MHRA Referencing

When writers use sources by other authors, they need to give credit to those authors. This helps writers avoid plagiarism, the act of passing off someone else’s work as one’s own. It also helps writers maintain their academic integrity. 

MHRA Referencing MHRA Referencing

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    To avoid plagiarism, writers should follow referencing guides, which are rule books for how to cite sources. Common referencing guides include APA, MLA, and MHRA. Writers in the humanities and the arts often use MHRA to give credit to the sources they used.

    MHRA Referencing Guide

    The Modern Humanities Research Association is an international organization for research in the humanities. The association developed a style guide for writers in the humanities to cite their sources. The MHRA referencing guides require writers to insert superscripts at the end of each sentence that uses information from another source. Then the writer should insert footnotes at the bottom of the page that correspond to each superscript.

    The first time a writer cites a source in a footnote, they should include the full citation and the page number where they found the information. In subsequent citations, they only have to include the author's last name and the page number. To insert a footnote, writers typically click “insert” and then “footnote” when using a digital word processor.

    Fun Fact: The Modern Humanities Research Association is headquartered in London, United Kingdom.

    MHRA also requires a bibliography at the end of the text, with full citations for all of the sources the writers used. A bibliography is a list of all of the sources a writer consulted when researching a text, even if they are not specifically mentioned in the text. The citations in a bibliography are slightly different than those used as footnotes. Those used as footnotes include the specific pages of the information used in that citation, while the information in the bibliography does not include specific page numbers.

    MHRA Style

    When citing sources in MHRA, writers should note the following information if it is available:

    • The author’s first name

    • The author’s last name

    • The title

    • The name of the text it was found in (if relevant)

    • The location of publication

    • The publisher

    • The publication date

    Once the reader has noted the following information, they should cite it according to what type of source it is. They should use the following chart when creating MHRA citations for a bibliography:

    Type of SourceFormatBibliography Citation Example

    Book

    Author last name, Author first name, Book Title, edition no. (City of Publication, Publication Company, Year)

    Smith, Richard, How to Format References, 4th edn. (London: Smith Publishers, 2009), p. 45.

    Chapter in a Book

    Author last name, Author first name, ‘Chapter Title,’ in Book Title, edition no. (City of Publication: Publication Company, Year), Page range of chapter. (Page number)

    Smith, Richard, 'MHRA,' in How to Format References, 4th edn. (London: Smith Publishers, 2009), pp. 40–50 (p. 45).

    Journal Article

    Author last name, Author first name, 'Article Title,' Journal Title, volume (year), Page range.

    Monks, Jacob, 'Citing Sources in the Humanities,' Journal of Humanities Research, 4 (2020), 50-56.

    Webpage

    Author last name, Author first name, Title of Website, Title of Webage (Year of Publication) Link.

    Goldberg, Bob, Formatting 101, Formatting in MHRA (2013) fomatting101.org/formatting-in-mhra

    Letter

    Author last name, Author first name ‘Title of Letter’ in Website Name. Link [Accessed Date]

    Madison, James, 'Letter to Mary' in James Madison Letters. jamesmadisonletters.org/letter-to-mary [Accessed 15 August 2014]

    Notes

    • List all sources in the bibliography alphabetically by author's last name.

    • If a webpage does not have an author's name listed, start with the website's title.

    • Do not use pp. before page numbers when writing about the page range of a journal article.

    • Use pp. to describe the range of pages of a chapter in a book.

    • Put the titles of the sources in title case. This means that the first letter of all main words is capitalized.

    • Include the author's middle initial in all source types if available.

    The format for citing references in an MHRA bibliography is slightly different than the format for citing footnotes. See the chart below for guidelines on the bibliography format.

    Footnote Format

    When citing a source in a footnote, the format is slightly different. The first time a writer includes a citation in a footnote, they need to include the full citation. However, unlike the citation in the bibliography, they need to write the author's first name first, then the last name. They also have to include the exact page number or numbers where they found the information.

    The second and following times that the writer uses a footnote for a source, they only have to mention the author’s last name again and the page number. For example, the first citation will look like this:

    Richard J. Smith, How to Format References, 4th edn. (London: Smith Publishers, 2009), p. 300.

    The following footnotes for the source will look like this:

    Smith, p. 300.

    If there are two sources from an author with the same last name, the repeated citations should also feature the year of publication, such as Smith, 2009, p. 300.

    Type of SourceFormatFootnote Example

    Book

    Author first name Author last name, Book Title, edition no. (City of Publication, Publication Company, Year)

    Richard Smith, How to Format References, 4th edn. (London: Smith Publishers, 2009)

    Chapter in a Book

    Author first name Author last name, ‘Chapter Title,’ in Book Title, edition no. (City of Publication: Publication Company, Year) Page range of chapter. (Page number)

    Richard Smith, 'MHRA,' in How to Format References, 4th edn. (London: Smith Publishers, 2009), pp. 40–50

    Journal Article

    Author first name Author last name, 'Article Title', Journal Title, volume (year), Page range.

