Essay Reference in Five StepsThursday, September 2nd, 2010
How to organize your essay references
It is very important to learn how to reference your essays. After all, a proper essay reference is essential for obtaining a good essay marking. This is why, as a student, you should learn how to reference your essays properly. The bad news is not every teacher is willing to show you how to do it, since finding out on your own is part of your task. Nevertheless, don’t worry: here we will show you how to organize your essay references in just five simple steps.
Step 1: A proper research
Previously to any essay reference, you must consider what texts are you going to quote. When you are writing an essay, you should always quote some bibliography. The best thing you can do is include as many texts, documents and testimonies, as you can, in order to show the examiner your commitment to your investigation. Do not constrain yourself to one or two authors. If you just quote few authors, your essay will seem a copy of their ideas, instead of your own work.
Step 2: Select the quotes
After doing a proper research, choose in each work you read some lines you could quote in your essay. Consider the essay extension: for lower essay word counts, limit your quotes to a sentence or two. However, if you must prepare a long essay, feel free to quote an entire paragraph. Be careful: quotes can’t be used as “decoration”: the reader needs to understand why did you choose to quote that specific part of another writer’s work.
Step 3: Copy the quotes
The essay writer must copy literally every single quote, always mentioning the author, their work, the publisher and the year, as well as the page where they took the quote from. Quotation marks are mandatory, otherwise you could be accused of plagiarism, since you would be just copying someone else’s thoughts.
Step 4: Use a reference system
Choose an appropriate format for the references. A good idea is to follow the rules set by the American Psychological Association for documenting sources used in a research paper. APA citation style requires both in-text citations and a reference list. Remember that essay references are different if you are quoting from a book, a journal article or an electronic source. For example, when listing a magazine article, you must provide the readers the name of the author(s), the year the article was published, the title of the actual article, then the name of the magazine and volume number in italics (or underlined), and finally the pages the articles are on.
Step 5: Add a reference section
At the end of your essay, you should include a reference section: that is, a list of all the sources quoted or referenced in the essay, even if you mentioned each reference in a footnote. The proper way of referencing an essay is to arrange the list alphabetically by author’s surnames. In this way, any reader who needs to check a reference can easily find its source.