Open University Referencing Guide

Open University referencing is, as indicated in the name, used by the Open University. It is a close adaptation of Harvard referencing and uses most of the same conventions with a few stylistic differences.

Open University Referencing Overview

There are two types of citation in Open University referencing: in-text citations, which are found in the main body of the work and contain a fraction of the full bibliographical information, and reference lists, which are located at the end of the main work and list full information for all sources mentioned within the work.

  1. Books
  2. Articles
  3. Online sources
  4. Images/visual mediums
  5. Other source types

Key things to remember

In a reference list, sources are listed alphabetically by author's surname. Where there are multiple citations by the same author, these would be listed chronologically by year of publication.

You can cite a source directly (e.g. quoting verbatim from it) or indirectly (citing a source to show that you have used an author's ideas, but not quoted them). Examples of both are provided here:

Direct: '"Chocolate has an infinite variety of uses" (Davis, 2013, p.8).'

Indirect: 'As Davis (2013) notes, chocolate can be used in many different ways.'

When quoting directly from a source, page numbers should be used. If you are quoting indirectly as outlined above, page numbers do not need to be used. Where a page number is not available, paragraph number can be used. If this is not an option, the abbreviations 'n.p' or 'n. pag.' can be used to show that no page number is available.

1. Books

Citations for books with one or two authors:

Last name, first initial. (Year) Title, Edition (if not the first edition of the book), City of publication, Publisher.

For example:

Davis, B. (2013) A History of Chocolate, Nottingham, Delectable Publications.

Davis, B. (2013) A History of Chocolate, 3rd ed, Nottingham, Delectable Publications.

Jones, F. and Hughes, S. (2006) Eating Out: A Definitive Restaurant Handbook, Nottingham, Delectable Publications.

Citations for books with three or more authors:

If a book has three or more authors, only the first author's name should be listed in-text followed by 'et al.', meaning 'and others'. However, all authors should be listed in the reference list in the order they are credited in the original work.

Last name, first initial., Last name, first initial., Last name, first initial., and Last name, first initial. (Year), Title, City of publication, Publisher.

For example:

James, P., Croft, D., Levin, S. and Doe, A. (1998), How to Succeed in the Restaurant Industry, Nottingham, Delectable Publications.

Citations for a chapter in an edited book:

When citing a single chapter in a larger book, it is important to ensure that you add the page range (pp.) that the chapter spans. When citing an individual chapter, you should also always include the edition of the book in the citation (you do not have to do this for other books unless it is not the first edition).

Last name, first initial. (Year) 'Chapter title', in Editor's name/s (ed/s) Book Title, Edition, City of publication, Publisher, Page/s.

For example:

King, S. (2010) 'The best wines and where to find them', in Loftus, E. (ed.) Fine Wine: A Guide, 1st ed, Nottingham, Delectable Publications, pp. 28-46.

Citations for multiple books by the same author:

In text, the author's texts can usually be differentiated by year. They should be listed in chronological order of publication. Where you are citing two works by the same author which were published in the same year, these should be labelled with 'a', 'b', 'c' and so on directly after the year.

Last name, first initial. (Year). Title. Edition (if not the first edition of the book). City of publication: Publisher.

For example:

Brown, G. (2011), Mexican Food, Nottingham, Delectable Publications.

Brown, G. (2014), Japanese Food, Nottingham, Delectable Publications.

Brown, G. (2015a), Chinese Food, Nottingham, Delectable Publications.

Brown, G. (2015b), Italian Food, Nottingham, Delectable Publications.

2. Articles

Citations for Print Journals

Last name, First initial. (Year) 'Article Title', Journal name, Volume (Issue), Page/s.

For example:

Jenkins, O. (1996) 'Unusual Recipes and Cantonese Cuisine', Culinary Research, Volume 5 (8), pp. 47-59.

Citations for Journal Articles accessed on a website or database

In-text citations for an online journal article remain unchanged from the way you would cite a print article. The citation in the reference list does have a few differences, however.

Last name, First initial. (Year) 'Article Title', Journal name, Volume (Issue), Page/s, [online]. Available at: URL. (Accessed date).

For example:

Jenkins, O. (1996). Unusual Recipes and Cantonese Cuisine. Culinary Research, Volume 5 (8), pp. 47-59, [online]. Available at: [Accessed: 5 June 2016].

Citations for Newspaper or Magazine Articles – Print or Online:

Newspaper/magazine citations are rendered similarly to journal articles when they are found online; the same differences in formatting occur, as the example below illustrates.

Last name, First initial. (Year, Month Day). Article title. Newspaper name, Page/s.

Last name, First initial. (Year, Month Day). Article Title. Newspaper name, Page/s. Retrieved from: Journal name/ URL if freely available.

For example:

Bell, Y. (2016, April 23). Man with unusual tastes eats chalk for breakfast. The Weekly Herald, p. 4.

