Writing references is one of the most tedious but important parts of writing scientific papers. It is also something that many people are not very good at!
Writing academic references follows a set structure that has been standardized over time. There are different styles of referencing, and you should be familiar with several types.
In this article, we will go through some easy ways to improve your reference writing skills by learning how to write using the standard style. Then, we will look into two common mistakes that aspiring researchers make when referring to studies.
We’ll then look into some strategies to fix them.
Identify your sources and note the page number
In research, references are important! They help make your paper more credible by proving that what you say is true. Properly referencing another source adds credibility to your own ideas or statements.
A reference is someone else’s work that proves your hypothesis or argument wrong! When writing scientific papers, it is very common to refer to other people’s studies or experiments. For example, if you were reading about how swimming helps improve health and fitness, you could find a study done at a local pool where participants swam for an hour every day and observed improved cardiovascular function.
By incorporating this into your daily routine, you can easily conclude that swimming is a great way to increase heart health. Therefore, that study was a good source for establishing the fact that swimming aids in improving cardiac function.
References must be properly identified. You should include the author’s last name, the year written, the volume (if there is one) and the page number. Make sure to use bold and underlined style, not italicized.
Organize your references
In order to write effective references, you have to organize them! Before referencing any source, make sure that you have enough information about the topic. This could be through direct conversations with other people who know about the topic, looking up articles or presentations related to the topic, and reading books written on the subject.
By being prepared before referring to another source, it will help you get the most accurate information and prevent poor quality sources from getting used. Make sure to also check out how many times these sources are repeated or mentioned by others- this can give you an idea of their reliability as well.
In addition to having all of this info, use appropriate citations (or reference formats) so that readers can verify what you said. The two main types of citation styles are Harvard and APA.
Note: Although not every journal uses either style, but using one makes it much easier for editors, reviewers, and publishers to identify and access your work.
Create a reference page
A good references page contains an introduction, a list of sources, and a detailed explanation for each source.
In academic research, a source is anything that you use to prove or disprove your thesis or hypothesis. It can be a book, article, lecture, or anything else that supports your claim.
Your references should always be authentic resources that have been verified as accurate by other experts in your field. They should not contain any false information or misrepresentations!
Avoid using low quality sources unless they are well known and popularized. Use only reputable sources so your readers will trust you!
General rules about referencing
Sources must be published between one year and five years ago.
They must be able to back up your claims.
They must be free from bias or prejudice towards your idea/thesis.
You do not need to refer to every detail from the source, but it does mean there should be no major omissions.
There is nothing wrong with writing your own opinion mixed into the text, but make sure it is clear what position you are taking.
Editorial pieces are usually allowed as references because their positions are clearly stated inside the article.
Check your spelling and grammar
After you have finished writing your thesis or article, the next step is to check your spelling and grammar. Make sure everything makes sense and that there are no major errors.
If you find any mistakes, try to fix them yourself first before looking up how to do it. If you feel that you can’t, then look into ways to help you correct the error.
Your professor may be able to help you as well! Many professors develop their own tools and resources for students to use. You should always ask if such things exist so that you don’t waste time trying to figure out what materials you need to review.
General tips: when editing, make sure to focus only on content not style A good way to do this is to compare your work with someone else’s similar content.
Include your sources’ website links
In writing scientific research, you will need to include references or citations. These are typically done via inline quotations or by using parenthetical statements next to the reference.
Inline quotes work best when used as answers in an exam setting. They also work well when referring to studies or reports that contain several pieces of information.
When using parenthetical remarks, make sure to add an appropriate amount of punctuation and number them appropriately (i.e., refer to item number two under “Topic and Conclusion”).
Sources can be printed out and organized into one folder, which makes it easy to organize and recall.
Provide a list of your sources
The second way to write references is by providing an actual listing of the source. This can be done through using Harvard style, AP style, or any other format that lists sources.
The important thing about this method is to make sure you use appropriate numbers for each reference. For example, if the article mentioned the works of two different authors, put their first names as a number one followed by their last name.
Number one should look like this: Hardy, Nelson.
Get their permission
As you write your research paper, references will be integrated into the document. The best way to ensure that these citations are clear and authentic is by getting their consent first! This is crucial as there can be legal repercussions for using plagiarized or fake sources.
There are several ways to approach this. You could ask if they want you to use any of those sources while writing up the topic or argument, or you could just include them all at the end. Either way, make sure to confirm that it’s okay to use them before going further.
Use the proper format
A good reference does not depend on its length, but rather how well it is written and if it uses appropriate references. Therefore, instead of asking what the best way to write references is, we can ask what the wrong way to do it is!
If you read through some references that are poorly formatted or lack adequate in-text citations, this will only make people give up on reading the paper completely. Even worse, you could create negative perceptions about the work being referenced!
Sadly, there are many examples of poor referencing across different fields and areas of research. This should be a red flag for anyone trying to get academic credit for their work.
Reference style guides exist to help organize and standardize how references are done. Using these guidelines will ensure your references are clearly defined and use correct grammar and vocabulary.