How the MHRA style works

  • When writing essays or dissertations you may need to refer to a variety of sources – literary texts, books, journal articles etc. – in the body of your work. Always cite the original source if you are providing a direct quotation or where you’re drawing on someone else’s ideas e.g. ‘Eagleton’s theory is that…’

    When you want to cite a specific source, create a footnote (a note placed at the foot of the page) in Word, following the instructions below. Alternatively you can use endnotes (notes placed at the end of your essay). All the sources you have used, whether you've cited them in the text or not, should also be listed in a bibliography at the end of your essay.


    Footnotes should run in one sequence throughout your document. When you insert a footnote in Word it adds a number in superscript1 in the text and creates a corresponding footnote at the bottom of the page. Ensure that the number in the text is placed at the end of a sentence, after the full stop. For example:

    Schug analyzes the narrative structure of the novel.1

    Corresponding footnote:
    1 Charles Schug, ‘The Romantic Form of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein’, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, 17.4 (1977), 607-19.

    • To insert a footnote in Word, click on ‘References’ and ‘Insert Footnote’. Word will automatically assign it a number in superscript and create the corresponding footnote at the bottom of the page.
    • In Word for Mac, go to the ‘View’ menu and click ‘Print Layout’. In your document, click where you want to insert the note reference mark. Go to the ‘Insert’ menu and click ‘Footnote’.

    In the footnote put the full reference to the source, following the format set out in this guide.

    If you have mentioned several sources in the same paragraph, you can use a single footnote/endnote to cover all of them. For example:

    The action in Mary Shelley’s novel takes place in a variety of locations including Geneva, Evian and Ireland. The geographical aspect has been explored by several critics including Bohls and Randel. 2

    Corresponding footnote:

    2 Elizabeth A. Bohls, ‘Standards of Taste, Discourses of “Race”, and the Aesthetic Education of a Monster: Critique of Empire in Frankenstein’, Eighteenth-Century Life, 18.3 (1994), 23-36.

    Fred V. Randel, ‘The Political Geography of Horror in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein’, ELH, 70.2 (2003), 465-491
    <> [accessed 14 January 2015].


    A bibliography is a complete list of all the sources you’ve used – those you’ve cited in the text and additional ones you’ve read but not cited.

    • In a bibliography reference, reverse the order of the first author's name, for example:
      Austen, Jane
    • Note that if there are several authors, only the first author's name is reversed, for example:
      Wallis, Mick and Simon Shepherd,
    • The bibliography should be arranged in one alphabetical sequence - by the first author's surname - and should appear at the end of your document. 
    • If there is no author or editor, list the source by title, ignoring initial definite or indefinite articles.
    • If the list includes more than one work by the same author, list them in alphabetical order of title, ignoring initial definite or indefinite articles. For each source after the first, substitute the author’s name with a long dash (use Shift + hyphen), for example:

    Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice, ed. by James Kinsley (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)

    _____, Sense and Sensibility, ed. by James Kinsley (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)