English Linguistics Terms/Glossary

Bibliographic references styles elements with examples

Bibliographic references

The references are a detailed list containing the information sources that are cited in the text. These are located at the end of the text, and their arrangement depends on the style chosen for their writing. Bibliographic references styles elements

Bibliographic references can be made in different styles and each style has a set of rules. Some of the styles most commonly used by Spanish-speaking countries are APA, Harvard, and Chicago.

Within each style, there are differences in the way and the order in which the information is referenced, although there are data that cannot be omitted, such as the title, the author and the year of publication.

Within any document that uses citations from other texts, bibliographic references should be used to give credit to the source that is being cited. In this way, plagiarism is avoided and the merit of other authors is recognized.

What are bibliographic references for?

One of the reasons why bibliographic references are used is to give credit to the authors on whom the text is based, or from whom verbatim citations are taken. In this way, you avoid running the risk of penalties for fraud or plagiarism.

Likewise, given that academic works or any type of research to be carried out, need to be validated by a previous investigation, bibliographic references provide a greater degree of credibility and coherence to the work carried out.

Additionally, the use of bibliographic references serves to provide the reader with the possibility of finding the information to which reference is made, or to make known the previous work of other authors. That is why all references must be correctly mentioned.

Styles most used in work and research

There are different styles of bibliographic references. Their use varies according to the preferences of the academic community that is writing them. Some of the main styles are:


It is an acronym derived from the style implemented by the American Psychological Association or in English “American Psychological Association”. It is one of the most common styles of seeing, since it is used in works related to the social sciences, education and psychology.

In its structure it must contain:

  • The author’s surname (s), followed by the initials of his / her name.
  • In parentheses is the year during which the work was published.
  • Then there is the title.
  • Finally, where the text was taken from.

Example of a bibliographic reference for a PDF file in APA style:

Del Federico, N., González, A., Jervis, T., & Nieto, D. (2019). Pulleys and gears manual. Recovered from Cienciatec.com


The Vancouver style arises as an agreement between the main editors of biomedical journals worldwide. According to this style, the references must be made in the order in which they are found in the text. Referencing with this style includes: Bibliographic references styles elements

  • The author or authors.
  • The job title.
  • The place and date of publication.
  • The name of the work in English is included in square brackets, in case it was not originally presented that way.

Example of a bibliographic reference printed in Vancouver style, for a monograph:

Del Federico N. Practical guide for the femur X-rays. Rosario: National University of Rosario; 2012.


The Harvard style was created in the 1950s at Harvard University. Initially, it was used for jobs that had to do with Natural Sciences and Physics. Currently, it is also used in the Social and Human Sciences.

The peculiarity of this style is that only the citations used in the text of the work are included in the list of references. In addition, the structure of the references should include:

  • The author’s surname (s).
  • The initial or initials of your name.
  • The year of publication must appear in parentheses.
  • Followed by the title of the book, the edition, the place of publication and the publisher that published it.

Example of a bibliographic reference to a monograph printed in Harvard style:

Del Federico, N and Jervis, T. (2019) Harvest cycles in the Aburrá Valley. Medellin: Editorial Villagrande


This style was born at the University of Chicago in 1906, and has changed over time to adapt to the needs of the publishing market. It is commonly used in texts in the humanities, social sciences, art, history, and literature .

Bibliographic references in the Chicago style contain:

  • The author’s surname (s), and the author’s full name (s).
  • The title of the book.
  • The city where it was published.
  • The publisher and the year of publication, without parentheses.

Example of a bibliographic reference to a book printed in Chicago style.

González, Alberto Iván. Travel through the center of the universe. Buenos Aires: Planet, 1993.


The MLA style, whose name corresponds to the acronym in English of “Modern Language Association”, is used in academic and scientific works, derived mostly from the areas of humanities, literature, languages ​​and social sciences

Bibliographic references in the MLA style should include:

  • The author’s surname (s), and the name. If it has a middle name, only the initial is placed.
  • Title.
  • The place of publication.
  • The editorial.
  • The year it was published and the format in which it is published.

Example of a bibliographic reference to a book printed in MLA style:

González, Alberto I., Travels through the center of the universe. Buenos Aires: Planeta, 1993. Printed.

