Still using books when researching an essay? You might as well be living in the Stone Age. All of the cool kids* are using the internet these days! But even in this glorious digital future, you still need to reference sources correctly. As such, here’s our guide to citing a website with MHRA referencing.
MHRA cites sources in footnotes. With a website, the first footnote should include the following:
n. Author Name, Page Title (Year Published/Last Updated) <URL> [Accessed Date].
In practice, then, the first footnote for a webpage would look like this:
1. Ken Ward, The Normans (2006) <http://www.oldcity.org.uk/norwich/history/history04.php> [Accessed 2 October 2017].
For repeat citations, you can use a shortened format to prevent repetition. For a website, this will usually be the author surname plus the title of the webpage.
The bibliography format for a website in MHRA is similar to the first footnote. The main differences are the order in which the author’s names are given and the lack of a full stop, as shown below:
Surname, First Name, Page Title (Year Published/Last Updated) <URL> [Accessed Date]
The site cited in the example above, for instance, would be listed like this:
Ward, Ken, The Normans (2006) <http://www.oldcity.org.uk/norwich/history/history04.php> [Accessed 2 October 2017]
It won’t always be easy to find the relevant information when citing a website. However, you can still cite a source with missing information as long as this is clearly indicated. The most common items of missing information on websites are the author’s name and date of publication:
Author Name: If the site does not name an author, cite the publishing organisation instead.
Date: If no date of publication or last update is available, use ‘n.d.’ (short for ‘no date’).
This applies both in footnotes and in the bibliography. Remember to check carefully, though, as most websites will include these details somewhere on the page (even if they’re hard to spot).
* Individuals in question may not actually be either ‘cool’ or ‘kids’.
What is MHRA referencing?
MHRA referencing is a style of referencing developed by the Modern Humanities Research Association. It is intended primarily for use in connection with books and journals published by the Association but is also used in a wider context by students.
The third edition of the MHRA Style Guide is available to purchase in bookshops and online. If it’s the style you’ve been told to follow, make sure you do just that, as it’s what you’ll be marked on.
How to MHRA reference
Footnotes are of key importance to the MHRA referencing style. You should insert footnote numbers in your text every time you quote or paraphrase another person’s words or ideas. When referring to a source for the first time, you need to provide the full details in the footnote. After that, references can be provided in an abbreviated form.
You’ll also need to provide a full bibliography at the end of the essay, which needs to be carefully formatted according to the type of material you’ve cited – be it a book, journal, website, film or anything else. The bibliography only needs to include material that you’ve directly cited in your work.
MHRA referencing example
Stella Cottrell, The Study Skills Handbook (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
Cottrell, Stella, The Study Skills Handbook (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)