Referencing academic papers can be a daunting task for students. This is considering that there are different referencing styles. Still, bad referencing leads to loss of marks. Therefore, it is worth learning how to reference your essay effectively.

Why should you reference your essay?

It is very important that you reference your essay. If you write an essay with no references it means you have used your own original ideas. It means you have not used existing literature critically. This reduces the strength of your essay. To acquire a passing grade, in college or university, you are required to use a certain number of references. These requirements are available on assignment marking criteria. On the other hand, getting good grades requires the use of many references.

References show the breadth and depth of your research. They show that you have engaged critically with expertsโ€™ ideas in your field. They also serve as an opportunity to give credit to authors from whom you have borrowed ideas.

For the reader, when you reference your work, they are able to trace the sources for verifying work validity. Therefore, your referencing should be accurate. You should provide all the necessary details about your sources of information.

You may be accused of plagiarism if you donโ€™t reference your essay. Plagiarism in this case means:

  • Presenting the ideas of other people as your own
  • Copying and pasting content without citing the source
  • Summarizing information without citing the original source
  • Paraphrasing content without acknowledging the original author

Referencing styles

There are several referencing styles. In this article, we will look at the use of APA referencing style. Your instructor may require the use of a different style. Check essay instructions to see the referencing style your instructor requires. 

APA referencing style

Referencing has two parts; citations and reference lists. Citations appear within the text. The reference list is placed at the end of your essay. 

  • Citations

When citing your essay, provide the following information; 

  1. Details of the author (Surname)
  2. Publication information
  3. Page number (if necessary)

For example,

Pervin (authorโ€™s last name), 2019 (publication date), p13 (page)Within the text the citation will appear like this;(Pervin, 2019, p13)When the page number is not necessary, your citation should appear like;(Pervin, 2019)

According to Robertson, An online essay writer for hire, APA citations have no difference except for some electronic documents. This means that when referencing a book, a journal, or other internet sources, you write the authorโ€™s surname and date. For the electronic documents, page numbers are not provided. In this case, you may use the paragraph number.

  • Reference list

Different from citations, a reference list contains full information about a source. You include as much information as possible. Let us look at the information you must include.

  1. Authorโ€™s name

Start with the details of the author followed by any initials. For example, Pervin, L. This applies even when the source has several authors.

Some sources donโ€™t have the name of the author. This mostly happens with websites. In this case, use the name of the organization as the author.

  1. Publication details
  2. Source title
  3. Information about publisher

This is relevant for books. Include the place of publisher and the name of the publisher.

  1. Page numbers

Use p to indicate a certain page. For example, p.12. Use pp. to indicate several pages. For example, pp.12-17.

  1. URL

Show where you accessed your source from. Include the full URL.

Example of a reference list

Dabs, V. (2019). Nursing Practice. Sydney. Allen & Unwin. (Book)Hayes, B. & Laban, V. (2018). Social Research. Journal of Research, 15 (2), 2-8. (Journal)Health Times (2010). Importance of exercises. Retrieved from

Remember, the reference list is arranged in alphabetical order. 

Effective referencing

While referencing can be a daunting task, it is unavoidable. There is so much to lose for not referencing your essay. There is also so much to lose for bad referencing. What are we saying? We are saying that you must reference your essay correctly. We have provided tips on how to reference your essay using the APA style. But, before you use our tips to confirm if your instructor wants you to use this referencing style. Although, APA is the common referencing style. There are others such as Harvard and MLA which are also commonly used. Besides, you should also learn how to write annotated bibliography at advanced level.

However, do not be frustrated if you face challenges with referencing styles. You may consider seeking help from your instructor or friends. If they are not available for the case of annotated bibliography, consider help from an annotated bibliography writing service. Here, professional writers will help you reference your essay effectively.

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