This section should include a full description of the references cited in your report. You must refer to all the sources of information that you used in your report. Failure to do so is called plagiarism and it is a serious offence that will result in rejection of your laboratory report or worse (quite possibly expulsion from Acadia). All of the sources (i.e. books, journal articles, magazine articles, websites, etc.) in the reference list must be cited in the paper and vice versa. You can neither cite nor reference a work that you have not read yourself.

Place references in alphabetical order, and if the same authors are referenced more than once, place these authors in chronological order. There are several ways to present references (see Course Specific Instructions on the last page) but the following is generally used by biologists. Most importantly, be consistent!

For a journal article:
Lei, T.T., and Lechowicz, M.J. 1990. Shade adaptation and shade tolerance in saplings of three Acer species from eastern North America. Oecologia 84(4): 224-228.
Note: There is both a volume (84) and issue number (4) followed by a colon. If an issue number does not exist, then only the volume number is required.
For a book:
Oliver, C.D., and Larson, B.C. 2005. Forest stand dynamics. McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., New York.
For a website:
Jones, M., and Larry, R.C. 1998. Access date: 17 May 2006
If no author is given for a website, use “Anonymous, <year>” in citations and the references (e.g. “The trees grew higher with the supplement than without (Anonymous, 2004).”).
Because the majority of web sites are not peer-reviewed for their content, the material contained on a site may not be accurate. Therefore, some faculty members do not allow the use of web sites as references for formal reports in biology. Those that do limit acceptable web sites to those posted at educational institutions and government sites, online encyclopedias such as Encarta and Encyclopedia Britannica, or online reference sites such as Websites such as are extremely difficult to determine the validity of the content and should not be used.
Authors may be distinct authors of articles contained on a website, or the website itself may be the ‘author’. Access dates must be included in the reference and may be quite different from the article date. In the example above, Jones and Larry wrote their article in 1998, but the site was accessed in 2006. In the case where no article date is found, the access year can be substituted in the citation (see Citing Sources section below).
It is incumbent on you to validate any website you use.

Reference Formatting

  • The second line of the reference is indented.
  • This can be accomplished with the ‘hanging indent’ paragraph formatting feature in Word.
  • The title of an article/book is not underlined,Only the first letter of the first word in the title is capitalized except for species or other proper names.
  • Only the author’s last name and initials are used, not the author’s first name.
  • Use single space paragraph formatting only.
  • When listing the same author(s) more than once with the same year, list the first as “a”, 2nd as “b”, and so on, and include the letter in the citation in the body of the paper:
Harvey, E.L. 2005a. The use of dens for shelter. Ecology 13: 1-91.
Harvey, E.L. 2005b. Rabbits and their really numerous kin. Trends Ecol Evol 23: 45-49

Citing Sources (References) within the Text

Within the text of your report, all statements of fact or opinion must be paraphrased and supported by a reference to their source. Copying from any source is a form of cheating (even if you reference the copied material) and will result in a mark of zero. This includes copying from another student/report. In the latter instance, both parties are held accountable.

The reference must be cited as (Author’s last name, Year). This has the advantage of letting your reader know something about the authority and how recent your information is without flipping to the end of the report while reading. The most effective way to learn how to cite properly is through examples.


Always acknowledge the source of “quotations” with author, date and pg # .

Example: This is known as the “Amazon effect” (Smith, 1980, p.24).



Author’s last name (could be just the website name if no distinct author exists), the date of the article OR, if no distinct article date exists, the date you visited the site. The site URL need only be included in the References list.

Example: Unit definitions were compiled from health data (Rowlett, 2001) and technical aspects follow those of the Heart Foundation (Heart Foundation, 2005). [In this case, Rowlett was the author of an article found on the Heart Foundation website that was published in 2001, whereas, the Heart Foundation website contained the technical aspects and had no distinct author or date.]


Single Author
Example: Dogs do not bite often (Summerfield, 2004a).
Summerfield (2004a) found that dogs do not bite often.
Dogs do not bite often (Summerfield, 2004a), but those that do generally will bite again (Jessop, 1919). [In this case, Summerfield is associated with the idea that ‘dogs do not bite often’, whereas Jessop is associated with the idea of repeat biters.]
Two Authors
Hochachka and Somero (1984) found that a variety of organic molecules are commonly used to maintain or adjust the osmotic concentration of intracellular fluids.
A variety of organic molecules are commonly used to maintain or adjust the osmotic concentration of intracellular fluids (Hochachka and Somero, 1984), and these molecules are generally large (Overman and Ortman, 1932).
Three or more Authors
The et al. is an abbreviation for et alii, which means “and others”. It is used along with the name of the primary author (first author) when a source with three or more authors is being cited.  It is not always italicised; this is journal-specific.
Example: Mutations are defined as any change occurring in the nitrogenous base sequence of DNA (Tortora et al., 1982).
Tortora et al. (1982) defined a mutation as any change occurring in the nitrogenous base sequence of DNA.
Mutations are defined as any change occurring in the nitrogenous base sequence of DNA (Tortora et al., 1982), but they are not common (Berlink et al., 2001b).
Multiple Citations
Multiple citations are ordered chronologically in most journals.
Example: The estimated number of orchid species varies from 12 000 to 35 000 (Fiveash and Adams, 1974; Hunt et al., 1984; Heywood, 1985), contributing up to 10% of all flowering plant species in the world (Dressler, 1981).
In this example, two ideas are presented: i) the number of orchid species, and ii) the proportion of flowering plants this estimate represents. Fiveash and Adams, Hunt et al. and Heywood are all cited since each reference provided a different estimate of the number of orchid species, while Dressler is cited for determining the percentage that this range of values represents. The important point is that each original idea is supported by a citation, not just each sentence, and especially not just each paragraph in a report.
Citation Formatting
  • The period is placed after the closing parentheses (i.e., at the end of the sentence) since the citation is considered part of the sentence.
  • Only the last names of the authors are used (no first names or initials).
  • The citation does not need to be at the end of the sentence, depending on how the sentence is phrased. In the above examples, the citations are placed directly after the idea or phrase associated with that author.
  • et al. is found only in citations within the text, not in the reference list at the end of the paper. The reference list must contain the names of all authors.
  • For multiple references, [e.g. (Fiveash, 1974; Hunt et al., 1984; Heywood, 1985)], the citations are in chronological order, and each is separated by a semicolon.