MHRA Reference Style Guide

MHRA Reference Style Guide

Citations play an important part in enhancing the credibility of your work. You cannot use someone’s work without giving them credits. If you cite what you have extracted, it means that you have credited the right owner, and this is the right thing to do. There are different types of citation styles that are widely followed to cite papers. MHRA style is one of the referencing styles that are used. This article has highlighted everything you need to know to cite your paper using MHRA style. The format, guidelines, and tips are explained below in detail. Refer to the article below to get the complete guide. Before diving into the depth, we will have a look on what MHRA style is.

What is MHRA Reference Style?

MHRA referencing style is widely used for citing the papers of humanities and arts. In this citation style, footnotes are used. The footnotes refer to a full citation in the reference list. The citations in the reference list are detailed or we can say that these are full references. The footnote referencing also provides the complete information about the source. The major advantage of footnote referencing is that the reader does not need to consult the reference list to know completely about the source. The reader can get information about the source by looking at the footnote.

General guidelines

  • You can use any font style that is readable.
  • The recommended font size is 11 or 12 pt.
  • There should be footnote referencing.
  • There should be a relative entry in the reference list.

MHRA Footnote References

  • You should superscript numbers in sequence for your citations. You should tag every extracted sentence with a number. This number will refer to a footnote citation.
  • As you are tagging every extracted piece of information with a number, similarly every corresponding footnote should also be tagged with the same number.
  • Whenever you are citing a source for the very first time, mention the full reference.
  • If you are using the same source many times, just use the author’s last name, volume number, and page number in the footnotes.
  • If the source has no author and you are citing it using the title of the source, just mention title, volume number if it available, and page number or paragraph number in the footnote.
  • If you are using the same source for the next time or if many authors have same last name, you will mention author’s last name, title of the source and page number in the footnote.
  • Use only the shortened version of the title of source.
  • You should end footnotes with a full stop if the sentence is not ending with the square bracket.
  • The number of the footnote should be placed at the end of the sentence after the punctuation, but not in the case of dash; it should precede a dash.
  • The names or title of chapters, books, and other sources should always be italicized.
  • However, the title of books, chapters, web pages, and sites can also be written in plain font but placed in quotation marks.
  • On the other hand, title of manuscripts is written in plain font and are not placed in quotation marks.
  • Unlike most of the other citation styles, author names are not inverted and written full.
  • You should always include the publication date in brackets.
  • If there is single page number, you should use the abbreviation p.
  • If there is a long list of pages, then you should use the abbreviation pp. for it.

Creating an MHRA Bibliography

  • All the references should be arranged alphabetically in the reference list.
  • If there are many authors of the same source, arrange by the title of the source in alphabetical order. Words and articles like a, an, and the should be omitted and references should be arranged by the main word.
  • You should not place full stop at the end of citations.
  • You should invert the name of the author in a way that the surname appears before the first name. however, if there are many authors of the source, only the name of first author will be inverted and remaining authors will be written as is.
  • Sources that have no author meaning the author is anonymous or unknown should be arranged in the reference list by their title name.
  • MHRA referencing style may have primary and secondary sources, both should be listed separately in the reference list.

Presentation of the Bibliography

You should be careful about the presentation of your bibliography entries. They should not be messed up. Entries should have an indent. If you indent the subsequent entries, it will make it possible to have a clear glance where the entry ends.


MHRA bibliography example



Primary sources

Primary sources are the original source materials including letters, magazine, newspaper, internet sources, speeches, figures, and tables etc. You should always list primary sources in alphabetical order but also separated from the secondary sources. Footnote and bibliography entry are quite similar for primary sources. You just need to add page numbers in the footnotes.

Secondary sources

Secondary sources are also listed separately from the primary sources in the bibliography, and these are the sources which build upon the primary ones. We can also say that secondary sources comment on the primary sources. Footnotes and bibliography entry for secondary sources is also same with the page number in footnotes.

General guidelines

  • The information which is required in the bibliography basically answers who and what questions. The entry has author’s name, title of source, publication details etc.
  • If the title of source is in English language, the first word should be capitalized. All the principal words in the title should also be capitalized.

Uses of technology (incorrect)

Uses of Technology (correct)

  • If the title is in some other language, the title should be capitalized following the capitalization principles of that language.
  • The titles of books and journal are italicized.
  • However, the titles of article and chapter should be placed in quotation marks.
  • The format for place of publication is City, publisher, and date. You can also use abbreviations for the city names.
  • Abbreviations are allowed in MHRA like Co. for company, corp. for corporation, and Ltd. For limited.
  • Title of the source is used for articles with no author.
  • If date is not available write “n.d”. similarly, if publisher is not available write “”.

Multiple work by same author

If you are listing sources for your paper and they have the same author, you can replace the name of author with a dash for entries except the first one.

Citing multiple chapters of book

If you are using the same book but different chapters to extract information, all these chapters should be cited separately in a new entry in the bibliography or reference list.

Missing Information in MHRA References

There are a few writings that do not have some information. They either misses the date, the author, or the page numbers. You should not how to cite when there is missing information. The following section clearly shows how to cite the missing information using MHRA style.

No author

The sources or the documents that are old, anonymous or have no author because of any other reason needs to be cited using some other element. MHRA referencing style recommends citing the sources without authors using the title of the source. This title is used in footnotes as well as in bibliography. The reference list in this case is also arranged using the title of source.

No date

The sources that have no publication date are cited by using the term “n.d” in citations. The term “n.d” means no date. Although the publication date is not available, you should still cite the accessed date in the citation. Accessed date is never used if the publication date is available.

No page numbers

There are cases when no page numbers are available, and this usually happens in case of e books or online internet sources. Page numbers are a small part of citations and there is no harm if you skip it. If you really want to refer to the specific page number but it is not available, you can simply refer to the paragraph. Count the paragraphs on the online source and refer your readers to the exact paragraph number you have used to extract information.


The common mistake in citation is not providing the source when you are paraphrasing. Paraphrasing does mean to explain someone’s thoughts in your own words and styles, but it does not mean that the content becomes your own. You should mention the thoughts of author using your own words but give full credits to the author.


Summing up the discussion, MHRA referencing style is one of citation styles that are widely used to cite the humanities and arts papers. It is not difficult to use it to cite your work, but you should know the guidelines to cite paper using MHRA style. The article above has highlighted many aspects about the MHRA referencing. If you read and follow the guidelines carefully, you will be good to cite paper using this style.