how to write references or bibliography

How to Write References Page that Elevate the Power of your Work [With Examples]

by Umair Ahmad Khan

How to write the references page? Perhaps, is one of the most common problem everyone faces when writing his first research paper or thesis, or even assignments.

Whenever you write a research paper, thesis or any assignment you have to include a list of all of the pre-existing knowledge you used to prepare your paper, thesis or assignment etc.

References page is very critical in making your writing material authentic, because it reduces the chances of plagiarism. Also, by giving out references to people whose work you have used, you are also recognizing the work of other fellow researchers etc.

So, including a page for references in your work does two jobs, it makes your work authentic by serving as a proof that you don’t want to steal other people’s intellectual property as well as pays respect to people whose work you have used.

Therefore, the importance of a reference page can never be understated.

With that in mind, this article is going to cover following topics that circulate around references page:

  1. What is a reference page and what information should be included in it? and were should it be placed in paper or essay?
  2. What is the difference between terms “references list”, “Works Cited” and “Bibliography”?
  3. What are different Styles of writing references? MLA, APA, IEEE and Turabian etc.

By understanding all these topics, i am quite sure that you will find you answer to the question “How to write a references page”.

So, let’s get on with it.

What is a Reference Page?

A reference page is usually the last page of any essay or research paper etc. that contains the reference list, meaning it contains all of information sources you used to prepare your work.

Whenever you are writing some information from an external source in your essay or paper, you have to give an in-text citation to that source.

That source can anything ranging from other research papers from a journal, website article, book or any other thing that you have used for getting information.

  • References page is generally the very last section of any essay or research paper.

The next question is what information should be included in the references?

That depends on nature of that sources. For research papers, you have to include the name of atleast one its authors, the title of research paper, the journal in which it was published, the year it was published and page numbers of that article in that paper.

The style and order of writing down this information depends on the standard style of references your institution uses. There are many styles of references, which will be discussed in further sections of this article.

how to write references page
Example of References page in IEEE Style

Styles or Formats of Writing References Page

There are many formats in which you can write your references page, but following fourare the most commonly used internationally. However, some research journals may have their own style.

These are :

  • APA
  • MLA
  • IEEE

APA is used generally in papers and essays etc. in fields of behavioral and social sciences. It is in alphabetical order with respect authors’ name.

MLA stands for Modern Language association and it is also according to alphabetical order of authors’ name.

IEEE is a numbered based that uses citation numbers within content of paper and references list is in order of citation number. Numbers are written in square brackets.

Turabian is author-date order style and is common in fields of physical, natural and social sciences. Here, sources are listed in small brackets, by writing author’s name, and year of publication of paper.

Below is an example of same sources in all four formals:

how to write references page

Difference between “References List”, “Bibliography” and “Works Cited”?

Terms “References or References List”, “Bibliography” and ” Works Cited” are often used in place of each other, with the assumption that they all have same meaning, which is not entirely true.

So, What is the difference between references and bibliography? and also what is “works cited”?

Works Cited

Heading “Works Cited” is used when giving out references in MLA Format.

As the name suggests, it includes all the information sources you have specifically called out whiling composing your paper.

All works irrespective of their nature that you have quoted or paraphrased should be included under this heading.

“Work Cited” is an alphabetical list, meaning all information is ordered in alphabetical order.

References or “References List”

It is exactly the same to “work cited” heading, except it is used in APA format.

Information is again listed in alphabetical order of author’s last name.

Meaning, when you are writing paper or essay in APA format, your heading should be References, and when in MLA, it should be Works Cited.


Now, this is a different thing.

Here, not only the sources you have called out in your paper are to be included but all of information sources which you have consulted while composing your essay, irrespective of whether you have referred to them in your essay or not.

They are often used in Chicago or Turabian styles of citations.

Meaning, the title which you will write for references page depends on the standard format your institution is using.

Bibliography in MS Word: How to automatically generate References page in MS Word

Microsoft Word from MS Office has a built-in feature that lets you automatically generate references pages.

To do that, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Click on Manage Sources under References ribbon in MS Word.
  2. This will open up a popup as shown in picture below. Now, click on new, to open up the popup where you can add a new source.
  3. Here, you need to select the type of the source you want cite in your paper, and write down some basic information about it like title, publication year, authors, publisher name in respective boxes.
  4. When you are done, click OK. This will create a new source for you.
  5. Now, you have to repeat these steps to include all of the sources you want to include in your references list.
how to write references page

When you are done including all of the sources, click close to close the source manager.

Now, you need to select the style of your references list like APA or MLA from drop-down menu titled Style, just below manage sources button.

After that, clicking on Bibliography button below the Style button and choose the heading you want, and just click on it (In picture below). And that is it, MS Word will automatically generate references page for you.


How to write a research proposal?

How to make graphs and charts in MS Excel?

Related Posts

Leave a Comment