As we previously discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, there are several styles of referencing.  As a recap: all reference styles tend to include similar elements: the title, author, and date, but they have different formatting conventions (i.e., the order of the elements, capitalization, etc.).  Often times, dissertation committees will ask you to use the reference style most commonly used in that discipline; however, your university may prefer the use of a different referencing system, so check with your professor or syllabus.



Turabian Style

Published by the University of Chicago Press, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations is a style guide for writing and formatting.  The book is often referred to as “Turabian” after the work’s original author, Kate L. Turabian. The eighth edition of the manual, published in 2013, corresponds with the 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (with small changes made in 2017 for Chicago’s 17th edition).

Turabian citation style presents two basic documentation systems: notes-bibliography style (bibliography style) and author-date style (reference list style).  These styles are essentially the same as those presented in The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, with slight modifications for the needs of student writers. Bibliography style is used widely in literature, history, and the arts; presenting bibliographic information in footnotes or endnotes and, usually, a bibliography. The author-date style has long been used in the physical, natural, and social sciences; where sources are briefly cited in parentheses in the text by author’s last name and date of publication and a list of references is where full bibliographic information is given.

What to document:

  •          any borrowed material that might appear to be your own if there were no citation direct quotations
  •          paraphrases and summaries
  •          information/ideas that are not common knowledge or are not available in a standard reference work.

Aside from the use of notes versus parenthetical references in the text, the two systems share a similar style.  More information can be found at the University of Pittsburgh’s brief guide to five major styles:

IEEE Style

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) style is used primarily for computer science, electronics, engineering, information technology reports, and telecommunications. Like Turabian, IEEE style is based on the Chicago Style. 

It is not necessary to mention an author’s name, pages used, or date of publication in the in-text citation. When they are, IEEE citation style includes in-text citations, numbered in square brackets, which refer to the full citation listed in the reference list at the end of the paper. Grammatically, in-text citations are treated like footnote numbers, for example:

as shown by Smith [4], [5]; as mentioned in the previous section [2], [4]–[7], [9]; Smith [4] and Gray and Johnson [5]; Mary et al. [7]

Or as nouns:

as demonstrated in [10]; according to [44] and [26]–[29].

The reference list is organized numerically, not alphabetically. The three main parts of a reference are:

  •          Author’s name listed as first initial of first name, then full last.
  •          Title of article, patent, conference paper, etc., in quotation marks.
  •          Title of journal or book in italics.

The IEEE Editorial Style Manual 2017 contains a formal set of editorial guidelines for IEEE transactions, journals, and letters; however, for spelling reference, IEEE uses Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition and the Chicago Manual of Style grammar and usage. More information can be found at the University of Pittsburgh’s brief guide to five major styles:

Harvard Style

The Harvard Style system of referencing is something of a misnomer, as there is no official institutional connection.  It is another name for the author/date citation system of using author and date in parentheses to refer readers to the full bibliographic citation in the Works Cited page.  According to Harvard University, some Harvard faculty was among the first practitioners in the late 19th century, and the name stuck.

Using Harvard style citations, like all other methods, means acknowledging the author of an information source and the date the source was published each time you use their information and ideas. Each time you find a useful information source, keep a record of all its bibliographic details to include in the references list, such as:

  •          Author and year;
  •          the name of the company who published the source;
  •          the state or country was published in;
  •          title of the source;
  •          what edition number the source is;
  •          the web address/URL for the source and the date that you first found it;
  •          and other details depending on the type of source.

The golden rule is to always be consistent when using Harvard style. All information sources of the same type should be treated the same way in the same piece of work. Learn more at


In conclusion, the University of Toledo perfectly sums up the importance of references and citations:

A reference citation is the documentation needed to make your paper acceptable for academic purposes. It gives authoritative sources for your statements, helps the reader gain access to those sources, and acknowledges the fact that the information used in a paper did not originate with the writer.

REMEMBER: If you do not cite your source, you are committing plagiarism, whether it is intentional or not. Plagiarism is a concept defined and punished by institutions (i.e., educational institutions). You must insert them every time you use their information in your own work, even if this means you insert the exact same details multiple times in the same paragraph. According to the Senate Faculty Committee on Academic Honesty at the University of California at Irvine:

Ethical writers make every effort to acknowledge sources fully and appropriately in accordance with the contexts and genres of their writing. A student who attempts (even if clumsily) to identify and credit his or her source, but who misuses a specific citation format or incorrectly uses quotation marks or other forms of identifying material taken from other sources, has not plagiarized. Instead, such a student should be considered to have failed to cite and document sources appropriately.

Need further information on a particular style? Use the University of Pittsburgh’s guide to five major styles. Moreover, do not forget to consult your advisor for the style preferred by your department and be consistent—do not mix styles.


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