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HOW TO REFERENCE RESEARCH WORK | MyProject Blog

Referencing research work can be a very technical task that requires attention and detail. Most times it determines the grading of your work. This is so because in the academic world while it is believed that people of capable of novel ideas, it is also believed that ideas birth ideas. Creativity is about the recombination of patterns in a new way and so every idea or notion has a source and the source has to be referenced.

Referencing makes your academic reputable, authentic and valid. Therefore to be able to properly referencing work is a skill and an obligation every student must faithfully perform in his/her work.

This article will guide you on the different styles and methods of referencing.

Referencing Styles

There are five commonly used forms of reference. They are called the Modern Languages Association (MLA) system, the American Psychological Association (APA) system, the Chicago and American Medical Association (AMA) others include Harvard system, and the Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA) system.

If you are writing essays for an institution, agency or even a company, department make sure you know which program it is using. Your tutors can choose one of the four above, or they can use an entirely different one. Some departments are going to produce sheets explaining what system they want you to use.

You can also find detailed guides to these systems in your institution’s library or on the internet. The Modern Humanities Research Association also publishes the MHRA Style Book which is available from bookshops like Blackwells for around a fiver.

The following sections give the important aspects of the four conventions. For more detail, you will need to look in some of the places I’ve suggested.

MLA System

The MLA system is a parenthetical system: i.e. bracketed references in your essay's body are linked in the bibliography at the end of your essay to full-length quotations. The bracket in the essay's body contains only the surname of the author and the number or numbers of the page to which you refer. For example, There are a number of different types of conventions for referencing, but there are four that are most commonly used. (Kennedy, 17 years old).

If your essay quotes from the same author or from two or more works then a shortened version of the title should be included in the bracketed reference to indicate which book is referred to. (The Modern Ties, Kennedy, 26)

A bibliography compiled according to MLA conventions lists items alphabetically by the author’s last name. Each entry should include, in the following order: the author’s name in full, the title of the book, the place of publication, the publisher, and the date. For example Kennedy, David. New Relations: The Refashioning of British Poetry 1980-1994. Bridgend: Seren, 1996. Pay attention to how the entry is punctuated as that is part of the system too.

APA system 

This is also a parenthetical system but the bracketed references in the body of your essay are the author’s surname, the date of publication and the page or page numbers you are referring to. For example There are a number of different referencing styles or conventions but there are four that are used most widely (Kennedy, 2003, p. 17). The reference always goes at the end of the sentence before the full stop.

Start with the author's last name and first initial:

In APA style, the author's name is inverted, meaning you list the last name first. Place a comma after the last name, then the first initial. Separate the names of multiple authors with commas, using an ampersand (&) before the last name.[1]

  • For example: "Kringle, K., & Frost, J."

Provide the year the paper was published:  

If the paper was published in an academic journal, including the year in parentheses after the authors' names. If the paper was unpublished, use the year the paper was written.

List the title of the research paper:  

Use sentence capitalization to write out the full title of the research paper, capitalizing the first word and any proper names. If it has a subtitle, place a colon and capitalize the first word of the subtitle.

  • For example: "Kringle, K., & Frost, J. (2012). Red noses, warm hearts: The glowing phenomenon among North Pole reindeer."
  • If you found the research paper in a database maintained by a university, corporation, or other organization, include any index number assigned to the paper in parentheses after the title. For example: "Kringle, K., & Frost, J. (2012). Red noses, warm hearts: The glowing phenomenon among North Pole reindeer. (Report No. 1234)."

Use a parenthetical citation in the body of your paper. 

When you write a statement that comes from the research paper, include the last names of the authors along with the year the paper was published or written.[5]

  • For example: "(Kringle & Frost, 2012)."
  • If there was no date on the research paper, use the abbreviation n.d.: "(Kringle & Frost, n.d.)."

A bibliography compiled according to APA conventions lists items alphabetically by the author’s last name. Each entry should include, in the following order: the author’s surname, their first initial, the date of publication in brackets, the title of the book, the place of publication and the publisher. For example Kennedy, D. (1996) New Relations: The Refashioning of British Poetry 1980-1994. Bridgend: Seren. Again, pay attention to how the entry is punctuated as that is part of the system too.

Chicago Style

Begin with the names of the author:

Invert the name of the first writer so that the last name first appears. The names of future writers should be published annually. Specify the first names. If presented on the research paper, use a middle initial.

For example: "Kringle, Kris, and Jack Frost."

List the research paper's title:

The paper's title is written in the case of the title, which means that most adjectives, nouns, and verbs are capitalized, but articles and conjunctions are not. Titles are contained in quotation marks. Include after the title the type of text. List the research paper's name. The paper's title is written in the case of the title, which means that most adjectives, nouns, and verbs are capitalized, but articles and conjunctions are not. Titles are contained in quotation marks. Include after the title the type of text.

