How to write references for a research paper

Whether you are writing a term paper for school or presenting a scholarly article for publication, there is a good chance that you will be citing reference material by other authors that have already appeared in books, magazines, newspapers, or Internet websites. Both the APA (American Psychological Association) and the MLA (Modern Language Association) have set forth uniform code standards for writers to follow. Although it may seem daunting at first to put everything in the right place, a little practice will make it come easily.

GENERAL RULES ABOUT PREPARING BIBLIOGRAPHIES

Each time you cite an outside source, create a bibliography entry for it. If you wait until the end of the paper or article to go back and try to find everything that you have used, you’re more likely to leave something out.

Author names, titles, and publishers are written with initial caps and are in the same font and font size as the rest of the document. The exception to the initial cap rule is the listing of website links, which are all typed in lower case.

Example:

The items in a bibliography are always listed alphabetically by the author’s last name.
In the event that no author name has been listed, use the title of the publication instead.

Bibliography entries are single-spaced with a line space to separate each new entry.

The second and subsequent lines of a bibliography entry are indented five spaces. Instead of having to do this manually each time, you can automatically set a hanging indent using the margin markers in your ruler bar at the top of the document.

The months of May, June and July are always spelled out; the other months of the year are abbreviated.

BIBLIOGRAPHY FORMAT

In both APA and MLA style, the first item to be listed is the author’s last name, followed by the first and middle names. The difference between the two styles is that APA uses initials for the first and middle names; MLA spells the names out.

Example of APA:
Moniak, F.R.

Example of MLA:
Moniak, Frederick Rodney.

Place a period immediately after the name. The next item will either be the date of publication or the title of the text. If you are following APA style, the year of publication is placed in parentheses, followed by a period.

Example:
Moniak, F.R. (1996).

If you are using MLA style, the very next thing after the author name will be the title of the material. If the source is a book, the title will be underlined, followed by a period.

Example:
Moniak, Frederick Rodney. How to Make a Million Dollars: A Beginner’s Handbook.

If the source material is a magazine, newspaper, or encyclopedia article, the title of the article is put in quotations followed by a period. This is then followed by the name of the publication. The name of the publication is underlined.

Example:
Moniak, Frederick Rodney. “Investing Wisely in Troubled Times.” San Francisco Chronicle.

The third item to be listed in APA style is the title of the publication if it is a book or the title of the article plus the publication if it is a magazine, newspaper or encyclopedia article. If you are citing a book, it is written in italics or underlined.

Book Example:
Moniak, F.R. (1996) How to Make a Million Dollars: A Beginner’s Handbook.

Article Example:
Moniak, F.R. (1996). Investing Wisely in Troubled Times. San Francisco Chronicle.

If you are using MLA style, the next item to be listed is the place of publication, the name of the publisher, and the date of publication.

Book Example:
Moniak, Frederick Rodney. How to Make a Million Dollars: A Beginner’s Handbook. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Article Example:
Moniak, Frederick Rodney. Investing Wisely in Troubled Times. San Francisco Chronicle 21 Sept. 1996:

The final items to be listed in APA are the volume number and page numbers if it is a magazine or newspaper article. Page numbers are not listed for books.

Example:
Moniak, F.R. (1996). Investing Wisely in Troubled Times. San Francisco Chronicle, p. 12.

In MLA citations, the page numbers of a magazine or newspaper article follow the colon after the designated year.

Example:
Moniak, Frederick Rodney. Investing Wisely in Troubled Times. San Francisco Chronicle 21 Sept. 1996: pp. 49-61.

WEBSITE REFERENCES

If you are citing articles that appear on Internet websites, the link is treated in much the same way as a magazine article in the respective styles.

APA Example:

Moniak, F.R. (1998). Investing Wisely in Troubled Times. American Finance Today. Retrieved Nov. 3, 1998, from Larry’s Money World. Website: http: www.larrymoneyguy.edu/phikappaphi/1040.html.

MLA Example:
Moniak, Frederick Rodney. Investing Wisely in Troubled Times. American Finance Today. 1998. Larry’s Money World. 3 Nov. 1998. .

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