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MHRA Referencing Style Guide: Formatting Guidelines

MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association) is a citation style commonly used in humanities disciplines. It has specific guidelines for citing sources, including footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographies.

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When you refer to another person’s ideas or information you must acknowledge the source using a superscript number (above the line) placed after a direct quote or paraphrase. This refers readers to the corresponding footnote at the bottom of the page, or endnote at the end of your assignment. You must also list the sources in alphabetical order (by surname of the author) in a reference list or bibliography at the end of your assignment.

General Principles

An example of footnotes and a bibliography is shown below:

  • The information required is who-what-(where-when):

    Author name, Title of Work (Place of publication: Publisher, year published), p. xx

  • For titles in English, capitalise the first word, all principle words and the first word following a colon
  • For titles in other languages, follow the capitalisation rules of the language in question. See the full version of the MHRA Style Guide for more detail
  • Book and journal titles are italicised
  • Article and chapter titles appear in single quotation marks as do titles of operas, songs, poems, stories, etc.
  • For place of publication use (City: Publisher, date). Use 2 letter abbreviations for American states (e.g. Cambridge, MA) only if a city of the same name exists elsewhere
  • Omit Ltd. and Co. from publisher details
  • If no author is stated, use the title in place of author name (e.g. for newspaper articles)
  • If no publication details are available, use:

    [n.p.] for no place of publication, [] for no publisher, [n.d.] for no date.

  • Primary sources and Secondary sources are usually listed separately in the bibliography


  • Author names appear in spoken word order, i.e. as firstname lastname (Rowland Weston)
  • Use p. if the information comes from a single page, pp. if it spans two or more pages e.g. pp. 2–6
  • All footnotes end with a full stop.

When citing more than one work by the same author or multiple authors with the same last name:

  • subsequent footnotes should include author last name
  • a shortened version of the title
  • volume number (if relevant)
  • page number/s

Format of footnotes

  • Font size 10pt
  • Indent second and subsequent lines

    Stafford, Jane and Mark Williams, Maoriland: New Zealand Literature 1872-1914 (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2006), p. 41.

In a first footnote

  • The first name or initial of the author/editor is followed by the surname
  • Use whichever form of the name appears on the title page of the work
  • For direct quotes from works entirely by the same author(s), do not use brackets e.g. p. 34.

    Jane Stafford and Mark Williams, Maoriland: New Zealand Literature 1872-1914 (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2006), p. 41.

  • For direct quotes from journal articles and edited books put the page number in brackets e.g. (p. 34).

    Nepia Mahuika, 'Re-storying Maori Legal Histories: Indigenous Articulations in Nineteenth-Century Aotearoa New Zealand', Journal of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, 2.1 (2015), 40-66, (p. 43).

In further footnotes from the same source (second and subsequent)

  • note only the author’s surname (volume if applicable) and page numbers e.g. Te Awekotuku, p. 55.

In the reference list or bibliography at the end of the work:

  • Works are listed in alphabetical order by surname
  • The first author name appears as lastname, firstname and subsequent names are firstname lastname e.g. Stafford, Jane and Mark Williams
  • List multiple works by the same author in title rather than date order (excluding A, An, The). Give the name of the author in the first citation only, in later citations replace the author’s name with a long dash (a 2-em dash) e.g.

    Shieff, Sarah, Letters of Frank Sargeson, (Auckland: Vintage, 2012)
    ——, Speaking Frankly: The Frank Sargeson Memorial Lectures (Auckland: Cape Catley, 2011)

    Tip: to create a 2-em dash in MS Word: use the [Alt] [Ctrl] [minus on number pad] keys simultaneously

  • Indent the second and subsequent lines if a source goes over one line
  • Give the page range for journal articles and chapters in edited books
  • There is no full stop at the end of the entry
  • Font size same as that in the main text