How to reference A-level coursework

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A-level History By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: History » A-level History
Last updated: 06/12/2017
Tags: a level english, a level essay writing, a level history, references, referencing

At this time of year, I am often asked how students should reference their History or English coursework.  For most people studying A levels, this will be the first time you have been asked to reference your work, but as you progress onto university this will become the norm for your academic essays.

The first point to mention is that you should follow any advice given by your class teacher.  Your teacher may have a definite idea which form of referencing they prefer and you should always follow that.  However, if you have not had any guidance, here are the basics of academic referencing.  There is more than one way of doing this, but the following footnote style is the one used by the History Faculty of the University of Oxford.

If using Word, insert a footnote in your text directly after the citation or quote by clicking Insert/Footnote.  Choose the option ‘Bottom of page’ and ‘Continuous’.  It will look like this  Go to the bottom of the page where Word has created a space for your reference.

For a book you will need the following information –


  • e.g. A. Todd,

  • if there is more than one author write the reference as the authors appear on the cover of the book e.g. M. Collier & P. Pedley

  • If there is a long list of authors, once you have referenced the author for the first time you can use a short form for further references e.g Todd et al (et al means ‘and others’, so use this to save you from repeatedly typing a long list of authors)

Title of the publication

  • May be a book or periodical (magazine, journal etc.)

  • Goes in Italics e.g. Democracies and Dictatorships Europe and the World 1919 – 1989

Place of publication

  • Look inside the book, usually towards the front before you get to the list of contents. The place goes in brackets.

Date of publication

  • Look inside the book, the same place as the date.  The date goes in brackets.

Page number

  • For one page use p.

  • For more than one page use pp.  e.g. pp.101 -104

So a full reference will look like this:   

Todd, A., Democracies and Dictatorships Europe and the World 1919 – 1989 (Cambridge, 2001), p.12

For articles, it is the name of the periodical that goes in Italics, whilst the name of the article goes in ‘…’  You should also include the volume number (if there is one) and any issue number.  It should look something like this:  

E.P. Thompson, ‘Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism’, Past and Present, no. 38 (Dec. 1967), pp. 56–7.

Many students use websites for the coursework. The important points to remember are that you should include the date you accessed the website, along with the URL.

Here is an example of a reference for a website:

'Maghrib', Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition, accessed 16 May 2012, at

At the end of your coursework you should include a bibliography, which is a list of all the books and articles you have used, plus any websites.  A book should appear in your bibliography like this:

Todd, A., Democracies and Dictatorships Europe and the World 1919 – 1989 (Cambridge, 2001)

Note that the author’s surname comes first (so your bibliography will be in alphabetical order by surname) and there is no page number.  You should put any websites you have used in a separate list in the bibliography.  

Dr Janet Rose A-level History Tutor (Bath)

About The Author

70% of my A-level students achieve A* or A grade. I'm an Oxford University graduate and a full-time professional tutor with many years experience.

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