How to Write References for a Research Paper

How to Write References for a Research Paper

Are you stuck with your research paper bibliography list? What sources are good to cite? How to cite them correctly? How to find really reliable and up-to-date sources to incorporate into your paper? 

These questions can be intimidating. No wonder every student faces these challenges when they need to write a research paper. 

Writing a reference list for your research paper is a real pain in the butt for most students. That’s where most of the students fall flat and make a lot of mistakes. How to avoid making the same mistakes? 

Luckily, we have collected great tips for you to follow. Use them and you will be doing much better when it comes to creating a reference list for your research paper. 

If you need any additional help from professional writers, feel free to turn to these research paper writing services such as

What is a reference list?

A reference list is part of your research paper. It is an alphabetical list of sources used to indicate where you referenced specific quotes in your research paper. It is important to use and this article will detail what it should hold and the reasons why.

Usually, it is on the final page of your research paper. It is used to reference parts in your paper that the reader can check as they are going through your paper. It does not need to be included inside the paper, as it is deemed to deter the reader from reading the paper and is seen to be annoying. 

It is like reading a book and every minute having to look for a word in the dictionary. As a reader by the time you finish looking for nearly every word in the dictionary, you will forget what the original paper was about. This is the reason for it being on the last page.

Why is a reference list so important? 

A research paper consists of finding sources from other papers, books, and documents. Therefore, it is important to give credit to the person, who originally wrote the document, whether it is used once or heavily within the document. The type of information can be quotations, pictures, songs, statistical data, logic, the list is endless. 

This is crucial especially due to copyright laws and policies. It is illegal to write something and claim that it is your own, especially when in a research paper, arguments and conclusions should be built on raw data and not someone else’s conclusions.

Copying someone else’s work is illegal and can lead to offenses such as having an automatic failure of your paper. After all that hard work, this is the last thing you want or need to happen. 

Ensure that it is included in every research paper you submit. It is not hard to do, the best way is to take notes of it as a list as you write the paper, and simply tidy up the information at the end.

At times, writers get confused between two types of terminology one is a bibliography and the other is ´works cited´. They are completely different. A bibliography is the information which the reader can use as further reading, unlike the works cited which are a list of references as described above. Ensure that you understand the difference in order to be able to submit a valid research paper.

Different citation styles have different rules for creating reference lists

Here’s the thing you should know about creating reference lists. As you may know, there are different citation styles like Chicago, MLA, Harvard, APA, etc. Each of them has its own rules for building a bibliography list. So you need to be very careful. Don’t mess things up. If you know how to make citations for MLA it doesn’t mean you are good to go with APA style referencing. Because they have different requirements. 

It may sound like something obvious. However, many students fall into this trap every semester. 

We recommend you check some credible sources on how to build all kinds of citations. It will help you avoid a lot of common mistakes. Take your time and study all the citation requirements carefully. Read examples to understand how they actually should look like. 

Another great option can be turning to professional research paper help. For example, you can write your paper on your own and make the citations. 

When you are done with it just ask experts to edit and proofread your paper. They will fix all the formatting issues as well (that’s in case if you have any). So, if you feel uncertain whether you’ve made citations correctly or not, you can use this option.  

There are also some free tools that you can use to check and generate your citations. They can be helpful to some extent. But we don’t recommend you rely heavily on them as they are not ideal. This is something like spinning content instead of writing it on your own. It’s possible. But this is not the best option.  


Creating a good reference list for your research paper is a very important part of the writing process. Use the tips listed above to avoid common mistakes that most students make. 

If you need further assistance, contact special research paper services like AdvancedWriters. 

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