Essay references are made at the end of an essay either as a footnote or bibliography. It is left to the writer to choose the method as per the curriculum. Essays are written on various topics covering several subjects. Students have to take reference from sources in order to write an informative and content-rich essay. References made have to be presented in a methodical manner. This is not an easy task, if students are not used to preparing an annexure or following a standard style of writing like the Modern Language Association (MLA). Each writing style has its own way of referencing. The simplest way to understand how to include them would be to read through a style guide and then learn to adapt it to all essays written using that particular style. For all practical purposes, it is imperative that students know the basics of how to include references.
An essay writing exercise inevitably leads to quotes or references made to support a point of view. For example, while writing a science essay, students would have to relate experimentation or investigation results to the latest technological breakthrough covering the principles that govern it. Textbooks would not be able to cover all the relevant data including breakthrough news about the topic. In such cases, students invariably refer to other sources of information from the school library or internet. Essay references add valuable content, which in most cases, is beyond the curriculum or knowledge base of students.
To help in writing essays, researchers and writing experts have devised standards that are now universally accepted the world over to present references. The most commonly used style guides include MLA, American Psychological Association (APA), Turabian and Chicago Citation Styles. Through practice and historical data, it has been established that references for subjects like science are written clearly and adequately using the APA style of writing. For social sciences and humanities, the MLA style is more suitable. Though these styles are commonly used, students often have to follow the standard method specified by a school curriculum. Basically, they have to be aware that either a list of references like a footnote or a bibliography that is a detailed list of references related to the subject has to be included in most essay projects.
Unless specified, students should opt for including a list of references, which would be all references made on the page. These references would be listed at the end of the page so as to provide ready reference not only to the writer but readers as well. The most common method would be to include the author’s name and date of publication within parenthesis against the reference made in the text. If a quote is included, it is enclosed within quotes and then reference is provided alongside. The complete details of these references are then given at the end of the page as a footnote. Students have to write a research paper at some stage in their study program. By getting familiar with the different styles and methods of including essay references, they have a very good chance of completing the paper in time and to their complete satisfaction.