Essay Writing Guide

Writing Style
Citing Sources

The Reference Section

The last section outlined how to cite or reference sources within the text. This section shows how to complete the reference section at the end of the essay. The reference section is the list of all the sources cited or referenced in the essay,and only those that were referenced or cited in the essay. The list is arranged alphabetically by the first author's surname. There is a format for listing different types of sources such as books, journal articles and web sources. These are set by the APA and there are numerous sources on the Web that outline the guidelines, for example Nuts and Bolts of College Writing which describes the different formats and also gives more advice on referencing within the essay text. In order to give you some idea how to format the most common sources, the APA format for each one is given below (note: these are taken from the Report Writing Guide but copied here to save download time).

Journal Article

When listing a journal article, you must give the name of the author(s), the year it was published, the title of the actual journal article, then in italics (or underlined) the name of the journal and volume number, and lastly the pages the articles is on. An example clarifies this:

Tudge, J.R.H.,1 (1989)2. When collaboration leads to regression: some negative consequences of socio-cognitive conflict3.European Journal Of Social Psychology4 19,5123-1386

1. The author(s) name(s)
2. The year of publication
3. The title of the article
4. The journal's name (note italics)
5. The volume number of the Journal (again note italics)
6. The articles page numbers

If there is more that one author, merely give the authors' names in the order they are on the article:

Tudge, J.R.H.,and Winterhoff, P.A.(1989) etc...

Or for more than two authors:

Tudge, J.R.H., Winterhoff, P.A. and Hogan, D.M.(1996) etc..


The format for books is a little different. The author(s) name(s) come first, then in italics the title of the Book, then where the book was published, and who it was published by:

Piaget, J.1 (1928)2. Judgement and reasoning in the child3.London4:Routledge and Kegan Paul5.

1. The Author(s) name(s)
2. The year of publication
3. The title of the book
4. Where the book was published
5. The publishers

If the book you are listing is an edited book, then you merely put the editors name where the authors' names are normally put, and put (Eds) before the year of publication. If there is more than one author or editor then follow the format for authors outlined for journal articles.

Chapters in an Edited Book

The format is similar to the book format; first the names of the authors of the chapter, the title of the chapter, the name of the editors of the whole book, the title of the Book (in italics),and finally the place of publication and the publisher:

Glachan, M., and Light,P.1(1982)2Peer interaction and learning3. In G. Butterworth and P. Light (Eds) 4 Social Cognition5 Brighton: Harvester.6

1. The authors of the chapter
2. The year of publication
3. The title of the chapter
4. The editors of the book the chapter was in, (note the initials come before the surname)
5. The title of the book
6. The place of publication and publisher

Electronic Sources

Electronic sources refer to sources that have been found or retrieved through computer. These can be CD-Roms, telnet sites, or Web pages. The format for most types of electronic source can be found at the APA's own site. The example provided here is of a web-page which is the most common used type of electronic source. It is important to note that the APA make a distinction between citing a whole web site and citing individual pages within a web site. If you cite a whole web site then you merely need to give the URL (the web address) within the text and no corresponding entry in the reference section is needed.

If you are citing a page within a site then a entry within the reference section is needed:

Memory and dementia (1998)1. London: The Royal College of Psychiatrists2. Retrieved January 25, 19963, from the World Wide Web:

1. The title of the page and date of publication
2. What organisation was responsible for the page
3. When you looked at the page
4. The URL or web address

If the page has an obvious author, his/her name goes before the title in the manner of a Journal Article. If you have any problems with reference formatting then check out the websites included on the Links page within the Report Writing Guide. The next page outlines a few of the errors made by students in referencing a text.