Lees, P. (2015. December 14). Freaky eaters. The Weekly Herald, p.21. Available at: [Accessed 21 June 2016].

3. Online sources

Citations for websites:

When citing a website, it is important to ascertain authorship of the website – if it's an article on website which is not a newspaper/magazine site or online journal, there may be an individual author; if not, the organisation or website name would be credited with authorship.

Author/Source if no specific author (Year) Title of web document/page [online]. Available at: URL (Accessed date: Day/Month/Year).

For example:

HealthTips (2015) Superfoods and where to find them [online]. Available at: (Accessed 20 June 2016).

Citations for emails:

Sender's last name, First initial. (Year) Email to Recipient's name, date of message.

For example:

James, D. (2016) Email to Jonathan Wilson, 13 March 2013.

Citations for Social Media:

Last name of author, First initial. (Year) Title of page [Social media format], Day/month/year written. Available from: URL. [Accessed: Day/Month/Year].

For example:

Proud, F. (2014) Food lovers group [Facebook], Written 5 June 2014. Available from: [Accessed 25 September 2016].

4. Images/visual mediums

Citations for films/videos/DVDs:

Full Title of Film/Video/DVD(Year of release) Director's name [Type of medium]. Country of Origin: Film studio or maker. (Any other relevant details).

For example:

The World's Best Curries(2011) Directed by J. Hertz [Film]. U.K: Foodie Studios.

Citations for YouTube videos:

Video Title (Year) YouTube video, added by Username of contributor. Available at: URL. [Accessed: Day/ Month/ Year].

For example:

Egg custard – simple recipe!(2012) YouTube video, added by Yummydishes. Available at: [Accessed 13 June 2016].

Citations for broadcasts:

Series title and episode name/number. (Year). [Year of broadcast]. Broadcasting organisation and channel, date and time of transmission.

For example:

World Kitchen: Nigeria, episode 5. (2011). [Broadcast 2011]. BBC 1, first transmitted 30 July 2011, 20:00.

Citations for images/photographs – Print or Online:

Last name of artist/photographer, first initial (if known). (Year of production). Title of image. [type of medium] (Collection Details if available – Document number, Geographical place: Name of library/archive/repository).

For example:

Hewer, D. (1995). Women enjoying a cup of tea. [Photograph]. (Document number 345, London: Food Photography Library).

Citations for maps:

Map maker's name (Year of issue) Title of map. Map series, sheet number, scale, Place of publication, publisher.

For example:

SpeedyQuest maps (2003) Map of Biddiford. Local Maps, sheet 5, scale 1:50000, Nottingham, Local Publications.

Citations for podcasts:

Broadcaster/author's name. (Year). Programme title, series title (if relevant), [type of medium] date of transmission. Available at: URL [Accessed date: Day/Month/Year].

For example:

Yummydishes. (2015). Innovative Baking, Innovative Food. [Podcast]. Transmitted 16 October 2015. Available at: [Accessed: 17 April 2016].

5. Other source types

Citations for reports:

Organisation/author (Year) Full title of report, Place of publication, Publisher.

For example:

Marks and Spencers, (2014). A report on the sales of '2 Dine for £10', London, M&S Publications.

Citations for dissertations:

Last name of author, first initial. (Year) Title of dissertation, Level, Official name of university.

For example:

Neath, G. (1998) An examination of Mexican food in popular culture, Masters level, Oxford Brookes University.

Citations for Acts of Parliament:

Country. Short title (key words capitalised): Name of sovereign. Chapter number/Act code (Year). Place of publication, publisher.

For example:

Great Britain. Food Act 1981: Elizabeth II (c. 5). (1981) London, Government Publications.

Citations for government/official publications:

Government agency/Last name of author, first initial (Year) Title of document, City of publication, publisher, Page(s) if relevant.

For example:

UK Government (2013) Nutrition and Young People, London, Government Publications.

Citations for interviews:

Last name of interviewee, first initial (Year) Title/description of interview conducted by Interviewer name, date.

For example:

Ferman, H. (2004). Discussing cooking conducted by Jack Freight, 3 August.

Citations for presentations/lectures:

Last name of author, first initial (Year) Presentation/lecture title [format and location], date.

For example:

Yates, R. (2008). The benefits of herbs [PowerPoint presentation, shared to group X, MK University], 7th August.

Citations for music:

Performer/writer's last name, first initial (Year) Recording title [Medium]. City published, music label.

For example:

Luce, F. (1996) Delicious [CD Recording]. Nottingham, Delectable Music.

Citations for dictionaries:

Publisher. (Year). Full title of dictionary. Place of publication: Publisher.

For example:

Wordy. (2010). Wordy's modern dictionary. Nottingham: Delectable Publications.

Citations for computer programs/software:

Author/developer (Year). Name of software/program (version if relevant) Available at: URL (Accessed: date).

For example:

Delectable Software (2008) RecipeGen (v. 2.5) Available at: (Accessed 24 January 2016).

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