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Essay referencing help

When you write an academic essay, it is important to use the correct referencing style.

Your college or university will have advised you of the particular referencing style which you need to adopt, but ask if you do not know, as it is crucial that you get it right. You can usually find advice in your departmental handbook or on your department’s section on the university website.

There are many different referencing styles in current usage, most of which require slightly different presentation of references throughout your essay and in your bibliography.

Top Referencing Tip!

"Start referencing BEFORE beginning to write"

When you are researching the information for your essay, you would be wise to make a note of the author, title and publication details of each work you consult in the referencing style required, as this will make it easier for you to compile your references and bibliography, and you will grow accustomed to the particular referencing style required. It’s IMPORTANT that you use only one style throughout.

Browse our Referencing Style Guides:

Why reference?

You must reference your work to distinguish your ideas from those of others and acknowledge your sources. Also, it enables the reader to follow up if he/she is interested in the source you have used.

What is the difference between a bibliography and a reference list?

Reference List, Works Cited, Literature Cited, Sources Cited, References – all of these terms refer to a list of sources actually cited in your work.

Bibliography, Bibliographical References – these terms refer to a list of sources that can be found at the end of your work in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. In some systems, this list may include books you have read but have not actually cited. Please check your institution's guidelines, however, as it is not always permissible to include sources that have not been used in the text.

What are endnotes and footnotes?

Footnotes are used to supplement the text you have written in the body of your essay. Inserted in numerical order automatically by your computer, they provide yet another opportunity to refer to other related and insightful material that might not necessarily be fully relevant to your essay at hand. Footnotes can be inserted at the bottom of the page or in their own page at the end (called endnotes).

Referencing generators

We have created a number of automatic referencing tools (generators) to help students create correctly formatted citations and references every time:

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