Guideline on Use of Reference

Department of Geography

In writing a term paper to fulfill course requirements, references should be recorded and pursued systematically, both for convenience of personal reference and for ease of producing the reference list, which is an essential part of the term paper itself. The presentation of complete and accurate citations is an essential component of scholarly work. Their purpose is to indicate exactly where critical ideas or facts came from, so that the reader is able to go directly to the source, either to confirm the accuracy and appropriateness of the author's usage or to obtain more information about the point in question.

The Author-Date ("Harvard") system is extensively used in the sciences, where much of the evidence comes from observations or experiments and the written sources cited are mostly in standard format. The essence of this system, as the name implies, is that all works cited are referred to only by the family name of the author and the date of the work in question: Smith 1995. If two authors with the same last name are cited, initials may be used to distinguish them: P.C. Smith 1995. If the same author wrote two or more works (cited) in the same year, lower-case letters may be used to distinguish them: Smith 1995a. All other information on the source is contained in the reference list. The reference list must therefore be absolutely complete and absolutely accurate.

In preparing term papers, the Harvard system should be used in your citations, e.g., (Smith 1995), (Smith 1996a, 1996b), (Smith 1997; Chan 1998), (Smith and Walker 1999), (Smith et al. 1999). In the event that a specific piece of information is taken from the source, the page number(s) should also be included in the citation, thus (Smith 1998: 51-53). The citation will normally occur at the end of a sentence, but may be inserted in the middle of the sentence to stress the connection between a particular point and a particular source.

The list of references, placed at the end of the paper, should be prepared in alphabetical order (using the family name of the first author) in accordance with the following style.


Qu, Geping and Li, Jinchang (1994) Population and the Environment in China. Lynne Rienner, Boulder, CO, 217 pp.

Book chapter

McGee, T.G. (1991) The emergence of desakota regions in Asia: expanding a hypothesis. In: N. Ginsberg, B. Koppel and T.G. McGee (eds.) The Extended Metropolis: Settlement Transition in Asia. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, pp. 3-25.

Conference or Symposium proceedings

Kuentzel, W.F. (1996) (ed.) Proceedings of the 1996 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium. 31 March to 2 April 1996, Bolton Landing, New York. General Technical Report NE-232. US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, Radnor, PA, 309 pp.

Journal article

Marton, A.M. and McGee, T.G. (1996) New patterns of mega-urban development in China: the experience of Kunsha. Asian Geographer 15 (1/2): 49-70.

Research report

Tivy, J. (1972) The Concept and Determination of Carrying Capacity of Recreational Land in the U.S.A. Occasional Paper No. 3, Countryside Commission of Scotland, Buttleby, Redgorton, 56 pp.

Website materials

Planning Department. Study on Sustainable Development for the 21st Century: Final Report
Accessed on September 7, 2001.

McCrory, J.B. (1998) A History of Waste Management in New York City. Originally published in Planners Network, No. 218, March.
Accessed on July 14, 2000.

Further references

The Chicago Manual of Style, (1993). University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Hoffmann, Alison, Barbara Griffiths and Irina Elgort (n.d.) An Academic Writing Module: Paragraphs: Writing exercises for self-directed study. Victoria University of Wellington. 
Accessed on June 8, 2001.

Writer's Handbook, (2001). The University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center.
Accessed on June 8, 2001.