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How to reference in an essay: APA and MLA style with Examples

29 Jan 2019

If you were asked to write an APA or MLA essay, don’t worry, it’s not as terrifying as it might seem at first. Before preparing the APA essay, it’s necessary to summarize the information you about this style. The same rule concerns another essay format, called MLA. APA format is an official publication style of the American Psychological Association and is used in different subjects. It differs from other formats not only by its unique type of content structuring but also reference standards.

The following tips offer some useful guidelines that will help you create a properly formatted paper and get a desired A grade!

How to reference an essay in APA?

A citation is an essential phase in completing any paper. But, except its importance, this may also turn out to be very difficult. To ease your writing process, you need to follow a couple of simple tips.

The initial step students should make in the first place is to choose a perfect topic for their academic writing. It needs to be specific enough, but not too specific, if you don’t want to turn your research into the next part of “Mission: Impossible”. And in case you take something easy to work with because the Internet is filled with information about your subject, it can happen that everything has already been told earlier.

After the very beginning of the working process, the traditional question may arise, “How to start an essay?”  But don’t worry, we have your back. In the introduction, you should get your readers acquainted with what your work is about. This only seems hard at the beginning, but as soon as you start, the work shall go smoothly.

Next comes the interesting part, and that is – the research. Start your research as early as possible. Reference correctly in an essay, quote a website, book, article – any source you’ve used to complete your piece. But, be careful, using internet resources as they can contain untruthful facts and terminology.

According to the rules from the UK custom essay writing service, your essay should contain a reference list. The reference list is where you state all links and works you have used in your essay. References should be listed alphabetically by the last name of a writer, and, usually, they make the last sheet of your document.

If you want to memorize how to reference in an essay, follow this format: Authors. Date. Title. Publication Information. The main writer(s) of the used material should be placed before the date and title. If there is more than one author, put them in the same order found on the resource. Put the first and middle name initials and the entire last name. The reference in essay examples below will give an image of how your reference list should look like, and help you avoid some common mistakes. So let’s get down to them!

One contributor:
Smith, J. K. (Date). Title.

Two contributors:
Smith, J. K., & Sampson, T. (Date). Title.

Three contributors:
Smith, J. K., Sampson, T., & Hubbard, A. J. (Date). Title.

When the contributor is unknown:

If the used piece of citation has no an author, write down the resource by its title or use a word or two in brackets. Titles should be highlighted in italics or underlined; put titles of articles and sections in quotes.

Sometimes you can use "Anonymous" to represent the main and only writer. Consider it to be the name of the writer (Anonymous, 2001). Use it in your reference list as you do with other items.

How to reference an essay in MLA?

The main divergence of IMLA reference essays in comparison to other essay formats is referring to the other authors’ works using what is known as parenthetical citation. This technique includes placing a relevant piece of information in parentheses after a quote.

According to the law essay writing service UK, if the creator is an organization or a governmental agency, put it in the signal phrase or the parenthetical quotation when citing for the first time. If you’re lucky enough and there exists an abbreviation of the quoted organization, include it in brackets during the initial time you cited the piece, and further, keep using the abbreviations only.

First time referring: (Federation for American Immigration Reform [FAIR], 2000)
Further referring: (FAIR 2000)

Contributors with the same surname:

To prevent confusion, use the initials with the authors’ surnames.
(E. Stevens, 2001; L. Stevens, 1998)
More than two works of the same writer in the same year:

If you need to image two sources produced by the same writer in the same year, put the lower-case letters (a, b, c) with the year to order them. It’s very comfortable to use the small letters in the in-text citation.
The research by Mierzwiak (2004a) illustrated that…

Introductions, prefaces and afterwards:

When referring to one of these pieces in your composition, state the corresponding writer and year.
(Funk & Kolln, 1992)

Personal communication:

When it’s necessary to use an abstract of an interview or personal speech, refer the respondents’ names, the fact confirming it was a friendly conversation and the date it happened. Although since this is not a reliable source, do not include it in your list of references.

Electronic resources:
Earlier it seemed to be hard referring the electronic documents. But no more. You can refer it just the same as any other document by using the author-date style.
Kenneth (2000) explained…
Undisclosed writer and undisclosed date:

If you don’t have neither details about the creator, nor date, use the title in your signal phrase and the abbreviation "n.d." (for "no date").
It goes without saying that students are perfect in tutoring ("Tutoring and APA," n.d.).

So, as you see, writing a reference list is not a problem at all if you know what to do and where to look at. Use this guide to write your papers, and enjoy your high grades right away!

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