Department of Anthropology Style Guide

Writing your assignment

The Department of Anthropology recommends that students go to the write site for assistance in writing their assignments. Module 3 is focussed on structuring and writing essays. The other two modules give basic writing help.

There is also the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Writing Hub, which offers writing workshops and a drop-in service throughout semester where you can talk with tutors who can help you devise an argument and troubleshoot for referencing, style and clarity of communication.

Formatting your assignment

  • Word process your assignment using font Times 12 or equivalent. Use double-spacing.
  • Proof read your work. Spellcheck programs don’t pick up all the problems - you need to leave yourself time to read through carefully and correct your work, including spelling.
  • Use italics (or underline) for foreign language words, except those encountered in normal English usage.
  • Type the essay question in full on the first page of your essay.
  • Number all pages.

Use of sources and quotations

Your essay needs to be in your own words. Do not 'over-quote': no more than 10 per cent of an essay should use quotation or paraphrasing.

Whenever you make a direct quotation, summarise or paraphrase someone else's argument, or give facts or figures, the source of this information must be given. In general, this documentation is designed to allow other people to check the truth of your statements, to indicate which parts of your particular work are original, and to allow the reader to follow up on information you have cited. With students' essays, documentation also allows the marker to assess the nature and extent of the work done for an essay and the appropriateness of the literature used.

If you are using a quotation from someone's work, this is referred to as direct quotation. If you are paraphrasing or simply referring more generally to ideas they have mentioned, this is indirect quotation. In both cases, you MUST acknowledge ALL your sources both in the text of your essay and in a Bibliography or List of References at the end.

Misrepresenting others’ work as your own is a breach of the University’s Academic Honesty Policy:

For further information on academic honesty and plagiarism, check the University’s Educational Integrity webpage

Referencing systems

Most referencing systems can be classified into two types: Note Systems and Author-Date systems (also known as ‘In-Text’ systems). The reference system that is generally used in the discipline of Anthropology is an in-text referencing system called the 'Harvard system'. More information about referencing systems can be found at the University library website:

The Harvard System simply puts the author's name, date of publication and page(s) referred to in the body of the text and uses the reference list to provide the full citation. Do not use footnotes or endnotes for referencing.

Examples of In-Text referencing:

  • Taro was perhaps domesticated in Burma (Keleny 1962:7; Wheeler 1968:259), and sugar cane in New Guinea (Price 1957:146-150).
  • Smith-Burfitt (1968:269) argues that the climate change also affected ritual life in significant ways (see also, Brown 1986:3).

Footnotes or endnotes may be used (sparingly) to expand details or side issues which are relevant to the essay but which would detract from the flow of the argument if included in the body of the essay. Don't use them just to move material when your essay is too long! They are useful if you need to clarify or expand something that it is not appropriate to expand within the argument of the essay. When using footnotes, number them in sequence and place at the foot of the page to which they refer, or at the end of the essay ('endnotes'), before the bibliography. Use in-text referencing (see above) for footnotes as well, including publication details in the Bibliography.

References Cited (also referred to as 'References', 'Reference List' or 'Bibliography')

References Cited provides a place to give the detail of your documentation, and this is the only place a reader can find out what your in-text references mean.

There are many small variations in the way items on reference lists are formatted, but entries are always arranged in alphabetical order of authors' surnames. Be consistent in the formatting details you use.

The University library guide gives examples of how to cite different types of publications in a reference list, using the Harvard system:


  • Titles of books and journal are in italics
  • List in order of author surname then date
  • Place of publication for books is the city not the country
  • Citations of websites should include the date viewed
  • Enter under author's name not the editors if a chapter in an edited book