Answered By: Vicki Sciuk
Last Updated: Aug 03, 2019     Views: 65

Adding References to a paper means showing what sources you are using for the information you are putting in your paper or project. Many sources are articles from scholarly journals, magazines, or newspapers. Sources can also be information from print books, ebooks or pages on websites. You need to give credit to your sources whenever you are quoting, summarizing, paraphrasing or using facts and ideas from them.

To create your references, first you have to Find Sources that you will use for your paper. Next you have create a References list of the sources you used in your paper, in a proper format. Finally you need to create short In-Text Citations throughout your paper, showing where you read that particular fact or idea which you are writing about.

When you have your sources, you must add them to an extra page at the end of your paper so the reader knows where you got the information you are using:

Screenshot of formatting APA Reference page

Both styles want you to include the author, title, date, where or by whom it was published, and the web address (URL) of where you found an online article in the full reference. They are just formatted differently.

If you find your information in articles from one of the library databases, you can get the citation already formatted as APA or MLA by the database

If your source was in print or on a website, you will need to copy the information and create the citation yourself. The CAS has workshops and brochures for APA and MLA references in their Writing & Citing guide; or you can look at examples and make yours look like these APA or MLA samples; or you can ask for help from the CAS or the Library.

Here's a picture of what an APA References page might look like, for a paper on Brain Cancer, with 5 sources.  The last three citations were just copied & pasted from articles in the Library databases.
Note: The last item under Links & Files (below) is an MS Word version of this APA page that you could download to use as a sample or template.

APA References page

At the end of sentences, paragraphs or quotes in your paper, you must put short In-Text Citations which point to the full citation on your References page - usually the author and year or page number, in parentheses. Here are some FAQs explaining in-text citations:

  1. How do I do an in-text citation in APA style?
  2. How do I do an in-text citation in MLA style?
  3. How do I put a quote in my paper?
  4. If I'm citing something multiple times in a paragraph, how many in-texts do I need?


If you are just starting your research and want some guidance on where to find sources you can use as references for your paper or project, start with these FAQs & videos:

  1. What is LibSearch and what does it search?
  2. How do I search LibSearch?
  3. What is the best overall database to use for a research paper?
  4. How can I select the best search terms/keywords for my search?

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