    Jacobs Monks, 'Citing Sources in the Humanities,' Journal of Humanities Research, 4 (2020), 50-56.

    Webpage

    Author first name Author last name, Title of Website, Title of Webage (Year of Publication) Link.

    Bob Goldberg, Formatting 101, Formatting in MHRA (2013) fomatting101.org/formatting-in-mhra

    Letter

    Author first name Author last name, ‘Title of Letter’ in Website Name. Link. [Accessed Date]

    James Madison, 'Letter to Mary' in James Madison Letters. jamesmadisonletters.org/letter-to-mary [Accessed 15 August 2014]

    Note how the writer removes commas between the author's first name and last name in the footnote citation.

    MHRA Referencing Example

    This example shows how a writer would include MHRA footnotes in a paper about Kurt Vonnegut's novel Cat's Cradle (1963):

    MHRA, Footnote text example, StudySmarter

    MHRA, Example of Footnotes, StudySmarterFig. 1 - An example of how to use footnotes in MHRA.

    MHRA Referencing Bibliography

    A bibliography in MHRA needs to have the following characteristics:

    • The title "Bibliography" centered on the page

    • The sources are listed in alphabetical order by author’s list name

    • Hanging indents, in which the first line of each citation is not indented, but the following lines are

    • Double-spaced, sized twelve font. Typically either Times New Roman or Calibri

    • The last name of the author comes before the first name. For example, "Vonnegut, Kurt"

    To add a hanging indent, writers should select the text and go to format, align and indentation, indentation options, hanging.

    The writer from the above example would create a bibliography that looks like this:

    MHRA, bibliography example, StudySmarterFig. 2 - An example of a bibliography in MHRA.

    MHRA Referencing Primary Sources

    A primary source is a first-hand account of a topic, such as a journal entry or a government record. When formatting a bibliography in MHRA, writers need to list their primary sources in a distinct section of their bibliography entitled “Primary Sources.” For example, the following image features an outline of an MHRA bibliography with both primary and secondary sources.

    MHRA, primary source example, StudySmarterFig. 3 - An example of how to format a bibliography in MHRA by source type.

    Difference Between MLA and MHRA

    The Modern Language Association developed another common referencing guide called MLA. Writers in the humanities also frequently use MLA to cite their sources. There are several similarities between MLA and MHRA, but the list below outlines the differences.

    MLAMHRA

    MLA uses in-text parenthetical citations with the author's last name and page number, such as (Johnson 25).

    MHRA uses footnotes instead of in-text citations.

    MLA requires a work cited page, which requires only the texts a writer cites in a text.

    MHRA requires a bibliography, which lists all of the sources a writer consulted, regardless of if they cited them in the paper.

    MHRA's use of footnotes makes it different from several style guides. For example, APA is a citation style that writers in the social and behavioral sciences frequently use. It also uses parenthetical in-text citations like MLA, but it features the year of publication in addition to the page number: (Johnson, 2018, p. 25). Harvard is another citation guide that is also different from MHRA because it uses parenthetical in-text citations.

    The examples in this article follow the third edition of the MHRA referencing style. However, it is important to note that the Modern Humanities Research Association updates the style guide periodically. Whenever readers follow the guide or any referencing guide, they should double-check that they are following the formatting rules for the most recent edition.

    MHRA Referencing - Key Takeaways

    • Writers use referencing guides to avoid plagiarism and ensure clear and consistent citations.
    • MHRA is the Modern Humanities Research Association’s guide for formatting citations.
    • MHRA requires footnotes and a bibliography at the end.
    • MHRA requires writers to separate secondary and primary sources in a bibliography
    • MHRA is different from MLA and Harvard because they require parenthetical in-text citations instead of footnotes.
    Frequently Asked Questions about MHRA Referencing

    Is MHRA Harvard referencing?

    MHRA is different than Harvard because Harvard requires in-text brackets for citations and MHRA requires footnotes. 

    Is MHRA referencing the same as MLA?

    MHRA is difference from MLA because MLA requires parenthetical in-text citations and MHRA requires footnotes. 

    How do you cite a primary source in MHRA? 

    To cite a primary source in MHRA writers need to include a separate section of the bibliography entitled "Primary Sources."

    What does MHRA referencing stand for?

    MHRA stands for Modern Humanities Research Association, the association that developed the referencing style. 

    How do you reference a chapter in MHRA? 

    Author last name, Author first name, ‘Chapter Title,’ in Book Title, edition no. (City of Publication: Publication Company, Year) Page range of chapter. (Page number) 

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    What is a primary source?

    Which of the following is a primary source?

    True or False. Writers can list primary sources and secondary sources in the same list. 

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