Guide to referencing styles

Guide to referencing styles Norsk flagg

What is a referencing style?

Referencing styles are established systems of referencing with consistent rules. Referencing style requirements cover the two elements of a referencing system:

  • in-text citations such as author-date citations or footnotes
  • reference lists or bibliographies

There are three standard systems for citing sources:

  • Author-date system (e.g. APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA)
  • Numeric system (e.g. IEEE, Vancouver)
  • Notes and bibliography system (e.g. Chicago)

Which referencing style should I use?

UiT does not have a standard referencing style for use across the university, but some UiT departments may have a preferred referencing style.

The choice of what style to use will depend on the course/subject you are studying. You should consult with those responsible for your course/subject to clarify what style to use and ensure you are consistent in your use of that style.

If you are writing for publication, you will find that the journal or publisher will have its own style and guidelines.

Commonly used referencing styles in academic writing

American Psychological Association (APA)

An author-date style commonly used in psychology, economics, educational sciences and health sciences.


The Chicago style

Both a footnote style (Chicago 17 A) and an author-date style (Chicago 17 B) commonly used in the humanities.



An author-date style used in many disciplines. There are many versions of Harvard style, and there is no single 'correct' style.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

A numbered style used in engineering and computer scienes.


Modern Language Association (MLA)

An author-page number style used in linguistics and literature.



A numbered style used in medicine, health sciences and natural sciences.

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