Answered By: Alice Cann
Last Updated: 24 Jan, 2024     Views: 18994

There are instructions for citing data from financial report databases in the Harvard Referencing Guide, and in more detail in the Referencing book Cite them right (available as an e-book).  However, these refer to references where you got the data from a specific report.  The advice in this answer mostly uses Bloomberg as an example, but it can be applied to other databases.  To create a reference based on a search, you should consider the following:

  • You need to start with an author.  This may be Bloomberg, or it may be something else, as Bloomberg will occasionally source data from organisations, and at times the data may be attributed to a particular research analyst.  Look at the screen where you’re getting your data from and if you can’t see another author, use Bloomberg
  • Then you need a date.  This will often be the current year, unless you can clearly see that the data was last updated at another point
  • Now in a reference you would normally have a title, in quote marks.  If there is a heading at the top of the screen that indicates what the data is, then use that.  If not, write something yourself that makes it clear how you got the data, such as ‘Search results for…’  This will enable anyone reading your work to replicate what you have done 
  • Then write the name of the database you’re using, e.g. Bloomberg, in italics.  If you're using a database that is available on the internet via any computer, such as a Bureau van Dijk database like FAME, you may leave this out if you feel that the source of the information is clear from the URL (described below), or from the author
  • With databases that you access over the internet, you would then put Available at: the URL of the database, finish with (Accessed: the date you accessed the data)

Ensure your punctuation is consistent with all your other references, following advice in your student handbook, or in the Harvard Referencing Guide.

In Harvard referencing, the above reference should be in the list of references at the end of your work.  In the body of your work, your citation would be the author and the date.  If you have several references with the same author and date, follow the instructions at the end of the Harvard Referencing Guide on Works by authors in the same year or with similar names.

For further advice on referencing, please contact your Academic Liaison Librarian