How to Reference a Term Paper

How to Reference a Term Paper

When writing a term paper, like any other form of academic writing, it is mandatory to cite all the sources you have obtained information. Typically, most of these sources will be published material. After all, research for your term paper is based on relevant preexisting knowledge on the subject. This ranges from books to online sources. Therefore, referencing is immensely important in your term paper to validate the evidence you have provided.

Formatting styles vary depending on your area of study or the particular institution. The two most common formats are APA and MLA. While these are quite common in natural and social sciences, they are usually the most recommended for most disciplines. Nevertheless, it is advisable to consult your department for more specific instructions.

In a term paper, research is arguably the backbone of your assignment. You will need to read extensively and source from different materials to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the topic. Therefore, you are recommended to note down your references as you research. It saves you plenty of time when you are compiling the reference list.

Creating a Reference List

Formulating this list might look complicated from afar. However, you will soon realize that it is a straightforward process. In most cases, your reference list is guided by the citations you have made in the paper. This section should then be the last section of your paper. Furthermore, the entries on the list must always be in alphabetical order.

For the formatting aspects, this can vary depending on the style. However, none of the styles requires you to number the references. You would then have to adjust your list every single time you included a new entry.

Typically, all citations contain these standard elements.

The Name of the Author.

As the subheading suggests, this entails acknowledging the writer of the source. When a source has more than one author, use a comma to distinguish each one. If the writers are three or more, you will then use an ampersand before the last name.

Date of Publishing

This usually varies depending on the source. For instance, you will indicate the year of publishing for a book. For such variations, it is recommended that you seek to consult from your faculty.


This is quite straightforward. You are outlining the title of the sources. If your source is a book, the title must be in italics.

The following elements are essential for sources in print form. Electronic sources such as CD’s and online content differ slightly from the former. If you are unsure of how to cite such sources, you should consult your department for further guidance.

Ultimately, the reference list should guide your reader on finding the information you have used in the term paper. It would be best if you then familiarized yourself with the relevant formatting style to create a useful reference list. As such, you should consider going through samples from the internet or the local library. Practice, as they say, makes progress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four + 18 =