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.

Formatting your assignment

Penalties will be imposed for excessive or inadequate length and failure to observe the following formatting:

  • Type/word process your assignment using font Times 12 or equivalent. Handwritten essays will be accepted, but illegible essays will not be marked.
  • Use double-spacing.
  • Use A4 size paper, one side only.
  • Provide a 3 cm wide margin on left AND right for marker’s comments.
  • 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.
  • Please DO NOT place the essay in folders or plastic pockets. Staple the pages together on the top left corner.

In-Text Referencing and References Cited

When you refer to an author's work in your essay, you must acknowledge it.

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. Follow the procedures set out below in doing this.

However, the essay needs to be in your own words. Do not 'over-quote': no more than 10 percent of a paper should use quotation or paraphrasing.

In-Text Referencing

Whenever you make a direct quotation, summarise or paraphrase someone else's argument, or give important 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.

The reference system used in the discipline of Anthropology is In-Text Referencing (sometimes called the 'Harvard system'). This simply puts the author's name, date of publication and page(s) referred to in the body of the text and uses the bibliography 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 may be used (sparingly) to expand 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. First year assignments rarely require footnotes.

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 lists of reference details are laid out, but entries are always arranged in alphabetical order of authors' surnames.

The examples below are based on the style used by The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA). We recommend that you use this in your own work.

Entries may be made as follows (note: this is only one possible form of punctuation - the important thing is copy a style and BE CONSISTENT in your formatting):

For books:

  • Beattie, J. 1964. Other Cultures. London: Cohen and West.

For journal articles:

  • Salisbury, R. F. 1956. 'Asymmetrical Marriage Systems', American Anthropologist 58: 209-237.

For articles in an edited book of articles/readings:

  • Kleinman, A. and Kleinman, J. 1996. 'Suffering and its professional transformation'. In M. Jackson (ed.) Things As They Are: New Directions in Phenomenological Anthropology, pp.169-95. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.


  • 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
  • Enter under author's name not the editors