Elements of bibliographic references

Regardless of which style is used to construct bibliographic references, they must contain, at a minimum, the following elements:

1-Author or authors

Usually, the cited texts contain the name of the author (s). These are included in the list of references and always include the surname. Bibliographic references styles elements

Depending on the style in which the document is written, its presentation may vary in format, using only the initials of the name or separating the list of multiple authors with a comma or a semicolon.

The following example shows how the authors of a Chicago-style book are referenced.

  • González, Alberto Iván and Del Federico, Nicolás.


It is the name that corresponds to the publication from which a quote has been taken. Regardless of the style, the title should always be included.

The following example presents a Vancouver style title:

  • Pulleys and gears manual [Pulleys and gears manual].

3-Publication date

Corresponds to the year of publication of the text from which a quote has been taken. Depending on the style, it can be written in parentheses, or not, and it can be just the year, or it can also include the day and the month.

An example of the publish date for the MLA style would look like this:

  • June 30, 2002.

If the referenced article does not have a date, it is placed in parentheses “No date”. Example:

  • Alfonso Flores Montalvo. (Without date). Science and technology. Lifeder.com. Recovered from https://www.lifeder.com/cienciaytecnologia/

4-Publishing place and publisher

According to the type of document to be referenced, the place of publication and the name of the publisher in charge can be included. In most cases, the place of publication is listed first, followed by a colon and the name of the publisher.

To reference a printed monograph, in Harvard style, the place of publication and publisher would look like this:

  • Buenos Aires: Planet

5-DOI or URL

In the case of document references that are taken from the internet, the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) ​​must be provided and in case of not having it, the internet address is entered, which would be the URL (Uniform Resource Locator).

For a book taken from the internet, the way to reference it, in APA style is the following:

  • Recovered from viajesmundo.com

6-Volume, number and pages

In case it is necessary to reference, for example, an article in a magazine, the volume , number and pages of the magazine should be placed where the text from which a quote has been taken is found.

In this way, in APA style, the volume is placed in italics , the number is enclosed in parentheses, and followed by a comma, the page range is placed.

Examples of references in APA style

Here are some examples of APA-style bibliographic references:


González, AI (1993). Travel through the center of the universe. Buenos Aires: Planet.

2-Web page

González, AI (1993). Travel through the center of the universe. Recovered from editorialplaneta.com.ar


Del Federico, N and Jervis, T. (December 12, 2019). Design of a room. Contemporary Designers, 5 (2), 37-39. Bibliographic references styles elements

4-Investigation article

Nieto, D., Brunetti, S., Thomson, M. and Pujol, M. (2003). Effects of artificial light on the concentration of primary school students in the city of Luján, Argentina. Modern pedagogy. 73 (3). 12-35.

5-Chapter of the book

González, AI (1993). First preparations. In Travels through the center of the universe. (2nd ed., P.15) Buenos Aires: Planet.

6-Documentary video

Henao, R., Parada, J. (producers) and Amaya, I. (director). (2012). Rivers of the Andean region [documentary]. Colombia: Alas Entertainments.


Del Federico, N. (2019). Effects of classical music in children with hyperactivity and attention deficit (Master’s thesis). University of Fine Arts, Medellín, Colombia.


Del Federico, N. (February 9, 2019). Effects of classical music in children with hyperactivity and attention deficit [Presentation]. University of Fine Arts, Medellín, Colombia.


Henao, R. (producer), Rave, C. (director). (1999). The hidden waterfall [Cinematographic tape]. Colombia: Producciones Casita de Cristal. Bibliographic references styles elements


Del Federico, N. [@NicoDelfederico]. (2015, April 15). The economic situation in the country is worrying. If it continues in this direction, the future looks stormy [Tweet]. Twitter https://twitter.com/nicodelfederico/status/5789036511896425805

11-Post on Facebook

Mayor’s Office of Medellín [AlcaldiadeMed]. (July 25, 2020). You could be a carrier of the virus without knowing it and be asymptomatic, so you must use the mask properly [Attached image] [Status publication]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/AlcaldiadeMed/posts/3281454965246580?__cft__[0]=AZXLvxvMKBoQ39C2zHTzG3DETsdYCXn8wazh1UqEvVEu-Jk5Vjhx7_ModisqBIxL3fWevIhRECVCNreqPLAfkK2ZZnhBfm5Nxspdm13w8fZRbWG8BSQnKSlth7QUk1xeG-Dn9MxF7u2OC8NqlxXAu-waOr8K9FuFU5khv3jbN1OPlw&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R

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