How to Reference an Essay

How to Reference an EssayIt’s always the little things that get you. After waking up late I ran to school in the rain, raced up the stairs past friends and professors and dived in the classroom landing my wet-haired, panting self in my chair right as the bell rang for class to start. I thought I made the save of the day by not being late, until I realized my homework was still nice and dry, sitting on my desk at home. Little things. They can drive you crazy, but they matter. Even though the essays you write while earning your college degree may not seem like big works of literature, doing them correctly will make all the difference when the time comes to receive your grade. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to reference an essay.

Essays, though small, require the same amount of care and detail as a thesis or larger work. Your college professor will let you know whether your essay should be written in MLA (Modern Language Association), the way for humanities or APA (American Psychological Association), the method for sciences or by “Chicago Style” from the Chicago Manual of Style used mostly for larger scientific documents like books or dissertations. You will probably use all three styles while getting your college degree.

In MLA the books and resources you use will be listed on a back page called the “works cited” page. In your text you will list in parenthesis the author’s last name and the page number of the quote or material you used to support your documentation. In APA you may use footnotes or endnotes. You can also use a References page at the end where you list all the sources you cited in-text in alphabetical order by author. The standard for APA is usually footnotes unless the references are many. Chicago Style uses endnotes or parenthetical notation to show its sources.

It’s easy to think a little essay doesn’t require a lot of detail. But make sure you know how to reference an essay properly. Trust me; it’s the little things that always get you.

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