You may have to use the MHRA referencing system if you are studying in the humanities. But how do you format an MHRA bibliography? Read on to find out.
What Is MHRA Referencing?
MHRA referencing is a citation system created by the Modern Humanities Research Association. It uses a footnote and bibliography format, where you cite sources in footnotes and list all the sources you’ve used in your work.
The bibliography is vital as it means readers can check your sources. It also helps you avoid accidental plagiarism by clearly showing the sources you’ve used.
Typically, you can find information on how to list sources in your university’s style guide. However, MHRA style has a few specific rules you should follow. We will explain the basics format for an MHRA-style bibliography below.
How to Format an MHRA Bibliography
The standard formatting rules for an MHRA bibliography or reference list are:
Start your bibliography on a new page titled “Bibliography.”
List all the sources you have cited alphabetically by author surname.
If you have cited any anonymous works, list them alphabetically by title, ignoring any initial articles (i.e., “the,” “an,” “a”).
Do not use periods at the end of bibliography entries.
Use italics for the titles of longer works, such as books; use inverted commas for the titles of shorter works, such as poems and journal articles.
Add a separate entry for each chapter you cite from an edited book.
Some universities allow you to include sources you have read as research but not cited. Make sure you check your style guide, though, to see if this is permitted.
Author Names in MHRA Referencing
The two key rules for author names in an MHRA bibliography are:
Give the names of all authors for works with up to three authors.
For works with more than three authors, give the first listed author’s name but omit the other names. Instead, use the phrase “and others” in their place.
In both cases, you should invert the first name and surname of the first listed author so the source can be listed alphabetically by surname. If a source has more than one author, though, you can give the other names in the standard order:
Mittelbach, Margaret, and Michael Crewdson, Carnivorous Nights (Edinburgh: Canongate, 2006)
To reference more than one work by the same author, meanwhile, use two em dashes to replace the author’s name after the first entry:
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——, To the Lighthouse (London: Penguin, 1974)
Moreover, as shown in the example above, works by a single author should be grouped together and arranged in alphabetical order by title.
Reference Formats in MHRA Style
Bibliography entries in MHRA style are similar to the first footnote citation for each source. In both cases, you will need to provide full publication information for the source in question. However, the way you present this information differs slightly:
The first listed author’s names are inverted in the bibliography.
Bibliography entries do not need a period or pinpoint citation.
You can see how these differences would appear for a book below.
1. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (London: Penguin, 1974), p. 66.
Woolf, Virginia, To the Lighthouse (London: Penguin, 1974)
The exact format for each entry will depend on the source type. For advice on a range of source types, check out our other posts on MHRA referencing.
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