Referencing style

In-text citations

Reference list

Reference list examples


Referencing style

A ‘Reference list’ includes all works cited in the text and no others, whereas a ‘Bibliography’ includes sources that are not cited in the text but are still relevant to the subject.

ACER Press prefers the author–date system of referencing as presented in the Australian Government Style Manual. In this system, author and date is included in the text, with full citation in an alphabetical reference list at the end of the book or chapter.

When referencing, footnotes and endnotes containing explanatory comments should be avoided, but if they must be used, they should be kept to a minimum.

In-text citations

The in-text citation should give the author’s family name (or the name of the authoring body) and the date of publication. The author’s name can be part of the sentence or can go in parentheses with the date.


Smith (2021) reported that the school’s performance had improved.

The school’s performance had improved (Smith 2021).

For 2 authors, include both names – use the word ‘and’, rather than an ampersand.


(Smith and Jones 2019)

For 3 or more authors, use the first author’s name plus ‘et al.’


(Green et al. 2020)

Include page numbers for direct quotations; a colon is used between the date and page numbers.


(Smith and Jones 2019:25–26)

Use the shortened form of an organisation’s name (for example, ABC) in the in-text citation. The longer version can be spelt out in parentheses in the reference list.

When mentioning multiple works in the one citation, separate these with semicolons


(Smith and Jones 2019; Green et al. 2020; Smith 2021)

When citing multiple works from the same year by the same author, distinguish these by adding a letter after the year (this should also be reflected in your reference list).


(Smith 2018a, 2018b, 2018c)

For works with no date, write n.d.


(Peters n.d.)

For newspaper and magazine articles, include the full date and the year in your in-text citation


(Johnson 13 April 2021)

For tables and figures (such as graphs) where you are using third party content, attribute the source in notes below the table or figure. Include permissions information if necessary.


Source: Adapted from Smith (2021)

Ensure that every in-text reference matches the details given in the references or bibliography.

Reference list

Elements of a reference entry vary according to the type of source. You can view comprehensive information about this at Broadly speaking, components of each reference should appear in the following order:

  1. name of author, editor or authoring body (surname and initials, plus ‘(ed)’ or ‘(eds)’ for editors)
  2. year of publication in parentheses
  3. title of publication and series or issue details (italics for book titles and periodicals; single quote marks for articles)
  4. publisher
  5. place of publication (for books)
  6. accessed date and website (for digital content).

Other points to note about reference lists:

  • Unlike in-text citations, in the reference entry where there are more than 2 authors, include all author names.
  • If you have used the shortened form of an organisation’s name in your content, use the shortened form in your reference list followed by the spelt-out version in parentheses.
  • If there are multiple works by the same author in your reference list, list them in date order (or distinguish them using a, b, c and so on, when they are from the same year).
  • For newspaper and magazine articles, include the date before the year in parentheses.
  • For unpublished works, include the year the work was written in place of the publication year.
  • For electronic works, include the date accessed and the full website URL at the end of the reference entry. If you are writing a digital-only publication, hyperlink the article or title rather than including the website.
  • When referencing a website, use the same capitalisation as the organisation.
  • When mentioning an entire webpage or broader publication, use italics.
  • When referencing an article or webpage that is part of a large publication or series, present this between single quotation marks.
  • If you are citing a PDF, avoid directly linking to the PDF and instead cite the page where the PDF is hosted.

Reference list examples


Robertson S (1999) The value of literacy studies, ACER Press, Melbourne.

Ferguson FT, Stewart B and Miller J (eds) (2002) Australian education and social justice, ACER Press, Melbourne.

Chapter in an edited book

Laurence S and Margolis E (2005) ‘Number and natural language’, in Carruthers P, Laurence S and Stich S (eds) The innate mind: structure and contents, Oxford University Press, New York.

Journals and periodicals

O’Toole E (2003) ‘The measurement of student achievement in science’, Australian Journal of Education, 12(1):7–9.

Newspaper and magazine articles

Doman M, Palmer A and Scott N (31 January 2020) ‘Cracking the code to Steve Smith's batting success’, ABC, accessed 5 February 2020.

Peascod S (19 December 2019) ‘The future of work is learning’, Digital Transformation Agency blog, accessed 4 January 2020.

Electronic sources

ACT Government (4 February 2020) ACT has highest student participation and employment [media release], ACT Government, accessed 8 August 2021.

Digital Transformation Agency (2021) ‘Author–date’, Australian Government Style Manual, accessed 8 August 2021.


A cross-reference is when you want to refer a reader to another section of the book. At manuscript stage, it is not possible to quote page numbers, so any cross-references should be marked as follows: ‘(see page 00)’.