Research Reference
Research Reference

Different Systems for Citation in Research


The research paper, dissertation or thesis should follow an academic style of writing and in academic style of writing you have to provide an accurate citation. There are several styles of citation and referencing and you can follow one. It depends on your university, college or academic institute that which style you follow in the research. Not all citation and referencing styles can be adopted in every research, some styles of referencing are used in sciences while other are more acceptable in social sciences and some are used in arts and humanities. References and citation is used in the research writings to avoid literary plagiarism or theft. In every research the researcher uses foreign sources as an evidence or just to give information. These sources must be acknowledged by providing references. The researcher uses a referencing system that is allowed to be used by the organization or university from which he is publishing his research. The second thing to be considered in deciding about the referencing system is the academic discipline. There are basically four styles of citation or referencing from which one can choose:

  1. The short-title system
  2. The author-date system or Harvard system
  3. The reference by number system
  4. The author-number system or Vancouver system

The short-title system of citation

It is necessary that the researcher mentions the source from which he has taken the notes in his research. In short-title system the researcher mentions the reference after each chapter and it means that the researcher gives the full reference the first time the reference is cited in his research. This style is most commonly used in books. The order of citation is as follows: Author’s first name Author’s surname Title of the book, journal or website Edition Volume Publication Publishing company’s name Publishing year Volume number Page number(s)


An example of this style of referencing can be as follows: J, Williams, The Principles of Psychology, new edition, 1 vol. (New York: Cosimo Classics, 2007), p. 32,

The author-date system of citation

The author-date system is another very popular style of referencing. This style of referencing is more suitable for researches that uses secondary sources as data, therefore, it is used in literature, linguistics and other social science subjects. The researcher can use the term et al, if there are more than two authors and writing the names of each author creates mess and difficulty. The references are written at the end of the manuscript in alphabetical order. In this style of referencing there is no need to provide footnotes or endnotes. The reference should include the following information: Author’s surname Author’s first name Publication date Title of the article (if journal) Book or journal title (it could be in inverted commas) Publication place Name of publisher


An example of this style of referencing can be as follows: W. John, 2007. The Principles of Psychology, New York: Cosimo Classics

The reference by number system

The reference by number system is also a very convenient way to write references. It is actually more convenient for the readers to locate the reference for the text. In this style of referencing the author or the researcher allocates a number to each reference and inserts that number in the text where ever the text is present. The numbers are allocated in a sequence in the text. The references are available at the end of the manuscript, at the end of each chapter or in the form of footnotes. The number is added in the text in the form of superscript so that it is visible.


Harry is suffering from a psychological disease that makes him feel dizzy and less energetic(1) but regardless of the fact that he has no energy he is aggressive and he wants to take revenge from the society. The only way to cure the disease is to treat the cause but his parents are reluctant to take any responsibility as they are the real cause of his disease(2). 1. Kennedy, F. J. (1999). The Psychology of Mind. James publications. New York. p 34 Similarly other references can be added.

The author-number system of citation

The author-number system is also known as the Vancouver system of referencing. This style of referencing is more popular in natural sciences and in medicine.


In the author-number system the researcher can site the references in following manner.

Thomas H. The Uses of Antibiotics. 2nd Ed. New York: Hyper Publications; 2008. p 23-25



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One comment

  1. Thank you so much for the appreciation and I hope that you will like my other posts too. I really took lots of time to develop this post since it is a technical topic and you have to be very precise and responsible in writing anything on this topic.

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