For example: "Kringle, Kris, and Jack Frost."Red Noses, Warm Hearts: The Glowing Phenomenon among North Pole Reindeer." Master's thesis, Alaska University, 2012.

Include any additional information required for the paper to be located:

 You should add a direct URL if you have accessed the paper online so that your readers can go directly to the paper as you found it. If the paper is assigned a database number, readers can also find the paper easier.

For example: "Kringle, Kris, and Jack Frost. "Red Noses, Warm Hearts: The Glowing Phenomenon among North Pole Reindeer." Master's thesis, Alaska University, 2012. Accessed at http://www.northpolemedical.com/raising_rudolf."

Follow the instructor's instructions on in-text citations:

Research papers in Chicago and Turabian (a simplified version of Chicago style) may use either footnotes or parenthetic quotations to quote references in your paper's body.

In fact, footnotes are the same as the main citation, although the authors ' first and last names are not reversed.

Chicago uses the Author-Date format for parenthetic citations. For instance: "(2012 Kringle and Frost)."

MLA Style

Start with the paper's authors. Invert the authors ' names in order to list first their last names, followed by their first names. Specify the first names. Multiple authors are separated with commas.

  • For example: "Kringle, Kris, and Frost, Jack. "Red Noses, Warm Hearts: The Glowing Phenomenon Among North Pole Reindeer."

Identify the paper's location. 

MLA works on the container theory. Your paper is part of a larger whole, part of a larger whole. Next list the smallest container in your quote, then the smaller one, all the way up to the largest one.

  • For example, suppose you found the paper in a collection of paper housed in university archives. Your citation might be: "Kringle, Kris, and Frost, Jack. "Red Noses, Warm Hearts: The Glowing Phenomenon Among North Pole Reindeer." Master's Theses 2000-2010. University of Alaska Library Archives. Accessed December 24, 2017."

Use parenthetical references in the body of your work. 

After mentioning something in your paper allowing you to quote the research paper, place the authors ' names in parentheses along with the number of the site where the information appears.

 For example: "(Kringle & Frost, p. 33)."

AMA Style

Start with the last name and initial of the author: An AMA quote starts with the names of the paper's authors or editors. Use no punctuation other than a name-to-name comma.  If there are more than 6 authors, list the first 3 followed by the abbreviation "et al."

  • For example: "Kringle K, Frost J."

Provide the title in sentence case:

You only capitalize on the first word and any proper nouns included in the article title in the sentence case. If a subtitle exists, place it at the start of the subtitle after a colon with an initial capital.

For example: "Kringle K, Frost J. Red noses, warm hearts: The glowing phenomenon among North Pole reindeer."

Provide location information if the paper was not published: if the paper was delivered at a conference or symposium, including the meeting where it was presented. Provide a direct link if you found it online and the date you accessed it.

For example, if you're citing a paper presented at a conference, you'd write: "Kringle K, Frost J. Red noses, warm hearts: The glowing phenomenon among North Pole reindeer. Oral presentation at Arctic Health Association Annual Summit; December 2017; Nome, Alaska."

To cite a paper you read online, you'd write: "Kringle K, Frost J. Red noses, warm hearts: The glowing phenomenon among North Pole reindeer. http://www.northpolemedical.com/raising_rudolf"

Include journal information if the paper was published:

 Like any other journal article, a research paper published in an academic journal should be treated. Include in italics the abbreviated title of the journal, followed by the publishing year, issue number, and pages where the paper appears.

 For example: "Kringle K, Frost J. Red noses, warm hearts: The glowing phenomenon among North Pole reindeer. Nat Med. 2012; 18(9): 1429-1433."

Use superscript numbers in the body of your paper: Include a superscript number after the details you need a quote for in-text quotations. As you write your paper, you will build your bibliography with your quotations listed in the order in your text.

For example: "According to Kringle and Frost, these red noses indicate a subspecies of reindeer native to Alaska and Canada that have migrated to the North Pole and mingled with North Pole reindeer.1"

The Harvard system is another parenthetical system and the bracketed references in the body of your essay are: the author’s surname and the date of publication. The list of works at the end of the essay is headed ‘References’. The works listed in it appear in alphabetical order by the author’s surname and follow the same format as the APA system.

The MHRA system does not use bracketed references in the body of an essay. Instead, superscript numbers like this 1 are linked to a sequence of notes which appear either at the foot of the page or in a section at the end of your essay. The note contains the full reference for the book or article you are referring to. Here’s what an MHRA note reference looks like:

1 David Kennedy, New Relations: The Refashioning of British Poetry 1980-1994. (Bridgend: Seren, 1996), p.26.

It is important to note that the difference referencing styles have several editions attached to their years of publication and usage. The different editions come with varying nuances and discrepancies and should be paid attention to. And so it is important to inquire from your supervisor, or institution the edition that is obtainable in your institution for your kind of work. 

Sources:

https://www.wikihow.com/Cite-a-Research-Paper#APA_sub

https://www.rlf.org.uk/resources/mla-apa-harvard-or-mhra/