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How to reference in an essay - 2019 Format


When writing an essay, you might want to ignore this part and focus on the actual content. But the concept that as long as your content is good, every other screw up can be ignored is incredibly flawed. Formatting is one of the most basic, most important parts of writing anything, whether it is a document, an essay or even a journal entry. It’s what makes something presentable and worth reading. While I too would love for someone to just write my essay UK style, that isn’t a possibility. We can, however, learn to improve what we write really easily. Part of that is learning how to add reference to an essay, because citations are one of the most important components of any written work, especially one for academic purposes.

You better know where you got that from…

Do you know about The Modern Language Association of America (MLA)? As far as its demands go, it makes use of citations inside parenthesis made along with your research. Wouldn’t you just hate it if someone copied your work without even giving you any credit for it? I’m sure you would, so don’t be that person. Citations make sure that if you’ve taken references from anywhere, the source is mentioned so the original owner of it gets credited, because otherwise, your work would be considered plagiarized and that has dire consequences. This is one of the most important steps when learning how to add reference in an essay, because without it, your work would not only be considered incomplete and unauthentic, it would also be considered stolen.

  • Cite along with writing. Do not wait until the end because keeping track will get really confusing for you and you might miss something.
  • As far as what you’re supposed to cite goes, you have to give a reference if you’re doing any of the following: paraphrases, facts, statistics, quotes, or examples.

We’re gonna need to know more…

Citations aren’t just website links. In order to learn how to add references in an essay, you need to understand all parts of it. If you get any data from anywhere which you would like to include in your essay, certain important pieces of information will have to accompany it. The main things to keep in mind are as follows:

  • Author’s name
  • Publisher
  • Date published
  • Page numbers
  • Volume
  • Issue number
  • Website
  • Date accessed
  • Information from the copyright page

Make them a part of your citations to make them complete. It makes it not only easier for the reader to track your sources down, but also gives them a clearer first-glance idea of where you got your information from.

Don’t be messy with your research

Wouldn’t you hate to be in a rush but unable to find certain pieces of your research without which your work is incomplete and dissatisfactory? How to start adding references in an essay? Organization of your research can help you avoid the hassle. The same thing applies to the citation section of your paper or essay. It needs to be alphabetically organized and very easy to read. At the end of your document, you will have a page entirely dedicated to your citations. You may title it as something like “Works Cited”.  Here’s how the sequence normally goes:

  •  Last name of author
  • First name of author
  • Title of Book
  • City Published
  • Publisher name
  • Year published
  • Source Medium

While this isn’t the only way to write them, this sequence is the most basic and definitely gives all the required information, so you could use it exactly as it is, or tweak it a bit with any other details you might want to add.

Let’s make this easier for you

A good way to organize your list would be to refer to the author’s last names (or in case of anonymous, the titles). Alphabetize the list by placing your references according to the first letter of your author’s surnames. You need to know copyright information, collecting which is one of the most basic steps when trying to understand how to add references to an essay. For every source that you use, make sure you take notes along with every citation.

  • Add Website URL to the list of things you need to record.
  • Whenever you begin to paraphrase an idea, make sure never to forget the source and all of its sequenced details. In order to do this, you must write as you collect your information.

We HAVE to format, of course.

Yes, aside from your essay, even your citation will have a format. While some of these rules can be bent, it’s best if you just follow this set format because it’s universally accepted and will make your work look professional enough to cover up the fact that you have no idea what you did and what you wrote in the entire paper. Formatting is a must when learning about how to add references in an essay.

  • The first page will have the title in Time New Roman, the font size will be 12 and it will be in the center of the page. Pretty basic stuff, right? You’d be surprised at how many get this wrong.
  • All lines below the top line will be indented half an inch.
  • Make sure to remember to add a full stop at the end of each citation.


Daniel Acker is master essay writer with honors from Oxford University. He is 25 years old and has a love for art analysis and poetry. He spends hours at art museums looking at different pieces from underrated artists and wants to share his passion for it with the world, which he does through his writing.

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