A style is a pattern that tells you where to put the core details, and how to lay it out in your document. They are usually created by publishers to make sure the books and journals they publish all look the same.
The style you use dictates how you set out your information, what punctuation you use, whether you have spaces between the references...
The style governs the little details - and it can be a big deal.
We have a number of core referencing styles that are used by the different Disciplines here at JCU.
The point of a referencing style is that it keeps you consistent - you put the same information in the same place every single time, and you use the same punctuation to do the same job throughout your reference list.
Some lecturers don't care what style you use - as long as you use a style consistently. Others definitely want you to use a particular style, and they are paying attention to every single comma and full stop.
It's always a good idea to assume you have the picky lecturer.
We have only given you a handful of examples of referencing on this page.
The best thing to do is find a good guide for the style you are using and keep it handy whenever you are working on an assignment.
The JCU style guides can be found here:
Each style has a particular pattern for formatting the details of the work you want to site. It's the pattern that makes the style.
Step 1: Find out what style you are supposed to use (should be on your subject outline).
Step 2: Find a guide for the style.
Step 3: Work out what type of source you have (book, journal article, book chapter), and how many authors is has.
Step 4: Look at the pattern in the guide - the order of the details, the punctuation and whether you use italics.
Step 5: Arrange the details you have exactly like the pattern in the guide.
Remember: Do the same thing for the same piece of information every single time - consistency is the most important feature of referencing.
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