one space after a comma and TWO spaces after a full stop or colon.
When referring to radiocarbon dates, the laboratory number and standard deviation must be given, e.g., 1234 30 BP (XY?987). Give dates as AD, BC or BP (note no full stops), e.g., AD 1652, 300 BC. If you use calibrated dates, state which calibration curve has been used. Note spacing: 1 000 years ago (= number); AD 1000 (= date).

To comply with the recommendations of the Metrication Board, all measurements should be in km, m, mm, ha, l ml, g, etc. DO NOT USE cm. Note that these abbreviations do not take a full stop and do not take "s" for plural.

A 5 cm long scale is frequently used in figures. It may be divided into 5 cm blocks, but the units should be listed as 0 ? 50 mm (not 0 ? 5 cm).

Use small letters for referring to geographical areas, e.g., eastern Cape, southern Africa, south?western Cape.

If abbreviations end with the last letter of the full word, do not use a full stop, e.g.,

Prof. but Dr

with no full stop. Note that the abbreviation for "for example" is e.g. and not eg.

Do not begin a sentence with an Arabic numeral but use words, e.g., Twenty pots were found , not 20 pots were found .

Common names of animals and plants are in lower case, e.g., eland, maize. Scientific names have the genus with a capital, the species with a lower case letter and both underlined or italicized, e.g., Taurotragus oryx, Zea mays. Note that scientific family names are capitalized but not underlined or italicized, e.g., Equidae. If you list the genus but abbreviate "species" to indicate uncertainty about the species, only the genus is underlined or italicized, e.g., Homo sp. Genus and species names must be written in full the first time you use them, but thereafter you may abbreviate the genus to the first

letter, e.g., Homo sapiens the first time but H. sapiens thereafter.

When quoting more than 2?3 lines, start on the next line and inset the passage without quotation marks. If you refer to a short passage of actual words someone wrote, use double inverted commas, e.g., XYZ (1988:23) describes this as a "structure within a structure". The inverted commas are after the full stop if the new sentence begins within the quotation or if the quotation is preceded by a colon, e.g., He said: "Go to Timbucktu." Otherwise the inverted commas are closed before the full stop. Note that if you are not quoting the actual words of someone else use single inverted commas, e.g., XYZ s work might be described as a kind of structural approach.

If you need a series of dots to indicate an omission, three dots are sufficient. If the dots come at the end of a sentence, the fourth dot is the full stop.

If you need to use brackets within brackets, the inside ones are rounded and the outside ones are square.
Remember that the media and data ARE plural.
Be consistent with endings in ?ise or ?ize.
Hyphens should not be used in examples such as that fact is well known , but should be used in a well?known fact . Some words with hyphens include: co?operate, co?ordinate, cross?section, head?dress, hill?top, one?half, sea?level.

Note the spelling of the following:


independent (a dependant is dependent on somebody)